Monday, April 02, 2007

Interactive Fiction

You can choose your friends, but you’re stuck with your family. I’d like to add a codicil to this rule: you can choose where you work, but not the person who sits next to you at work.

I am sure that certain aspects of my personality grate on my co-workers: the incessant swearing at my computer, the frowning, pissy face I make when things don’t go my way, and bringing an semi-automatic weapon to the workplace.

Two things I am not known for are a harsh, grating voice that could split an airborne 747 into several pieces, and a cellphone ring with the volume turned up to 11 and that goes off most frequently when its owner is not at her desk. The cellphone plays “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

Also, when I am making a noise that puts the whoop in whooping cough while blowing out an average of 3 liters of phlegm each day, I stay at home.

Sadly, this person I describe is real.

Normally, talk of my job is verboten in this space. My employers would be none-too-happy given the content here, and there are about 14 million other bloggers relating their day-to-day hell known as their job, in any case. It’s like Jennifer Anniston in “Office Space”: I don’t want to talk about my pieces of flair.

But since this person who is lodged near me (and fortunately, does not work with me) threatens to steal the last remaining threads of my sanity, today I will make an exception.

Of all the cube farms in all the towns in all the world, she walks into in mine

In short, I find this woman revolting. I hate her.

I hate her voice, I hate her endless, stupid conversations on the phone, I hate her germ warfare that she seems intent on waging on the rest of us. I hate her frequent laugh that could shatter glass; I hate hearing all about her personal problems. She is a life-support system for pointlessness.

There, I said it. Now, what to do about it?

That’s where you come in.

If living well is the best revenge, then writing about one’s tormentors is even better.

I may just write a story about this officemate, but I can’t really decide what will happen. I’ve come up with five possible scenarios, or at least five fantasy scenarios that I’ve rolled over in my mind with the frequency of an obsessive washing his hands:

1) An enormous asteroid emerges from the heavens and stomps on her.

2) An enormous foot emerges from the heavens and stomps on her.

3) She is fired from her job and arrested for embezzlement, sentenced to 25 to life in the Sing Sing.

4) She begs to make mad, passionate love to me, but I reject her in disgust, and she jumps out the window.

5) Nothing changes except that the volume of her voice increases, she changes her cellphone ring to “My Humps,” and I end up working for her, then, for reasons unknown, I divorce Wife and marry this other woman. I jump out the window.

I’m going to allow you to determine which one of these storylines to follow.

I would prefer not to

But if you come up with something better — which shouldn’t be hard — I’ll go with instead.

I will take the winning entry, write a short short (under 1,000 words), and publish it here!

America, you decide.

Non-Americans can vote too.