April 12, 2006

An Axiom Short of a Six-Pack (1 of 2)

Thread: Equation

Diane put a dollar in the jar, cursed herself for cursing, and then put another dollar in the jar for the second offence.

The cookie jar still smouldered of the smell of ancient cookies. Every dollar that was lost in its depths was seemingly exchanged for a cookie-scented dollar, which retained the same value in everyday commerce, but was regarded with suspicion by recipient merchants. A store owner once asked if she did drugs because her cookie dollars smelt funny. After that, Diane tried exchanging the cookie dollars at the foreign exchange for ordinary dollars and the teller regarded her with suspicion and called for the manager. The manager called up the regional manager. The regional manager called up the national manager. The exchange was refused because the regional manager was fired by the national manager for being bothered in a meeting with the CEO. Diane thought that it was now also possible she was on potential terrorist money-laundering blacklist somewhere deep in the bowels of the Pentagon.

The jar was the least of her worries. She had cursed yet again because she had made little progress in the new offensive against the battalions of reports and abstracts and doodles that defined her office. The use of a trash can had been suggested by Tyler, her favourite protégé, a handsome boy blessed with beautiful teeth so brilliant that they seemed to be bio-luminescent. Diane thought his torch-like teeth would have been useful in the dark closet at home when searching for her tennis shoes or perhaps her bedroom at night searching for something under the sheets.

Diane considered herself a plain sort of individual, a body that was thin and bony to the point of suspected anorexia. Her skin had a snow-white sheen that was oddly complemented by rigidly straight auburn hair that reached beyond her shoulder blades. She had no time for style and the cream pants and cream blouse with no button left undone that she wore today perfectly satisfied this lack of expectation. She had been told once that she was verging on the potential of being attractive, but she had put this down as a vile, disparaging rumour. Being single was a statement, a choice, she would argue with herself in the bathroom mirror occasionally.

Paperwork came with the territory. No mathematician she knew had a foolproof algorithm for marshalling the legions of paper that were part and parcel of the work. She had experimented recklessly with a filing cabinet once, which had only taken three forms to acquire from the office equipment/furnishings deployment/repo department. She had expected at least five, considering the hassle she had gone through to replace her chalkboard with a whiteboard. The whiteboard incident had marked her out as a maverick amongst the deadwood of her own department. She recalled the stimulating conversation she had had with that stuffy British professor in the overtly ostentatious anteroom of his office, a man who insisted on causing all sorts of uproar by using inflammatory words of the Queen’s English such as blackboard. He had said that he simply deplored the gratuitous invasion by these unbecoming whiteboards because the inky mist gets into one’s lungs and does all sorts of untold damage that medical science has barely even begun to inquire into. It does concern one, does it not, eh what what what.

Diane still had the filing cabinet in the room although she could not recall its colour as it was currently besieged by several platoons of books and freshman projects; she particularly feared the reports as they had turned wild and unruly, threatening to murder their would-be shepherd, killing the cabinet in a violent and bloody manner if given half a chance.

The time had come to divide and conquer, take back the territory that she had surrendered to the triple armies of document, journal and note through a series of well-meaning yet conceding compromises that had been brokered between Diane and their negotiators. The time had come. She had to deal with this disaster in her sliver of an office otherwise… well, she could get another fright. Since one of the paper towers on her desk sprouted arms and opened a conversation with her the previous day, she had been jitterier than a paranoid conspiracy theorist on speed.

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 1301

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