Friday, April 29, 2005

Office Romance

Dean, one of my coworkers, cornered me at the copying machine today. He was ahead of me in line. I don't like him very much.

"So, dude," he began, "I heard that Cecilia is totally digging on you after you went out for drinks."

"Uh," I replied. "I don't know. Anyways, I've got this policy -- no dating in the office."

"But dude, you've got to cut that meat."


"You know, dude," Dean continued, making a saw-like motion with his right fist. "Cut that meat! Cut that meat! Cut that meat!"

I wanted to run back to my cubicle, but I really needed to make these copies.

"Look, Dean, there are other reasons too," I said, thinking of the fact that I am being stalked by Thom Yorke.

When I got home that night, Thom Yorke was watching A-Team reruns on my television. He had his hand buried deep in family pack of jujubes. When he saw me, he got really excited.

"Staaaaaars and aaaaastrrraaaal cars!" he shouted, pointing at the television.

"The super must have hooked the cable back up."

Thom grinned. I undid my tie and got a drink from the fridge. I debated in my head what to say, how to phrase it.

"Hey, Thom," I began. "I was thinking of asking this girl out on a date."

"I am baaaaaaack to save the uuuuuuniverse," he said, pointing towards the fire escape.

"No, no, you don't have to leave. Its just, if I go out with her, I need you to promise not to stalk me that night."

Thom looked hurt. He sighed heavily and started pouting. There was a red jujube stuck between his teeth. "I prooooomise to be gooood," he whispered.

"You always say that." I stared at my shoes. I felt guilty for treating him this way. "Look Thom. If you promise to just stay away, just for a few hours -- "

I looked up, but Thom Yorke was nowhere to be seen. The window to the fire escape was open.

Without a word, he was gone.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Basic Cable

Last night, I was watching reruns of American Gladiators when my basic cable went dead. I tried switching the channels. I turned the cable box off and on. I even tightened the coaxial cable on the wall outlet. Nothing.

Then, all of a sudden, the screen came to life with psychedelic images of cartoon bear heads. "God damn it!" I exclaimed, rushing to the door.

When I got the basement, I found Thom Yorke in overalls and a wifebeater sitting next to the cable box. The main line had been cut out of the wall and was running into a DVD player in Thom's backpack.

"Thom, what in the world are you doing?"

"Buuuuuzes like a raaaaadio."

"Thom, you've got to put the cable back on."

"Over my deeeeeeeaaaad body."

"The super will kill me if he finds you about this."

"Tyiiiiing down our aaaaaarms."

I couldn't take it anymore. In a moment of complete rage, I grabbed Thom by the shoulders and began to shake him. "Look asshole! If the super finds out that you've rewired the building's cable to play your, he's going to evict me!"

In a moment of clarity, I let go of him. He looked surprised and hurt. I felt very ashamed.

"Look," I said, quietly, "I just need you to stop."

"For a miiiinute there, I loooost myself."

"Yeah, I did buddy. I apologize about that."

Thom unhooked the cable line from his bag.

"Soooomething big is goooooonna happen?"

"No Thom," I replied. "I'll call the super. He'll come fix the line."

We went upstairs together. The television screen was filled with static. I picked up the phone to call the super.

"Hey Thom," I said, still feeling guilty. "When I'm done with this call, do you want to play some Parcheesi?"

Thom nodded and began to set up the board.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Gym

I was on a stationary bike at the gym today when I noticed Thom Yorke walking towards me in a white tracksuit. He wore lots of sweatbands, and looked like a gangster Bjorn Borg.

"Not again," I whispered under my breath.

Thom smiled and raised his sports drink up, as if toasting me. "Acceeeeeeeeeeeeelerade!" he declared. He seemed to be in a really good mood.

I nodded to acknolwedge his gesture and then turned up the volume on my iPod.

Thom climbed on an elliptical machine to my right. I could tell he didn't usually come to the gym. He turned the speed on his machine up way too high. He kept getting hit in the chest by the moving poles.

"I'm on a roooooooooolllll!" he exclaimed.

I felt really embarrassed for him, so I decided to try to help.

"Look Thom," I explained, "you've got to adjust the speed here. Like this. Otherwise you might hurt yourself."

"It's gonnna be a glooooooorious day!"

"Your welcome."

I decided I'd had enough of the machines and decided to put some time in the weight room. Luckily, there was no sign of Thom.

I went to the locker room and began to get changed. I heard strange chanting from the shower.

"I'll swaaaaallow till I burst! Uuuuuuuuuuntil I burst!"

With great trepidation, I walked to the entrance to the shower room. Thom Yorke was there, wearing a Union Jack speedo and swim goggles.

