Welcome to the second installment of “Tuesdays with Tuesday,” where our literary friend Tuesday Jones expounds upon the virtues and disillusionment of post-grad life. For last week’s installment, go here.
So after last week’s laundry list of every grotesquely dull thing that happened to me, I had serious doubts about continuing this series of posts. But, in an odd twist of events, something happened this week that’s actually worth talking about.
Ike Cleavers disappeared from the face of this planet.
You remember Ike Cleavers, right? My neighbor and co-worker who I assumed skipped work due to swine flu? Turns out he doesn’t have swine flu–or, more to the point, if he does, no one knows about it. He hasn’t been to work, at his house, or seen any friends and family since last Friday.
My boss Misty shouted this at me and Penny today in the break room. I’m not sure why she shouted it. We were sitting right there in front of her. But Misty has only two tones of voice: so bored she can barely get the words to roll out of her mouth; so loud that the words reverberate around the office. I guess she thought dire news like Ike’s disappearance required more than a bored drone.
Everyone at work knew Ike had been absent for over a week, but we thought it a purposeful move on his part. We assumed he came to his senses and escaped this rainy little town for an exotic bachelor pad in Florida or Cancun. Maybe the Swiss Alps. I had my money on Japan, actually. We thought he got so fed up with our ridiculous workplace that he failed to give two weeks’ notice. I wish that were the case.
I barely had time to ingest this news before marching back to work. As a result, I floated around in a preoccupied haze for the rest of the day. I always thought my job was mindless, until I actually tried to do it with my mind somewhere else. Instead of answering the phones with “Comp Systems Incorporated, this is Tuesday,” I accidentally blurted things like “Ike Systems Incorporated,” or “Comp Systems Incorporated, this is Ike Cleavers,” and even “Comp Tuesdays Incorporated, this is Cleaver, how can I assystems you today?” Yeah. I finally begged off sick and went home an hour early.
I’m not sure why the thing about Ike bugs me so much. It’s just weird, knowing someone who vanished. You see it on 48 Hours and Unsolved Mysteries, but don’t expect it to happen to your neighbor.
As if a vanished coworker, an angry boss and embarrassing phone slip-ups weren’t enough, fate saw to it that Mr. Chicory was outside when I came home, so I had to make polite small talk for a minute. And he was in one of his difficult moods.
“Boy, we’ve been having a lot of rain,” I said.
“Oh, not nearly as much as last year,” he said, and surveyed the looming clouds.
“Well, at least it’s not too cold,” I tried.
“Supposed to get below freezing tonight,” he offered helpfully.
“Oh?” I cocked an eyebrow at the fence around his back yard. “Kind of an odd time to start a new garden then, isn’t it?”
“Well who in their right mind would start a new garden in November?” He gave me an owlish glare through those square wire-rims of his–the lenses magnify his eyes to the radius of small pancakes–and wrinkled all the skin around his brow as though I were the most ignorant child he’d ever had the displeasure to live next door to. I sighed, and decided not to get into an argument about the garden plot I’d freaking seen him digging in not ten days ago. Contradicting Mr. Chicory is a bit like dealing with a case of badger-bite in which the badger won’t let go of its victim’s leg–unless of course you break its jaws, and I didn’t feel like doing that to Mr. Chicory. I doubt it would slow his talking much anyway.
I have to admit, I’m a little shaken by Ike’s disappearance. Even tucked away in our cozy upstairs apartment, I feel something akin to the creeps. Thus I’m in my office, arguably the safest and most defensible bit of the house–a little leftover space in the corner of the upstairs, with only one entrance and a locking door, and a window overlooking the porch roof to serve as emergency escape. My desk and shelves take up most of the floor space, and I sit practically on top of the hot water heater, so it’s probably a massive fire hazard. But it’s an office; I’m lucky to have that in this neighborhood of divvied-up houses, where most apartments sport only one bedroom, squealing floorboards and ragged paint from the 1980s.
I just have to keep the creeps at bay until Jonah comes home.
Tuesday M Jones