Friday Afternoon – A Short Story

An empty office is basically a godsend. By the end of the week, I have so many things on my task list. I need a few hours alone time just to get caught up. Those last three hours are sacred me-time.

So, you have to understand, from my perspective, I did not overreact. People do a lot worse to protect things to consider sacred. It’s not like a blow up a building. I only killed one person. That hardly even makes me a bad guy. Besides, she really deserved it. I swear. There’s always that one person in every office with no respect for anyone else. You know the tape. They live in a fantasy world where their tiny problems are the end of the universe. In our office, that was Carolyn. She was so selfish.

She was so selfish.

I was working on all those little Friday tasks, moving through each one of a good pace. It was beautiful outside. The first truly pretty day in weeks. I have to admit, I was hoping to follow my coworker’s examples and get out a little early, too. The sun was shining in the sky was calling my name. I would’ve been done, too, but ugh… Carolyn.

She stormed into my office at five minutes till four, tiny head flopping on the end of her stork-neck. She had a stack of loose printouts brandished at the end of one long, spindly arm and her cell phone in the other.

“Kelly!” She squawked before she even got in the door. “This is an absolute tragedy! You have to fix this right now!”

She tossed the pages under my desk. Just tossed them. Not dropped or sat, tossed. They scattered everywhere and knocked my dancing snoopy off my desk. The little woodchuck broke off when it hit the floor. That alone is enough reason for anybody to do what I did, but, she took it a step further.

“I’m going to need you to take care of this before you head out tonight. I do it myself. Got a working dinner with the vice president of accounting.”

“I don’t know, Carolyn, I was about to head out. Should you take care of this anyway? I don’t handle expense reports. That’s an accounting job. Maybe you should bring it up over dinner.”

“Akin to that. Tom and I have something much more important to us.” She looked down at the phone, clutching her talons and left her broken, wicked cackle. “Speak of the devil. I have to take this. I’ll need that taking care of before my flight tomorrow. Thanks. Byyyyeeee!”

Like the whirling diva. She was, she disappeared back into my office door laughing into her phone.

I tried to let it go. Really, I did. I drove into the work. I don’t ever leave early on a Friday. Carolyn knew that. Should know I was actually trying to get out of there. I kept telling myself that, anyway.

But then I realized what was so important I had to take care of it on a Friday. Carolyn’s expense account was maxed out because she was charging dinners six nights a week. Accounting already flagged it. There is absolutely nothing I could do about it and Carolyn knew that. She just wanted me to cover it up so she didn’t have to pay for her own dinners and had money to spend on her stupid trip.

The worst part was, I didn’t figure it out into was already six-thirty.

Do you know what it’s like to not only work late but to work late on a complete waste of time? It’s the worst. I was angry and I let it get the better of me.

Nobody was left in the building and they wouldn’t be back until Monday, so I decided to get some revenge.

I dug through the break room fridge until I found what I’m pretty sure was macaroni and cheese when it first arrived two or three years ago. I put on some heavy rubber gloves and carried it to Carolyn’s office, peeled off the lid and tossed it into the trashcan. Then, I did the same thing with every other moldy plastic container I could find. This smell was already atrocious. I hoped it would take months to clear out.

I toyed with the idea of putting tape up on all windows and doors, really sealing it in, but I figured it would end up being the cleaning crew to pay the price on that one and they didn’t do anything to deserve that.

I was just closing the door behind me when I heard Carolyn’s shrinking scream.

“What are you doing in my office?”

“I was just dropping off the expense paperwork,” I lied. If she went to the office. Now the whole thing would be ruined. So, I did the only thing I can think of and asked, “how was your date?”

Carolyn rolled her eyes at me, head flopping around in her giraffe neck. “It wasn’t a date, Kelly. It was a working dinner. If you weren’t such a workaholic, you’d understand the difference. But, I guess a loser like you hasn’t had a date in a long time.”

That was the last straw. I couldn’t hold back anymore. I kicked her. Hard. In the shin.

She just grunted, massive owl eyes burning with rage. Then, she slapped me.

The next thing I knew, we were crashing through her office door and tumbling over the desk. We wrestled until I had her pinned down next to the trashcan and it suddenly seemed like a shame to let all that food go to waste. I grabbed the first container and poured it over her face.

“You like it when someone else pays for your dinner, don’t you?” I screamed it over and over and they kept shoving the rotten food down her scrawny little throat. Right on Intel I hit the bottom of the can.

That was that. I had one less coworker an entire weekend of relaxation inside ahead of me. But there was a big mess and nobody left to deserved it, so I cleaned up the trash and took it out to the dumpster.

All in all, my Friday could’ve been better, but it turned out happy in the end. And really, isn’t that the only thing anyone cares about?

Author’s Note:

So this marks week four of the Bradbury challenge. That is for short stories written in four weeks. I have to say, it feels kinda nice to finish an entire month of this. So, only 11 more to go.

The big downside to my newfound writing. Momentum is the fact that most of it comes from writing longhand and spiral-bound notebooks. The fact that I’m getting words on the page again is nice, but this thousand word short story did take me about five hours to write out longhand. When it comes to my daily writing goals, that’s not even going to get close to where I want to be.

Still, it’s one more story finished. Like Bradbury said — and I’m going to paraphrase him here — “when you write 52 stories in a row, they can’t all below the giant wad of weasel cheese.”

Until next week,