Arthur hit the backspace button on his keyboard to correct a mistake. He glanced through the door of his cubicle towards the coffee machine and checked his watch. It would only be a couple more minutes before one of the employees from the research department would be stopping by for a cup, one of many he got throughout the day.
Arthur could set his watch to the man’s coffee visits. Every forty-five minutes, Arthur would sit back and watch while he filled a mug covered in stars and planets with coffee, then dump in a cup of cream and countless sugar packets. The process would take three minutes, and then the man would disappear back into the door marked “RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT.” Forty-five more minutes would pass before he reappeared, and Arthur often wondered if he got any work done between those short breaks.
Like clockwork, the man opened the door and made his way to the coffee machine. Arthur had been waiting since he made his plans before work, and he left his cubicle to join him by the coffee machine.
The man looked up when Arthur approached, and he waved a hand before he began to play with the complicated-looking machine.
“Mornin’,” the man said, and Arthur nodded while he set about to make a quick cup of tea.
“Good morning.” Arthur tried to think of something more to say, but his well thought out plans had taken a holiday as soon as the man had spoken. “I haven’t seen you before.”
The man chuckled. He changed the filter in the coffee machine and put in a cupful of ground coffee. “Funny. I’ve seen you.” He pressed a button and filled the machine with water. “Name’s Alfred.”
Arthur nodded and stuck out a hand. “Arthur.”
Alfred stared at the hand for a moment before finally shaking it, and Arthur thought he was going to laugh.
“You’re that guy that always stares at me from the cubicle, right?” Alfred pointed at Arthur’s cubicle.
Arthur was pretty sure that his plan was a horrible idea and that he should never have made contact with the person called Alfred. Less than a minute in and he was already prepared to crawl in a hole and die of embarrassment.
“I have poor vision. Was that you?”
“Yeah, that was me.” Alfred grinned.
Arthur was positive his excuse hadn’t worked. At all. He hit a button on the microwave and started to warm a cup of water he had poured for his tea. “Well then. I guess now I know who has the insatiable appetite for coffee.”
“Nature’s best gift to men, right?” Alfred nudged Arthur with his elbow while he pulled the full pot of coffee from the machine.
“I prefer tea.”
“Obviously.” Alfred smirked. “So. Does your preference for tea extend to men?”
Arthur hit the button to open the microwave door in a panic, too flustered to answer and think of the consequences. The door flung open and hit the hand that Alfred held the coffee in, and then nature’s best gift to men was covering Alfred’s groin and lower stomach.
And Alfred was screaming bloody murder.
Arthur grabbed a towel from one of the drawers under the counter while the entire office deemed it necessary to stand and watch the show, while Arthur tried to give Alfred wet and cold cloths to help relieve the burning pain in his crotch.
Three hours and an ambulance ride later, Alfred had a verbal warning from his supervisor (a woman by the name of Elizabeta) concerning proper workplace procedure when prying into someone’s sexual orientation.
And Arthur had a phone number.
However, Arthur was never going to call it, and he was going to request a different cubicle.
Shame Elizabeta was in cahoots with Arthur’s supervisor, Kiku.
Arthur never did get his cubicle changed.