morning coffee: Thank you for Smoking

The duck has transformed. It’s consumed the entire cubicle wall. It’s become sentient.

This morning began normally, I think: I parked my car in the company lot (the second on the back row), I entered through the back maintenance door, I crossed into my office, and I sat at my desk. I logged onto my desk computer, stamped my digital time sheet, and sipped my morning coffee in silence.

Then it spoke to me–a voice in the cubicle wall.

“Can I bum a smoke?” it said.

I turned to face the voice. “I’m sorry, I don’t–” I paused. There was no one there.

“You should,” it said.

“Excuse me?” I said. To the wall.

“Smoke,” it said. “It’d take the edge off.”

“I’m allergic to nicotine, and I have bad lungs. I can’t”

“Sure. Nonsmoker. Do you have a light?”


“You should.”

“I don’t smoke, so I don’t need one.”

“Could come in handy, especially since we’re sharing a desk.”

“Handy?” I asked. The wall did not reply.

At that moment, the door opened, and E— arrived. He sat at his desk, logged onto his desk computer, stamped his digital time sheet, and sipped his morning coffee in silence. The conversation dimmed; perhaps I’ll attempt to pick it back up at lunch time. For now, I need to finish my coffee and get to work.

Word: introspection


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