Accounting

There aren’t many people Mike can’t get along with, but Greggory from Accounting is one of them.

They don’t socialize. They don’t even greet each other in the hallways. But although Mike doesn’t know anything about the other man, he knows he doesn’t like him because of the copier.

Greggory hogs the use of it. He doesn’t care about taking turns. Back-to-back days of finding the copier shuddering as it prints out his copies is the last straw for Mike. He yanks the printed sheets from the trays to see what the hell the man is copying so relentlessly. He’s no wiser after having looked at them.

They’re pages full of numbers. Numbers in several different fonts and spaced strangely all over the sheets. Mike can’t make sense of them. It makes him even more annoyed.

When the machine prints its final copy, Mike pulls out all the sheets and slaps them on a nearby chair. He’s in no mood to wait for Greggory to come clear the machine.

While Mike is in the middle of printing his own copies, Greggory comes in. His dark, sunken eyes look to the copy machine and then to the sloppy stack of his papers. One sheet had fallen to the floor at one point and Mike stepped on it. It’s crumpled and bears the impression of his dress shoe.

Greggory doesn’t utter a word. He simply gathers all his papers and walks out.

The next day, Mike goes to the copier and finds it in use. There are fewer sheets in the trays this time, but he still suspects that they’re Greggory’s. Mike lifts a sheet to check, but again doesn’t understand what he sees.

He plucks out sheets from the other trays. They’re also confusing. As he’s reaching for the bottom tray, he accidentally knocks his arm into the upper trays. Papers slide off onto the floor, making a puddle of printed images on the carpet.

Crazily, all the sheets put together form a single cohesive image.

They form a black and white, hazy portrait of Mike.

A ripple along his spine makes him spin around. Greggory looks at him and then at the image on the floor.

“What the hell is all this?” Mike demands, pointing at the sheets. “When did you make that picture?”

Greggory doesn’t say a word. He kneels beside the scattered images and punches his fist into the center of them.

Mike gasps and clutches his chest.  

Greggory winks as he takes two sheets in hand and tears them in half.

Mike’s left hand falls off, spouting streams of blood.

The tired wheeze of the copier can’t drown out the sound of Mike’s screaming. When co-workers come to investigate, Greggory is calmly tearing up sheets as though he’s got all day to do it.

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