Imagine an embryo in a suit sitting at a desk in a cubicle disguised as an adult. Somehow it has made its way into central London on a grad scheme; the main responsibility of which appears to gravitate around the concept of making me feel old and decrepit. More pressingly (he) is now occupying the room that houses the cabinet in which my work shoes reside. I tap on the glass and open the door.
‘Hi, do you mind if I just get my shoes?’
All the blood drains from of his face. The transformation is quite dramatic. ‘Yes.’
‘You do mind?’
‘Yes I do…sorry.’
‘Oh…well I’ll jus-‘ The wall of stench hits me. He was been breaking wind – a lot. It’s a very tiny room and he clearly wasn’t expecting company. I am physically repelled and contain the outbreak with a hefty slam of the door.
Given a moment to think I realise that I probably should’ve handled that better – maybe acted as if there wasn’t a paint-stripping reek assaulting the inside of my throat and calmly returned later. I smile through the glass to show him that there are no hard feelings and that I shall retrieve the aforementioned footwear in due course. Shortly thereafter he scurries away.
Later I am returning from lunch when I see the lift doors closing. I make a dash for it and step inside. There is already someone within – the graduate! He seems mortified to be in a confined space with me. The lift takes an eternity to begin its accent, and we are only moving for a few seconds before a robot announces ‘Emergency call activated.’ The graduate steps forward. A red light is flashing in the space recently vacated by his ass-cheeks. He becomes flustered.
‘Don’t worry about it,’ I reassure. ‘It happens every other day. They should probably think about relocating the button. Someone’ll ring through in a minute and we’ll be on our way.’
…And then the stench hits me – worse then before! We are in an even smaller room. There is no escape. Embryo won’t look me in the eye. His suit looks highly flammable. He is taking a very great risk. This is too glorious an opportunity to pass up.
‘Seriously, there’s no point squeezing one out stealthily. I’m the only other person in here and I know it wasn’t me.’
‘What wasn’t you?’
‘How do I know it wasn’t you?’
‘What wasn’t me?’
‘…Whatever it is you’re talking about.’
‘How do you know? Cos it was you. If there was one other guy in here then there might be an element of mystery, but as there isn’t, there isn’t.’
Before we descend into a he-who-smelt-it-dealt-it territory a muffled, metallic sounding voice comes from the lift’s side panel. ‘Can I help you?’
‘Yeah, you can let me out of this dutch oven before I asphyxiate.’