fighting boredom in the workplace part II

continued collaboration with sookraj and ellie

#30. Starting with a birth certificate slowly steal a co-workers identity, supplying them with a second life as a gambling porn baron. After they have have had all their belongings repossessed, turn up at their court hearing to speak on behalf of the prosecution. They clearly have problems and you believe that prison will be the lesson to open their eyes.
#31. Put your hand in your pants (secretly). Now try to touch as many of your workmates possessions as you can. Allow yourself a smile when you see a colleague chewing on *that* pen.
#32. pour warm water onto people's swivel chairs when they're away from their desks
#33. get a pair of scissors, and crawl around the office slicing people's shoelaces. when questioned, tell them you are saving their souls.
#34. wear shorts to work. smear chocolate sauce all over your legs and lick at them throughout the day.
#35. throw your favourite mug into the air repeatedly, while singing 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day'. make no attempt to catch the mug.
#36. Can-can.
#37. Send all memos in the form of paper aeroplanes, the more extravagant the better.
#38. Buy a megaphone.
#39. Tell co-workers that email is the root of all evil (by email).
#40. Become inappropriately touchy-feely all of a sudden. Blame your parents.
#41. Join as many internet special-interest forums as physically possible. Embroidery, toby-jug collecting and yodelling should be of special note.
#42. Sit at your desk not moving or touching anything. When people ask what you're doing, tell them you're making virtual phone-calls.
#43. Send someone else into work in place of you. The next day act like nothing happened. See who cracks first.
#44. Demand to be paid by the hour. Every hour. ON the hour. In cash. In coppers.
#45. Learn Swahili. Practice at every available opportunity. If questioned, say you are the new cultural relations spokesperson. Report them.
#46. Create a shrine to Boris Johnson underneath your desk. Complete with incense, candles and life-size cardboard cut-outs.
#47. Award yourself an Oscar. Dress appropriately and thank everyone in your office for everything they've done to help you achieve this great honour. Keep the statuette in the kitchen.
#48. Arrange the bisuits into intricate patterns, placing Jammy Dodgers in the exact centre and all Bourbons at right angles.
#49. Rustle mysteriously.
#50. Bring a gramophone to work, and instigate office tea dances.


this one's really, really old. i found it last night and removed half the commas. now it's good.

He sits alone on a park bench. Patiently, for hours he has waited.

The sun has wheeled around to nestle in other clouds. All his shadows would point east, but for the streetlights. Instead, they pool around his feet, dripping out from under his chin and from the space beneath his folded leg. He exhales loudly, watching his breath condense in the air. It billows white and then dissipates, drifting away like smoke. He curls a hand around his forearm. He feels the wind bite into his cheek, into his leg through the fabric of his trousers.

He is alone but he acts as if he is not. Occasionally he stretches out an arm to comfort the air on the bench next to him. He looks around him, unconcerned. There is nobody else in view. A fox creeps unnoticed across the path, dashing for cover under another rhododendron.

Clouds cover the moon and the light dims. Old memories are brought to mind. A fairy story, a goodnight rhyme, recited each night like clockwork. Flitting and flashing through his mind, leaving no impression. They have flitted before. Hurried on, driven away by more urgent thoughts. He is visibly focused.

He slowly extends an arm and glances at his watch. A silhouette rounds the crest of the hill.


As the days wore on, and once I had managed to exchange the first few words with him, we grew almost companionable.
Every morning I'd go downstairs to make coffee and say hi. He'd generally have been awake a while longer than me, as the hot water pipes are loud in the basement. Conversation was sometimes stilted. We knew nothing about each other. So, as is often the way with relative strangers, we talked about culture. And what was more appropriate than the books I had given him myself?

"...but the German word is actually more correctly translated as 'vermin', not as 'beetle'. If you read the story with 'vermin' instead, it puts a whole different light on it. It explains things that didn't quite follow on..."

We worked through whole bookshelves together. I loved how he thought, the way he pointed things out to me, unsure and knowledgable at the same time. The way he spoke made me want to like what he liked, read what he had read. It made me love him more.

Once, in the middle of the night, I felt guilty for keeping him all this time. Maybe there were people in the outside world to miss him, people he had never mentioned? But I knew I could never let him out. It was better this way. Much safer this way.


The first week was difficult. He was noisy, and I found myself leaving the house for hours at a time to get some peace. When I realised what I was doing, I sat down to work out a solution. Of course, he was scared. Waking up in strange surroundings with no explanation... He needed me to engage with him. I realised I didn't even know his first name (his surname had been on the University of East London IdentiCard attached to his jeans pocket.)
So the next morning before he woke I placed a package at the bottom of the steps into the basement, locking the door behind me. I had wrapped a note from myself explaining that he was safe, along with a deck of cards and some of my favourite books in a tea-towel. How could a boy be bored in the company of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Patrick Suskind, Henry Miller, Salman Rushdie, Franz Kafka and James Joyce...? Then I left the house to buy apples, bread and pasta sauce, all of which I had run out of the previous day.

On my return the house was completely silent.


As soon as I got him in the door, I started to worry. While fairly slim, I had no idea how tall he was. What if my basement wasn't big enough? Would he be warm down there? Would he get scared? Bored? To be on the safe side, I decided to sedate him. I laid him on the blankets I'd padded the floor with, and placed a bottle of water near him. Then I climbed the ladder, bolted the door and made coffee while I waited for him to come around.

dangerous I

It was a miracle I’d never met him before that, or maybe he was new in the area. But I’d seen him three times in as many days. On the way to work, at the station on the way to town, and then waiting in the queue at the Post Office. That was when I decided. Things were getting risky…what if I spotted him while out with a friend? They’d wonder why I stopped in my tracks. What if I ran into him with an armful of shopping? I’d drop it on the floor, without a doubt. What if I saw him while I was driving? It didn’t bear thinking about. I decided I would kidnap the strange boy who made me go weak at the knees.
It was much simpler than I’d imagined. I was part-way through drawing up elaborate plans, some involving extremist political action or the involvement of the Triads, when I collided with him at the top of the road I lived on. He smiled at me, and I knew I had to act fast. Knocking him unconscious was the easy part. Luckily there were no passers-by to observe me hauling him the 100 metres or so to my front door….