by Pierce Nahigyan
Saul pulled the sheaf of papers off his desk and leaned back in his chair. He glanced out the window. It was his habit, just before he began any project, to glance out the window, at nothing in particular. Cirrus clouds slithered down the glass panes of the facing building, the wispy white tendrils turning cerulean and even indigo the further they sank to the street. On the sidewalk Mr. Ciancia sold hot dogs and chips. A woman and her boy navigated the busy sidewalk. Saul sighed and turned back to the stack of papers.
They were clipped together, detailing the latest in Employee Safety and Protocol for the office. He skimmed the first page idly and pulled the clip off, tucking the first page behind the rest as he skimmed more. Words like “harassment” and “First Aid” pinged in his brain like the bumpers in an ill-used pinball machine, and “breaktime” and “lateness” lit too, but not brightly. He glanced back out the window and idly thumbed the pages.
He turned to the final page, blinked at it, turned back to the cirrus in the window, and quickly returned to the page. At the top read one word, Adscititious, printed in bold and smeared along the header as if it had been slammed there by a Gutenberg press. The text below was similarly intense, pitted and black. It read:
It has come to our attention that certain employees have wasted valuable company time wandering inside their own minds. This flagrant abuse of non-PTO seconds, minutes and hours constitutes dereliction of duties tantamount to insubordination and reckless endangerment of capital. Be advised that presence in body will no longer serve as adequate proof of productivity. From this day forth, all employees of Klein, Klein & Carter are hereby barred from daydreaming. Violators will be sacked.
Saul frowned at the paper and slowly set it back on his desk, watching it the while as if expecting it to vanish in a puff of black sulfur. He set the paperclip on top of it, and then he glanced back out the window.
The sack that hit him felt like it was stuffed with broken staplers and a series of sorry office supplies. It smashed him through the window in a flurry of razor glass that reflected in the building next door as a blue and iridescent rain.