Waterbed

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A day at work. Corporate desperation. Societal collapse. Death of emotions at work.

Waterbed

“We are late again!” Mr. Leon tells Peter switching gears. “This is a great mystery to me: everyone is driving, everyone is free and mobile, and yet it seems that since they’re all doing it, they break and block each other’s way and therefore are no longer free or mobile at all…” This is how Mr. Leon philosophizes. In front of them, besides them, as well as behind and straight ahead, the highway is full of cars that are hardly moving. Peter is looking through the car window, while Mr. Leon is driving the Seat, a company car. Both of them are traveling to a very important meeting, straight to the headquarters of the famous Unikok company which deals with the production of eggs, poultry and so on…

Mr. Leon explains everything a “Project Leader” should do to Peter; they gave him this title after his completion of a course on Time Management. They said that his success is beneficial for the Company and they assigned him two assistants, an agile man from China, Mr. Wu, and Stefan, a sensitive young man who practices meditation. “They are in counterbalance to each other”, states Mr. Leon, “I think that they complement marvelously and that you will make a great team.”

Mr. Leon cannot stop in the slightest. He boasts of attending a dinner at Mr. Isaac’s, the Chairman of the Company’s local board. “They could have invited the Head of another Department, but they invited me and my wife to visit them in their home.”

“What does the home of Mr. Isaac look like?” Peter asks.

 “Well, it is hard to describe”, says Mr. Leon thinking. “We saw only a small part of it. It is something of a four-storey villa. They have splendid balconies, artistic works on the walls, and, taking into consideration what their home looks like, I can only imagine what the house of the President of the Company’s regional branch is like; or the house of the President of the Central Management Board over there in Arizona for that matter.” Leon tries to conjure up an image Mr. Isaac’s wife who is a marvelous, capable, charming, sensitive young woman, a woman who plays piano and cooks excellently (she prepared some of the dishes herself) and who, along with everything else, is interested in Taoism and snowboarding.

“However, what impressed me the most was Mr. Isaac’s huge water bed. That bed weighs eight hundred kilograms when filled up. The water is slightly heated and it is very pleasing overall…”

“How do you know? Did you try the bed?”

On hearing this, Mr. Leon became a little flushed.

“Peter, let’s just keep this between you and me, but while they were showing us round, when no one was looking, my wife and I took the opportunity to sit on that bed for a moment. We sat at the absolute foot of the bead, where your feet stick out; no one would have minded… But the feeling was real, heavenly, unparalleled… ”

Mr. Leon becomes quiet for a while and drives as though he is trying to calm down from the intensity of his elicited memories. Then, with his voice trembling, he addresses Peter in an important manner:

“Later during dinner, Mr. Isaac said that if this deal with Unikok, this optimization of chicken farm-factories proves successful, he plans on buying an even bigger and more modern water bed, which weighs a thousand kilograms and has controls for electronic vibration and hydro massage.”

“And that deal with Unikok is your project, right Peter?”

Peter becomes quiet.

“Have you nothing to say for such an honor and responsibility?” Mr. Leon asked jokingly.

“I am just thinking”, Peter says, “one could say that a part of my life would be spent on this project, that due to the stress and strain my life would be at least a little shorter.”

“It will not be if you use the methods of stress management, if you do everything according to plan, in a structured way, and, of course, without much emotion.”

“All right, but let’s say my lifespan still gets a little shorter as a result of this project.”

“What are you trying to say?” Mr. Leon asked.

 “Well, if the Project should succeed and Mr. Isaac obtains his new water bed, I can imagine that this was at the expense of my own life, that Mr. Isaac obtained his water bed at the expense of my future life, that one part of my actual life was spent on that bed…”

“Stop”, Leon interrupted him, “I feel a very negative tone coming from you. You have chosen so yourself, you have chosen this job yourself; maybe you could’ve been something else, maybe maintenance worker on the highway.”

“Then, my life would be poured into asphalt; every ‘X’ kilo-meters of the road would mean less of ‘Y’, less of my remaining days, one part of which would go to the water bed of the company manager for the highway…”

“Again this negative tone, a consultant and a professional observes things in a more constructively, more positively.”

“I am only fascinated by that mystery, this metamorphosis, this change from the living into the non-living, only because we are employed, because we work. The fact that hours and months of my life alone turn into water bed material. In a blink of an eye, your life passes away. Actually, it actually does not pass away; it runs away from you and turns into an unknown water bed.”

“That’s pure envy, you are envious of those who have it better and are more successful than you are. Arm yourself with patience. Wait Peter, I waited too. And if you are successful enough, you will have the chance to advance, and I guarantee that you will be noticed, recognized, managers high-up will get to know about you, they will invite you to dinner, and in a moment when no one is watching, you eventually manage to sit down. You may even lie down on that bed for a couple of minutes. We all have a chance to succeed in life today.”

No longer listening to what Mr. Leon is saying, Peter looks somewhere through the side window. The cars coming from the opposite direction appear with their headlights on and disappear with such great speed, as though they are products on some type of huge assembly line.


Submitted: December 27, 2020

© Copyright 2021 markoc. All rights reserved.

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