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saint george (and)

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After getting the keys a few weeks ago and moving furniture and editing shit into our office last week, the whole place is officially a bit of a hell hole. I, because I’m a good leader and can handle running a business just fine, shoot everyone a quick PSA on Slack about not bringing unnecessary shit into the building, because it’s getting gross, dudes.

Then I send a follow up using the direct messaging feature on Yelp, because sometimes that’s the only place I can get in touch with Cib. It’s a horrible service and sucks a lot, but I did discover that there’s a good shoe store a few blocks down from my house that I’ve never been to before, so it all balances out in the end.

Either way, my countless hours working to provide streamlined communication about workplace expectations for my employees all come to waste anyways, because they’re all fuckheads.

“Dude, what the fuck is this?”

James blinks out of some kind of weird PTSD fugue state that he goes into sometimes after three in the afternoon and looks at where I’m pointing. “’S fucking, like, glass and shit.”

“Right, literally broken glass. And what looks like the oldest tin foil ever.” I have at this point commandeered a mechanical pencil to use to poke through the pile of definitely dangerous trash that someone has left on the end of the table near where Parker leaves his useless laptop. “I didn’t think tin foil was capable of rusting but, yet again, the miracle of science has proven me wrong.”

“What seems to be the issue, tissue? Word’s gonna miss you?” Cib appears from underneath the table on his side of the room, making about as much sense as I can ever expect from him.

Granted, as far as I can tell he’s been sleeping all day, and it’s very possible that he may still be asleep. I hesitate to use my usual ‘wake up Cib’ protocols, as they are trade secrets, and also I’m all out of bee venom darts.

“The issue, Cib, is that we’ve only had this office for less than a month and I already can’t walk two feet without apparently needing to get checked for tetanus.”

“Sure, dude, but Autumn walks around barefoot all the time, and she hasn’t gotten tetanus yet.” James follows up that sentence by pounding his fist dramatically on the table, as if that makes any of this any better, literally at all.

“No one’s getting turkey tetrazzini, my boy.” Cib manages to sit in his chair as if he is a vulture lurking over a small pile of roadkill, waiting to strike, and wags his vape at me. “That there’s some quality treasure.”

“What?” I use the end of the pencil to push aside some of the crinkled balls of rusty tin foil and a few pieces of glass fall off the table and onto the floor, where they shatter even more and quite possibly release deadly neurotoxins into my precious white boy lungs. “It’s just foil and glass! It looks like someone stabbed a very shitty robot with a bunch of broken window panes and then left the gruesome remains on the table!”

“Chyeah,” Cib snorts. “Quality.”

“Did you – did you find a bunch of shit outside and bring it in and just put it on the table? And then go to sleep? Under the table?”

Cib’s already looking off into the middle distance, one eye closed. “A sailor never tells, and a king steals the crown.”

I cast a desperate look at James but, as can be expected of him if you know anything about him at all, he’s already back to doing some bullshit on his phone.

Then, oh thank god, or possibly oh fuck god, the door swings open.

“Oh fuck god,” I say, as Parker and his bad feet stumble through the door frame. “What did you even trip on? That’s possibly the only part of the office without shit all over the floor!”

“It’s, um, dense,” he stutters, barely keeping the lid on his iced coffee, much like he can barely keep the lid on his mess of a life. “How’s everything?”

“Oh, I’m doing great. I’m behind on editing because Autumn’s down with some kind of gremlin plague and couldn’t come in, James hasn’t touched a camera all day, and Cib is trying to give us all the worst version of paper cuts.”

“It’s for my report card,” Cib adds, and therefore adds nothing. He might actually subtract something.

Parker just kind of nods and grins vaguely in my direction as he tracks sadness across the office and over to his normal seat. “Sure, sure, nice.” He sits down and flips his laptop open before noticing the current state of the space directly to the left of his workspace. “Oh, uh, cool. Glass.”

Although I’m a person of considerable wealth and status, I’m also a boss, and so I sometimes have to take control in situations like this. “Please don’t touch Cib’s trash pile, oh god, I don’t want to have to get you to an emergency room for contracting Poison Hand.”

“Aw, dude, you’d take me to an emergency room? That’s so nice.” Parker says, missing the point and directing his childish, awful smile right at me.

“It’s not poison,” Cib interjects, spinning slowly in a circle in his chair and almost melting completely out of it and onto the floor. “Touch it, smoke it, love it, my lady.”

I choose not to address any of that. “You can definitely throw it away, Parker, it’s just trash.”

“Oh, um.” Parker looks between me and Cib a few times, a furrow as strained as my opinion of him in between his eyebrows. “I’ll just do this.” He carefully moves the pile of danger a few inches to the side with his arm, jacket sleeve pulled down, in what can only be described as a scooching motion. “Cib might, uh, want to take it home later.”

“Trust me, the last thing Cib needs is more shit in his apartment,” I say, finally turning back to my monitors to try to do literally anything with this garbage fire of a day. “He’s going to forget about it in about thirty seconds.”

Truth be told, Cib wasn’t the only one who forgot about it in thirty seconds. After getting a good five minutes of editing in I was quickly roped into some new bit James wanted to do and I had to play along because or else we wouldn’t get anything filmed at all that day. Unless, of course, Alfredo was up in the ceiling tiles getting some good shots of us, which I could never totally rule out.

Sometimes the footage just ended up on the camera and I never saw the camera even move in the first place. It was efficient, if strange, but Alfredo was my baby boy, so I was fine with it.

By the time it’s supremely dark out the energy has completely flown the coop of the office, and everyone starts slowly packing it up to head out. It’s at that time that I notice it – the glass is still there.

“Oh god, I almost put my hand right in it,” I say, and turn to look at Cib. “Cib, please, get rid of this, it’s a death trap.”

