Wednesday, February 05, 2003

The Exit Signs Have Been Disabled Day!

You noticed it when you returned from lunch. Every afternoon as you digest behind your desk, you stare into the fisheye mirror suspended from the wall of your cubicle (put there so that you can close any documents of a classified nature should visiting clients approach from behind) and you let your pupils dilate around the warped reflection of the red "Exit" sign suspended from the drop ceiling 20 yards back. Today you notice the light on the sign is out. Just the grayed out pink plastic in a white casing.

That's odd.

Having some time to kill before the VP you assist calls in from Tokyo to retrieve his messages, you take a walk around the floor. First one, then another, and another Exit sign, all gone dark. Your pace quickens, as does your anxious pant. Another, and another. And one other. Just above the main exit from the floor.

You run your magnetic card over the electronic key guard to the door. No click. No green light. No red light either. It's like the power to the door has been completely shut down, and the door is sealed. You glide your card over the pad again and again, frantic now, not just because you can't get out but because something from your walk around the floor has just registered. All the desks were empty.

Back at your desk now, you take a breath and you steel yourself against the sound of the footstomps you hear coming from the stairwell. You place your cyanide capsule in between your teeth and gum. The index and middle fingers of your left hand hover over the red button underneath your desk, its glass shield already smashed. Your right hand caresses the butt of a revolver loaded with six rounds, no more.

"Temp to perm." The words dance through your head, drawing from your quaking belly a gallows chuckle. "People get caught up in trouble when they go from temp to perm. But what are the odds?" Such an innocent little thing you were.

You knew this day would come. It was there in your veins, the knowledge. In a flash, you register shock at just how ready you are for them. Ready and waiting?

Happy The Exit Signs Have Been Disabled Day!