Smelling of lemon furniture polish and stale coffee, he wafts down the halls mumbling. Not like a doddering old man babbling nonsense, but a sinister sibilance, a subliminal threat that makes my skin crawl..
Roaming among our cubicles, spying on each of us during the day, he never makes direct conversation. He only tsks, and tuts his displeasure and disdain. In the story of my life, he would be Mephistopheles.
The front desk receptionist, a youngish woman who appears to have learned to dress watching kabuki theater, judges my less flamboyant fashion sense. With her e-cig dangling from her neck on a thick, silver chain, like some kind of trendy style accessory, she resembles Alice’s caterpillar puffing on a hookah. A halo of blueish smoke encircles her head as she rolls out perfect rings through her ruby red lips, linking them in a daisy chain of grey loops.
She is hypnotic, and I would tell her all my secrets if she would only ask.
My office mates are lemmings going about their day in the same way, every day – no deviation, no surprises, no alterations. Their precise and methodical routine is as mesmerizing as the hookah girl. It is corporate opera, an ancient tale told through their carefully scripted libretto, only I don’t understand the German lyrics.
Sometimes, I wonder if it is the building itself that makes me anxious. A living creature that is slowly absorbing me into its consciousness. One day, I will no longer be an individual, only another voice in the chorus.