Out of the woods
Myk Pilgrim © Copyright June 2014
Monday is a curse.
A curse that’s plagued our kind ever since the ancestors left the woods in favour of more civilised living. We gave up fresh pine air in exchange for heavy chemical concoctions and traded blankets of stars for the violent buzz of electric light. The bounding and playing must have stopped soon after.
I kiss Maddie before I leave the bedroom. She doesn’t stir, she never does. She dozes face down like a pup who’s fallen asleep in the middle of something important. I envy her sometimes, I love her always. Licking my lips as I wipe the sleep from my eyes, I recall the clear sky on Friday night and how even after all these years Maddie can still fill me with that bottomless joy. She is my best friend, my consort, the other half of our little pack. On the bus I find myself thinking of the woods again, we could always go back I guess.
Entering the office I see that Mr Peter Gayle is sporting his blood tie, the one he wears when he’s in that mood. I don’t think he’s ever consciously made the connection but the interns know. They learn pretty fast. I found Simkins crying his eyes out in one of the bathroom stalls last week, every ecosystem needs herbivores I suppose.
Gina walks past my desk on her way to make coffee. I tell her that if I hadn’t found Maddie first, she’d be my number one girl it always makes her giggle. Her laughter attracts the local predator, Gayle tells her that the memo needs to be actioned immediately. His words are sharper than they need be. She moves like he might pursue, skirt squeezing her behind like hard boiled eggs wrapped in cling film. Gayle takes a long look as he sips his peppermint latte with the elegance of a cow chewing the cud. He leans over my desk to assert his dominance. The pungence of overpriced aftershave punches my nose. He says that my deadline has been brought forward, that my 50 page report is due first thing. If it’s not up to scratch, he’ll make sure I won’t even be able to get work flipping burgers. He allows himself the pleasure of a chuckle at his little joke. I imagine that’s how tickling a pig would sound.
“I don’t care how long it takes you, just get it done”
I say nothing. Well nothing out loud anyway.
During lunch I step outside to escape the rancid neon glare. I consider other options for earning money. How the meaningless bits of paper represent comfort. Maddie often jokes that I’m too domesticated for my own good. Sometimes I think she may be right. I smell him long before I see him, the scent of his aftershave wafts ahead, the harbinger of his post lunch onion breath. He’s looking for me, I can tell by the measure of his footsteps. The squeak of overpriced shoes. I try not to cringe.
“Mr Farkas, Enjoying the sunshine, I see”
I squish a passing ant into the paving with my foot, he doesn’t notice.
“Surprised you can find the time, given your workload.”
I picture him running through the dark of the forest screaming wildly as the hungry wolves close in.
“I’ll have it done.”
“Mr Farkas, I don’t much care for your attitude,” — he fingered his tie. “What I said before still stands, you don’t get to disappoint me.” He holds my gaze for longer than would be considered polite, he wants me to roll over. I don’t. He breathes heavily in my face, he convinces himself that I fear him. Then he turns tail and waddles off. I do all I can to not bare my teeth.
On the bus ride home I contemplate options. The moon will be full in 26 days. Then we can slip out of these fragile pink skins and go find that little pig. It shouldn’t be hard, not with his scent. Even now I can feel it coating the insides of my nostrils. Saliva fills my mouth. After ward we can leave all this behind. Maddie will be glad to go back to the wild, she’s never had much taste for this human charade.
I’ll tell her over dinner.