Wednesday, November 9, 2011
There was a tiger sitting on my desk when I got to work this morning.
Not a paper tiger, not a plush toy tiger. A real tiger, all eleven feet and 670 pounds of him. He was trying to balance on the too short surface, his legs pulled up tight under his body, his head perched casually on his front paws. He gave me a bored look as I tried to muster up enough courage to reclaim my space.
I waved my arms towards him as if he were a fly.
"Go on now, scat!"
He merely lifted his head, opened his mouth to yawn, then placed it back on his paws, shutting his eyes and falling asleep.
I weighed my options. He was nearly five times my size; his paws were the size of dinner plates (dinner plates with razor sharp claws at the end of them). I couldn't push him off the desk, and I had nothing to lure him away with. I needed to get to my computer and finish a report that was due in an hour. I slowly walked behind my desk, sat down in my chair, and turned on the computer. The tiger opened one eye to regard me.
"I have work to do. Don't stay awake on my account."
The tiger stared at me another minute, then closed his eye. He began to snore as I opened a spread sheet.
About ten minutes later, one of the company's interns came to my door.
"OH MY GOD! There's a tiger on your desk!"
"Yes, he's sleeping. I wouldn't wake him up if I were you."
She hesitated for a moment, then whispered loudly,
"Can I have twenty dollars from petty cash? I need to buy bagels."
I pulled out the cash box and held out a bill towards her. She tippy toed closer and grabbed the money. Her curiosity got the better of her; I saw her gently pet the top of my tiger's head.
"He's so soft."
"Yes, he is. But he snores."
"Well, no body's perfect."
She turned and walked out of my office. The tiger grunted in his sleep and shifted his weight, trying to find a more comfortable position.
I kept working as my dead line loomed. I was just about to fill in the final formula when my supervisor came charging into my office. He squealed like a pig when he saw my desk.
"What is that?! You know animals aren't allowed in the office."
"He was here when I got in."
My supervisor scrunched up his weaselly little face as he began to pace frantically in a circle.
"What's a tiger doing here? You've got to get rid of him, the auditors will be here any minute, we're all going to get fired!! GET RID OF HIM!!"
He wasn't using his indoor voice. The tiger woke up, looking very grumpy. He trained his eyes towards the source of his irritation as his muscles began to tense. My supervisor froze as the blood began to drain from his face, his breath short and shallow. I sat quietly and waited. Finally I heard my voice whisper.
The tiger leaped and tackled my supervisor in one fluid moment, grabbing him by the neck and dragging him into the back room. I could hear a brief struggle behind me, then the sounds of flesh ripping and chewing. I went into the kitchen and found a large bowl and filled it up with cold water, then slowly brought it back to my office. The tiger had come out of the back room. We stared at each other for a moment; I placed the water before him and sat back down. He drank it in one gulp, then jumped back up on our desk and began to clean his paws and face. I finished my work and hit print. The tiger had settled down for another nap. I gently petted his head and scratched his ears.
The only hitch I can see in this relationship is if they don't hire a replacement quickly enough.