detail from illustration “A PROBLEM WHICH WOULD HAVE PUZZLED MR. BERGH.”, Wide Awake
I see 2 dead birds on my way to work today— one little sparrow, followed by a pigeon.
Birds look very strange when they are deceased. They look heavy and floppy, like a wet rag is floppy. My first thought is West Nile of course. Who’s going to call in the dead bird so that the West Nile people can test it? Should I use up another speed-dial spot on my mobile phone? Shit! I forgot my phone in the sun room at home. How paranoid I am, I think. Then just a few steps later I come upon the 2nd bird. It is mushed into the perpendicular meeting between sidewalk and tall concrete column. It just lies there, like a passed out drunk, amidst the plastic cup lids and candy wrappers.
Work is arduous. Meeting following meeting. Requests to get things done that would be reasonable if it weren’t for the fucking meetings to discuss when the next meetings will be to go over the notes from the previous meeting. I’ve been working at the same company for over 6 years. They don’t have a single record of what I’ve accomplished or how I’ve improved. Human Resources claims not to have any past reviews on file. I may as well have just walked in off the street.
I am getting a dehydration headache and need to build up momentum to accomplish my list of ‘action items’. But there isn’t enough time left in the day. I decide to bag off early in the hopes of relaxing and perhaps working from home tomorrow (the only time I can REALLY get anything accomplished). I pack up my bag and my computer and silently make for the elevator. Our office space occupies 2 floors, of which I’m on the upper, so I’m hoping that since I am leaving early the elevator would skip the next floor and express-it all the way down to ground. Well, I’m not quite so lucky.
The elevator goes down one floor and opens up to the lobby. Standing there is the CEO, the Executive VP, and the Agency Creative Director, along with the Creative Director for my Department. Basically, pick the 4 most senior people above me and there they are: My boss, my boss’s boss, his boss, and his boss’s Right Hand Man. My boss, the Creative Director points at me and says, “He’s the guy I was talking about… who makes the fancy presentations.”
And they all look at me, standing in the corner trying to hide the fact that I’m carrying a backpack. I smile weakly. I end up shaking hands with the President and CEO of the Agency. He says something like, we’ve met before haven’t we? And I say yes, of course. The head of all things creative mumbles something about how sticky the weather is and that he’s not getting any sleep. I say that the presentations I do are so good because they’re done on a Mac which can make the pages bounce and flip and other crazy things. Nobody seems to know what I’m talking about.
The door opens, everyone says one parting syllable at the same time.
Then I’m running to catch my train to get home. I pass the spot where I saw the dead pigeon this morning. Another pigeon is on top of the dead one, pecking forcefully at it’s head. Disturbed, I slow down to a brisk walk, just in time to see the live bird attempt necrophelia. Noticing the appalled look on my face, a few passing pedestrians get to share the horror.
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