One Brick at a Time, Day 2, Afternoon

Day 2, Afternoon

“Did you really have to follow me all the way here?” Brick’s face was as crimson red as a ripe hot chili pepper, and his constant glares left and right made him look more dubious than a prepubescent teenager in a supermarket’s magazine aisle.

“Don’t worry kid. I told you, I am a manifestation of some of your deepest subconscious desires -no not those-. No one else besides you can see me, probably.” Freddie replied. His cocky strut irked the nervous Brick. Ever since he’d left the apartment to try and catch a few hours of work before the end of the day, the mysterious Freddie would not leave his side. Not even one second. Brick even tried to sprint away from the tiny-legged cat, but it didn’t lag behind for even a moment.

Brick reached his workplace by the end of lunchtime, when all his co-workers returned to the office from their break; bad timing. He tried to remain hidden and waits for the most people to take the first elevator before taking the next one. So far so good. He was alone in the lobby and Freddie was by his side, not doing anything particularly flashy. Maybe his manager will overlook the fact that he brought it to the office with him. And that he was late. And that his hair was dishevelled and his tie was hastily knot. And that he forgot to send an important document the night before.

He pressed the button for the 8th floor and watched the sliding doors close. The enclosed box-like elevator provided him a temporary sense of security.

“Loosen up pal, it’s gonna be alright.” Great. Now Freddie decided he didn’t want to be a regular cat anymore, “just don’t sweat it. Mornings like these happen to everyone.”

“I don’t think anyone just happens to discover they own a taking cat on a random morning.”

You? Own me? Please,” he scoffed.

Could this day get any worse, Brick pondered and then immediately regretted having that thought. Now something worse was bund to happen, just to confirm that it was, indeed, a day that could get worse.

And it did. As soon as he stepped out of the elevator, a wild-eyed Mr.Johnson appeared. He used his shrill voice to yell (as usual), which was quite effective.

“Brick! You are exactly four hours and thirty-four minutes late! Explain yourself? Do you think you can come in here like in a mill?”

Mr.Johnson was a native French speaker, so he had no idea this expression was meaningless in English. But Brick didn’t want to point it out and make things worse.

His attention completely focused towards his manager, Brick momentarily forgot about Freddie, who, in the meantime, was crudely exposing his backside at the angry little man. Brick caught glimpse of that and looked back at Mr.Johnson; he didn’t react to it. He didn’t react to a sentient green-eyed kitten mooning him. Maybe Freddie was right? Or maybe…more probably, he was just going crazy imagining a cat that talked like a plumber and acted like a boorish street thug.

“I expect you to be at your office until you finish all your work. Preferably before dusk.” Mr.Johnson smirked smugly and left without adding anything.

“Hey shorty, dusk this!” Freddie yelled while holding one of his cute fluffy paws in between his legs, “Trust me Brick it would’ve had more effect if he could hear me.”

Brick didn’t say a word and simply dragged his feet to his office. Freddie, clearly not accustomed to being ignored, followed Brick while making various noises and yelling out profanities with hopes that he would catch his attention. However, as soon as the duo entered his office, Brick locked the door and turned towards the cat.

“Polish my old boots! You were right, they can’t see you! Oh my goodness I must be going insane…”

“Not as insane as you’ll be a few days into my special anti-boredom therapy, bud. Now, lesson one of learning how to live: Don’t put up with that hobbit’s garbage.”

“He’s really not that short…”

“I don’t care! And don’t interrupt me!” Freddie exclaimed as he climbed the wall adjacent to Brick and slapped him once more, “Next time he yells at you like that, you just keep walkin’. Don’t even listen to him. Just walk away.”

“Aren’t you yelling at me now?”

“I said, don’t interrupt me, hopeless idiot!” Freddie rubbed his tiny temples with his puffy paw (or it looked like he was) and continued, “I would tell you to straight up spit a gob of phlegm at him, but we’re just beginning.”

“I can’t do either of these things. He’s my boss and I might get reprimanded. Or fired!”

“Look at me Brick. I said look at me, right here,” he tried pointing with two fingers but he ended up just using his whole paw, “ask yourself. Are you really happy with what you have right now? Is that what you really want?”

“I have all I could ask for! A successful career, a loving girlfriend, a pretty damn happy life if you ask me!”

“Is it?”

“It is! Stop trying to act mysterious. Now stop pestering me and let me work. I really don’t have time to waste on you after you’ve screwed me over already.” Brick didn’t try to hide his irritation. Who was he to ask all of these questions? But why would he get annoyed anyway. Did he avoid these questions because he wasn’t sure about their answers? There was only one thing left to do in this situation. The thing he always did when these questions came up. He buried them under miles of printing paper and tons of menial work.

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