I press the teabag against the inside of the teacup with the spoon like I’m screwing her against the stationery cupboard. She’s a little bit round but she’s fun. I bet she just gives it what she’s got. None of that sitting around all coy like skinny girls do. She’s such a Jenny; rosy-cheeked and cheery. Those boobs are probably what gets me through work everyday. The days she hides them make the days they’re out so much better. She knows exactly what is good about her body. I like that; plays to her strengths.
Ray comes into the kitchen just as I’m leaving and we grunt at each other. It’s like a nature documentary in here, I nod at the guys I pass and grin at the girls. I’ll try to make the finance girls laugh but when I go to the guys at IT it’s all one-upmanship. Tim always has to have a little dig about something, just a subtle one, but still he’ll try to make me feel silly for wearing a bow-tie. I just play along with whatever it is – usually an implication that I’m gay – and grin inwardly knowing he’s probably just annoyed that I’m taller and thinner. There are a lot of people in life that do that. Anyone trying to knock my confidence usually bolsters it more. I assume that a pointless little jab is due to their own insecurity, so it makes me feel more secure knowing I don’t have to do it to others to make myself feel better.
‘Not, planning on having children then?’ (Morning Tim.)
‘Those trousers, surely they’re restricting your…’
‘It’s nice to know you’re thinking about my testicles, Tim.’ (Zap.)
Liz came over to talk to me about the stats spreadsheet and I forgot to drink my tea. She smells really nice, maybe someone else I know has that perfume but with her personal scent it’s slightly different. She’s leant over me while her painted fingernails clicked my mouse and I just breathed her in. I felt like a pervert for enjoying her fragrance, like something Hannibal Lecter does. Then I wondered if there was really anything wrong with enjoying a pleasure like that. It’s a natural thing to do, to smell one another. I couldn’t marry a girl whose scent I didn’t like. Our sense of smell is pretty subtle compared to our sight but I think it’s just as important, if not more so. Does that make me weird? She’s kind of made my neck tingle a bit so I’m trying to do my work without moving too much because this feels nice. OK that definitely makes me weird, never mind.
I want to make some more tea but this erection won’t go down. Sometimes I go for a whole day without an erection, but then on other days for whatever reason I’m more susceptible and I’m warding them off all day.
I guess my mind’s been wandering. I didn’t even realise I was thinking about sex. Maybe when I get sexy thoughts at work it’s because I’m breathing in things exuded from the girls around me. They might not necessarily fancy me per se, but their bodies could be communicating with mine at some biological level. We have all these rules and ideas of who we should like; Liz is married or Jenny might think that I’m not her type but I reckon that sometimes their bodies are breathing out pheromones for me to absorb whether they realise it or not. I don’t mean it as if everyone at work is doing it just for me. Different people at different times need different things. Our genes might seem like they’d mix well and they’re just at the right point of their menstrual cycle, so things are released and mingle in the air. I don’t know. I could be wrong, it’s just a theory.
I always get ideas here looking at this blank screen with all these little boxes and colours. All this double-clicking and minimising has now even infiltrated my brain’s downtime. I’ve had dreams that involve crawling around, trapped in this spreadsheet and losing these client details. The strangest thing though, is when I have a dream about something else entirely but it takes place within this framework. Like going into a room as if I clicked on a tab to bring me to the next screen.
Anyway when I minimised the homepage on the intranet, the blue background shrinking away to the corner reminded me of a dream I had a few days ago. I was going down a slide with this girl I used to know in order to distract us from having sex (it made sense at the time). As we slid down she disappeared but it made the same shape as the window reducing to the bottom right of the desktop. I’m not describing this very well. It really is impossible to relay a dream properly to someone else, but I’ll try. So we were in this desert that was like my old school playground but the sky was red and none of the people there were people I actually went to school with and that worried me. It isn’t the background details or precise narrative that makes a dream for me; it’s how I felt about it. Sometimes when I dream, I can be inexplicably terrified of something that I usually do every day. At other times I’ll be tortured with a grin on my face.
I’m jolted out of some daydream about cooking with my ex by an unfamiliar, intrusive noise. A bird whistling up in the tree out the window. There shouldn’t be trees though, we’re eight floors up.
I realise that the fire alarm is screaming in my ear.
There is a commotion and everybody is getting up from their seats. David, the head of Human Resources is putting on his hi-vis waistcoat and touring the office sensibly, telling everyone the drill. The ladies are picking up their handbags. Is this for real? Usually fire drills are every other Monday but it was a bank holiday this week so I’m confused.
This is bad. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an actual fire or not though because either way I have to stand up and I can’t do that because I have a huge erection. The irony is wasted on me that I can’t stand up because I’m already standing up in a way. I glance over helplessly at my bag, which is over by my jacket, so I can’t cover it up with that. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do. I feel really hot all of a sudden.
‘No it’s alright, I’ve got to do this.’
‘Come on, leave that.’
‘Ian, there’s a fire. We all have to go now.’
‘My ah… my leg’s a bit… I’m fine, can I just come in a minute?’
‘What’s wrong with you? Are you alright?’
‘Yeah, yeah, I’ll be behind you.’
I’m completely cornered. If this is a real fire maybe I can wait until there’s smoke and I can crawl on all fours to keep low. But everyone’s looking at me. Waiting for me to get up.
David is there, looking serious.
‘Ian. What’s going on? I’m the fire-marshall, we all have to leave via the stairwell now.’
Ok then, you asked for it. Here goes nothing. I’m going to have some funny looks tomorrow.
Illustration by me, Will Conway