PART THREE

You would half expect him to trip and fall in a most gratuitously painful way. He doesn’t. He actually makes it to his cubicle in one piece. Well, as close to one piece as he can manage on this most unfortunate of mornings.

He consoles himself with the knowledge that in here, in his little world, he is safe and the world will not be able to screw him over in here…or will it? It’s a question that goes unanswered because at that moment, that precise moment in a way that is bizarrely similar to the coincidences in movies or clichéd stories, he receives an alert on his computer monitor.

He checks his mail client…navigates to the inbox. Its spam…or at least it looks like spam to anyone that is not interested in improving his prowess between the sheets…

He can’t think straight. He looks over his shoulder the nagging presence of paranoia refuses to leave. He signs into his chat client…They are not supposed to do this sort of thing during office hours. The morning has thus far registered itself as being a bitch, the likelihood that the afternoon will go easy on Cedric is slimmer than a Versace model.

He signs in and hopes that the receptionist will be online. She is nice, that receptionist. Always thoughtful, always smiling…yeah, she has lots of potential for an inter office romance. The connection is made and she is in fact signed in as well.

He is still trying to formulate a statement that will guarantee a meaningful, sensitive overnight relationship involving, among other things, his wanton desire to find her tonsils…

Lady Luck smiles down on Cedric.
The receptionist makes the first move;

Seductive Angel: I’ve been waiting for you!!

Cedric’s heart skips a beat…as it starts to find its rhythm; he punches away at the keys…

Adonis On Steroids: Miss me that much?

He realizes a bit too late that that line is a bit cheesy. He looks around his desk for that print out of pick up lines from last week. As he picks it up and begins to look for a suitable winner, she replies.

Seductive Angel: well, therz sumthng I wanted to tell you. I jst didn’t know how to phrase it.but I’m going to just come right out and say it.

Cedric’s heart does its beat defying stunt again and his hand reaches out for his ringing cellphone and makes it go silent. His eyes want no part of this and they stay firmly fixed on the monitor…Meanwhile there’s a drought in his mouth and saliva is just a rumor that enzymes have been hearing of lately…

Seductive Angel: you look like S**T, what happened to you?

Everything goes back to normal; Fate empties the last round of bullets into Lady Luck and continues dealing with Cedric.

Cedric considers typing back something about her uncanny resemblance to….and that’s where it stops…His mental faculties have gone AWOL. He does the most sensible thing someone in that state can do. He signs out. Its pretty obvious at this point that there’s no work that’s going to be done.
He looks his phone for no reason other than the fact that it has seemingly become one with his hand. There’s a missed call. Its his girlfriend…

Another wave of realization hits home at that moment. It’s her birthday. Ideally he would have called her by now to wish her a happy one. We have since established that this is not an ideal day so we don’t really hold it against him.

He picks up the office line and then replaces it. Calling an external line would mean asking the receptionist (who at this point is registered as THE BITCH in his mind) to dial out.
He needs an excuse to leave work, he needs to come up with a cunning plan. The kind that will have them say his name with reverence…

“Oi, Cedric, you lazy prick! The boss wants to see you in his office, right now…”

He successfully avoids saying something nasty to the bearer of the message as he gets up and walks over to his boss’ office…Before walking in he makes sure the tie is in place.

He knocks and enters the plush office….

Part Two

Its not 6 anymore…

You would expect that this sort of thing would faze our hapless hero. It doesn’t. He toys around with the idea of calling in sick and then stops in his tracks. It occurs to him he has used up his “sick quota”. Usually as a result of binge drinking. Never as a result of this. In retrospect, this is not the kind of thing you can expect to happen, so it goes without saying, you never really plan for it.

Cedric hasn’t and he accepts the card fate has dealt him. It’s a stack of cards, but that’s not really important. He dresses up and rues the fact that he is without any credit on his mobile phone. He would like to think that’s the reason he isn’t calling in sick. He picks up a tie that coincidentally spreads out in a user friendly way, and places it delicately over the stain on his shirt. For good measure he empties the can of deodorant spray on himself. It may be an old shirt, one that he wore yesterday, but, if he smells good he can get away with just about anything.

