Returning from the water cooler with a refreshing cup of water in hand, I paused to reflect on how well the day had turned out. My morning donut had been fresh and warm. My boss was still on vacation, and thus had a difficult time assigning work for me to do. And earlier, during one of my frequent looks out the window, I got to watch a seagull take an enormous dump on the hood of a BMW. Yes, this Friday was starting to shape up pretty well indeed.
I settled into my chair, prepared to wait out the rest of the afternoon, and maybe indulge in a small bit of seagull watching when…..
One of my coworkers slowly turned around. “What is it this time Phil?” The birds laughing at you again?
That’s Tim. Another accounting clerk like me, although he seems to think he’s senior because he was hired two weeks prior to me. The best way to describe Tim, both in personality and appearance, is to say that he’s a complete fuckwad.
I don’t much care for Tim.
“Don’t you dare patronize me!” I lowered my voice from the slightly embarrassing pitch it had risen to. “My highlighter’s been stolen!”
Tim looked at me blankly. “I’m sure it hasn’t been stolen. It’s probably just rolled under your desk.”
“I’ve already looked under my desk!” I lied, my voice again rising to an untypically girlish pitch.
“Well then it’s fallen somewhere else you idiot! No-one wants to steal your stupid highlighter! Quit screaming like a girl. It’s just a highlighter.”
Fuck I hate Tim.
I should elaborate a bit on the nature of my job. It involves paper. Lots of it, usually covered in letters and numbers. As it happens, some of these numbers are more important to me than others. Using the kind of right-brained thinking that’s allowed me to reach the lofty position of Accounting Clerk II, I’ve chosen to highlight these interesting numbers with the now famously missing highlighter.
Imagine a painter without a brush, a lumberjack without an axe, a farmer without… I dunno… a tractor. Imagine Peter North without a huge fuckoff penis.
“Just a highlighter”. I mean, honestly.
Sally, another co-worker of mine, wandered by and asked what was going on. I explained the situation as succinctly as possible, managing to throw in several clever jabs calling Tim’s genealogy into question at the same time.
“Is that it under your desk?” she offered.
I turned to look at what she was pointing at. Yes, in fact it was. My highlighter. Right there under my desk. Bugger.
“I told you so!” chirped Tim, with a smug look on his face.
Yes, he did say that didn’t he…
“How did you know it was under my desk Tim? Did you have something to do with this?” Not giving him a chance to respond, I pounced: “Yes you DID have something to do with this, didn’t you! Look at you, smugly sitting there. Big grin on your face, like you just crapped your pants!”
That ‘crapped your pants’ line didn’t make much sense, but I did notice Sally edge slightly away from him. Good.
“I….. what!? What are you talking about!? Your highlighter….it… it obviously just fell off your desk and rolled under it!”
I switched to my patronizing voice. “Of course it did Tim. Obviously. You know what else is obvious Tim? You’re a terrible liar.” Others were now gathering around. I kicked it up a notch. “You’ve had it in for me ever since I started here! Well it ends today!”
“I, uh…. what?” Tim now looked like he actually had crapped his pants. Good.
“That’s right Tim. You know as well as I do that there’s only one way to settle this: A Battle of the Bands.”
I let that hang in the air for a second. “Your band versus my band! In the cafeteria! Tonight at 9!”
Silence. I could actually hear the wall clock ticking.
Tim finally unfreezes. “What!? What the fuck are you talking about! Are you mental?” he sputters.
“You have a band?” asked Sally, obviously intrigued.
“That’s right” I nodded, fixing her with one of my more subtle ‘come hither’ looks. “We’re called Robotman and the Roboteers.”
“Really?” I… I had no idea.” Sally was clearly into it. “What do you play?”
“It’s actually a two piece me and my friend Steve put together. He plays bass. I play lead bass.”
Sally smiled at that.
“Maybe after I’m done rocking Tim like a hurricane… “I gestured dismissively towards Tim, “…we can hang out. I’ll play you some of the newer stuff I’ve been tinkering with. It’s kind of this wall-of-bass power ballad thing. With bass.”
“I…. I’d like that.”
I pointed at Tim. “Cafeteria! At nine!” Turning on my heel, I walked out of the office. An hour early I would later realize. Nice.
Oh yes. This Friday was shaping up pretty well indeed.