by Alan Lawless
It's about eight thirty on Friday night and my need for a serious amount of alcohol has reached critical mass, yet my boss doesn’t seem to notice. He keeps heaping more and more work on the pile. I've been here 80 hours so far this week and eaten more meals with him than my girlfriend, but he would never notice that.
"Can you print out a copy of the latest script for Lana? She's gonna be by in about half an hour,” my boss yells from his bed where he’s talking on the phone, as always.
"Sure. No prob."
Lana is the most depressing person in the world. After talking to her you want to shoot yourself in the head. And she will talk until you physically remove her from the premises.
The printer is about halfway done with the third page of our one-hundred page script when it jams. It’s one of those cheap, small, desktop printers-meaning that to get to the paper jam I basically have to rip the whole thing apart. I do so and manage to fit my fingers inside of the tiny hole where the offending sheet of white paper is and yank it free. The sides and front of the machine are slammed back on, print is hit again and then I hope that it continues on uninterrupted.
I manage to get across the apartment, light up a cigarette and make a phone call before another death rattle is emitted from the machine. My head begins to pound and suddenly the room is twenty-degrees hotter as my patience is reduced to absolutely zero. When I reach the printer, the red light blinks at me, mocking my attempt at productivity smugly. It not being possible to argue with a piece of hardware, I extinguish my cigarette, put my phone call on speaker and attempt to continue my conversation as I repeat the earlier operation. Plastic parts lie everywhere and paper is once again removed.
I get about halfway through another cigarette and wrap up my phone call when again I’m beckoned to the other side of the room by a screeching sound. That’s it. This is a war of attrition and I’m only left with one move. “Phillip, come with me for a minute,” I tell my friend and co-worker as I sprint through the office; the printer in my arms.
We run up two flights of stairs and arrive atop our six story building. A police car sits at ground level warning me not to do it, but at this point a fine is a small price to pay for revenge.
I look to Philip one time in hopes that he’ll talk me out of this, but instead he encourages me with his mischevous smile.
The printer dives across the narrow alley, makes contact with a window, then falls to the pavement with a satisfying crunch. That feels much better. Now I can get back to work.