Ruminations of a Working Man, Pt. VI: Blood Feud

I haven’t done one of these in awhile, and I’ve been feeling very blank-canvassy lately, so here we go:

The air is still… Too still. I think the word for it is descriptive of most office environments: stale. Yes, the stale air that clouds the mind long enough to get eight hours of work in now sets itself on my shoulders, where a rather bizarre scene occurs.

“Have at you, blithering scrumpet!”

“What on earth are you talking about?”

The former is a pirate of some sort; dress him as you wish. The latter, an upstanding gentleman, no doubt with a monocle, lazily checking his pocket watch and patting the yawn escaping his mouth.

“Aye! Face me in mortal combat of the sabre persuasion, you stampcrab bedswerver!”

“Well, you are a peculiar one, aren’t you? Fine, have it your way. But we play by gentlemen’s rules.”

Fingers crossed behind his back, the pirate gruffly returns, “Aye, aye, by the guidelines of the high-folk. Now have at you, you whiffle whaffle fopdoodle!”

With that, Scurvy lunged at Banal, knocking him off my right shoulder and onto the desk. (For perspective, the two are no more than three inches tall, and the scuffle began when Scurvy crossed over from my left shoulder simple to antagonize Banal on my right.)

“‘Ey! I said gentlemen’s rules, you foul li’l git!”

“Now would those be gentlemen’s words you speak? Sound more like foul toots to mine ears!”

Banal swiped at Scurvy’s ankles (Where he obtained the sword, I haven’t the slightest. It’s a daydream, don’t hold me to conventional paradigms), but he leapt over Banal’s head, performing a front flip as the steel weapons struck one another. Scurvy would have stuck the landing but for the yellow-lined paper which swept his feet right out from under him. It sent him tumbling into the water bottle which spilled onto the phone, sparks erupting from the conference call speaker. Scurvy recovered just in time, as Banal sought him in a fury. With a guttural roar, Banal swung his sabre like a sledge hammer, intent on splitting Scurvy’s head. Luckily, Scurvy has pirate-like reflexes. He rolled to one side, parrying the blow as he made his escape. Banal use such immense force that the swords shattered upon impact, the high pitched clang capturing the attention of the other cubicle workers. Heads turned and low, rumbling murmurs filled the stale air.

“That was a fine way to end a skirmish, you bantering zonderkite! Done ruined me nice’ins!”

“Now come, come. Let us embrace weaponry of another sort and resume the woefully one-sided battle!”

“Yer a fine piece o’ work. ‘Woefully one-sided’ referring to me defeating yer doggish derry-air, eh? Have it be as it be on yer vessel!”

Scurvy walked over to the cup of measurement utensils and writing instruments, deciding carefully which apparatus would be best for the continuing quarrel.

“What’ll it be, you hogwash fairy? Compass, scale, or pencil? (These, of course being a geometric compass and architect scale).

“Well what will you be wielding?”

“The wooden pencil.”

“Oh, how fitting. Better be the compass then, my good man.”

“Yeh, yeh. Good man my peg-legged arse! Avast!”

And so the quarrel continued past the spray of sparks from the phone, onto a stack of papers, climbing into a cardboard box. It was then they realized there was little room for activities, so they declared a truce as they climbed onto the bookshelf. Banal helped Scurvy onto the thin ledge, no more than an inch wide, and asked, “Have you the stomach to perform combat with naught but your rum-infused legs to keep you stable?”

“Why don’t ya take the easy way out and jump off like the gang plank? No doubt you been ‘ere ‘afore! Rum is good for two things: calmin’ me nerves, an’ loosenin’ me belt. You’re not a very pretty girl… You don’t look like one I’d be givin’ meself to, so the nerves be calm as the sea!”

“Best you mind your tone, you imbecilic tart! Gah!”

Banal swung at Scurvy, but neither was particularly adept to maintaining balance. Beyond their abilities to stand upright, a binder from the shelf above slid loose with the quaking of their banter and jarring strikes, and struck each of them on the toe. With anguished cries, they fell onto the binder which had come to rest on the edge of the desk.

“Very good, old bean. What say you to an armistice?”

“Aye, ne’er have me timbers been so shivered.”

Without announcement, and quite unceremoniously, the binder slipped into the trash bin below. Still dazed, neither Scurvy nor Banal made a sound.

I had just finished eating my banana when I heard the thud of their final descent. Before discarding the peel, I figured it best to offer them a bite, at the very least. I retrieved the binder from the bin, but when I removed it, I saw nothing more than the empty bottom littered with a few used sticky notes. I checked through the binder’s pages and pockets, but found no sign of Banal or Scurvy anywhere. With that, I finished off the banana, tossed the peel, and replaced the binder on the shelf.

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