It is 12:35 on a weekday morning. Greg and I are at work standing in our warehouse. We have just finished discussing some tile minutiae and he confides that he’s hungry. Considering that most mornings he breakfasts on two cigarettes and three cups of black coffee, this admission doesn’t surprise me. I feel fine having stuffed myself royally with a bowl of flavor-free organic oat sop a few hours earlier.
Me: You gonna go to lunch now?
Greg: Yeah, in a few minutes.
Me: Should we get Elsbeth out here to take a quick glance at the layout for these boards you have to build?
Me (mumbling as I enter our office): This should take two seconds.
I enter our boss’s office and ask her if she can take a moment to make a few mundane, routine decisions so Greg can proceed with his next cluster of projects. Elsbeth walks with me to our warehouse where she inspects our layouts, and gives everything her seal of approval. Now Greg is ready to jet in the direction of chow. Just before returning to her office Our Dear Leader notices some sheeted glass.
Elsbeth: What’s that?
Greg: Basketweave. I like it.
Elsbeth (pleasantly pleased): It is nice, isn’t it?
Elsbeth turns towards me.
Me: It reminds me of worms.
Elsbeth ignores my contribution to editorial comment. She focuses her attention on how we can best display this material. For the next half hour Greg and I are trying to help her solve this problem, running in and out of the office, digging through boxes, shuffling through samples in drawers in a futile search for some field tile or border that might work with it. Nothing is quite right, until Elsbeth recalls a dusty two-ton display board packed with marble moldings she’s squirreled away behind my desk.
Meanwhile, Greg’s empty stomach is silently screaming, but Elsbeth is oblivious to his torture. I conclude that Greg would make a model hostage, and remind myself to tell him to add that talent to his resume. After another ten minutes of close scrutiny comparing the moldings board against the sheet of glass basketweave, Elsbeth has a very low-key “Eureka!” moment. Display decisions are reached. Even though Greg is ready to eat twenty square feet of salted ceramic tile right now, he stoically endures his own discomfort and does all the heavy lifting so I do not have to put anything away. Then, 45 minutes after first telling me that he was feeling quite hungry Greg is finally free to leave for lunch.
Elsbeth and I follow Greg back out into the warehouse to talk about something else tile-related, when we hear him cry, “Awwwwwwwwww.” He is standing near the door looking down at the floor. Apparently, a little mouse, is in the process of dying at his feet. Now, Elsbeth and I are saying, “Awwwwwwwwww.”
Greg: What should we do? I almost stepped on it!
Me: Put it in a cup.
Greg gets a cup and scoops our dying visitor into it with a piece of cardboard.
Greg: Do you think he’s dying because he ate some poison?
I look at the suffering little critter drawing its final breaths. Even though I am not a mouse-ologist, I share an affinity for this helpless captive, checking out in clear plastic. One can only hope its now in a better place, one full of cheese and sex.
Me: No, I think this poor creature’s dying of boredom having overheard our discussion about how to display that basketweave tile.
So did he live or die?
I thought of you this morning when I peeled my banana that had black dots all over the peel.
Unfortunately, the little critter bought his rainbow shortly after the photo was taken. Greg did perform mouth to mouth — something I did not condone — and now he’s feeling pretty lousy today, but we expect him to pull through.