Do Something, Anything

Sam Nam

Even though it will never happen, the creep wants to hug the new gal. He wants to hug her because she looks sad. She looks like she’s going to quit or eat pills or sleep with someone in accounting.

He watches her every day, and every day she eats alone in her cubicle. Her friends never call. Maybe she has no friends, he thinks. She just started here. She’s the new gal.

Around three o’clock she hides in the bathroom for seventeen minutes. She probably thinks no one notices, and no one really does notice, except for the creep, because he studies her. She’s his science.

Valentine’s Day arrives, and the office explodes in pink bouquets, but the new gal’s workstation remains a decimated battlefield of crumbled-up post-it notes and tip-chewed pens. Seeing this, the creep rushes into the new gal’s cubicle and offers her a piece of gum. She shakes her head. It’s not her flavor.

The creep thinks she’s on the verge of doing something rash because her life has not gone accordingly. A few years ago she probably had big plans, but now she’s here. At this job. Doing this work. What a fucking laugh.

Her failure makes him happy though because he feels like a failure too. He can cheer her up with his love. But he doesn’t mention these things to the new gal because he’s sure these sentiments will fail.

All his hints have backfired.

He told her he likes her quirky smile. She covers her mouth now. He told her he likes the way she squeezes the bottom of her chicken wrap like it’s a tube of toothpaste. She only eats salads now. He told her he enjoys listening to her shoes clap against the tile because it reminds him of Spanish dancers. She doesn’t walk by his cubicle anymore.

He feels restless. He comes up with stupid reasons to talk to her. Did you see that the copier is jammed again? You didn’t? Well, it’s jammed. So if you need to make copies, you should go downstairs. You’re welcome. I’m here to help. Can I kiss you?

He never said that last part, but he wishes he could. He wishes many things. He wishes he could save her life. One night, he experiences a vivid dream of this very wish. In this dream, he is entering the parking garage after a late night of work and hears a scream. It’s coming from the new gal. A serial killer is attacking her, and there’s blood everywhere. The creep jumps in to save her and fights the serial killer off.

The creep is bleeding to death from his wounds, but it doesn’t bother him because he’s in love, and love can lift cars off babies. He manages to pick the gal up in his arms. He’s happy to finally hold her, but all that blood is scary, he thinks.

Of course, it’s scary to the new gal too because she’s hurt badly. She’s one nap away from a coma, and through her slit eyes she looks at him and says, You’re going to die if you carry me. And he says, I know, and then he carries her anyway. He runs all the way to the hospital. Patients in the emergency room cry for God when they see the creep collapse to the floor and the bloody gal slide across the tiles like she’s at a water park. Nurses rush out of the office, screaming for doctors. Men in white lab coats storm the room. Care is administered. Transfusions are given. Sutures are stitched, and time passes.

The creep and the new gal survive, and now they’re in love. They want to roll around on the floor and ravish one another, but they can’t do any physical activity while their gashes are mending. Instead, they just sit around the house and stare at each other. The arousal is deep and satisfying. It doesn’t matter that they look like Frankenstein’s monster and his bride. They’re in this together.

Of course, it’s only a dream, so none of it ever happened. In reality, the creep isn’t getting anywhere. He has nothing to say or do. The copier can only break so many times.

After a few weeks, he notices the new gal talking often to DB. DB is not the man’s actual name, it stands for douchebag. The douchebag wears too much cologne, wears designer everything, drives a hummer. The creep cannot understand why the new gal would even speak to DB.

Perhaps his dream about the serial killer was not a dream after all, perhaps it was a premonition. He must save the new gal from DB’s many charms. But when the creep thinks about a battle between himself and DB for the new gal’s attention, he feels sorry for the new gal because her two choices are between a creep and a douchebag. She deserves so much better. But the creep justifies his war by believing that this distinction, this demarcation between creep and douchbag is the very definition of all men. They are either creeps or douchebags, and men who are seemingly normal are merely moderates within this continuum. This idea makes the creep feel better; in fact, it emboldens him because now he knows that he must represent creeps everywhere.

He overhears DB making plans with the new gal to have after-work drinks at the local bar for later that night. The creep can’t let this happen, so he goes to the liquor store during his lunch hour and buys three bottles of vodka. He gives the booze to the new gal and says he won the vodka in a liquor promotion and since she loves drinking alcohol she should stay home tonight and get drunk by herself. She gives him a weird look, thanks him, and then declines the booze.

When he overhears the new gal talking to DB about their shared love for animals, the creep goes out the next day and purchases a life-sized teddy bear and places it in her cubicle chair. He waits eagerly for the new gal’s arrival, and when she shows up, she sees the bear and screams, a terrified scream. She believes someone is playing a cruel joke on her because when she was ten, a grizzly killed her father. Ever since then, she has been bear-phobic.

The Human Resources department sends out a memo to all employees stating that misbehavior in the workplace will not be ignored, and that practical jokes that prey upon the childhood trauma of its employees will now be grounds for termination.

The creep knows that this memo was directed toward him. He also knows he has lost his war against DB. And it doesn’t even matter when he finds out that DB was never actually in a war with him. DB is actually a happily married man with two kids, and the new gal is actually his wife’s cousin. It doesn’t matter that DB was the one that got the new gal this job in the first place. Nor does it matter that DB and his wife have been showing the new gal around town to make her feel comfortable in her new career. None of that matters because DB is more than a person, he is an idea. He is everything the creep is not.

So in a last ditch effort, the creep decides to do something shocking and belligerent just the way he used to show his love in elementary school. If he can’t make the new gal love him, he can at least make her hate him with a visible passion.

He has no plan; however, he just enters her cubicle and bumps into her chair. She gives him a dirty look. He ignores her and steals her stapler. She complains. He tells her to shut-up. She says, No, you shut-up. He says, What are you? Nine years old?

She stands and demands her stapler back. He blows her off. She grabs his arm before he can leave, and even though he could easily escape her, he doesn’t. They’re talking now. She feels something for him. It’s a freaking miracle.

He’s too excited about their interaction to notice that she’s truly upset; he just smiles at the hand on his arm, her red fingernail polish, the slimness of her knuckles. But then he notices that she is genuinely scared of him. He must be a monster; what is he doing to this poor woman? So he does the only thing he can, the only thing that will fix everything: he staples his own face. He staples it hard. The stapler goes Ka-chunk, smack dab on his left cheek. A kiss of pain and love; he’s a protest monk—this will show her.

Shocked, she screams. Everyone looks. They tell the boss, and the creep is fired—free to do his weirdness elsewhere.

Fine. This job sucked anyway. But he never says that.

He remains taciturn. His defense is silence. He’s like a revolutionary fighting against the sterile, loveless world of adult protocol. He’s a freedom fighter sent to the firing squad, and everyone in the office wants to see him squeal and beg for mercy, or at the very least, explain why the hell he stapled his own face, but he’s too strong for that. He’s too proud. He says nothing.

The security footage of his self-attack will be a viral sensation. It’ll be all over the internet. The clip will get millions of hits, and it will be duplicated thousands of times with stupid titles like, “Staple Man” or “Man PWNS! Himself w/ Stapler.” The creep doesn’t consider this. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him except for the new gal. He just stares at her as he packs his things. He watches her every movement, her facial ticks, her disturbed expression. He doesn’t say anything to her, but he wants to. So he looks at her, and with his eyes he says, I’m so stupid. I ruined my life. I didn’t even need a stapler. I love you. Never forget me.

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