Burlap Cubicles

I feel like a potato in a potato sack. Covered in corse, rough, utterly disgusting, Burlap. Perhaps the ugliest material in the word- burlap. I wake up at eight, ride the Number 26 bus to work, get there by nine, and the rest is just an endless stream of burlap. Nine to five, nothing but burlap.


What’s the point of putting burlap on walls? What could possibly have been so wrong with the walls before the burlap? The walls couldn’t have been uglier than the burlap. I really don’t think anything is more unpleasant than burlap.

That brownness. I’ve never seen any other brown that could look so un-earthy. It’s alien brown- a aliens’ poop color brown. It’s not green, it’s not white, it’s not even brown, it is burlap color. And it is awful. Believe me, I spend about seven hours a day looking at it.

I have a plant. It’s a cactus. I forget to water it for months. Do you know how hard it is to forget to water a cactus? It’s really hard. But I forget, I suppose I get distracted by burlap.

I have some pictures too in-between all the burlap. One is from a beach. I’ve never actually been there. The photos’ color is drained by fluorescent lights.

fluorescent tube lights. It’s an alien light. It’s like I’m on a burlap covered spaceship. and It flickers, perpetually. It’s almost like I can’t see anything at all, and yet, somehow I can. But all there is to see is burlap.

I have a computer too, it’s also like something from a spaceship. It’s usually a screen full of cells, like a room full of cubicles. It stops working, and I unplug it and plug it in, and it starts working again- but I really wish it wouldn’t. I get mail on it sometimes with jokes. I never laugh at them, but I always say I did later on. They’re never funny.

I’m like a rat in a lab experiment. I’m in a maze made out of little burlap-covered walls. But there’s no cheese, just an endless series of tiny cubicles with the exact same thing in all of them- burlap, aliens’ computer, dead plant, burlap, aliens’ computer, burlap. But I’m not a rat, I have two legs, I can stand up, and if I stand up I can see over the top of these short walls. But I hardly ever stand up.

I stand up now, look out across the checkered burlap squares. An army of hunched over data enterers staring at fluorescent screens.

All I hear is the sound of clicking keys and a distant weird buzzing that never seems to stop, and yet never seems to really exist at all. It’s an unexplainable sound. I suppose it’s the electronics doing their electronic things, but I really couldn’t say. I couldn’t even tell if it’s a real sound at all. It sounds alien.

I need a drink of water. I feel dried out like my cactus.

I walk over to the water cooler. I’m like a hamster drinking from his giant sippy bottle.

“How you feel Rick? You’re looking a little pale,” says Mike, with one arm resting atop the cooler. I’ve never seen him outside of this building. For all I know, he might not even actually exist outside this building.

“I feel like a hamster,” I respond.

“Yep. Yep.” He says while nodding between sips from his tiny triangular paper cup. “Damn things, my kids’ got sucked up the vacuum machine. Killed it and busted the engine too.”

“Yeah?”

“Yep.”

We both were silent, continuingly awkwardly nodding at each other while taking tiny sips from our little paper cups.

“Mike?”

“Yep?”

“I think I quit.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

We both slowly nod at one another a few more times.

“Please water my cactus,” I say as I throw the tiny cup in a trash can filled with identical little cups and turn to leave.

“Wow, buddy! You can’t just leave. Where are you going? What should I tell the boss? You’ll get sacked!”

“Burlap sack.”

“What?”

“Nothing,” I turn my back to Mike, “tell the boss I went to the beach,” I say as I walk out the door.

5 thoughts on “Burlap Cubicles

  1. Love the bus theme. I also write about my bus travel experiences. Just wondering, though, whether you might consider changing some of your sentence starters – a lot begin with ‘I’. Or, perhaps, that is your intended style? Like the line: ‘It’s alien brown – an aliens’ poop colour brown. ‘

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  2. Interesting. I now hate burlap sacks. I remember an episode of MASH where Hawkeye was sick with a mystery cold. It turned out to be a psychological reaction to a repressed childhood memory. The trigger? The smell of a wet burlap sack. What a world we live in.

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