Worry Is for the Well-Rested

by Timmy Waldron

I'm in the boardroom, downtown in San Francisco.  I don't even remember showing up for work today.  I hope they fire me, just like they fired Bill.  Well not exactly like that, that was awful.  He was caught downloading a phenomenal amount of pornography. They did some calculation in OIT that showed he spent forty-five seconds out of every minute looking through smut.  We all had to listen to Maggie, this Brit from Tech-Services, talk about pornography in the office.  After the meeting, they fired Bill. It was uncomfortable, even for those of us not involved. That was the last time I was in this boardroom.

The view from this room is fantastic. We're on the fifteenth floor overlooking Chinatown.  Felipe walks into the room and sits at the head of the table. He's been the CEO for five weeks.  The whole office is here, it makes me think this is an ambush.  This might be how they fire me. Someone will talk about incompetence in the work place. My face will burn red as they talk. I will adjust myself nervously in my seat and as my pants slide across the leather it will invariably make a fart noise.  But right now I might be too tired to care. I'd be happy to go home and get some sleep.  Unemployment's a worry for the well- rested.

I shouldn't be here.  I should have called in sick.  I look sick.  I'd call out tomorrow, but tomorrow's Saturday.  I can skip Monday and have a three-day weekend.  Felipe starts talking about the Unicorp team and its global something-something.  Don't sell it to me pal, I work here.  My attention drifts back out the window. The sky is so blue today, I should have keyed up in the bathroom before the meeting.  I might fall asleep as is. Felipe's  voice is so calming, constant and relaxing.  I don't like doing that stuff at work—keying up, too unhealthy.  Red Bull and coffee will get me through the day and maybe a nap on the toilet.  Yes, that's just the thing.  And no alcohol during lunch.  I should just eat something, I haven't eaten in awhile.  I need to even out, this is terrible.  After the meeting I'll grab the earthquake kit out from under the sink and take the morphine.  That will help me get through the day.

“I'd like to convey both my sincerest thanks and deepest sympathies to all of you,” Felipe smiles and nods before leaving the room.  Everyone starts to get up and file out, I've missed something here.

“What just happened?” I ask, but should have only thought.  

“We just got laid off, brainiac.” The woman I share a cubical with snaps at me.  She looks like a pile of soft vanilla ice cream that has just started to melt. A handful of my coworkers over hear the back and forth and start to laugh. Some try to hold it back.

“Oh,” I say.  “That wasn't so bad.” I don't know what I've been so nervous about.  I'm going home and going to bed.  Tomorrow, I'll start looking for a new job. I walk by my cubical and straight for the elevator.

“Where are you going?” Soft Ice Cream barks.


"It's not time to leave.”

“We just got laid off,” I say.

“You're an idiot,” She shakes her head. “Didn't you listen? The office won't close for another six months. If you leave now you won't get your severance package.”

“I'm just in shock I guess, because of the news.” I stare at her blankly for a moment before continuing. “I love it here.”

“Snap out of it and get to work.”

“Are you supposed to talk to me like that?”

“Excuse me?”

“Nothing." I go back to my computer and sit down.  Everything looks like it has fuzz around it.  I hate staying up all night.  Why do I hurt myself in such a manner?  This has to be the worst.   But, now that I think of it, it's not.  The worst was a few months ago when I stayed up all night playing Trivial Pursuit.  There was so much beer, so many cigarettes and all that cocaine.  I felt so smart, we all did.  I didn't even notice it was light out until I heard my alarm going off.  I was still at the dinning room table when it started to buzz.  It was horrible.  

Everyone at work knows I am a wreck.  They have to know. How could the not? It is so obvious.  Calling out sick on Mondays and Fridays, always late, always sniffling.  And you can't wash that out-all-night -kind -of -funk off with one shower.  I place my fingers on the home base row and feel my soul empty out all over my keyboard. I've corrupted myself. I am morally bankrupt and sorely in need of a nap.

I start entering the alpha numeric serial numbers into the database, but something seems different.  My usual dread has dissipated.  I'm still tired, a bit unsure of myself and generally frightened of the world, but I do not dread being here.  I won't always have to work in this cubical next to that evil lump of soft serve.  This is not what I am going to do for the rest of my life.  In a few months this office will close and I will be free from Unicorp.  I won't ship toxic and noxious fumes to countries with non-existent environmental laws.  I won't be passing gas for the rest of my life.

Felipe sends an email to the whole office detailing the last days of Unicorp.  For the most part it is business as usual.  Then there will be waves of layoffs.  We will all get severance packages.  I haven't been this happy in a long time.  Tomorrow I will start to worry again.