AT THE OFFICE (#2)
Now at the office, surrounded by snoopy co-workers, Sean wants to examine the “gift” given to him by Train Platform Man, and that caused TPM to be tackled, beaten and searched. Sean didn’t see this “gift” coming.
I’m at the office. In my jacket pocket I have a package, given to me by a strange man on a familiar train platform. I want to find somewhere private to look at this package.
My co-worker Penelope says, “Hi Sean!” Penelope has a “chatty disorder” and sits in the catty corner cubicle.
Penelope says, “Sean, are you still coming to my Christmas party on Friday?”
Penelope invited me to her party on Friday. I tell her, yes, definitely. I’ll definitely be at your party on Friday, Penelope.
But I think Penelope probably presumes what I positively know. I’m definitely not coming to her party on Friday.
Jan and Cynthia and Robbie walk by, heading for their desks. They all stop to say hi. I say hi back. I just want them to hurry to their desks.
Because, I’m dying to know what is in my pocket. Just, the way the Train Platform Man gave me the package. Surreptitiously. If it’s some sort of explosive, I might, right now, have bomb residue all over me.
I could be all like, “I swear, Detective, some guy just put the explosive in my pocket on the train.” The Detective would be like, “Yeah, right, just slipped a bomb in your pocket!”
And I’d say, “Yes!” and he’d say, “Tell it to the Judge, dumbass.”
If I have a bomb in my pocket, no one will be happy to see me.
Finally, most everyone settles in to actually work. They put on headsets. They sit down. They open spreadsheets, log into email, get on phone calls. I do some of it, too.
But, I can’t concentrate. Through my jacket, I can feel the man’s package.
Wait, hold, on. I didn’t mean it that way. But, now that everyone is working, I decide to have a look. I grab a handful of tissues, a buffer against bomb residue, and reach in and grab it. Slowly, I pull it… out.
On my headset, I hear my boss, Joanna. I hear my name. I hear a question mark behind my name. Oh shit, someone asked me a question. I hear my boss say, “Sean?” She pauses, and says, “Is Sean on this call?”
The impatience in Joanna’s voice distracts me and the package slips out of my hand just as I clear the pocket. The tissue doesn’t give me the grip I expect. The package drops. I hear it hit the carpeted floor with a heavy “thump”. I wince, but it doesn’t explode.
Jan pops up, peeks over the cube wall and says, “Sean, I think you’re on mute.”
I wasn’t on mute but I say, “Yup, sorry. I was on mute. Can you repeat the question?” I hate it when people do this to me, as though being on mute prevents you from hearing the question.
And, I can hear the frustration in Joanna’s loud sigh.
Joanna repeats her question while, with my left foot, I pry off my right shoe and I feel around on the floor. I locate the package. Just … got to … pull it… a little bit… closer… come on, come on, come on.
Then Joanna says, “Does that sound right, Sean?” Ihhhh… Fuck me! I wasn’t listening again!
Jan is still standing, staring at me, aghast. I hear her say, “I think his headset is glitching. I’ll help him.”
Jan takes off her headset, walks around our cubicle wall pokes my phone’s mute button and whispers, “Sean, you’re zoning out again!”
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But I was concentrating on doing what I totally should not do, because Jan is standing right there. Right. There. I’ve dragged the package to me, I’ve picked it up. I have to see it. I turn over my hand and …
“What’s with the rock?” Jan said it, but it was also what I was thinking.
I think, “A rock? A fucking rock? That’s what Train Platform Man gave me? He acted like he was slipping me China’s nuclear launch codes. A rock?”
To Jan, I say, “It’s nothing.” I turn the rock over in my hand. Jan returns to her desk, saying, “That looks like fulgurite.” And I’m like “what the fuck is a fulgurite?”
And I laugh to myself. Hahahaha. Just a dumb ole rock. Hahahaha! Wow. Just Wow. Crazy Train Platform Man 1, Sean Harley 0. Oh, God. Am I going to be on some sort of online prank show?
I jab the mute button on my phone and say into my headset. “Okay, we got it fixed. Thanks Jan. Sticky mute button. Okay, where were we? Joanna, can I get back to you about your very valuable questions in a bit? Right now, I’d like to turn to cell DD11 and I’ll walk you through…”
Written, Produced and Narrated by Hans Anderson