The Death of Tedium
The box sat on his desk, there was no return address, only the company’s address and his name and cubicle number. It had been dropped off with the morning mail, except he never got mail. Ted tried to think back and couldn’t recall a single piece of mail ever crossing his desk in the entire year he’d worked at the company. He lifted the box only to feel a couple objects slide around inside. For all he knew it was a bomb or some kind of practical joke, still he was curious as to the exact nature of the contents.
Ted glanced around the office at the collection of drones like staff that buzzed about from cubicle to cubicle. The normal slacking and carefree attitude most of them sported had evaporated in the wake a visit from head office. He shook his head as thought about how ridiculous it was to worry about such a thing. The only ones who really had anything to fear from a visit like that is the management and they were barely around in the first place. Still, he supposed their incompetence most likely resulted in their fears and stress being shouldered off onto those beneath them in the bureaucratic pyramid.
Ted knew such an action was cowardly and a poor coping mechanism as he had been in the management position at several of his previous jobs. It usually only made the manager’s job harder as the staff would undoubtedly begin to resent and despise them for it. It wasn’t really their fault however; it came from experience and training. Something that almost everyone in this yawn factory lacked entirely.
Ted reached next to him and plucked a pair of scissors from his pen caddy. With the flick of a wrist he popped them open and slit the tape on the box. He knew it may result in his untimely death, but at this point suicide was almost preferable to working in such an oppressively mediocre environment. Opening the box, he found three things, a “Congratulations you’re a grandmother” card, a small gift box with a timer on top, and what looked like a weird smartwatch of a make he couldn’t recognize.
He picked up the card as it seemed the least threatening of the three. Opening the card, it said, “Your kid got laid!” then written in pen was, “Ted, Put the watch on and hold the two side buttons until it flashes green. Then set the timer for five minutes, then sit back and watch the show.” Ted raised his eyebrow skeptical as he reread the card. With a shrug he put the watch on and held the two buttons on the side which took over a minute and a half to flash green. It flashed a variety of other colours as he held it and watched the screen though not green until it was only flashing green.
He twisted the timer to five minutes and set the box back on his desk. Then he waited as the box ticked, and ticked, … and ticked. He sighed as he waited, the timer got down to thirty seconds when his manager screamed, “Ted! What the hell do you think you’re doing!”
With out so much as a twitch Ted replied, “I’m watching a box as per the instructions from head office.”
His manager scratched her head and turned to shrug at the representative from head office who looked equally befuddled, “Did you hear about this?” she asked to the short balding man in a tan suit. The man checked his phone and read through various memos on his phone before shaking his head. Turning red with fury Ted’s manager turned back to scream at him once again.
Luckily for Ted, the timer took that very same moment to reach five minutes. The top of the box shot off and a torrent of swirling mist and light filled the office. As it progressed “Largo al factotum” sang from a hidden speaker in the box. As it hit various objects and people it would alter their colour, composition, or appearance. His manager became a statue made of a repugnant pink stone. The ceiling of the building morphed into thousands of off-white butterflies which fluttered towards the heavens as sunlight poured in. Cubicle dividers and walls became hedges, trees, and one rather bewildered and flat giraffe. His coworkers became various animals mostly, squirrels, deer, gorillas, ducks, and the like; except for the office pervert Beverly who was transformed into a small stand which dispensed hand sanitizer. The representative from head office was slowly climbing up his manager’s stony side, his pants and phone forgotten behind him at some point during his transformation into a sloth.
Ted stood and walked through the wall, now a collection of trees, into the parking lot where he saw a herd of strangely coloured moose panicking next to a large elephant with headlights for tusks. He found one of the moose with discolored fur on its rear end that matched his car. He walked over and let the moose smell him before it let him gently pet it. In response it coughed up a collection of gum wrappers, crumpled receipts, various bits of small change. Ted hopped on just as the music finished, all the mist in the area came rushing towards him vanishing on contact with his skin. The smartwatch displayed a smiley face and said “Welcome Ted! What would you like to do today?” in bold friendly letters.
He glanced back at his work and could still make out his boss through the trees. He leaned forward and said, “Take me somewhere new Car!” and the moose grunted happily as it trotted away from the parking lot and the elephant who kept blinding the other animals with his high beams. For the first time he could remember since university, at least today hadn’t been boring.