Jason stood up from his desk. Others in the office checked their watches and the clock on the wall. It was another forty five minutes until the next break. Curious eyes from every angle pegged to him to see what he would do next. To stand up for no reason was unheard of in the office.
Without a word and almost to the rhythm of “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree” coming from Marjorie’s radio, he closed his work calendar and tucked it under his arm. In a silent, priestly walk, he followed the maze of partitions and desk to the nearest exit. There was no hesitation, wave goodbye or ceremonious departure. He just left.
The office had a clear overview of the parking lot. First Marjorie got up, then Glen, then Barry and Phyllis. They gathered by the window and sure as anything, Jason got in his car and backed out then drove off.
“Where do you think he is going?” Phyllis asked with bits of cheese popcorn she was snacking on clogging her words.
“Did he have an errand, because if he did he should have used the company vehicle? He won’t be reimbursed if he uses his own car. Doesn’t he know that?” Barry added.
Bruce, the floor manager could see a ruckus brewing by the window and needed to get on top of it before it got out of hand. “What’s going on over there?” He asked while walking toward the employees by the window.
“Its Jason…he left.” Marjorie said with the tone of a concerned mother.
“Left…what do you mean left? Did he take the company car, because we aren’t going to reimburse him if he uses his own car.” Bruce replied as he looked out the window to the now empty parking spot.
“I wonder if it’s SDS?” Phyllis said.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Jason doesn’t have SDS. Now let’s get back to work, its month end and the reports are due.” Bruce broke up the gaggle but in his mind he too thought that maybe it was SDS. Not a good look for his promotion prospects.
SDS was the corporate phycologist shorthand for Sudden Drone Syndrome. There were posters about it every where you went, from the bathroom to the break room. It was becoming a rampant risk to the corporate bottom line. The employee would get up and leave as if a zombie. Not talking, his or her eyes would be glazed over and they would walk with straight arms, exactly how Jason had departed.
The first line of corporate policy was to lock the doors but that proved to be catastrophic. The people would keep bumping into the door to the level of bloody noses and bruised foreheads. Not too much of a concern for the executive until a law suit of bodily harm was filed. Then on it was an ‘open door policy’.
“You know if it is SDS we’ll have to reset our monthly record board.” Marjorie said from her desk.
“Won’t look good for Bruce either, not after all those SDS sensitivity training sessions. Not a good look at all.” Barry said in reply.
“No, I think we will have to reset the SDS board. It looked like SDS. We all saw his arms, straight to his side.” Phyllis said, once again with popcorn slurring her words.
“Does this mean no donuts this Friday?” A floating voice from one of the other cubicles said.
“We can scratch those donuts good bye…thanks Jason.” Glen responded.
The accounts payable floor was in an uproar they were not the shining example they were told they were. Heads would role for this one. And just when it seemed like the bleakest of moments, Jason pulled back into the parking lot.
“Hey, he’s back!” Marjorie chimed and Bruce came to the door of his office.
“Needs to take the company vehicle…told you.” Barry said with a smirk.
Jason came back, sat back down and there was a collective sigh. He open his top desk drawer, with a all eyes peeping over the dividers. He pulled out a pen and placed it in his pocket. He then stood up again and walked out, straight armed and straight-faced. He pulled out of the parking lot and was never heard from again.
The office was in an up-roar when Jason left.