He was singing. "I will not cooooooontrol myself!"

When he saw me, he became really excited. He began running around the shower, turning on other faucets.

"I don't need a shower, Thom."

"Don't leave me drrrryyyyyyyyyyy!"

"I'm leaving now, Thom."

He began to pout. I hate it when he does that. He looks so sad and lonely.

"Look Thom," I said, against my better judgement, "want to come over to my place to play some Hungry Hungry Hippos?"

Thom began to do his shuffle dance.

"I have to warn you, one of the heads is broken off, so it will be an uneven match."

"Hiiiiiipos! Hungry, hungry hiiiiiipos!"

"All right, but you have to promise not to sing that song while we play."

There was a shriek and he was enveloped by the steam.

Like that, he was gone.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Afterwork Drinks

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.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Morning Routine

A strange thing happened this morning when I was shaving.

I had the television in the other room tuned on New York 1. I had just put shaving cream on my face, when I thought I heard Pat Kiernan shout "they're going to get youuuuu!"

When I went to my living room to check it out, Thom Yorke was sitting on my couch, eating Jelly Bellys.

"Thom, what are you doing here?"

"They're going to get you," he replied, simply.

"I know, you told me that the other day," I said. "But how did you get into my apartment?"

"Theeeey are out to get you," he quickly sang, before shoving another handful of Jelly Bellys into his mouth.

"Look, Thom, you can't keep doing this," I said firmly.

Thom shrugged. He showed no signs of leaving.

"Okay, I'm going to go get changed for work."

Thom nodded and put his boots up on my coffee table.

When I had finished shaving and getting dressed, I came back into the living room. Thom was busy throwing half eating Jelly Bellys up toward my ceiling, trying to get them to stick.

"Thom, stop that!" I exclaimed.

He lept up and began shaking. "Theeeeeey, theeeey, theeeeey -- "

"They what?" I shouted over him. "They what?"

"Are going to get you!" he said abruptly before sitting down on the couch again.

"You have to leave, Thom," I said angrily. "I need to go to work."

Thom shook his head. I think he was pouting.

"Please Thom?"

He folded his arms across his chest and stared at the television. Whipple's World was on.

"Okay, look Thom," I pleaded, "if I guess who is 'out to get me,' then will you leave my apartment?"

All of a sudden, Thom lept up off the couch and began to do that strange epileptic dance thing. "Theeeeey, theeeeeey," he began singing frantically.

"Yes! Yes! 'They'," I said, grabbing at his arms, trying to get him calmed down. "If I guess who 'they' are, then you'll leave, right?"

Thom nodded and crouched down in anticipation of my first guess.

"The Government."

Thom grunted no.

"The Media."

Thom moaned no and began waving his arms.

"Space Aliens."

Thom spit in anger.

"Okay, calm down," I insisted. Even though I was getting even more late for work, I took my time to think.

"Global corporations?"

Thom shrieked and began throwing handfuls of Jelly Bellys up into the air.

"Thom stop! Thom please!"

Thom began to chant. "The naameless, the faaceless, the blaaamless -- "

"Okay I get it, global corporations," I pleaded. "But, Thom, why are you telling me this?

Thom didn't answer. He just shrieked and climbed out the window.

Like that, he was gone.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Prospect Park

It all started so innocently. Just a chance meeting in Prospect Park.

I cut through the park on my way home from work with a cup of my favorite Starbucks coffee when I heard a rustling in the bushes.

"Psst. They're out to get you," said a quiet hushed voice.

I figured it was just the neighborhood homeless man, so I kept walking.

But then I heard the voice again. "Psst. Hey, Paul! They're going to get yooooooouu!"

I wasn't sure how the neighborhood homeless man might know my name, so I turned around.

"Who are you?" I asked the bush.

To my surprise, Thom Yorke emerged from behind the bush.

"Stop your consumption and waaaake up!" he exclaimed. He was so excited his voice broke into a high falsetto.

"Uh, wait, aren't you-" I began to ask, but Thom York interrupted me.

"There are nameless faceless people and they want you to suuuuubmit." He began singing again.

At this point, I realized he was pointing to my coffee.

"Look, I know its Starbucks," I tried to explain. "But they make a good cup of --"

I lost my train of thought. Thom Yorke was singing again. "We hooooope that you chooooke!"

His eyes bulged and he pointed at my throat. "You chohohohoke!"

"Okay, okay," I pleaded, "Listen I'll walk the extra avenue to that local Cafe, okay?"

Thom Yorke nodded enthusiastically and then began to shuffle around. I think it was dancing.

"Hey, Thom," I asked out of curiosity, "how did you know my name?"

Thom didn't answer. He just shrieked and ran back into the bushes.

He was gone.