Confessional Fantasies From a Billing Office

Yesterday at five a.m. I had that fantasy where I think the time is really ten a.m. and I’ve just blown off my midmorning meeting. Only in the fantasy, it’s worse, because it is also the boss’s birthday and I’ve missed the breakfast of stale donuts and soggy bagels and melancholy singing. Everyone else is already there gathering around the boss lady like she is the damn Madonna lavishing her with praises and empty tips for getting older. Gag gifts ensue.

I never have the dream about showing up at the office in the nude. Sometimes I wish I had—in fact I envy the people who have the naked office dream. Sometimes before I go to bed at night I stand naked in my bedroom hoping to inspire my mind for the night to dream of walking into the office naked. I know I could handle it, if ever it were to come up. What do I care if my co-workers see my frightened, shrinking penis, my unkempt chest hairs matted to one side across my left breast? Instead, I wake up drenched in sweat afraid I’m going to need to go down to some state agency and file for unemployment because the boss lady is angry I missed her birthday. State agencies bug me too, but I don’t dream about them.

Most days I slip away in the afternoon to back of our storage closet. There are rows and rows of file cabinets. I fall asleep standing with my head rested against these archives. No one bothers me because I don’t think anyone wants the records from 1984. That’s my favorite year to sleep against. The best part is that when I sleep standing up against the cabinets I never dream about sleeping through my alarm clock and missing the boss’s birthday cake. When I sleep standing up, I only dream of Ronald Reagan.

But yesterday the boss lady was standing over me, as if she was expecting me to sneak away. Maybe she was onto my midday napping. I needed something as a substitute. When I went to the soda machine looking for a Diet Coke, I found the machine was out and all that was left was fruit punch.

Yesterday really was the Boss’s birthday. On my fruitless return from the soda vending machine, I saw Sally So Good collecting money from people. I call her Sally So Good because that’s just the way she talks. She snatched a five dollar bill from Wally the one armed receptionist. I’m sure the cake was going to be so good. Since I hate my boss and wanted nothing to do with her cake—I still insist office birthday cakes are a form of mind control—I took all the money from my wallet except a single dollar bill, stuffing the rest into my desk drawer to hide it from Sally’s sweaty hands. I know her hands are sweaty because once she and I went out on a date and she insisted that we hold hands, and they were sweaty.

“Marty,” Sally So Good said to me as I hid behind a leafy desk plant someone from the office bought for my birthday last year. “We need some money for a B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y cake for you know who.”

“What did you say?” I said. I squirted water on my plant with the spray bottle taking extra care with the leaves.

“We bought a cake. It’s going to be so good. But it would really be great if we had some money from everyone though. It wouldn’t be fair if Marcia and I were the only ones who paid for the cake if everyone was going to eat it,” she said, “We’re asking everyone for just five dollars.”

Reluctantly, I opened my wallet. Oh no, I only had a dollar left!

“Its so good of you to contribute. Don’t worry, you can borrow the rest until tomorrow,” Sally said.

I passed the next twenty minutes clicking back and forth between two internet news sites hoping one or both would announce the immanent destruction of humanity until finally I heard Sally and Marcia calling my fellow cubicle sitters together in the conference room.

“Come on Marty, we have you know who’s birthday cake, it would be so good for you to come and sing with us,” Sally said pulling my arm along.

Let me be honest. I had no intention of repaying Sally the remaining four dollars on my birthday cake credit account. I didn’t even like the boss lady very much. And so I did the only thing I could think of. In the middle of “Happy Birthday”, I burst into the conference room completely, utterly naked.

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