by Joe Bielecki
The door opens and I can smell it. Bleach and piss. Lots of bleach and piss. They must have “cleaned” the restrooms. Meaning they just poured bleach all over everything. Somehow the floor is both slippery and sticky. I pee in the urinal that is just an enclave in the wall. I see droplets bounce out of the little trough and onto my shoes. This is why I don’t bother to shine my shoes. I should just do this at home.
I’ve worked in this office for three years and I still often get lost on my way to my cubicle. I have to count. Three rows then turn left at Annoying Jeff, five rows then right at Short Skirt Linda, right on to the wall, and my cube is on the right. Jeff usually stops me to talk about “the game.” Have I seen the game? I never know what game he’s talking about. I just say yes to be polite. He normally says something about the game but I never pay attention. Then I just try really hard not to look at Linda’s legs. They are nice legs. She has a nice smile too. But I know she knows that I can’t maintain eye contact with her. I feel like a horrible person.
My cube allows for a six inch by eleven inch view out the window. I measured it. I spend most of my slow days hoping a plane will fly by the space that I can see and break up the white of steam smoke smog fog clouds. Whatever is out there. I’m twenty floors up. It would take me 3.6 seconds to hit the ground if I jumped. I looked it up.
I am not suicidal.
My job is not bad. My job is not good. My job just is. It doesn’t matter what my job is. I tell women at bars what I do when they ask and their eyes glaze over. I can’t remember if I went to college or not. I hope I didn’t. I don’t look at my bills. I don’t worry about money. I get paid enough for how I want to live. I get paid enough for what I want to buy.
The Boss swings by. I don’t know if she is the boss or if she is just my supervisor. I don’t know if people even use the term boss seriously anymore. Either way, this woman who always looks exactly the same, like these cubicles, like she came with the floor plan, tells me what to do and I do it and no one has ever yelled at me. She tells me what she wants me to do today. I can’t describe what she wants me to do today. Not that it’s complicated, I just can’t formulate the words. It simply doesn’t matter.
Once a bird hit the window right in my field of view. It hit with a sound that sounded like a combination of a bong and a whack. I looked at the exact right moment to see it flying and hit and bounce off. It left a perfect bird shaped blood print. The window cleaners come at the end of the month and it was the first of the month when the bird hit. I didn’t get hardly any work done that month, just watching the red slowly turn splotchy and congeal into jelly and then finally harden and turn brown then a baked black. The window cleaners finally came and had to use a scraper tool I’ve never seen before to get the blood off. It was amazing. I imagined one of their cables snapping.
Joe Bielecki is a writer working in TV and radio in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He produces noise music under the name Ring of Roses, and hosts a movie podcast with his wife Cady called Sharing Everything. His writing has appeared in Moonchild Magazine, Occulum, Faded Out, and many other wonderful places. He can be found on social media of all kinds @noisemakerjoe.