He refuses to accept that life has actually turned on him so he lingers around a little longer, hoping that the people at the power company will accidentally switch the power back on.
They don’t. They are steadfast in his resolve to make life hard for him. He realizes that now so he stumbles out of his house.

For a fleeting moment he expects to find his car rendered immobile, suspended on some building bricks in such a way as if to suggest that we are in fact back in the Stone Age and Fred Flintstone is the lead character in this tale.

He lets out a sigh of relief as he acknowledges that he is being overly paranoid. He jumps into his car and as he revs the engine makes sure that he is in fact tuned to a listener friendly station.
He moves on without incident. Aside, perhaps, from stopping and picking up a pack of strong mints. The attendant behind the counter seems to sympathize with him. He can tell. Its in the look she gives him as she hands him his pack from a distance…it’s a cross between holding her breath in the hope that he will leave or at least stop talking before she passes out and genuine disbelief that anyone can possibly have morning breath that bad.

There’s a terrible traffic jam up ahead, but that doesn’t matter. Cedric has used public transportation before and he knows his way around these things. He knows of routes that even the guy that plans the roads of the city doesn’t know about. He is, without a doubt, in his element…until he gets stopped for driving without using a seat belt.

The traffic officer, for that is the preferred title for these individuals, is clearly pleased with himself. He wears a smile that can only be duplicated on the face of a pubescent horny lad that has lost his virginity to the goody-two-shoes in the class above him. It may also be similar to the one worn by a politician that has survived close scrutiny in a case involving misappropriation of funds.

So with his “I did the headgirl” look, the traffic officer proceeds to strike up some idle chit-chat with Cedric. Cedric is bored, but he is afraid of letting this show on his face lest the rather inarticulate officer catches on and fines him. He endures this for a bit until, probably bored with the one sided conversation that has stretched into 20 something minutes, the officer lets Cedric off with a warning.

As Cedric mutters his thanks (and under his breath his conviction that traffic officers are really chimps still trying to come to terms with the whole concept of evolution) the cop leans over, so close that Cedric can almost feel an eyelash making contact with his skin, he ‘advises’ Cedric to pick up a toothbrush and some toothpaste from the nearest shop.

Its advice that goes unheeded.

Cedric makes it to the office an hour late. Actually, that’s a lie. He drives through the gate that leads up to the office building an hour late. The look on the gatekeeper’s face is not very reassuring. For all his hard ups and possibly the misery that he has suffered in his life, he seems to be looking at Cedric with pity. If he had the capacity to read thoughts (as his teachers seemingly did) Cedric would know that the gate keeper really does sympathize with him and is now pleased with his own job. He is convinced that if he too was working inside the building he would look haggard and fraught with misery.

Cedric walks into the building and heads towards the stairs…his office is not really on the 12th floor par se…Then he reconsiders. He remembers all the looks that he has been getting and he figures that he should use the elevator, if for nothing else to avoid more glances and possibly avail himself an opportunity to look at himself in the elevator that was installed in it for such situations.

As the door closes, Cedric begins to make a self-assessment and tries to believe the worst is behind him. Fate hears that and laughs a nasty little laugh that only fate can…then puts a call through to its accomplice at the power company.
The line is busy!

The doors open and Cedric steps out.

He walks into the office and makes a dash for his cubicle…

Part One

It starts at 6:30am.
It’s not usually the time he gets up, but the things that happened during the course of the night have greatly impacted his sleeping habits. The most prominent event during the course of his slumber was the unannounced visit of the mosquito brigade. No, not brigade. More like a choir. Brigades seem to have some sort of purpose. And yet, for as long as he can remember, choirs have seldom done anything useful…well save for worshipping God.

That fact alone sees him disqualify the word choir in reference to his nocturnal visitors. They seemed to have a sense of purpose last night. Granted, even in nights past they seemingly know what they want and go out and get it, but usually there’s some sort of agreement. No activity until he is deep in slumber. No documents were signed, but they seemed to have reached a compromise. Either that or the mosquitoes had since enrolled in some school that imparted the elusive skill that is Tact.

He stumbles out of bed.

