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Coffee Stains

©01 The Media Desk

By popular demand. The Day We All Got Fired!

       Well. We moved.

       The Day Job Office is now across the street from where we were.
       Files and notes and work orders and books and everything else is everywhere else. We have found stuff we didn't know we had, and can't find stuff we actually need.
       We're missing phone calls, and some of our email is bouncing in and out.
       So it goes.

       All that is left in the old office is some coffee stains on the desk.

       The Desk sat its never empty coffee cup in more or less the same place for over three years.
       Those stains are permanently embedded in the surface of the desk.
       It is marked for all history. No amount of bleach-scrubber cleanser is going to take it off.
       Other than that, the Cube is cleaner now than it was when the Desk moved in.
       There is no indication that anybody had ever worked there.
       The pretty girl that brought the pay stubs won't stop there any more. The young lady with the long hair that yelled at the Desk about being late turning in its leave slips won't have to bother any more.
       They won't miss the Desk. But the Desk does miss them. And others. The Boss Lady. The beautician lady that tells everybody when to go down and cover the phone. The Computer Guy that tried to undo whatever the Desk did that upset Windows 98 today. The Print Shop Boss. The people that just moved in that the Desk didn't even get to know that well.
       They came, we left. And life goes on.

       And that's the way it seems to be.
       The Jail the Desk worked at for ten years didn't even know it had left three months after it quit.
       The Chicken Factory... The Truck Stop.
       The Insurance Company. And others.
       We come, we work, we go. The work goes on, and we are not even missed most of the time.

"I get melancholy sometimes, Pardner." Mr. Rumson, 'Paint Your Wagon'

       Well. Melancholy ain't exactly the mood here. But it'll do in a pinch.

       Doom hangs over the new office like a mist from a swamp on Halloween night. People are openly reading the want ads and working over their resume. Somebody dropped a handful of business cards for a professional referral service on a break room table. A CS Teargas Bomb wouldn't foul the air here any worse than it is.
       Jokes run thin, humor is forced and lame at times. Fatalism is the Order of the Day.
       The Day to Day work still gets done. But if a due date or project is more than about six months off they wonder who will be left to see it through.
       They are all still nice people, for the most part. But they are nice people facing imminent extinction. Like dinosaurs watching a comet growing larger in the night sky until it overwhelms everything and then...
       "Don't throw away all those boxes, we might need them before long."

       We are here, but we are not settled in. And we are not going to.
       Why bother?
       No sooner than we find out which box has the work orders from 1996 in it than we will be packing up this stuff to send it to the next outfit.
       The Rumor Mill now has it that the JOB will move to the new department. However, the people will not.
       The Desk liked the rumor that said the old department will become the new department except they'll have to change the stationary.
       Either way.
       Makes no difference to the Desk.
       Soon this place will remember naught of us... except the coffee stains on the desk.

"I've got a Bad Feeling about this..." Almost Everybody, 'Star Wars'

       Over the years the Desk has developed keen instincts for sensing bad craziness building like a squall line along a cold front. It learned that 'duck and cover' drill from grade school during 1960's Cold War and remembers it well.
       And it is practicing it right now. Saying 'yes ma'am' to everybody. Doing whatever needs done, without question, without complaint.
       And.... Reworking the resume, reading the want ads....

       "You want fries with that?"


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