“It’s parked,” I think he says, but I can’t really hear because he’s emitting some of the thickest, most chunky, raddest cotton known to man. After a few seconds I try again.

“It’s what?”

“It’s Parker’s,” he says, and I can’t prove that this isn’t what he said at first, but I don’t think it’s what he said at first.

Parker, hearing his name, shoots up straight in his seat like a prairie dog with an arrow wound. “It’s mine?”

“Sure, dude, like a swear.” Cib shrugs his bony shoulders approximately five times in Parker’s rough direction. “That’s some good stuff there, y’know.”

I, having had just about enough of this for today, decide to leave the situation entirely and finish packing up my stuff so I can finish up the video at home. I don’t think I miss anything big, but clearly I must, because the next morning I come back and –

“It’s still here!”

James looks up from his desk chair and raises an eyebrow at me. “Huh?”

“The glass and shit! It’s still here!” I gesture violently at it. “I think it’s getting bigger! Am I actually going crazy, or is it getting bigger?”

It does look kind of bigger, but after a quick survey of the scene it just seems like someone picked up the pieces that I knocked off yesterday and placed them back on top of the pile. If someone goes through that kind of trouble, I don’t know why they wouldn’t just throw the travesty away in the first place.

“Is that blood in there?”

“Nah, let me taste it.”

I kick James’s arm away with a patented chicken man kick before he can actually reach over to pick up a piece of glass to, I guess, lick. “This is horrible. This might actually be worse than HR coming over to find me with a loaded gun. Guns still have some connection to humanity. This looks like something that an insane garbage disposal would spit out.”

I allow James to lean a little closer in to inspect it with just his eyeballs. “Oh, dude, that is blood. Gross.”

Cib kicks open the door with a slam, and then proceeds to take another twenty seconds to actually walk inside. The door closes on him three times before he actually can. “A good morning to you, my men!” he spouts off when he finally does get inside, saluting us. It’s just past eleven in the morning.

“Cib, please, please get rid of your terrifying mess,” I say, even though I can tell from just the manic gleam in his eyes that he’s not going to listen to me. “You know how sensitive and fragile Parker is, I’m worried he’s going to cut open a major artery just sitting next to it. I think he may already have, actually.”

“What? Oh, dude, that’s gonna spoil the whole thing.” Cib hops over James’s lap and gets a good look at the mess. “Oh, no, no worries, it’s just a teensie widgie.”

“A teensie –“

“Yeah, like, a widgie bit of it. No plasma, dude, no fantasma, nothin’.” Apparently satisfied, Cib digs around in his back pocket for longer than it should take to then come back up with a handful of rocks and what looks like a half-empty matchbook. “There we go, cherry on top,” he says, before dumping the whole handful onto the glass and foil.

I feel, very quickly, like my soul might be crying. “Are you kidding me! Are you kidding me. There’s more now?”

“Sure, dude.”

“Did you just – did you just scoop that off the street outside? How long have you been carrying that around?”

Cib shrugs, already trying to use James as a pommel horse to get back to his side of the table. “I can’t reveal my techniques, Steven, it’s top.”

I blink, dazed, as I watch him take his seat and promptly kick his feet up on the desk, knocking over an empty Monster as he does. “Top? Just top? Are you going to finish that sentence?”

I won’t waste anyone’s time on it, but the short story is: he never finishes that sentence. In fact, he doesn’t address the tower of terror that he has created at all, even when Parker shows up to finally be of some use to society.

“Oh, man, there’s more now!” He says, dropping his backpack to the ground by his chair with the sound of a thousand suns. “Rocks, cool.”

I can’t tell if that’s Parker’s sincere voice, or his morally distressed voice. They are, I think, the same voice.

Before I forget, though, there’s the quick issue of a possible workman’s comp claim that I have to make sure to squash. “Did you cut yourself on the glass?”

“Huh?” Parker looks blankly at me before blinking hard and raising a hand in the air. “Yeah, um, a little.” He has four band-aids all on his thumb, stacked up on top of each other like a mound of idiot.

“How! I told you not to touch any of it!”

“Oh, I know, I just had to, like.” He gestures, completely meaninglessly, at the pile. “Some of it fell off, so.”

I can feel my brain slowly starting to melt out of my ears and onto my brand new shirt. “Okay, regardless, this happened last night, yeah?” I prop an elbow on the table, because this is where the business sense has to come into action.

Parker glances at Cib – I don’t know for what, but Parker probably doesn’t know either. “Yeah, um. Before I left.”

“So you were off the clock!”

“What – there’s no clock, is there?” Parker straightens up a bit, his spine extending like a painful telescope. “Was I supposed to be clocking in this whole time?”

“No, you – never mind, just, this was off company time, so it’s not my fault whatever stupid shit you put your body through, alright?”

“Oh, um, sure, man.” With that bit of brilliance said, Parker’s normal posture of question-mark-shaped comes back, and he slowly turns his laptop on.

Having saved the company no doubt hundreds of dollars, I go back to my work. When I review the film later – Alfredo had been in the ceiling then, that darling sweet boy – I catch the brief second where Cib slowly blows out a stream of fog directly across the table and into Parker’s face, just to make him wave it away and cough.

Cib grins, then, and settles further back into his chair.

I don’t think, honestly, anything of it. I’m admittedly a little upset when the pile continues to grow each passing day – Cib finds a broken switch blade on Thursday, and then three quarters and a nail file on Friday – but I guess these are the kinds of work style differences that you have to get used to when you’re in an office environment.

Some people have to have the AC cranked up to be productive, and other people have to slowly create a more and more hostile workplace through the addition of fiberglass and old Dave and Buster’s tokens.

Parker seems to be fine with it, though, and as long as it all stays on his side of the table I guess I have better things to complain about. And I will. Complain about them.