Brian has this voice. It grates on my last nerve from the first second I hear it. It only gets worse the longer I have to be around him, the longer I have to hear him.
And, lucky me, today instead of working from the comfort of my own home as I prefer to do, the boss has called us into the office for a meet-and-greet soiree with a few new clients and many old ones to boot. It’s not an event I can say no to, ya know?
Me, in the middle of a flare up, just recovering from a stomach flu, and two weeks out of breaking things off with my beloved. Yep. I had to doll myself up, swallow a ton of pills, and hope I could stand things long enough to make a decent impression.
I get to the event. There’s music, wine, food aplenty…and Brian. I head to the other side of the room, looking for coffee, something to hold in my hand to pretend I’m having a good time.
But Brian, for some reason, he thinks we are friends. He thinks everyone likes him, that everyone trusts him, that everyone respects him. He believes, truly believes, he does a good job. No one has the balls to tell him he only works there because they are afraid to fire him because he might claim he has a “mental illness” and sue the company.
I am not the only one actively seeking to avoid him. He’s the office joke. He’s too blind and ignorant to realize it.
But, there he is, glomming onto some clients, who all look distinctly uncomfortable. He starts out with one of his “stories”—some tale he has concocted to make himself look better than everyone else, but that actually makes it obvious what a buffoon he is—to everyone except other idiots like him. His voice is squeaky and grindy at the same time…and yet, still a monotone on top of that.
That’s how it starts—the squeak and grind…and then he starts ramping up and laughing…a wild honking squawk of a guffaw that has everyone cringing. Some of his audience attempts to slip away while his head is thrown back and his eyes closed while he laughs at his own joke.
And he’s drinking too…which means he’s getting worse. Louder. More jokes and that … laugh of his. His voice…this sickening keening shrieking screech of a bellow … and he just continues to be amused by his own stories, assumes everyone else is as well…and goes forth…holding forth even more.
I am at the end of my tether. Fifteen minutes of his voice, escalating, and to say I have a massive migraine is an understatement. The lights are far too bright. I feel sick to my stomach. I’m sweating.
My heads throbs. A gyrating BOOM BOOM BOOM of torment slams around inside my skull…while Brain’s voice and personality pummel me from without.
As Brian progresses, finding and claiming new victims when his original ones melt away, my brain feels as if a herd of braying donkeys is pelting around a gravel path, sliding, slipping and slamming their way across my brainstem.
Brian screams, rants and rallies, imagining, I suppose, that he is the belle of the whole ball and everyone is enraptured with him and his stories. He is missing the pointing and the jeering at him—and I do not mean those only behind his back. These people have had more than they can take and are openly mocking him. Some people, the older crowd, shake their heads as if he is an unruly child, but not their child, so of course, they can’t say a thing to him—as if he’d hear them and understand what they were telling him.
I’ve tried before—to explain that everyone, myself included, thinks he’s a useless ass and his lack of ability and lack of work ethic make him less than desirable in and out of the office—I even told him to his face I would rather have leprosy and live in a lepers colony than have to deal with him for any length of time. He just smiled and kept on talking as if I had said nothing. I guess he was too busy formulating his next sentence to actually hear what I had to say…which is typical Brian.
I move again to the other-other side of the room, my head full of a tornado of broken mirrored glass…I need something stronger than coffee to get me through this…and I am not a drinker. I ask for tequila, make it a double. I down one and ask for another.
My headache is not in any way appeased. The pain is now so bad I am having trouble standing still, standing upright. I take a chair, almost missing the seat and hitting the floor. Luckily, I caught myself in time.
But Brian saw it…and came over, dragging some nice looking lady along by her arm – she looks ready to chew her arm off at this point… He makes sure I am all right…and continues right along with his latest exploit.
Too close to me.
He grows louder…and louder.
The headache grows exponentially…there’s a whirling dervish of ecstatically cruel pain twisting across the landscape inside my skull.
He’s hollering. He’s yelling. He’s told to quiet down, to shut up, to go away, by the more belligerent in the crowd.
He jeers. He hoots. He whistles. He whines. He yammers.
On and on and on….
I start trembling, shaking like a leaf in the wind. I feel as if I am going to be sick. Ice picks are clawing at the walls of my brain. The pain seeks an escape.
But Brian goes on.
I pitch forward in my chair, hands clutching my pulsating head. I am drenched in sweat.
I feel as if I am about to give birth.
I scream out, echoes chase themselves around the ceiling of the room.
No one notices. Everyone is still too involved with avoiding Brian…and I am sitting too close to him to be taken seriously other than as someone else having a fit over Brian.
Oh, but I am. As I think I am about to vomit a tsunami of agony swells through my head. There are cracks, what I take as left and right. Huge cracks that sounds as if a huge ship has struck icebergs and the sides of the ship are giving and the iceberg is shattering beneath the impact of the ship.
Dark spots block my vision. Blood—or sweat—or maybe even tears—wet my face as the top of my head blows off and lands a few feet from Brian’s feet.
Nothing more can I hear. I am blessed. My skull gives birth…one…two…three…I can’t count any higher, but I know that more are coming.
Burros, racing out of my head and onto the dance floor, covered in the ichor that is my life, my brain, splattered all over them.
I feel another massive quake overtake my body…one last animal, larger than the rest, is the last one out. He heads straight for Brian…and does what we have all wanted to do at one point or another—my vision clears enough for me to make out what happens.
A gunshot snap and the burro kicked Brian right in the face with his hind legs, braying loudly the whole time.
I feel myself smile as I slump to the ground.