The Internet and everyone were still not on speaking terms when everyone returned to the office. Everyone was disappointed in the trip that he or she had taken to the convenience store to buy a Handsome Cola. Everyone had intended to write a chapter for his or her blog novel on the way there or on the way back. Instead, everyone had conversed with his or her coworker Sam.
At first, the conversation had been with Sam and Alice and Pat and Max and K. and Morgan and all the others who came to the store, but then the others split into tiny factions in the corners, and then so did Alice and Pat and Max and K. and Morgan. Some disappeared, likely to return to the office early or to go shopping for shaving appliances at the mall or to drink a depressant rather than a stimulant (or perhaps the two mixed together) at one of the downtown eateries. So then it was just Sam and everyone.
Sam had a crush on everyone, and everyone could feel him- or herself slowly falling for Sam, which was bad, because everyone was married. Although everyone had not seen the spouse in 5.5 months, everyone still wanted him or her back, and falling for someone else was not conducive to that.
What’s more, everyone had had 3.5 danishes and 2 frappuccinos instead of a Handsome Cola. Everyone was on a diet, and Handsome Cola was a diet drink. Danishes and frappuccinos were not. Everyone had gained sixteen pounds since starting the diet. Everyone would skip lunch and dinner in the hope that today’s gain could be offset by starvation.
Everyone was getting bigger, but Sam would always love everyone whether he or she weighed two pounds or two thousand. That is what Sam told everyone with the tilt of his or her eyes and the lean of his or her body. Sam used no words so that nothing would be stated definitively.
That is why everyone choked on his or her danish at lunch.
I am full of more love than I ever imagined was possible, Sam had said by putting his or her hand on everyone’s.
Everyone beat his or her fist against everyone’s sternum. “Wrong pipe,” everyone said. And then, removing Sam’s hand, “I’m married.”
Sam did not notice. Sam was too full of love. “I can’t get the thoughts out of my mind,” Sam said. “I never would have thought I could have so much sorrow, so much pain, over a coworker.”
Everyone nodded before he or she realized everyone should not have.
“It takes losing someone to know how much that person meant,” Sam went on.
“But I’m still here,” everyone said.
“I know,” Sam said. “You’re a Godsend. We have to stay strong, like you.”
Everyone’s heart beat quick. Sam was moving in close. If everyone wasn’t careful, they would kiss.
Everyone had his or her arms around Sam again like the day that J. D. had fallen out of the twelfth-story window at the office, and both of them were crying.
Everyone needed advice. Everyone’s thoughts were running like a vacuum cleaner spinner on a bad belt. Everyone knew he or she should not blog about this, but at the same time everyone felt compelled to spew it onto the Internet. The Internet would know what to do.
But the Internet was not listening. The Internet was still mad at everyone for being selfish, and now everyone felt even more selfish.
If everyone knew the meaning of life, the way his or her spouse had come to, everyone would have been okay. Everyone would have been able to focus on what mattered. This is what everyone told him- or herself. Everyone wanted to know the meaning of life.
“I need you,” Sam said, standing in the doorway to everyone’s office, when they were back in the building.
Everyone wants you to read the book on which he or she is working, a novel everyone is writing in order to find the meaning of life, with which everyone’s spouse ran off. But everyone has to finish the novel before everyone can know where the novel begins. In the meantime, there are all these distractions, such as the twelfth-floor window at the office building where everyone works out of which people or maybe just one person keeps jumping or falling--everyone isn’t sure--or everyone’s sexy coworker Sam, whom everyone is struggling valiantly against to keep from becoming a paramour. It’s kind of pitiful, actually, the way everyone keeps begging you to read, sending you e-mails, dropping it into conversation (“I have a book, you know?”), posting links to it on social-networking sites. Everyone figures that if he or she begs enough, you will break down and try it. Everyone is like a dog that way, watching you eat your dinner. The way you handle the dog is to push it away from the table, lock it outside the room. Sometimes, of course, you hand the dog a bite, an inch-sized bit of beef, and that is all everyone is asking for--a bite, that you read just the first line of his or her book. The problem is that you know everyone too well. If you read one line, everyone will beg you to read another. Just one more.
To start from the beginning of the novel, go here.