fighting boredom in the workplace

a collaboration with sookraj

#01. Write a short, brutally honest description of each of your workmates.
#02. Wander round the office stapling everyone's description to their foreheads.
#03. Laugh maniacally .
#04. Barricade yourself in the copy room, shout a lot, ask for a negotiator.
#05. You've heard of dirty protests, right?
#06. Demand emotionally raw PJ Harvey albums, especially "Rid of Me".
#07. Go the copy room, get yourself a ream of paper, return to your desk and proceed to ball up sheets and throw them at your nearest co-worker until they snap and proceed through steps #01 to #06.
#8. Boil the kettle and walk around pouring water into people's processors when they're away from their desks.
#9. Take the head of the mop off and wear it like a wig.
#10. Belch loudly.
#11. Jump up and down on every piece of paper you are given.
#12. Go to the toilets and take comedy pictures of yourself.
#13. Walk with a pronounced gangsta limp.
#14. Talk to yourself, twitch (your workmates will LOVE this).
#15. Hide under your desk, time how long it takes for somebody to check you're ok. When they do, leap out and thank them for saving your life. Then ask for a glass of water.
#16. Chew the top off a biro, smear the ink all around your face. Act like everything is normal.
#17. Approach a randomly chosen co-worker, grip their shoulder, tell them not to worry (loud enough so your peers can hear).
#18. Go to the bathroom twenty times in an hour.
#19. Speak into you lapel, relay your co-workers every move to your CIA buddies. "Target is now moving the filing cabinet..."
#20. Lace the office coffee with Ketamine. Enjoy the ensuing slow-motion hilarity.
#21. Secrete a drum-n-bass playing walkman somewhere in the office. Make sure it is loud enough to be heard, but impossible to find. Watch as psychotic episodes unfold.
#22. Take advantage of the large amount of free floorspace to remember how to do a backwards roll.
#23. Do handstands against the door to the kitchen.
#24. Refuse to speak to anyone, conduct all communication via the art of mime.
#25. Sellotape a tabloid newspaper into one very long sheet of tat. Wrap yourself in it, head to toe.
#26. Make a round of tea, and put eight sugars in each. Dissolve biscuits into some of them.
#27. Turn the thermostat up to a tropical temperature. Leave the room.
#28. Pretend to fall asleep standing up, snoring loudly.
#29. Add more options to this list...


3am. Untidy bedroom, clothes and empty plates on every surface. A man is slouched over a desk with an unlit cigarette in his mouth.

I remember when we met.
I remember, the music too loud. Your shoes too small, you told me. And then you spent the rest of the evening with one hand resting on my shoulder, the other working its way deep into my chest. Making the little hole in my heart that aches so empty.
I remember the first time you followed me in through my front door. I was terrified you’d be gone when I turned around. But you straightened up from putting your bag on the sofa and said music?

I remember that morning, when you woke me up by coming back to bed. You pulled the sheets up to your shoulders and stroked your finger down my arm. Then you told me where you had to go, and how long you’d been thinking about it. And I think it was only last week, that morning. When she whipped her hand from the hole in my heart. Still raw and unhealed, still losing blood. Maybe it makes the time move slower.

Remembering every moment she was close to me. Sitting in a restaurant, her arm curled around mine. Her fingers stroking gently along my upper arm. Then touching the sleeve of my shirt and tucking into the fold of my elbow. Anywhere to be closer.

mumps part 3

My ears are numb. My neck is agony. My whole face feels a different shape, my eyes are too wide. My shoulders even feel odd. The skin all over my body is dead. I scratched my neck. I scratched my shoulders my cheek my stomach. I have all these scratches and no memory of slicing myself. That sounds odd, like I’m taking a kitchen knife to my fingers, slicing them thin and placing them in a cooking pot. Or scoring little lines in my flesh. Like a tally. Or a line-drawing.

I’d rather be at work. I’d rather be on my feet, making my own decisions, making my own fucking meals. I’m wasting away. Shaking away. I feel inhuman. Less than? Just different. I don’t feel like who I am. And the punctuation is fairly arbitrary.
Watch her get restless.
Dammit. I liked my neck. It was long and it has those little tendons running down the sides. I had hollows and indentations around my collarbones. It was pretty. I liked my neck. Now I have some round, swollen trunk keeping my head up. I want me back. I look different, but I only feel different when I remember that I’m sick.

mumps part 2

Fucking hell. I can only eat after taking painkillers. Cloudy apple juice, plain yoghurt and honey, liquidised soup. I want TOAST! I want dark chocolate, straight from the fridge so I have to chunk it off with my back teeth. Melted butter, hot milk, glutinous bread sticking to my teeth.

Sitting in bed with my jaw pushed forward. It’s weird not having an overbite. None of my teeth meet. Taptaptaptap tapping my front teeth will have to do.

There is Belladonna on the table by my bed. And cups and bowls on the floor. A bottle of prescription-labelled pills. They look so ugly, blue lines and grey printed words and yellow lines.
Some other sweet white pill to put under my tongue every two hours. Ecinachea for immune system. Orange juice for recovery. Hot chocolate for my flagging morale.
Suddenly dozing, drifting off. Time is moving in odd ways. This song has been playing for hours, this minute has lasted for days. Melting away. I feel hot and feeble and cranky. All my chin wobbles every time I move.

I had a dream I was choking up blood clots. I had a dream I was coughing up droplets of blood, splashing in perfect circles on the tiled bathroom floor. How poetic. Reminds me of a song, but I couldn’t say which.

mumps part 1

(this was all written over the three of four worst days. i appear not to have left AM or PM on any times. testament to the fact i was only semi-aware of the world at best, and in agony at worst)

Impossible to flick my fringe. Impossible to drink the dregs. Impossible to yawn. My neck is so painful that my ears feel numb. How bizarre. The skin on my shoulders feels like rubber. Morphine, or something like it.

I never had much truck with recording the passing of time. Calendars, clocks, deadlines. And it’s always the same. The only reason I’d look at a calendar would be when my period came. Record start, record end, neglect once more.
And clocks. They surround me, walls, tables, phones, wrists. And they’re all telling subtly different lies. The only time I’ll listen is when I’m ill. “1 or 2 tablets every 3-4 hours” allowing 20 minutes for the drugs to hit my system...
I’m lucky I’m not vain. I find it hilarious. I look like some kind of retired opera singer, neck sagging but face still taut like canvas, courtesy of the tent pegs in their hairline.

Puffy neck puffy face. While I’ve been writing this the drugs have kicked in. My head throbs less. The sieve-holes in the pain are letting my sense of humour leak through. Possibly. My sentences are getting longer, always a sure sign…

hip heaven

You know that feeling

You've been sitting in a smoky, windowless room for... an hour? two hours? three? The third drink and fourth cigarette since you paid on the door. Smoke and dark corners. Water, sweat and a poet waving his arms at the walls.
And there's this guy. He's been sitting at the table next to yours and you've registered him, just like everyone else in the room. Just another punter, another listener, another addition to the applause. Just like you, in fact. Wearing black and denim and stubble. Drinking flat beer like everyone else. Laughing in the right places.
Walking down the stairs from the toilets, moving your bag off your chair to sit down again you meet eyes. He suddenly looks awake. You feel very conscious of your arm extended over your chair, your hips slanted as one foot takes your weight. He is only a few feet away, and you want to say to him "Where have I seen you before?".... But the music is too loud. The space between you is filled with people.

"Theoretical Girl"
"Pies Not Pills"
"Repetition, Percussive Breathing"

The posters stick in your mind like the poetry never will. You can feel his gaze on the side of your face, and return it when he's looking away.