I invited one of my coworkers, Cecilia, out for drinks after work today. She's very nice to me around the office, and I needed to tell someone about the Thom situation.
"You think he's stalking you?" she asked, after I had told her the story.
"I know it sounds silly," I tried to explain, "but he just shows up, everywhere."
Cecilia did not seem convinced. "Okay, last night," I began, "I was buying beer at Aces, when Thom Yorke leapt out from behind the Doritos stand and started warning me that 'one by one, its going to fall, one by one'."
"What's that mean?" Cecilia asked, skeptically.
"How should I know?"
We sat in silence for a little while. Finally, I said quietly, "You must think I'm crazy."
It was getting late. We agreed to share a cab home to Brooklyn. We sat in silence for most of the ride. I felt like such an idiot.
As we were crossing the Williamsburg Bridge, our driver offered us a small, open box of candy up through the opening. Then his voice rose up from the front seat. "Would you like some juuuuuunior miiiiints?"
I was paralyzed with fear. He had found me.
"Sure, thank you," Cecilia replied, reaching for the box.
"No!" I quickly grabbed her hand. "Don't you see, that's Thom Yorke!"
Thom Yorke's face appeared in the opening. He was wearing pork pie hat and day glow sunglasses. He began whispering. "To the ground, to dust, ground out, like duuuust!"
Cecelia sat in quiet disbelief. Eventually she spoke up. "What's he going to do with us?"
I shrugged. All I knew is that we were Thom Yorke's prisoners now.
In the front seat, Thom began to sing a quiet, plaintive, and somewhat familiar melody. "Kniiives out, caaaatch the mouse, squaaaash his head, puuuut him in a box..."
Cecelia strained to understand the words. "What is he singing?" she asked. "I don't understand. What's he saying?"
After I explained, I could see the fear begin to take Cecelia. A desparate look gripped her face.
"Don't do anything silly, Cecilia," I whispered, but I could tell she was not herself.
"Look, Thom just let me go!" she pleaded. "I love your music!"
"Stop Cecilia!" I tried to intervene. "You'll only make things worse."
"Please," Cecilia begged. "I own all your records, even Pablo Honey."
Thom became instantly enraged. "Squaaaaash! Choooooke!" He swung the cab violently through traffic.
"You're making him angry!" I shouted. I gripped Cecelia's arm, but she was frantic.
"Please don't hurt me, Thom!" she begged. "I liked Kid A, really I did. And I don't own any records by Coldplay! Or Travis! You have to believe me, Thom!"
Upon hearing the names of those other bands, Thom began to scratch at his skin. He shook his fists violently against the steering wheel. Junior Mints spilled out onto the dashboard.
We were driving through Brooklyn now, its brownstones whizzing by us. Cecilia was crying, but I knew what I had to do.
"Thom, listen up Thom," I said calmly. "I'm sorry Thom. I'm sorry for avoiding you."
"Traaaped like piiigs, so aaaalone."
"I know, Thom," I explained. "I'm sorry for that. I've been under a lot of stress at work."
"Theeeey're out to get you."
"I know," I said. "I don't like my job either." The car slowed down, and stopped at the curb.
I opened the door. I could see his profile in the streetlight. I felt pity. "Look Thom," I said. "Stop by anytime you want, okay?"
"Reeest your sleeeepy head."
"Sure, Thom, even on work nights."
"From a greeeeeat height?"
"No, don't use the fire escape," I replied. "I'll leave an extra key under the mat."
I found Cecilia on the curb. She was shaken but the color was returning to her face. "You speak...Thom Yorke," she said, with admiration.
"I didn't know I had it in me," I shrugged.
Then I remembered I had forgot to pay Thom for the ride. "How much do I owe you, Thom?" I said turning back towards the cab.
Thom didn't answer. The tires of the cab squealed.
When the dust settled, he was gone.