I walk in the office. I sit in my chair. I turn the computer on. The start up sound cues like the internal beat of my headache. The electrically generated light causes me to close my eyes to shade myself. A brief respite.
I open my Excel folder document titled School List.xls. I’m on day 38 on this project. Line 935 is where I stopped yesterday. Line 936 is Claremont High School. The memory brings a fleeting smile to my face. I went there. Something I can cling to in the ocean of boredom. And then I’m on to the next line. Clarence Elementary.
It’s a boring job, but someone has to do it, at least that’s what my boss told me. My eyes glaze over and my mind removes its activities to drift through the agony of sitting in the chair. My eyelids droop. I glance up at the clock. 11:15. Still 45 minutes till lunch. I hear the door slam closed from the room over. I cringe. Why did they install such heavy doors? I guess it helps keep people from falling asleep. An attractive girl comes in.
“Hi are you Denis?” she asks. She’s so happy. And young. She must be a student. The make-up, the smiles, the uncertainty. How naïve.
“Yes, how can I help you?” I try to put on a friendly demeanor that makes me look about half as tired as I feel. I raise my eyebrows a bit to help keep my eyes open. She looks at me a little weird. I’m guessing my face probably looks something like the pasty white rug in my bathroom. With matching worn ridges from being constantly stepped on.
“I was just asked to bring this to you.” She hands me a manila folder. It’s practically empty.
“Ok” I say, glancing at the name of the sender. It says Alfred. “Thank you,” giving her the signal that her job is completed and she can slink back to whichever hellhole sent her.
“No problem” she say with a smile, and backs out of the room with an awkward few steps before turning around and picking up her pace. Am I really that scary? Probably not. Probably more that I am so pathetic it seems creepy. Why did I even smile at her?
The letter has a lot of verbiage, boring clutter that the high ups of the college use to flaunt their doctorates. Pretentious assholes. The last two sentences read “we expected you to finish your work by last Friday. If it’s not in our mailbox by 5 today, you will be fired.” Good. Jesus. Better fired than another day at this job.
Rent is due though. I need this job. The thin line on my lips draws back as I take a deep breath. How could I possibly finish this project on time while these elitists keep lounging about? It’s ironic how their excessive degrees and preaching about how hard work they work doesn’t actually add up to a responsible character in practice. I exhale. It’s only 11:23.