It is a very strange weekend, even by my standards. One of those deals where you feel like a bag of mixed nuts on the dashboard of someone's Oldsmobile Omega. The beginning of the end. The sun seems so far away. The night may never end.
Sure, I've done it before, but not since I was much younger. The all nighter. Not of the garden variety party all nighter, mind you. This is the working man's all nighter. The try to stay awake game where you hope something happens to create a level of fear that mandates being alert. Manning the bridge because someone has to be there. Not that anything ever happens. You almost hope someone with a bad case of the mumbles stops by to ask for directions just to ratchet up the excitement level a bit. The regular third shift zombies are on vacation. I volunteered in a moment of insanity to cover for them.
ZZ Top's Jesus Just Left Chicago is playing on the beat up radio in the corner. All this technology around me and I'm listening to music coming out of a tinny little transistor job from the seventies manufactured by Emerson.
Well now, Jesus just left Chicago and he's bound for New Orleans
Workin' from one end to the other and all points in between
Somebody had brought muffins this morning. Two remained in a box on the desk behind me. I thought about trying to eat one, mostly out of boredom, but I figured they had been exposed to the air for a good sixteen hours now. Does anyone really know what happens to muffins after such an ordeal?
I'm getting just a little bit jittery after a pot and a half of strong coffee. I'm used to being up until three in the morning, but not without a a reasonable amount of alcohol coursing through my bloodstream. And now I won't even get off work until after the sun has been up long enough to build a comfortable relationship with the sky. Strange that they don't have a problem with me manning the controls while overdosing on caffeine and augmenting that overdose with a couple of cans of Red Bull and mixing that with extreme fatigue that has caused me uncontrollable giddiness. The clock on the wall says it is 3:30. I could swear ten minutes ago it was 4:45. Last night I giggled at a spider for twenty minutes after the full effect hit me. Now I'm sucking down another cup of hot, greasy black coffee hoping for a similar experience. The lights seem to be flickering, but that is probably just my eyes starting to fail after four hours of sleep in three days.
"Ya like daisies?"
Okay, now that was weird. There isn't anyone in this building and I can see the front door
from the desk I am calling my own tonight. All is quiet. Ghosts
have already been ruled out as I have regular conversations
with them and they have their own special way
of talking. This is something entirely different.
"Yo, dumbass, back here."
Okay, I definitely heard something this time. Someone must be hiding out in the broom closet playing a little joke on me. Let me get Miss Davenport's umbrella for self defense.
The suspense isn't working here. The title gives away too much.
The too much coffee
effect is making me feel superhuman
. It also makes me think that things I would normally consider foolish
are brilliant ideas. I lunge
forward with the umbrella, holding it by its juicy stem
and using the sexy, curvy
handle to pull open the broom closet door. It is empty aside from a broom
, two mops
and a vacuum cleaner
. Oh, and before I close the door I notice someone left a stick of wholesome margarine
sitting on top of the vacuum cleaner
"Yeah, bring some of that pure natural goodness over here, dude."
Now is the point at which I, like any normal able bodied citizen of this or any similar semi-free nation, spring into action. Three times now I have heard voices. Three times they spoke clearly, but at a level of volume barely discernable from the radio, which seems to be decreasing in volume of its own accord. I wheel about, spinning and pivoting on my left heel (which happens to be my favorite of my two heels), hoping to face these strange demons that taunt me in the night of a thousand eyes.
"Pick up the margarine, cutie pants."
It has to be the radio. I hop away from the broom closet, battling to stay above the panic that any extended period of nervousness might induce. For some unknown reason, something triggers a memory. I start to think wistfully about Darla, a former employee of the company I had an insanely lustful crush on. We had so many chances to connect, but we never got on target. Her infectious smile and that little girl sparkle in her eyes are sorely missed around the office. Especially tonight. She's been gone for almost a year now. Does time really fly this damned quickly?
"Stop thinking about her and get that margarine!"
Okay, that was a cry for help. Not only am I hearing voices, they are now screaming at me and taking me out of the world of mentally orgasmic daydreams and back to the world of their own brand of pseudo-reality. Now is when I will avenge myself upon these voices that mock me.
"The margarine is melting, let it drip all over us and indulge."
They are aiming for the lowest common denominator now... trying to catch me off guard. Who can it be now? There is no one here. I turned the radio off, but still the voices come. The only organic life form in the office besides myself seems to be... the muffins.
"Been a while since you've been back over here in this office, eh pal?"
Even as I stared at the muffins, they continued to talk. What they were saying now was true. I remembered the last time I spent a day over in this office before my transfer to the more luxurious office down the hall. This had been my desk, where I sat and dreamed that Darla would divorce her very annoying and emotionally abusive husband and find value in my longing. She finally did... divorce her husband, I mean. We never had enough time to explore the whole longing concept.
"Yo, Romeo, how about our longing for the freakin' margarine?"
That was it. I could no longer bear having my fantasies disturbed. I grabbed the stick of butter substitute out of the broom closet. It was very warm and soft. Unwrapping it carefully and slowly, I let it drizzle over the tops of the muffins. The margarine dripped ever so slowly, catching itself in puddles across the nooks and crannies of each of the semi-stale muffins. I could only watch the rhythmic trickling for so long before I dropped the entire stick of margarine into the box with the muffins and walked away.
"Oooohh, very nice. Too bad Darla isn't here so you could cover her with marmalade and fulfill your cravings."
That was it. I could no longer bear the taunting, the reading of my mind, or the pure vulgarity of the muffins' tortured existence. I snatched the box containing the offending muffins and rushed down the hall. At nearly full speed I escaped out the front door. My eyes searched to the left and to the right. Then I spied the answer. A wonderfully foul smelling dumpster was sitting pretty on the other side of the parking lot. This was my destination... the muffins could talk to used Pampers and broken pallets. They would no longer talk to me.
"Imagine what it would have been like if you and Darla..."
I groaned loudly and sprinted
towards the dumpster. Without slowing down
, I whisked the box through the opening on the right side of the waste disposal
unit and turned on my right heel (my less favored one) and bounced back towards the office. That second pot of coffee
was still calling my name, even though I was beginning to see tiny pinwheels
dancing in front of my eyes.
The door was locked...
My keys were inside the office...
The muffins were calling to me...