Mr Bateau rattled away at the old plastic keyboard and the world slid smoothly into the background. Familiarity etched the resignation to his brow. This day was like every other. Productivity was on annual leave, Enthusiasm had left early, and Inspiration called in sick for the third time this week. From time to time a lucid moment muttered down the hallway unnoticed whilst a giggling group of rosy-faced ideas laughed and played over by the filing cabinet. Oblivious to their irritating squeals of delight, Mr Bateau maintained grim focus on the screen before him.
“Coffee!” chimed a melodious voice from the most annoying portion of his mind.
“Now?!” Mr Bateau snapped back. Silence. His edge was sharp. Offering no reply, the melodious voice paused for a moment, then continued in silence. All that remained was the same old vacuum of unanswered questions, and the wear was beginning to show.
More silence, but this time it was significantly louder.
As if on cue a pin dropped. Then another. And another six. In an instant, fistfuls of the pointed protrusions were being flung overhead by pint-sized pin catapults. Hordes of miniature warriors streamed from both sides of the desktop stationary in an increasingly epic melee that quickly spread from telephone, to tape dispenser and beyond. Pairs of pin men duelled across the space bar, while others wearing bright blue tunics held tight formation behind the stapler. As the pin men fought, bled and died, Mr Bateau typed deftly over, around and between them, ever determined not to be distracted from his moment of diligence.
A particularly dramatic rogue staggered in circles of ever-decreasing diameter, gruesomely impaled on a pin and wailing on a tiny war trumpet without respite. The death throes stretched on for an eternity, but after more than one faux finale, he eventually collapsed for the last time with a gurgling shriek; just as Mr Bateau’s dodging finger jabbed into the point of his protruding pin sword.
The outburst was a hot crimson haze of strobing slow-motion.
“FOR. FUCK. SAKE.”
Mr Bateau beat both closed fists on the desk to punctuate every strangled syllable, and abruptly stood up from his chair for further effect. The pin warriors bounced with each impact as they scattered anxiously back behind whatever cover they could find, dragging the wounded as they went. Silence.
The chair swivelled nonchalantly on it’s own.
Silence. Very loud silence punctuated by tiny little breaths. The clock knocked out a tock that reverberated indefinitely, and Mr Bateau sat back down with intent. He shuffled some papers, massaged his forehead, took a deep breath, then exhaled as he closed his eyes and began to type:
“Mr Bateau rattled away at the old plastic keyboard and the world slid smoothly into the background. Familiarity etched the resignation to his brow. This day was like every other.”