Rumor in the office that Sam Alston, a young lawyer from the Corporate Department, is leaving the firm for Macfarlane’s.
Almost beside myself with anticipation as I urinate in the new aluminum trough constructed in the bathroom on the ﬂoor of my office.
Slightly disappointed at the choice of make – Sernikon, some Scandinavian company, that is, by all accounts, making strong inroads into the commercial sanitation market. The disinfectant cubes are of various colours.
Transfixed by this assortment.
Looking at myself in the mirror that runs above the three sinks between the trough and the two cubicles. I am watching my reﬂection and am thinking almost in slow motion and the face I am seeing is also moving in this dimension – facial muscles pulling and twitching, eyes blinking over and over, my lids yellow, pupils dilating, veins pumping and throbbing with my pulse, thudding slowly, my larynx rising and slipping down.
Standing next to him and pissing on the pale blue disinfectant cubes. I take pleasure from the fact that despite starting my piss some time before him, I’m still going strong even when he is zipping up and drying his feminine- looking hands on the towel resting on the chrome heated rail.
Irish music (possibly Sinead O’Connor or Clannad) coming from speakers that give the appearance of air vents. Humming to this tune which is, I must admit, great music to urinate to.
“I hear you may be leaving us young Samuel,” I say to him, almost father like.
He responds: “That’s right, although there still are a few loose ends to tie but provided we iron those out and if, and only if, the package is right, then I’ll possibly start at the end of the Financial Year.”
“Of course, it’s a slightly bigger firm alright,” I am saying: “But the partnership potential is, I would say, far less. I did of course get offered a partnership there last year but the package offered here, well, totally knocked the shit out of anything they could have put on the table.”
I notice, as I am saying all this, some scrawl on a tile that is adjacent to my head. In red letters, it says: WE ARE ALL DEAD WE ARE ALL DEAD.
I breathe very deeply and say, turning to Sam Alston: “Get yourself a bidding war: That’s the way to go Sammy, a personal bidding war: The ego kick you get from that. It’s the fucking business alright. Get yourself a fucking bidding war: It’s the only way to go, believe me: I’ve been there Samuel, right there, hit the button and get the bastards running. “
I am, when saying all this, ﬂashing what I am imagining to be an almost demonic grin: and feeling slightly smug and I am looking at Sam Alston’s tie that is yellow and purple and has an element of paisley about it – and it is for the best part an extremely mediocre tie and I for one would not dress the worse corpse in it if I were an undertaker.
Resisting the temptation to take this from him and distracted from these thoughts by this ﬂy that is crawling very slowly on the mirror behind Sam Alston’s head. Thinking I really hate ﬂies and even more, I am at this moment, this snatch of time, despising this animal standing before me and I am wanting to take Sam Alston’s vapid head and crash it against the mirror to perhaps kill the ﬂy, but more worryingly, feeling this overwhelming urge to crack his head against the mirror or the ceiling or perhaps the ﬂoor that is, I note with a certain degree of disappointment, wetted with puddles of what I suspect to be wayward urine.
I picture the janitor, a thin man with a head like a chicken. He should take more pride. Do everything to the best of your ability.
I now realize the ﬂy is in fact a bluebottle and this truly disturbs me and when he is saying: “Yes, quite possibly…” (and) “…they really do have a quite, well, tremendous client base, and I think career wise, I really can only go up,” (I am thinking) “…the sky’s the limit young Samuel.”
Although I don’t think I am actually saying this and all I am seeing is Samuel Alston with this bluebottle head that I am cracking against the mirror, and on the glass is the blood of the bluebottle that is yellow and white and a bit red from his human side, and I am, in my head, throttling this mutant and I’m sticking disinfectant cubes down his throat and I am saying: ”Good Luck Samuel,” and he is choking on this cube and I am saying, “ I really don’t like that tie Samuel,” and, “I really thought you would be perhaps, a little bit more sartorial, but then you go for paisley: Hey that’s your choice man,” and: “ You’re a free spirit young Samuel. Go For It young man, THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER. You know, Intellectual Property really is the thing to be into these days, young Samuel. Get yourself a good relationship with say, a decent trade mark agent, and you are, I would say, really on the fast track to king size success, to fast track success. That’s what you need to be aiming for, if you understand what I saying.”
