And she comes up for air

Dear friends and family,

I am so sorry this year I did not get to send you a Christmas card, let alone a gift. I feel this is a terrible slight on my part and I am really embarrassed by the pile of cards I received.

There is very little to excuse my lapse but I was hoping this story would make you understand the extenuating circumstances. Happy holidays.


- The Paper Monster -

A large, spacious office filled with light. A young woman is sitting with her feet propped up on her desk. She is playing BrickBreaker on her BlackBerry. A ten foot shadow, whirling papers all around, suddenly appears at her side.

Paper Monster: "You. There."
J-A: "Hey." (She jumps up from her desk, clutching her BlackBerry). "You can't come in here. I just got back from a relaxing holiday."
P.M.: "You came back yesterday."
J-A: "So?"
P.M.: "You've been assigned to this File No. 666-666."
J-A: "Ha! You think? I checked my assignment email this morning and there is no such file on my list."

P.M. squints, lifts a finger at J-A's computer on the desk. A red light flashes the room and a second later, both J-A's computer and BlackBerry beep.

P.M.: "It's there now."
J-A: "Oh, sugar. But wait. I don't know anything about this file. Wasn't it meant to be some senior associate's file?"
P.M.: "It was. But the senior associate told the partner he couldn't take it anymore. So now you're the lead associate."
J-A:"But I just told you, I don't know anything about this file!"
P.M.:"Who does? Here are the documents the senior associate was revising before he walked out of the building for a three day hash and drinks sesh."

P.M. squints again, lifts a finger at J-A's desk. This time after the red flash clears we see J-A's chair and desk covered in paper. J-A lifts a paper off her head.

J-A:"So what am I meant to do?"
P.M.: "Be proactive. Close the deal? Whatever it takes. I'll be back to see what's going on. And oh, I think that's your phone." P.M. disappears.

J-A's phone starts ringing and J-A's computer and BlackBerry start beeping. J-A sighs, and answers the phone. Meanwhile, daylight fades outside the window and the moon and stars come out. Then the night fades away to dawn. This happens a couple of times. The figure of J-A is kept in sillhouette, but we can tell she is becoming shaggier - her hair is becoming tousled and her posture is more like crawling on her desk rather than sitting.

It is day time again. P.M. reappears by her side.
P.M.: "Well? Where were you?"
J-A: "Look, I just disappeared for a couple of hours' kip, all right? I mean, for chrissakes, I didn't want to stay in a hotel."
P.M.: "But I booked it for all the minions. There were at least twelve minions who stayed there for the past two days during the transit strike."

J-A jumps up from her desk. She is standing face to face with the P.M. in her most menacing way.

J-A: "Well I'm not one of them. So what are you going to do about it? As it was, I got home just as M.'s alarm clock was going off."
P.M.: "So have you closed the deal?"
J-A:"Yeah, I've closed the deal. I feel like crap though."
P.M.: "Great. No minion should ever feel happy."
J-A: "Look, I've only been doing these deals for the past eight months, right? I don't know what I'm doing! You can't make me do this!"

But P.M. has disappeared. A partner has just walked into J-A's room. He has clearly heard the outburst.

Partner (nervous attempt at joviality): "Well, hopefully, you don't tell everyone our secret, that we all guess what we're meant to be doing, har har."
J-A: "Er, hi, Mr. Partner." She sits down.
Partner: "I've been trying to get into your office the whole day but you were so busy."
J-A: "Ah well."
Partner: "I was looking to give you your bonus letter. Here it is, and thanks for all the hard work you've done. I hope you're happy with the figure."

Partner walks out. J-A tears open the letter, then stuffs it into her bag. She stands up and shakes her fist at the ceiling.

J-A: "I don't care how much you pay me! I'm going to become a fishmonger! Serves you all bloody right! I'll be a fishmonger and I'll have the freshest fish in the world!"

P.M. ( voice only): "No you won't. You've been saying stuff like that since September 1999."

12:39 AM |