It all started when I was late for work. Most people late for work call in sick or try some method of getting out of it, but not me. I’m one of the hardest working professionals in my sector of my subsection of a compartment of a larger cube of cubicles where I engage in number crunching, data processing, surplus management and high profile penny pinching.
That was- until I was visited by a doll version of dilbert. Now listen, I know you’re easily spooked, but don’t get frightened by the horror that’s about to be unleashed upon the sensitive fabric of that large, eight pound bowling-ball shaped gray matter with a shell you call a cranium. Because after this, your very understanding of how the world works will shock you. I mean shock you with a capital S. Maybe two s’es. Like a ship. The SS Shock you. Well I suppose that’s three SSes, but you get the idea.
I shuffled into work late because I had spilled coffee all over my cardigan, my doc martins and my pen had spilled blue 34 ink all over my clean and pressed twill 400 thread count twill Besterland long sleeve polo shirt.
I got hit on the head rather hard with a VHS tape that someone had left sitting just above my desk, on the shelving units where books and other valuable prizes are stored. I fell back, contorting from the pain and looked down.
“The Art of the Deal.” That was an odd, odd Dilbert title.
Why a VHS? Everyone in the office had a blu-ray player, as evidenced by Jain’s wild Christmas party antics involving several firm fur trees and two ceramic coffee mugs.
I felt a large bump forming on the top of my skull where the VHS had smacked it. Then I got a knock at my door.
It was my boss, Brian Damage. He smiled from behind his sinister glasses and I swear he looked a little evil. “Happy Holidays, Don.” He smiled warmly and placed a small Dilbert doll on my desk.
The dollbert smiled at me, eyes glassy.
Something sinister was going on, I just knew because I add and calculate things on several calculators and that’s the way it is. The absolute thing. The best of all. The best thing is this thing.
I picked up the VHS. “For your eyes only.” It said. Scrawled in marker with a number 2 sharpie and sealed with a kiss. Probably, if the devil could kiss plastic.
Are you still listening to me? This isn’t a joke. This is an evil VHS, the most evil. If greater evil existed, it could not be contained in plastic number 37 one-inch cello wrap and a highly realistic Dilbert drawing that seemed more realistic than a drawing of Dilbert.
Someone knew this was my favorite show, and he was planning something sinister.
It was then that the “janitorial management cleaner” Juan approached my desk. Juan had been a new employee, for sure, and he had replaced the other janitor roughly the same day I received the VHS. “Scusemeh ahcleannow” He said. He had a devilish fire in his eyes, like juevos rancheros that had baked a few minutes too early. I didn’t understand what he was trying to say, so I took out a pocket dictionary…only to find that it had been stolen, and was on the floor near Juan.
“Juan.” I said. He said his name was Michael, and I corrected Juan because that was an American name, and he was from the Western country of Mexico.
He approached my chair and I felt my spine begin to tingle. Was he trying to sit in MY SEAT? I am the MASTER of this cubicle and I would NOT be DETHRONED by a fellow employee. “Back it up, Pedro. The chili con queso line stops here.” I took out a large piece of black tape and created a border on the floor. “The mop and the bucket, son? No pueblo.” I didn’t speak Spanish, but I assumed that meant “Not in my country, Juan-o.”
That was when I noticed… a strange powder on Juan’s face. At first I thought it was just a powdered donut, hell, maybe it was. But juan had been acting strange this whole time and I swear, people tell me there’s a whiff of what they call “The coca plant.” Texas dust. The marie-and-sanchez flim flam. Cinco spinach. The texas two step. Am I making this clear enough?
I approached him with my usual gentile smile and placed my small hands on his lapel, or janitorial outfit. “Thanks, consulchim, but this carborater has enough refried beans in the tank. I kindly request you sauce the others in the break room with con queso, if you commingle my sanchez-handlebar.”
He just leered. Confused.
Oh- oh yeah the tape. I didn’t have a VHS player, so I couldn’t watch it. If I had one though, I guarantee you. Something scary. I was preoccupied with young Juan, an up and comer at the local office.
And that doll-the dollbert. It smiled at me.
The two seemed related. There was some conspiracy here. I’m not an expert on these things, but I guarantee you something paranormal was happening.
The styrofome folder Juan had left on my desk…
I sneered. My orange potato vagina lips puckered. I squinted and looked… closer…
That folder had some bean mixture in it. It dripped uncomfortably down the side of my desk where I was resting my audio book “How to Be Rich” and “Demagoguery for idiots.”
That was when I saw it…
A hole in the dollbert. I felt an episode growing in my mind now! Juan- had sex with the dollbert? I didn’t believe it, but I’ve been hearing things around the office. I hid between the ferns and heard Janet mention that “new employee” had been “cracking some eggs in marketing.” Except instead of an omelette, Juan was eating the American dream with a side of mole sauce and sour crème’.