He would have loved to lie in bed longer, but the presenter on radio seems to have got a new lease on life and is going into overdrive. It doesn’t help that he has clearly refused to give the English language a chance. At the very least he should have the decency to pronounce the artistes’ names properly. That’s clearly not his style. He’d much rather prattle on about his recent trip to the United States of “A”…there’s a brief pause as though there’s the desire to have the listener fall out of his seat, attributing the eventual brain tumor to the suspense that was created. The presenter goes on, asks people to call in so he can gloat some more. Its starting to seem like this guy is actually convinced that the whole world does in fact revolve around him.

It’s also evident that the entity around whom this tale revolves has not yet been given a name. Names are not important. So we are led to believe from the whole sticks and stones may break my bones banter that we spew whenever or wherever we feel cornered by a 13 year old foaming at the mouth with filth and profanity picked up from stand up comedy.
Nonetheless, we christen this hapless individual, we call him Cedric. It’s a fictitious name, randomly given so that I need not explain myself to the other obvious choices.

Cedric makes his way to the bathroom.

It’s the sort of thing he would do. He has to get ready for work. In his state of transition between sleep and whatever state we are in when we are not sleeping, Cedric makes his first significant contact on this Thursday morning. He collides with the shelf. Suddenly the idea to have the shelf carved out of the heaviest wood money could buy is flung out of the window. The cusses he unleashes do not quite make it to the window.
In fact, they do not even make it past his mouth. It’s simply too much work.

He limps to the bathroom, passing a stack of clothes he is certain he’d left behind for the house help to wash. The reality that he has no clothes to wear begins to sink in. he climbs into the shower where his hand is greeted by emptiness where it ordinarily has its rendezvous with the bathing soap.

Cedric is the poster child for Calm. He will not let this faze him. He reaches for the washing soap and holds his breath hoping this will actually prevent the strong cheap smell from registering.
Denial does its work and he is also convinced that the cheap scent is not stuck to his skin as he steps out of the shower. Fate considers making him slide on the bathroom floor and dishing out a compound fracture…then it hesitates, there’s more in store for Cedric.

As if to send the point home, Cedric’s hand “bounces” yet again. There seems to be no tube of toothpaste. Well, it’s not really a case of “there seems to be”, it’s pretty obvious that there’s none.
Cedric, practical guy that he suddenly is, figures that he can remedy this by chewing some really strong menthol laced gum.

He also figures that he can wear yesterday’s clothes and get away with it. It’s called “rebounding”. So he reckons he will rebound. For it to actually have a term must mean its an okay idea, one he is so pleased with; he convinces himself he can also hide the stain on his shirt by elegantly drooping his tie over it.

Suddenly, the obnoxious presenter has gone very quiet. Cedric hopes its one of those “suspense-inducing” moments. Or, at the very best, that the presenter has suffered a stroke that has left him without a voice. This sort of wishful thinking can only go on for so long. The truth makes its first appearance in this story as it suddenly dawns on Cedric that the power company has done him in…

Rebirth

Every so often I tend to digress…and while I’m doing that I end up making all sorts of mistakes in my blog. This is one of them.

October 3rd.My Birthday. I kept on dropping hints, kept rubbing the date in everyone’s face. If you didn’t get it you’re lucky. In retrospect, what was I up to? Was it really worth it? I mean everyone that reads this has probably got a birthday, well almost everyone.

I like to think of it as an opportunity to look back and make some sort of assessment of a year gone by, ask myself if I am better off than I was years back. More often than not the answer comes back as Yes! I am.

Years ago I didn’t have you guys as friends. Years ago I didn’t have a blog. Years a go I didn’t have a shot at the Big L…Love! for all y’all that have decided to play dumb.

Loads of stuff has happened along the way here. Some good, some bad…Nonetheless, it’s not how often I have fallen down that matters, but how many times I have gotten back up again. Oft its been because of you…at other times its been coz of Divine intervention. All in all, I couldn’t do it all on my own, who am I, Whitney Houston?

This is my way of saying Thanks..For everything,far too often we go through life without actually appreciating the work of our friends or if we do,we fail to acknowledge the contributions, the changes they have consciously or subconsciously made in our lives…This here is an expression of gratitude to the web-literate pals I have.

Those that can not be arsed to learn how to surf have not lucked out. I reckon in the next couple of days I’ll still say thanks. It’s a one week thing I hope…

So without naming each and everyone of you…Cheers!!

****The Usual Me will be back shortly!****