Adam the office ninja, p.1
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       Adam The Office Ninja, p.1

           Mike White
 
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Adam The Office Ninja
Adam the Office Ninja

  by Mike White

  Copyright 2012 Mike White

  ***

  ***

 

  Graham sighed deeply to himself and prepared to call the Office Ninja. No, that wasn’t actually his name or official title in any sense. But it was what the other recruiters at the temp agency Graham worked for had dubbed him.

  It never failed. At every singled assignment Graham had ever given to Mr. Adam Chang, there had always been a problem. This problem had always come in the form of a call from the client Adam worked for on that day, which was inevitably always his first day.

  The call Graham got today was from SysTech, an engineering company that needed help with inputting their inventory into a computer. The representative over there, a guy named Ryan, had just called Graham. He was a pretty formal man, like many businessmen, and had said that Adam had come into work wearing “inappropriate attire”. Graham knew enough not to ask for the specifics, the man sounded angry enough.

  If it were anyone else, Graham would think that this complaint was something small, a quirk of the client. But last time it had been “suspicious behavior in the office” and before that “unsupportive towards co-workers”. But it turned out that these complaints meant Adam had been hiding in cubicles, or throwing little darts at people who made jibes at him. Jibes that Graham was now quite certain he had probably deserved.

  Of course, everyone else in Office Lenders thought it was hilarious. These things are always more entertaining when they’re not happening to you. Graham punched in Adam’s number, not looking forward to trying to convince him that there were some… perspectives- you just didn’t bring to work.

  After about the 6th ring, Adam picked up the phone. Graham knew by now to wait for him.

  “Herro?” came the heavily accented answer. Graham rolled his eyes. Adam wasn’t Japanese, but he loved to pretend. He was from New Jersey. His family had immigrated three generations ago. From China.

  Graham started to say something, but paused. Adam was breathing very heavily into the phone, causing static to burst every time he exhaled. So Graham’s reply came out something like-

  “Hi Adam this is Graham from Office… what the heck are you doing?” Adam’s heavy breathing was quickly getting obnoxious.

  “So sorry. Training. Rope climbing.”

  Adam grew incredulous.

  “You’re talking on the phone, while climbing a rope ladder?”

  “Yes. Build… upper body muscle.”

  Graham shook his head. It wasn’t worth it. He assumed his ultra-reasonable voice, the same kind he used on unruly children.

  “Listen, Adam- I just got a call from a client. The one you worked for today, SystTech.”

  “Ah yes… my assignment… completed successfully.” Adam’s voice came out in choppy bursts, in between his heavy, strained breathing.

  “Yeah, right. About your job today. It’s good you went of course, but the supervisor made a comment. He had some problem about what you were wearing?”

  “Ah… my shinobi shizoku? The dark blue covering and face mask? It is standard in my profession.”

  Graham rolled his eyes dramatically on reflex, happy that Adam couldn’t see him. Unfortunately, Linda, one of his co-workers walking by could see him.

  “Are you talking to the office ninja?” Linda whispered at him. Graham ignored her, swiveled in his chair so he faced away from her. But the damage was already done. Graham didn’t have any other recruits like Adam. Rolling his eyes a lot was a dead give away. Within a minute the word spread, and most of the office was crowded around Graham’s cubicle, listening to his conversation and laughing gleefully.

  “No Adam. It’s not standard in your profession. Because you AREN’T A…”. Graham stopped himself, unwilling even to show the slightest hint of acknowledging what Adam thought he was doing.

  Graham found himself getting angry and raising his voice. But as soon as he saw the expressions of his co-workers, most of whom were laughing hysterically, he turned away from them and spoke softly into the receiver, desperately trying to keep his voice reasonable. To accomplish this, he ground his teeth together.

  “You do temp office work. Shirt and tie would be great.”

  No response. Just heavy breathing.

  “Adam? Look Adam- I know you don’t like this, but sometimes you just have to-“

  Suddenly Graham got an idea. This was not by any means a good idea. In fact, in any other situation, it would be a very, very bad idea. However, at this point Graham just wanted the problem to go away. He was already late for lunch. It was time to placate.

  “Adam, you can’t be standing out like this all the time, it hurts your ability to perform your… profession. You have to wear more normal clothing, you know blend in with the crowd, so you can move around, like, well…”

  “Undetected” Adam said, his voice a sly, conspiratorial whisper.

  But it wasn’t pitched low enough for Graham’s taste. He desperately tried to muffle Adam’s voice with his own, but the damage had already done. His co-workers, who were all assembled for lunch, had heard Adam’s unbridled enthusiasm for stealth.

  Many of them repeated the word “undetected” shifting their eyes back in forth in an exaggerated fashion. One particularly obnoxious individual- named Bert, had wrapped a sweatshirt around his face and was currently sneaking around Graham’s cubicle, repeating the phrase “undetected” over and over again.

  Graham turned away from him as well, and lowered his voice as he spoke in the phone. He was now leaning into a corner of his cubicle; the only place where he didn’t have to look at someone.

  “Uh yeah, yeah… exactly. Good plan. Just try to blend in OK? And just do your job, I don’t want to get any more calls about this Adam, alright?”

  “Yes, of course. I will be like grass.”

  “Uh, good- great. Just like grass. You do that.” Then Graham hung up. He leaned back in his chair, threw back his head and let out a frustrated groan.

  Everyone in the office was laughing now, and several walked by and gave him an encouraging pat on the shoulder. Then they all left to go to lunch. Graham took a few minutes to pack his files away. He was about to swivel around in his chair and get up to go to a well deserved lunch, when Lloyd came into his cubicle. He must’ve been in the bathroom or something before. Graham clenched his teeth together. He was the only one in the world that could make his situation with Adam worse.

  Lloyd embodied the exact opposite of the phrase “need to know basis”. He told you things you didn’t really need to know ever, exactly when you didn’t want to hear about them.

  Not just random information that irritated you while you were trying to do something else, but information that specifically bothered you at that particular moment. Like describing a bowel movement in careful scientific detail while you’re was eating a large bowl of pudding.

  “Hey I heard you were talking to the office ninja again, huh Graham? Well I looked up some stuff I heard you guys talking about this week, just thought you’d be interested. You know that shuriken, those ninja throwing knives? Like the ones that Adam made out of paper and use to hit a customer in the eye on Tuesday? Well in real life, ninja didn’t use them to kill. They were just meant to slow down. Isn’t that interesting? Oh! And also I read that the ninja weren’t even used for assassination as much as we think. They did a lot of recon work too- you know finding out stuff about enemies. Cool huh? And did you know that some of the families actually dislocated the limbs of their children at birth? They did it so later on in life they could dislocate their limbs at will in order to be able to hide behind weird stuff. Isn
t that wild? Of course-”

  After a while Graham managed to turn off the endless stream of babble coming out of Lloyd’s mouth. He really didn’t want to hear this right now. He got up, grabbed his coat, and walked past Lloyd, pretending to listen to what he had to say. Lloyd gave up right around the time Graham left the building, saying enthusiastically how he would see Graham later.

  And then Graham finally went to lunch. He got a few jibes from the other recruiters about Adam, but they died down pretty fast. After that, Graham was happy to forget about it for the rest of the day.

 
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