Here’s your daily routine when you come in for work here at P&W. You go to your locker. Punch in the combination code. You know it by heart. Step back immediately, because the door springs open and if you’re under six feet tall, like all self-respecting Indian males, the latch hook will strike you right between the eyes leaving a painful blister and a permanent bruise.
Of the seven billion people in the world, there must be a sizeable percentage with that bruise on the knocker by now. It’s our badge of honor. If you’re in the brush in Chad and a Korowai cannibal charges out of the bushes, he’ll take one look at you, see the purple patch on your forehead, lick his lips and holler, “Hey, boys, a P&W guy. How do ya want ‘im?”
Now stop distracting me. Where was I, oh yeah, you’ve just opened your locker door and stuck your head in. Hazardous act. Your steel-toed shoes, for the shop floor wear, reside there. Along with cotton work socks that haven’t been washed since Harriet Beecher Stowe’s niece made a similar pair. Naturally, your socks have grown hard. You could tip the edges with titanium and they’d be lethal as boomerangs. Yes, opening your locker door can be hazardous. But not yucky, mind you. One’s own socks never smell as bad as someone else’s. Same goes for flatulence, by the by. Just sayin’.
Now, you’ve let the insides of your locker deodorize themselves. The process is slow since the whole locker room stinks and therefore diffusion from higher to lower concentrations is retarded. Believe me, hydrogen suplhide and methane molecules regularly hold swap sessions over there. “Hey, Sulphie, you got an extra hydrogen ion or two? The old lady needs them for her hydroxyl group.”
The best thing to do is beat it from there as fast as possible. Most of us locker room users are experts at swiftly changing and getting out. The current champion does it in 10 seconds. But then it has left him with a lack-luster libido. Painful, evenly-spaced scars from frequently caught zippers have been found responsible.
Soon as you emerge from the locker room, you head for the Oasis (our cafeteria) for your morning 100% Columbian Moka and a muffin. And a chance to take a closer look down the counter girl, Pierrette’s, T-shirt and her twin Hindenburgs. Having refreshed yourself thus, you’re now ready to take on the Chinese.
Everyone is showing an unholy interest in their new GZK series solid fuel boosters. They say these are way ahead of the Delta solid boosters. But there’s a bounce in my stride. The Chinese at least don’t have women with baobabs as big as Pierrettes’.
I go to Propulsion department for meditation. Propulsion is named ‘Jiggle City’, population 45, 88% female, 12% wimpy male, female boss with jaws rectangular and chest flatter than Saskatchewan, aka Nurse Ratched. Imagine, they have a boss who looks like a Canadian province. A bedbug sitting on her chest will be able see her hubby bedbug off to work for hours without losing sight of him! Propulsion dept is also known as Gossip City – 3 out of 4 words you’ll hear there are ‘whatever’, ‘totally(pronounced ‘toatly’)’ and ‘like’ –
“And I was like, toatly blown last weekend.”
“Ooooh! Did he finally make a pass, like?” Excited ripples in voice.
“Toatly. He like went even further…” Giggles.
“Whatever”. Envious, doesn’t want to show awe.
Propulsion is a good venue for meditative regeneration of brain cells, aided of course by visual stimulus. But I digress.
After Pierrette’s zepellins, you walk briskly into your own department. Strolling in is frowned upon. Long purposeful strides if you are male. Dainty, quick, prim steps if you’re female. High heels going ‘tack’ ‘tickety’ tock’. Vague, vacant, glassy smiles – optional.
You head for your tiny cubicle. You click on your pc and laptop and survey your tiny table, coffee in hand. Your family photo was on the left of the WO files. Now it’s on the other side. The stickies you left on the monitor appear rearranged. You’re certain Mitch McPuck has been there sometime during last night.
Oh, haven’t I told you about Mitch McPuck? The guy in our department no one has ever seen or met? Oijey go, the guy who sneaks into the department late at night, rummages through drawers and collects all the panties and bras he finds there. Rumor has it that Mitch has a workshop near the South Pole where he is making a massive patchwork quilt out of them.
‘Oijey go’ is Bengali for ‘that one over there’ or ‘that guy I was talkin’ about’ or ‘you know the one I’m referrin’ to’. Sorry, I break into Bengali every once in a while. Miss my mother tongue, I do.
