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Image by Nick Hillier


alexander orozco garcia

I don't know how they do it. Every single day, they come in, with big grins and peppy greetings. Meanwhile, I come and feel dread and lament ever leaving my house, my sanctuary. I am tasked with tedious, monotonous work and I am never sure what it amounts to. At times, it feels insulting. Completing electronic spreadsheets are the climax of my day. I wrestle with boredom, and it always puts me in a choke hold that never truly kills me. 


The boss arrives at my cubicle. A pathetic beige and grey square with barren walls other than a small candid of Jesus Christ. Atop my desk are piles of papers and files like the towers on 42nd Avenue and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. He looks down at me. In both arms, he carries 22 folders filled with paper. He counts. He drops 19 of the folders on my desk. “By the end of today,” he says. 


Please boredom, have mercy on me. 


I assure the boss that every number will be transferred onto an electronic spreadsheet with a grin. He glowers at me. As the footsteps grow distant, I slam my head on the desk. I simply need a minute. I look up and the computer looks back. It is waiting for me to start. The reflective glint on the screen resembles an eye. 


I don’t know how they do it! The air conditioning smells of dust and warmth, yet everyone inhales it as if it was from the national park. The strokes of keyboards numb the brain after some time, but they act as they are ambient pleasantries. We are all so cordial, but no one knows each other. 


“Oh God!” I say. I need to leave. I stand up and leave my cubicle. I walk to the bathroom but stop at the doorway. I can’t hide in here; I’ll be punished. I walk to the entrance. The birds sing and the gentle winds encourage the hibiscus to dance. I can’t leave; I’ll be fired. I rub my eyes. It might be best to sit down and do the work I’ve been told to do. But as I return to my desk, I push all the papers on the floor. I can’t do this! No one should do this! 


I check my watch. I’ve only one hour before I can return to sanctuary. I have hope I can make it the rest of the day—until I hear the boss’s footsteps again. I recognize the specific rhythm and thump of his walk, and I know his destination is my desk. 


I panic. I look around frantically. What to do? I open the drawers and scrounge for a solution.


With a pair of scissors, I cut my finger off. The boss is speechless. I am allowed a week of leave.

Alexander “Ninety-Nine” Orozco is an undergraduate at Barry University, where he studies Professional Writing and a minor in Spanish. He has been published in Alchemy Literary Magazine. His mind is in full throttle and always will be.

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