(…) In his cramped cubicle the next morning Williby stared idiotically at the screen and sipped his slimy and bitter office canteen coffee. Spidery, meaningless lines of code spluttered painfully across the screen, detestable slivers of drivel declaring the ruination of his life and the condemnation of his spirit. Dead souls scratched and tapped in cubicles around him like cockroaches, and the useless air conditioning rattled and belched. He whimpered.
“Django!” snapped his boss.
“I wasn’t,” he whined.
“Don’t do it again.”
“I’ll try not to,” he said.
“Sales are shit, Django.”
“It’s a shit product,” Williby pointed out miserably. “Makes sense.”
“Inappropriate that it makes sense?”
His boss stared hopelessly at him. Williby felt that some further clarification was required so he said something pithy which was also inappropriate, and thereby earned himself a visit to the office of Human Resources, and the department manager. The coffee had turned his bowels to a churning, cramped mess and he desperately needed to go to the bathroom.
Her long, sharp talons drummed the surface of the desk and Williby saw a crumpled and scratched holiday postcard on top of a thin stack of files in front of her. He wiped snot from his nose and winced in pain.
“You’re not much of a human resource,” she opinioned, looking over the rim of her glasses at him in disgust.
“I’ve got to use the toilet,” he moaned, but her dark venom made him feel suddenly dangerously exposed and afraid.
“Ah,” she hissed, “and you are?”
“Williby Django. Acquisitions.”
At which point he figured he was screwed.
Williby suddenly found himself beneath an incandescent blue sky on a beach at the edge of a rain forest. He fell to his knees in the hot golden sand and was violently ill, retching and spluttering until he vomited up a large grey slug that squirmed in the sand and turned into a butterfly and flew away. He gasped for breath then staggered into the shallow surf, stripping off his jacket and kicking away his shoes. There were a few people in the distance, paddling happily in the waves or sitting under the palm trees, and a path that meandered into the forest to a bar and terrace from where Williby could hear soft calypso music, the chink of glasses, and easy laughter.
“This is terrible,” he said to himself, and splashed around childishly. When he was thoroughly soaked he struggled into his shoes and squelched up the path to the bar. He was met by a golden maiden with two drinks in her hand who engaged him in happy and flirtatious conversation, then took him by the hand and led him to one of the secluded bungalows overlooking the sea and made passionate love to him that day and the next. She paused only to feed him grapes and ice cream and champagne in bed, and to sleep curled in his arms before rousing him again with her urgent caresses. In the blessed days that followed she led him gently and lovingly down to the beach and into the waves, and on lazy walks along the sand and through the forest. One afternoon he scrawled a cheap postcard and dropped it into the red post box that stood by the entrance to the bar, and wrote an inspired email to Williby Django on the computer that sat on a desk in the corner of the living room. Every evening they ate sumptuously on the cool terrace by candlelight then danced slow, twirling circles under the moon before returning to the bungalow and fresh sheets. One night she even brought her sister. (…)
© andrew wheeler