Steve Tills

Office Job

Wall, Floor, Ceiling, Window, Air, Lights, Doors, Doorknobs, Cubicles, Desks, Chairs, Heat, Drafts, Temperature, Humidity, Sounds, Ventilation Hums, Surfaces, Edges, Contours, Colors, Textures, Shadows, Light, Mites, Carpet, Drywall, Paint, Tiles, Molding, Trim, Concrete Blocks,

Overheard, the dreamer’s rumor woke acoustics of artificial light. Neither soaked up nor shed truly, and if contained, then by golly value or restraint. Which exist in such intonations of these paint-by-number spaces few and far stretched between. Not merely pure decoration or the cover of creases but also separation and the bulwark of disguise. Evenly distributed throughout, the protrusion, some would say intrusion, of capital attention on labors languishing in surfeit chaos. Except in these ratios whence prevail wetness and vapors largely receded, forgot, occluded, vacumn packed away with rigid limpid decorum and stiff humility. Yet straight in front of us now and then slanted backside of deadened metal beasts we are always surrounded, beaming with the uncharted sabotage of our concerns, themselves sandwiched athwart late afternoon’s giddy camaraderie. Oh to be grounded here? And what’s beneath us in the next incarnation? Had rather sat that out, the sedentary resignation and what but doubled cushion. These, plain as Tuesday, exposed Thursday by the hum of unfettered efficiency, rub off by dusk or return in a pale Martini. But for the layer of halves, uniform as monotony, or, if you will, Too Kind Sir, the proverbial blanket of Security. Of course we must put up with them! Damn Straight you oughtn’t tear it down! Better believe I want you around! Speaking of “preoccupied,” we’re as fit as the late Mrs. Duncan’s falconer glove. Scratch that. The same old boys who sniffed the stuff now watch it dry. What you don’t see won’t hurt you, but you’re in it up to your ears. By the same token, what goes up must come down, rain sleet or hail. Would be mostly an anomaly in these surrounds, these parts, these laborious hours, lest perhaps one rose to Machinist/Shop Super/General Manager from another station in Life and garnered very different details, the spring in locksteps, the garters of junior assassins at lunch, the 10 packs of tobacco. Or, you could just paint ‘em all black and blue. They take your breath away, in some cases – Vietnam, for instance – and they leave a chill over you, in others. I’d count, oh, seven, eight, maybe nine, none particularly distinct, in fact just staid shades of industrial grey, nothing to get all hopped up on psychedelics about, though maybe that’d brighten things up – what say we drop a cup in the company picnic punch this summer; most of these boys are so old they can’t remember the transition to bourbon and Coors anyway and if best come to worst then we could blame it on the steamed clams. The hardest thing about this joint is its resemblance to Florida State, over by Raiford, that is, not Tallahassee. Plastered gets flakey, not to mention pasteurized, what a pastor half-mast Jon Done passed with gases of alabaster, ya Impatient bastard, Ya! Wanna rumble, with the punch-drunks, all-night long, all day too, whether one’s listening or nought, such that just jest rambles. Ahh, Yes, here’s our enclosures, our privacy, our liveries, our sole square properties, where we apportion our daily provisions and position our tenure’s delicate Dilbertian possessions. Some say one good turn observes a manager reclining in her office, skirt hiked up to So There or another fella got that knobby thing out for a walk on the mouse pad, so ya better knock first, never know what ya gotta handle if ya just walk straight in. The chitter chatter, natch, and the winter coughing and from Station 14 over by Anderson the career-long yearly sniveling, the hum drum drone of the heating and the hawing, of course, the good sneezes and the stifled, the earnest Yes and the sternest No, the beeps of reboots and the bleeps of crashes, the Intercom overhead never overcome, the laughter and the sympathy and the berating. Though nothing to do with autos or critters. A foot in, a backyard out. Mighty lot of blight and slight at the end of this tunnel full of wretched retched riddles. Nice work if you can get it gold laid. The place was bugged, Mate, but you shoulda swept it under the rug.

On The Clock

8:00, *9:00, 10:00, 10:30, 12:00, 3:00, 5:00, *6:00, 6:00 early, Christmas, Shutdown, Reviews, Emergencies, Slowdowns and Peaks, Hunting Season, Network Downtimes,

As per the truculence, more sporysh than theirs, seats like the five easy priests festering with dobrophobia. Right between Finally and Glad to Get Started, despite batt’ries jumped and chassis frumpy, it arrives, then just like its sister, Curiousity, circles with good pagans for one last stand. Here, doncha know, what they’re waiting for. By this point in the game, the winners and the losers have made their intentions clear – they’re out to heckle the spectators, in turn and by turns chuckling/chucking vending machine lunch. Early, I might add. Then the real stampede begins, woe to the Homeless hopeless at dumpsters or hoping that shoulder’s not shortcut to Dinah’s – good old boys chow and that won’t mean Vegan; the VW’s roadkill if it blocks the four-wheelers. Somewhere, somehow, somewhoo, too, there must be gaps in the transitions, how many pecks of pickles Peter picked, and the pickles themselves, the chief pickle-counter balancing hours wasted and years heisted with profits the IRS will never manufacture, everything working out in the end, sorta kinda, mysteriously perhaps, electrical and nearly patriotic. Speaking of which, since the protocols dropped the ball this mornin’ what say we got a situation here and make the most of it, frolic with the best of ‘em and lament our lost glamour. Tomorrow, the day we’ve all been waiting for. Muzzles loaded to the gills they musta been almost a species of spearfish, whole schools of them stalking does and jawing donuts for the week of their dreams, out by Bristol Ridge where the Dear Cross signs outflank the motorists. Bleary’s just one of the biological rhythms, how some come off Graveyard and perk up for beering while others at Sun-UP can’t snatch ball bearings until they’re swimming in caffeine; these are Godgiven if you know what I mean. Briefly, even profit must rest and an ethic lowers itself to more ethical levels. It remained the standard, of course, to move the mark out of reach by simple subtraction, a five always meant 4 and four always meant 3, a mathematic adding endless improvement and guaranteeing eternally satisfying numbers for management and owners, “the Old Math,” as it were and continues to be. Silent Night all day long. Vacated mandatorily, the place found some loss labor loved those old last weeks of July.

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