Later that day, Tanner came into my cube.
“Excuse me, Bobby.”
“I’m told I need a ‘T-134 form’ to request network access. The orientation booklet says I can download it from an intranet website.” She fumbled through a brightly colored pamphlet titled, ‘Welcome! Valued Member of the TMG Team’ “…but I can’t get to the website without network access, so…” She had a deep furrow on her brow and flipped pages as she spoke.
I couldn’t help but grin. Tanner was obviously new to the principles of the Corporate Infinite Loop.
“Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense. A lot of things around here are like that, but there’s always a way around it.”
This was my element. It was as if The System was designed to confuse you, like some covert plot to break you mentally and remove your will. All too often, it succeeded, but not today. Not now. I relished these small opportunities to color outside the lines.
They used to call it anarchy. Now, it’s efficiency. Now, it’s competence. Now, it’s as good as it gets.
“I’ll print it out for you. You’ll have to fill it in by hand and turn it in to Bev in HR.”
Tanner’s eyes settled on the colorful Rubik’s cube on my shelf and she picked it up.
“Hey! You solved it!”
Then she noticed that the only side that was all the same color was the blue side. The other sides were checkered multiple colors.
A little embarrassed, I said, “Uh, well, no. I’ve never been able to figure it out. I can get three or four sides lined up, but in the process, the other sides end up more screwed than before.”
“A lot of things are like that,” Tanner says with a knowing smile. “But as you said, there’s a way around it.”
Tanner turned the cube so that one corner is pointing up, like a diamond. Holding it tightly in her hands, she worked her thumb into position just below the corner piece of the cube, increasing the pressure and pushing down until it suddenly popped off. The small corner piece landed on the desk and spun to a stop. It’s colored on three sides and has a small tab that linked it to the rest of the pieces making up the Rubik’s Cube. Tanner was still holding the toy, and she slowly released it onto the desk. With the corner piece missing, the rest of the small squares were loose and fell from the cube’s substructure and scattered over the desk.
I watched this with horror. She had no way of knowing what this toy meant to me, and now it was broken!
Tanner saw the look on my face and quickly said, “Don’t worry, I can put it back together.”
She deliberately picked up each piece, one at a time, sorted them by color, snapping them back onto the plastic mechanism they were dislodged from. Finally, she picked up the last corner piece and with a bit more effort, it went into place, snapping crisply as it locked in with the other squares. Tanner handed the cube back to me, and I slowly rotated it in my hand, admiring the solid colored sides.
“Sometimes, you have to change the rules of the game. I guess purists might call that cheating, but I think there’s fair advantage in knowing how it works rather than just working it.” She smiled.
I looked at her and then back to the cube. Maybe she has more on the ball than I thought.
“The form is on the printer, over there,” I said, but I didn’t look away from the Rubik’s cube.
Life in Sixty-Four Square Feet
©Copyright 2015, Mitch Lavender
Rubik’s Cube® used by permission of Rubiks Brand Ltd. www.rubiks.com
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are solely the product of the author’s imagination and/or are used fictitiously, though reference may be made to actual historical events or existing locations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living, dead or undead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
This was a short episode, but I hope you are enjoying this web-novel. This completes Chapter 2.
Check back Sunday, March 15 for the next episode, and feel free to comment below.