A guy at work died. Desmond. He died Sunday Night, from what I heard. No more getting dressed or hair combing or teeth brushing. Permanent vacation mode. Everyone looks as if they are really bent out of shape about it at the office. I am actually just a little bit jealous.
No one is making a lot of eye contact around the cubicle farm today and everyone is wearing black clothing. I think we should be forced to wear black clothing, everyday. No one looks any better than anyone else in black but at the same time everyone looks their best. I assume that these dark outfits mean that the entire department is in mourning over Desmond’s tragic end. I am extremely embarrassed because no one sent out a memo about the attire. Now I’m walking around like a goddamned bumble bee. I’m sick about the fact that I decided to wear my favorite sunny yellow top. I look like an asshole now. Fortunately I have black blazer over it but you can still see golden rays of fucking banana yellow peeking out of the top and bottom. I have to look sadder now than everyone else does just to compensate for my shirt so I don’t seem happier than I should be after a co-worker kicks the bucket. Sometimes it is exhausting remembering all of the professional etiquette rules. I think now we are supposed to stop insulting him because he is dead. I doubt that Sheila will call him a giant fuckhead anymore on her smoke breaks. Seems like she would say it louder now, since he can actually never hear her say it ever again. I’m sure Janice won’t tell anyone else Desmond is light in the loafers like she kept doing during the Winter Holiday Celebration last year since he is sleeping with the fishes. I’m still curious about that but again, it’s just another one of those things that doesn’t matter anymore after the fact. Elizabeth is taking up a collection from everyone to buy flowers and a card for the funeral service. Shelia and Janice are planning on making his favorite dessert and bringing it into the office on Friday for everyone to share. He wasn’t that old so I wonder what was wrong with him. Probably all sorts of shit. Everyone is so fucked up and on drugs and chemicals and antidepressants and pesticides these days. No one has any idea what they are eating or drinking anymore. Its surprising more of us don’t just drop dead everyday without any trace of a cause. I guess, we probably do, but no one really cares.
Not unless they know the person who croaked.
Not unless it doesn’t interrupt their birthday party, or their Pilates class or their reality TV reunion special. I bet no one here really knew Desmond. you know, “knew him” knew him. Like, what made him cry and what did he eat when he was depressed? I wonder if he was a bowler? He looked like he could have been a bowling champion in high school in the early eighties. I wonder what they are going to do with all of the knickknacks and personal things in his desk drawers?
That is who he really was.
Whatever is in those drawers was the real Desmond. It’s fun to imagine what might be in there but I can’t now. I don’t have time. I didn’t spend a lot of time talking to Desmond and trying to get to know him, and I know I’m supposed to feel badly about that now, but I’m really concentrating on my 30 second condolences speeches.
You have to give them in the elevator after someone at work dies.
You have to give them at the water cooler when you see someone sniveling about it. I’m just not sure what to say. It has to be short and sweet and not too sentimental,not too religious but it has to let the person know that you cared about this complete fucking stranger too and you understand their pain and if they could just finish making the fucking copies we could all go our separate ways and be sad about death in our cubicles.
He will be truly missed sounds good, I think. I’m not lying, not really, its not like I am saying that I will truly miss him, y’know, I didn’t even know him.
He will be truly missed.
I’m sure someone misses him, maybe Sheila or his mom or a hungry ass cat somewhere. I remember when I first got hired Desmond showed me how to clock into the system and put in my hours. I think that was the longest conversation that we ever had. He was quiet for the most part and stand offish and we never really had anything to talk about, just if I needed something like, What is the number to the help desk?
Or, how far is Subway from here?
His former office sits right in front of my office and it was comforting to see him in there working hard on whatever he was working on, listening to his headphones and trying to ignore the call center girls who shared a wall with him as they giggled and gossiped about celebrities they wished they were skinny enough to fuck. He looked lonely too. I always imagined he was lonely. I always thought that he was so busy trying to court her that he actually never lived a life. His whole life was plans to plan on planning to talk to her but he probably had no back up plan for if she ever responded. I wonder if he killed himself. The details are so sketchy. I bet he did. I bet he just couldn’t take watching her everyday knowing that he was invisible.Do men really do that? Do they really kill themselves because one broad out of all six billion of us doesn’t want him? I mean girls do it all the time, I just never heard of a man doing it. Or maybe he wasn’t in love with her. Maybe he was just a really feminine man and had been hiding it for so long because his parents were staunch right wing christian fundamentalist zealot assholes toward him and what they called, “his alternative lifestyle”? He really did have very gay hair now that I think about it. Always smelled like some kind of spice. Cinnamon? But that doesn’t make much sense either its 2013 and he was over 25! I mean have you ever met someone under 25 named Desmond lately? What would he care about what this geriatric thought about his life? Some people worry about that type of shit, I guess.
People have been spending the last two days since we found out the news, telling everyone else who barely knew him, Desmond stories. The sad thing about them is that they are all bullshit. Janice goes, ” ‘member that time when Desmond came to the Halloween party as Danny Zuko?” Everyone laughs and cheers. That wasn’t Desmond, that was Charles Fingerling and he got fired two weeks later for stealing toilet paper. Doesn’t matter to them now. Elizabeth is crying and sobbing, eyes all puffy and makeup streaming down her face and she tells the team, “Desmond was the sweetest man she knew.” When she would close up the building he would always wait for her and walk her out to her car at night, she lied. Everyone sighed and touched their hearts through their sweaters or nodded up and down like they could remember seeing this happen but it never happened. Elizabeth has never stayed past 4:30 PM PST and I know this for a fact because I have OCD and whenever someone walks out of the room, I have to glance at the time. Plus, I know this because I am always here. The one time that she was here at a quarter of five it was because she had to use the ladies’ and someone was in every stall so she stood outside and waited for the toilet because apparently her drive home was too far from the office for her to make it all the way there but she was technically off work when this happened. It was summer time and everyone had on yellow shirts, or bright shirts, like I do right now and it was still plenty sunlight left in the day. Desmond did not walk her anywhere he was on a conference call with the satellite office ’til way after 5:50 PM PST.
Everyone looks at me now. I’ve tried thinking of good ol’ Desmond stories all day but all I have left are inappropriate questions.
What the fuck is in his desk? Is there porn? Is it lady porn? Is it man porn?!?
Its my turn. So I take a deep breath and say, He will be truly missed.
They all bobble head solemnly in their black outfits and sniffle in unison.
I’m sure that someone else will be in his old office by Thursday.
It’s gonna be a long week