I sigh quickly, as I haven’t even got time for that. I look up, literally, up, to the top of the pile of this tower of paper. I consider that the pile contains the pulp of perhaps 5 full-sized trees. That’s how tall it is. I sigh again.
Thing is, I don’t have to be here. I tell myself that, time and time again. I don’t have to be here. I make myself stay here. I put myself into the jar, and screw the lid tight. I make myself stay here.
The Boss walks past, nods knowingly. As far as I know, it’s only him and me in here. We’re of the same ilk, some might say. “Driven”, or, “obsessive”. Or even “control freak”. It’s some fine line.
I’ve decided to stay tonight, yes, that’s right, tonight, as the Patchell account has to be done by 4pm. By reflex, and probably about the fiftieth time I’ve done it since the time passed, I check the clock. 9:18pm. Yes, I think, I’m here for a while. You can’t trust others to do their job properly, so it’s best to do it yourself. Right?
Funny how all this paper comes about when we’re supposed to be using the computer full-time. I chuckle to myself as I note that I can’t even see the damn thing.
I realise that I could probably be at home, with my family, relaxing. Or at least trying to. I realise that I could be anywhere but here. But I know that if I don’t do this, it’s going to hang over my head, like a thin veil made of lead. I want to get this done. I make myself stay here.
I reach for a sheaf of papers, linked to the accounting reports for Patchell. The top of the tower rustles in return, no, it rumbles! Its louder than I was expecting. Bump that up to maybe, 8 trees?
I stare blankly at the mountain of paper. ‘Blank’ is all I can give right now. I’m tired, I’m too tired for this. No, it definitely moved that time. I could see papers pulling and falling from the hillside. And what was that? A noise? What?
I continue watching, amazed by this hallucination displaying before me. It looks like the papers are shifting, moving about. They’re being pulled this way and that. I consider that my filing system is instantly ruined, but I’m more intrigued by what will happen.
The paper pile pulls up, reaching up to the lights in the ceiling. Uncovering from the sheets there seems to be… hands! a mouth! What!? I stumble back, trying to give space between me and this… this… monster? A paper mountain monster?
I grab the stapler on my way back. My trusty old stapler, who’d munched its way through many a report in the years it had been with me. Maybe I’d need something to help me through this. It sure felt real.
I hold up the stapler – pointing it with the jaw opened at the paper mountain monster. Both hands encircling the arm, my weapon against this vision. I stand in solidarity, well, with my stapler, anyway. I pause for effect, and then hammer into the beast, belting staple after staple into his paper-thin hide. I make myself stay here.
Nothing. After faltering briefly, he rises again – stronger in his anger. I’m shocked, I move back quicker this time. What can I use? Looking around on the desks, there isn’t much to help me. I could throw that three day old coffee, but that probably wouldn’t do much, except make him soggy and even more cranky. I see Ned’s tape dispenser, and lunge.
With all the skill of a roadie, I tape paper mountain monster’s legs together. Don’t ask me how I got there. Force of adrenalin, I suspect. I’m still riding on it.
The monster lies there, groaning, and I see the team’s industrial strength hole-punch sitting comfortably on the bench. I’ve seen people punch a hole through a whole ream of paper in one motion. This will do the job. This will fix him up like Swiss cheese.
I wait for the delicious moment when he reaches for me, his hands pushing forwards to get me, and then I press the hole-punch down with integrity. It takes! He launches back, raising his holey hand to the lights, screaming in agony. I punch him again, and again, and again. It is an endless stream of punching – I hear the cracking of the mechanism as it pushes the sharp edges through paper. I hear the wailing scream of the paper mountain monster as his limbs are made into dots. It is delightful.
I am standing in a waist-high hill of confetti, still pushing the arm of the hole-punch down. There is nothing left. I am alone again. Well, except for the Boss. My arms fall down to my sides. I am exhausted.
I sit down. The Patchell accounting reports stare back in cold black and white. I’m still clasping the hole-punch, not yet ready to give it up. The Boss walks back past me. He nods. He knows. We’re two of a kind, we are. I don’t have to be here. I make myself stay here.
Mix together a stapler, tape, a hole-punch and a whole bunch of imagination