My boss looked a bit disheveled as I banged on the cabin door of the SS “I’m just callin’ it like it is?” Captain damage smiled at me. “It’s about Juan.” I said. His eyes were glassy. Glassier than the Dollbert’s which I swear started to move. “Dear Juan?” he said, or something, I don’t remember. “The one and only Juan.” I said. “Who is Juan?” He asked. I leered. “You mean- you don’t know-.”
“The Juan and only!” a voice whispered. It was probably Juan.
“Cool your chimichangas.” I said. “He’s- he’s bringing drugs, he’s bringing crime.” I went to hold up the dollbert but it had moved on its own, paranormally. “He’s a rapist.” My boss just stared. “And Juan, I assume, is good people.” I recalled the delicious bean TPS report I had eaten earlier.
“I don’t understand.” My boss just stared, as though none of this was getting through to him.
It was then that I realized he was in on it as well. They all were. Everyone in that office peered up at my orange head.
I had no choice.
I did what anyone would do.
I built a wall around my desk. I know- I know it was hard. But a weekend at Lowe’s with a six pack and several pounds of texas two step will gamuffin you as well. I placed each brick carefully, ensuring that no riff raff could get in. I did an amazing job. I wasn’t the head of construction for nothing. Granted, I had to claim bankruptcy a few times, but the job was finished. And what a job. Just me, four walls, and the brick wall in front of me.
I soon realized my dilemma. Without Juan transporting TPS food and liquids like his tears across the wall, I’d surely starve to death.
It was worse, though. I had no sunlight, only an infinite darkness.
It was scary. I was cold, fearful. I took off my clothes and I was naked, hugging the Dollbert for comfort and body warmth. “Oh my god.” There it had been, right before my eyes.
Hoisted by my own petard. Mcmuffin’d by my own mcguffin. Hamburger Helper’d to the homeless shelter and down the block. “If we build a wall-“ Wait, no- “SHUT UP!” I screamed. Bad thoughts coming in from the endless hole of despair. My space, my wall- I picked up the cement and began filling in the empty air.
Vapors of varying ethnicities and cultures flowed through a tiny crack of an air pocket which I had to put an end to. “Take my job!” I screamed, banging my head against the wall. “Take my job now!” I squealed, cementing my naked body to the dollbert, fucking it and screaming because I was slowly losing my sanity one Gordita bite at a time.
And that’s life. You bite and bite at the gordita, until you’re biting off your own hand. And you draw blood but you keep biting because you know it’s better than the alternative- fair and rational discussion. I’m scared. I’m afraid. Someone’s taking my thing! “JUAN!” I screamed. “SAVE ME JUAN!” I began fucking the wall until I saw a familiar eye staring through the one brick I had loosened with my 1/4th inch genitals.
“Mi gusta!” He probably yelled (My ears were full of termites and lint from the cold noise of alternative viewpoints.) And then Juan did something I never thought he’d do in a million years.
He began kissing me on the lips, sensually at first, then more aggressively. I choked up pieces of refried beans, a dead rat and a red hat that said “Make america grate again!” with a picture of parmesan cheese on the cover. Of the hat.
“Juan!” I screamed joyously. “You saved me! You saved me- from myself!”
And from that day forward, every Tuesday was called Bring Your Cultural Lifesaver to Work day.
And good old juan was there, with his many beautiful wives and mophandles accessories. I love Hispanics! And I learned a powerful lesson that day- you can have all the money in the world if you lie about how much you really have. Laughter is the best medicine except for cancer patients. And if you are missing the part of your brain that has compassion and empathy toward other human beings, you’re probably already dead inside. And maybe that’s where you belong- buried in a wall until you learn that everyone has a terrible lot in life, and only reason can save us from the infinite regressive darkness and so and so.
But what do I know- it’s fiesta time! Mario brought ancient spaghetti from foreign lands. Paolo began playing futbol, also known as handball in Germany. Little Willis from France made a “baguette” that he had baked just for this festive occasion- and me. I brought a hearty appetite and an even bigger understanding of cultural awareness.
Oh and the VHS, it was just a prank by Jane. She’s a feisty one. You should see what she does around the water cooler after she’s had a swig of the good ol’ Doc Hannigan’s! Oh, I love her though. I love everyone. I take care of people- my good people that I do good jobs with. I’m the best-the greatest- no one greater and this greatness is better than good, even people- some greater, but not as great. I am the best- there are better no. I the best. I the best. Me. The greatest. One top. Me. Best best brhthhthfhhfrhhrhhfhfhhrhrhrhfhhrh (Random gurgling because I swallowed my tongue.) The best!