Six months ago, the staffing agent for our warehouse handed out perfume samples to us office ladies. Most of the samples were used up or thrown out within the first month. But one sample, which I'd placed on my filing cabinet and forgot, evaporated and then sat empty. I came into work yesterday morning to find it resting on my keyboard with a note. "Can I have?" The note said in scribbly handwriting. I thought it was a joke. "Mike, did you leave a note on my desk?" I asked the office prankster. "Why would I do that?" He replied with genuine confusion.
"Well you're always screwing with my chair." "Yeah, but that's funny. If that note IS a joke, it's not a very good one." Touche. So I questioned the other office ladies. "I had a note on my desk too!" One of them exclaimed. I went over to her cube, where she pointed to a scrap of paper with the words "U R POOP" scribbled on it in blue highlighter. "Not only that," she added, "But there were pins stuck in my sweater sleeve." "Maybe we pissed off the cleaning lady?" I suggested. "Maybe one of the bosses brought in their kid?" The receptionist piped in. We all shrugged it off and went back to work.
All day I thought of those notes. "What if mine wasn't a joke?" I thought. So I put the bottle back on the filing cabinet, with the note, and a reply post-it that said "Sure." To be perfectly honest, I didn't expect anything to come of it. Then I came in this morning to find the bottle gone. "Holy shit." I thought, feeling as if I'd just made contact with alien life. Then I turned around and saw the note. "Thank u nice lady!" Was written in the middle, surrounded by crooked smiley faces. Above that note was another, in more familiar handwriting. "I did not right this note. Mike."
I resisted the urge to correct his spelling. It was excusable when it was the alien. No one would expect IT to be a master of our language. But I expected more from our forty-something year old sales manager. "Did anyone else get a note?" I asked the office ladies again. The coworker from the day before rolled out from her cube looking angry. "No," she said. "Worse." Someone (or thing) had scribbled red highlighter all over her phone and taken an ink stamp to her desk. I was shocked. Obviously the alien didn't like her very much. Maybe it had seen the photos of my dogs and found me to be nonthreatening. Her fuzzy sweater was a little scary looking.
Later that day she popped into my office. "I talked to the warehouse manager." "Oh?" "He says our cleaning lady has three little girls. I think we know who our culprits are now." So, no aliens. But that didn't stop me from feeling a slight fondness for our mystery guests anyway. There was apprehension in there too. I was a nosy kid once. What else were these kids looking through? "He talked to the cleaning agency," she added before leaving. "They had no idea she was bringing her kids to work with her. They promised to take care of the situation."
I guess there won't be anymore notes. It's a shame, really. They actually brought a little excitement to my day. I feel bad for their Mom too. There's probably nowhere for her little ones to go, what with school being out and the economy being the way it is. The kids were just being kids, bored and mischievous. I remember my Dad taking me to work during the summer. He built fences. I tried so hard to be good. But sometimes I just couldn't take the waiting anymore. I wonder if anyone ever tattled on me for drawing on the back of their fence, or if they just admired the work and wondered where it the world (ahem, universe) it came from.
Around The Water Cooler:
Coworker: Did you hear that Japan has nukes pointed at us?
Tink: Yeah, that's old news.
Coworker: I don't see why everyone is so worried. They'd probably hit one of those countries in between us first.
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