Cold Hearted

© 2017 by Tom Sparough

Cold Hearted

When I heard Julie say that it was no surprise what had happened to me, I decided to teach her a lesson. Nobody deserves to die from road rage.

It is true that I was a hot head, but I’ve cooled off. Death will do that to you.

The average worker is no different than me, Julie included, and I decided to become a teacher to point this important lesson out. My job is to help people to get along better so they don’t suffer my fate.

There is a learning curve, though, and I enjoy imparting my lessons. I admit that I’ve become a mischievous, hidden teacher, who gives daily lessons to the company employees.

Since Julie and the others often witnessed me get worked up over nothing in the company break room, I picked the perfect little cubicle right there as my teaching environment. I like my cool, dark space.

Most days, everyone comes to me, because they need something stored in my office. It feels good to be needed. One by one they come to my little classroom.

I may be nothing more than a ghost, but the president of our company comes to me and bows down as she uses my services. And everyone follows her lead.

People come and open my door and stand and peer into my cubicle. I hold them spellbound. They try to decide what they want, why they have come to me. Several days this summer, I think it was just for the cool air that poured out when my door was open.

Awhile back I got the idea to simply change the place where people left their supplies. I put the old things where the new ones were laid.

It was clearly a worthwhile teaching moment. All I did was exchange some things that had been on my shelves for six months with the things that were brought in that very day.

They shouted, “What’s this! Who has been messing with my stuff?” They looked right at me, but never suspected me. It is always someone else’s fault. So they think.

Another technique I developed was to keep my door open during the night. Therefore everything warmed up to the office-wide temperature. Many of the supplies were sensitive to this. The blower in my office tried to keep everything cool, but it couldn’t.

The next day the fun of teaching began. “This is terrible,” they screeched. “It’s gone bad overnight.” They sent in a repairman who couldn’t find anything wrong.

I took his assessment as a vote of approval. My job is to keep the difficulties coming. I am a trainer, of sorts, a self-appointed educator.

Little Miss Perfect, Julie, still has a lot to learn about relaxing and keeping things in perspective. She is one of the people with the biggest reactions to my concealed efforts.

A fingerprint in her supplies got her to bite her lip to the point of bleeding. She stormed off with fire in her eyes. How is that different than road rage?

Julie and the other employees thought they were getting organized by putting nametags on their supplies. I laughed as they carefully placed their supplies on my office shelves. Once they closed the door, I went straight to work. I pulled the nametags off and switched them from one package to another.

My students had no idea they were being tested. When they found their nametags were on the wrong supplies, they accused each other of foul play. Julie whined, “Stay out of my stuff, or you’ll be sorry!”

I so enjoy teaching my lessons that sometimes I am half in my cubicle and half out. I can’t leave my workspace, but I can stretch myself. This way I get to see every reaction.

Brad, who had only been with the company three weeks, saw his nametag was on the wrong package. His eyes bulged, and he threw his stuff across the room, splattering spaghetti sauce all over the wall, and he refused to clean it up. He quit right there in the break room.

It gives new meaning to “break room.”

One day I got hold of a marker, and I changed the name of Joe to Julie. It was sloppy but effective. They are on edge over the littlest of things. Joe started screaming at Julie. He was upset to the point that he threw his back out. He fell over in pain. I fell over from laughing. I love being a teacher.

Really, people need to get a grip. It is time to learn the lesson. Little things shouldn’t make you crazy.

Nobody is going to take my job. I don’t mind the mess, the spills, and the stale items that no one will claim or discard. I like the company of the unclaimed yogurt cup on my back shelf.

One of the best things I did was to open up their liquid supplies and take a drink. Then I put the caps back on crooked.

Fireworks, I tell you, fireworks in the office when people saw a bottle with a cap that had been opened. Julie got so upset it sent her straight to the bathroom! No surprise there.

Oh, and this is too good, I unwrapped the tinfoil on Julie’s package and took one big bite. Then I put it all back together perfectly. I cannot wait until she discovers her next lesson.

I am feeding all the employees important information. If my students could hear me talk, I would say to them, “Learn my lesson about what really matters, or die trying.”

I am going to keep doing what I do. I am stuck in the cold, but I don’t mind. It matches my heart.

 

Reflection

What is the narrator’s office? In case you didn’t guess it, the answer is the company refrigerator.

We all know that little things do matter, and personal space is extremely important. If someone messes with your things in the refrigerator, it can be extremely upsetting. But, how do you keep things in perspective?

What are some of ways this character messed with stuff? How did people react? What might they have done differently?

In what ways am I affected by struggles around the refrigerator, or other common work areas? What might I do differently to not loose my cool?