A watched phone never rings, much as a watched never kettle never boils. It will ring however once you have turned your back upon it, and have ambled over towards the door in an attempt to reach the toilet before your shoes are filled with an astringent warm liquid that smells much like urine, because it is infact urine. It will also continue to ring even when you have flung yourself over the desk with conspicuous fervour, causing your cup of tea to crash unhelpfully to the ground, fizzling inside the electrical socket connected to the monkey with the symbols which had been inexplicably purchased following a drunken trawl around ASDA. And thus, your bottom touching your face, your hands grasping at the handset which might as well be floating in the gravity of Jupiter, the phone will cease to ring and the monkey will begin to dance; the pile of newspapers atop the desk may also fall to cover your crumpled body- though why I had been keeping these papers on my desk escapes me… it may have been something to do with the ‘funny pictures of dogs’ section, however. Nonetheless, it was either that the phone had now stopped ringing, or my ears were now full of shame, for I could hear naught but my unsettled breathing.
I had now been trapped underneath this pile of newspapers for approximately seven hours. The answer phone beeped and informed me that I was eligible to have my conservatory reinforced with the skin of seal pups, and my anus tightened slightly with anxiety. As the hours passed I began to understand the truth within my mother’s frequent saying of ‘always keep your carpet clean’, though at the time I had simply assumed this to mean something much more disturbing. Bits of leftover crisps were beginning to dig into my nipples and the smell of rotting vegetables from the murky depths of the carpet was beginning to make me feel more fond of the time I had woken up with a dead pigeon stapled to my scalp. The smell was terrible and it hadn’t made a good top hat at all. I was severely disappointed, but it certainly was more entertaining than under-desk agony and sexual attacks from potato products.
I decided to use my time alone trapped in the office, lodged under the desk, to contemplate some of the deeper questions humanity contemplates. For instance, why do all the spiders congregate in the bathroom at my house? Why are crackers so unbelievably delicious? And why does the woman on the bus always eat her yogurt with her fingers? Doesn’t she have a spoon? I really should buy her a spoon at some point.
For a long while I watched the red light on my computer screen blink, and as the night wore on it cast shadows of my potted plant along the wall. I’d had this potted plant for many years, and yet I had never named it. I had named all of the other potted plants I had at home- there was Sidney the bamboo plant, and Arthur the bean plant which for a time took over the entirety of my kitchen, before one day it tried to rob the cheese from the fridge and I had to call the police. But the office potted plant had never been named. What was I afraid of, I wondered? I had struggled to connect with any office-based plant since the fiasco with the cactus and the rape charges, yet lying on the floor now, unable to feel my spine and almost certainly on the brink of insanity, I decided it might be time to move on and invited the plant to the Christmas ball. It would be a magical evening, full of cheap cocktails and buffet items, the things of romance.
Eventually the light of the sun thankfully broke through the curtains and a matter of hours later my colleagues entered the building. I wasn’t rescued until lunch time however when everyone was missing their cups of tea. After lunch we had a discussion concerning the prospect of conservatory reinforcement, though luckily my sense of irony had died along with my sanity, sense of smell and desire to pick up the phone.