I wink at Samuel and thinking he must be really feeling a little in awe of my experience and my stature as such a top lawyer, and I really should be trying to make him feel a little more at ease.
On a wall someone has written in thick red lettering: LOVE IS EVERYTHING and EVERYTHING IS FUTILE.
Outside, the wind rattles a window. It begins to rain. A machine with PLAY SAFE and a picture on the white chrome, sterile and unnerving of a woman and a man about to kiss, the woman staring lovingly and sincerely to the man who in contrast appears nonchalant and menacing.
The rain appears to be falling harder now although it is difficult to tell as there are no windows in here. I can however hear the rain rebounding off the pavement: Harder now, slanting on the wind.
I turn to Sam Alston who is staring straight ahead almost robotic: “So, young Sammy, have you ever thought about concentrating on say, patents, or copyright, maybe. Now, that’s a growing market alright. Yeah, real boom town, that’s where the cash is, that’s where it’s at alright – but I’d say you really need to get yourself moving like yesterday. It’s still new enough to exploit, but you’ve got to be quick – you’ve got to make it happen. Make it happen young Samuel.”
I wink again. He may think I have a twitch. I twitch in my sleep. And sometimes I speak. Once I shouted ‘I am a seahorse: let me through on a plane.’ The man sitting beside me told me when I had woken. I knocked over a glass of what was, by all accounts, an inadequate Shiraz over his corduroy trousers. He was very good about it. I was dreaming I was being chased by a shark. A hammerhead if my memory serves me right – dressed as a human.
“You know, before I got into property development, I did for a moment, think about Media Law, you know, the celebrity lifestyle and the parties and the corporate entertainment and you know you’d be looking after these people… you’d be part of these people, part of a team, part of the TEAM. You have to be a team player if you want to get anywhere, TEAM PLAY IS THE KEY Samuel. Believe me, yeah, if I had my time over, I would be all over that fucking Media Law.”
Sam Alston is now staring at me – I’m looking at his suit that has a narrow pinstripe and looking down at my jacket with its thick stripes and this is adding to my feeling of superiority and remembering myself as this new lawyer, not sure about anything I was doing and I am thinking about his polyester suit and his plastic brogues and I’m looking at his drainpipe trousers and they’re almost half mast and noticing these tight socks that are pulled up over his shins like tights and looking down on the soft leather of my boots that were handmade and thinking how nice it is to be completely in control and confident in your own ability.
Thinking of a joke I heard as a child but struggling to recall the punchline.
Was there a punchline?
Something to do with a rabbit and a half light.
Picturing this rabbit in a hole with a dog following it, teeth showing.
I am now laughing uncontrollably and am myself chewing on the disinfectant cube that is yellow on one side and green on the other and I am surprised as to how tasty the cube is, and it perhaps tastes of mangos and lime although there is definitely an odour of urine, and this is undoubtedly taking the sheen off the fine taste of the cube, and I am for the moment feeling a little despondent at this smell and how it is slightly diminishing my enjoyment of this tasty snack.
I take one more bite and throw the rest back into the trench…and I am whistling to Nothing Compares To U by Sinead O’Connor and this truly is a great song, and I am thinking she looks really very pretty with her hair that little bit longer and Christ doesn’t it seem like such a long time ago when she did Mandika which was in itself an incredible piece of innovative music, and doesn’t life just, whizz by.
I am relieved all this has been going on only inside my head and I turn to see Samuel leaving the room. I turn back and ﬁnish off my piss and disappointingly, narrowly avoid pushing the cubes right along the trough and through into the drain.
The urinal is Armitage Shanks. The wash basin is Twyfords.
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