“Another Day in the Corp” is another story from Mike Philbin, written in second person, about the drudgery of corporate life. It was posted, here, in Decomp, A Literary Magazine.
09:59 – Blood is leaking out of one eye as you think about your first fag-break of the day. You’ve never had that before. You’ve had dry eye because the sweating oaf you’re forced to sit next to uses an electric fan in an air-conditioned office. You’ve had chronic ulcers in your mouth from biting your lip in creative meetings. You’ve had a scar on your forehead where you’ve head butted the bathroom mirror as a form of stress release. But you’ve never had blood leaking out of your eye on the Tube before.
Why are you riding the tube to work an hour late? Why, if you haven’t arrived at the office yet, are you worried about taking a break from work? Just light up on the walk between the tube stop and the office, and smile for the pretty cameras at every intersection.
Still, I’m a little confused. Is the subject a horned lizard? And, how does one get sores inside one’s mouth from biting one’s lip? Or do lips grow inside one’s mouth, and I missed the memo?
Some chick sitting across from you looks up from her ‘Hello,’ that sneer on her face. You all call them chicks in the office because you’re a gang of boy-slaves who’ve been indoctrinated into the Tart Culture by every single ‘product’ you’ve ever worked on.
Or is it because you can’t think of anything more interesting to call women?
Girls are dental-floss wearing sluts with dual katanas / dual barettas / dual dildos. Women are pimps with a chain gun / with a rocket launcher / with a finger on the button of Global Thermonuclear suicide, and a scar over her eye.
10:07 – you all call him The Cockrel because of the way he struts about the office like he owns the place, your boss is standing there scowling at his watch as you scuttle past.
Yeah, well, you’re over an hour late. If this has become a habit, he’s probably looking for an excuse to fire you. That said, I think the author’s been watching too many bad sitcoms.
You don’t even show disdain or disbelief or anger that the last two years of your hard work won’t be going into the final product. They pay you, after all, why should you care what bits of your expertise they use? Well, isn’t it the principle? All the animation that went into the ‘windmills’…every game you will ever work on will have a windmill in it. And as games have gotten more and more ‘roundy’ or ‘shimmering with mind-blowing realism,’ as the guy in PR delivers the dream to publishers and distributors, you’ve been constraining each and every cog in that windmill AND baking out particle simulation for corn, dust and caustics. All gone now. A mote of sunlight skitters across the Parthenon floor swallowed by clouds.
The author’s tilting a little too hard at that windmill.
12:59 – you realise you’ve been asleep for…three hours.
So, the subject’s been riding the tube back and forth for at least three hours, and never actually arrived at the office? Now I’m really confused. The time line isn’t helping.
13:10 – never drink beer in the lunch hour.
[. . .]
13:11 – by the coffee percolator, smelling of beer and cigs, “Where’s Dave?” you ask someone who knows everything. “Dave? Where’ve you been the last few weeks? Dave’s moved on to a better place. Passed over. Into Te.Le.Vi.Sion.”
Our subject sounds like a full-time stoner to me.
18:48 – a memo goes round titled ‘Chinese food order’—a change is as good as a rest. And you choose your regular chicken fried rice and curry sauce, how sad is that? A memo goes round about the state of the smoking area. Is this really the best way to greet one’s employees tomorrow morning? Three minutes later another memo goes round . . .
Because memos are never sent out during normal office hours. Who sends around a memo for food orders? Doesn’t someone just decide to place an order for delivery, and pop by in person to ask a few others if they want to go in on it?
Yeah, it gets no better than this.
Sadly, that is the best the story gets.