Mitch pays special attention to female employees, it’s rumored. Barbara in Critical Rotating Parts, says that the thought of Mitch McPuck going through her drawers turns her on and has greatly improved her sex life at home. She has even started calling her husband, Sidney, Mitch while making love. “Sock it ta me, Mitch,” she screams. Stephanie in Services has started leaving panties in her top drawer. They’re gone by the next morning, she claims. Oriana at Gas Generator is positive Mitch McPuck can fly and that he zooms off to his arctic warehouse every morning to inspect the night’s panty haul and then takes a nap.
Mitch isn’t gay. Lazslo left a pair of jockey shorts and stickies all over with directions to it. The shorts were still there the next mawnin’. He isn’t an S&M type either. Stephane once left thongs, chain, a belt with studs, shackles, pepper spray and chilli powder overnight. Weren’t taken either. Mitch is definitely not kinky. Kenny put a vacuum cleaner suction cup, a doorknob, a banana and a pair of high-heeled boots on his table. The next morning, there was a sticky next to the pile which said, “Disgusting”. That’s about the only time in recorded history when Mitch McPuck has communicated.
No one dares to call him Mitch or MM or Puck or Mac or even Puckyboy. We get the feeling he doesn’t like familiarity. In fact we can’t even be sure if he is male. Mitch McPuck’s name doesn’t figure in the company directory, so he isn’t getting paid to do what he does. But he seems to be able to break into high-security zones within our company with ease.
Given his security clearance, Kenny is convinced Mitch McPuck must be that Sr.VP who died on the job. Got run over by a forklift while walking down the aisle and looking down his PA, Rebecca Boobner’s blouse front at the same time. Problem is the forklift driver too was doing the same thing.
Now let’s get back to you and the rearranged stickies on your monitor, you can tell that Mitch McPuck was here again last night. He leaves a funny odor behind. Musky. Like that of a moose in heat. Mitch McPuck does keep a close tab on the goings on in our department. We can feel it.
For example, he keeps replenishing our stocks of rubber bands ever since Kenny, Lazslo, Stephane, Melanie and I started zinging. You don’t remember me talking about zinging before, do you? You need ta have yourself checked for Alzheimers, you do. Well, zinging is the art of zapping someone in the department with a stretched and then suddenly released rubber band. Stings, when it hits unprotected skin. Irritating, very irritating. You feel like tearing the guy who zang you, limb from limb, and jumping on the remains with hob-nailed boots. That is, if the zinger is male, of course. If the zinger is female, then you have ta use yore own indiscretion.
Anyhow, whenever you’re down to 50 rubber bands, give or take, you leave a stickie on your monitor and the next morning your rubber band dispenser is brimming and the stickie is gone. Evidence that Mitch McPuck exists. More than you can say about the Higgs Boson. He steals in and fills up your dispenser from the rubber band stockpile he has in his sprawling Ross Ice Shelf warehouse.
Meanwhile Melanie, Sonja and Debra have fallen madly in love with Mitch McPuck. It is six months since they’ve been leaving their panties behind in their bottom drawers and sure enough, the next day they come in ta find the panties gone. Once in a while, after Melanie has left behind a particularly frilly one, she leaves a stickie under her CPU, typically saying,” Come ‘n get it, Puckiepoo.”
Actually things have been getting a little outa hand lately. Sonja has started leaving both, her bra and panties behind. Erica and Elizabeth down in Tooling have somehow gotten wind and followed suit.
Word has spread like wild fire and a trend has set in. At the time of writing this, nearly 70% of the female employees are punching out at the end of the day with nothing on underneath. Of course there are some, like Pierette, our cafeteria counter girl, who just can’t walk around without anything on underneath. The contract with the Sun Life, the insurers of her assets, prohibits her. Besides, she runs a risk of tipping over, her center of gravity being where it is.
Over the years, there have been numerous attempts at finding out Mitch McPuck’s true identity. The outing of Mitch McPuck has never happened though. He’s too crafty. Even the close circuit cameras haven’t anything tangible. Only a tornado shaped inverted whirlwind cone resembling that cartoon guy, the Tasmanian Devil, whizzing around, whipping up loose papers, has been recorded by the cameras. There have also been plenty of claims of Mitch McPuck sightings, but when investigated, they all proved to be phony.
Mitch has been around a while. Even Abner can’t remember since when. And Abner has been here fifty plus years. Last week, Penelope retired and Mitch McPuck left a note on her monitor, “Have a blast, kid.” . Penelope was 65. Abner figures Mitch must be around sevennie-five or sevennie-six. Stealing panties at that age! Almighty Lord, I’d like ta be Mitch McPuck.