As I eat breakfast and then take a shower, I look out for possible black shapes scurrying around. None appear. After I get dressed and leave my apartment, the sight of my Renault Laguna strikes me as ominous, but as I fire up its engine, nothing explodes. Still, during the long ride to the industrial park located in the outskirts of Donostia and that contains my office building, I’m surprised that none of the functions of my car ruined the lives of strangers. I keep telling myself that I hallucinated every bizarre event that disturbed me yesterday. I probably didn’t even pass out. But I’m unconvinced, so I refuse to test whether my car remains imbued with uncanny powers.
At ten minutes to eight, I reach the street in the industrial park where I always park my vehicle. The buildings are blocky monsters of crystal, steel beams and patched slabs of grey and seafoam green to add some artistry to the soul-crushing activities taking place inside. Two cars are maneuvering to occupy spots in the parking lot to which I’m headed, but as usual I park in front of the multicolored row of garbage bins. I always feel at home near trash.
I turn off the engine, and I reached absentmindedly for the handle when my hand slips on the surface of the door. The handle has become a two-dimensional object again. My body goes tense as a feeling of dread seizes me by the throat. I feel an urge to run around while screaming incoherently.
I bury my face in my hands and take deep breaths. Alright, so I remain crazy. This world doesn’t give a shit that I’ve snapped, I’ll have to amass money anyway, if only to afford therapy again. Maybe there’s something wrong with one or both of my frontal lobes. That should cause hallucinations and other strange events, for sure. In any case, I have no choice but to play by the rules of these delusions until they’re gone.
Now I need to start the engine so the car will allow me to open the door. Once I step onto the asphalt, I stretch my arm to turn off the engine and remove the key card from its slot in the dashboard. After I slam the door shut, I straighten my back and breathe the morning October air. I’m ready for yet another exhausting workday filled with tickets to develop boring website widgets. But I’d get busy working on similar stuff as a freelancer, except that I would be the one receiving calls from deranged customers at odd hours. While I remain an employee at my boss’ company, he deals with all the clients.
When I enter our office in the second floor, Jordi is already occupying his workstation, a couple of meters to my left at the same table. He’s sitting there like a lump of clay waiting to be molded into whatever form his master desires, or maybe I just picture it that way because he’s our intern. His expression is vacant as he scrolls through a news feed. He’s wearing another copy of his chosen uniform: white shirt and black pants. I’ve never gotten used to him being conspicuously younger than me, and treating me deferentially. Despite his unkempt red hair, his glasses and his thin and pale face speckled with freckles, his movements are precise and confident, so maybe he’s got a big dick. I wonder if he would lick me dry if I ordered him to do so.
After I plop down on my seat, Jordi turns his head towards me and smiles.
“What’s up, Leire?”
This kid’s voice sounds almost musical, which likely soothes and reassures others whose brains aren’t this fucked up. I just purse my lips and shake my head, too disturbed still to behave like a normal human being. Jordi’s gentle gaze studies me.
“You look more worn than usual,” he says. “Are you okay? Are you not sleeping right?”
I pretend that I badly need to tidy up my workspace as I wait for Windows to load. To be fair, my desk is cluttered and messy, piled up with notes that I wrote while coding away in a trance state. Why does Jordi care, or pretend to? I’m just a random programmer that will one day either quit or get replaced by a stranger. But I guess that Jordi would also feign interest in the private life of my replacement.
“Yeah,” I say wearily, “I had some kind of breakdown last night and it’s taking a toll. But I’ll be fine. Plenty of tickets are waiting for me to resolve them, anyway.”
Jordi raises a brow, then leans closer.
“Leire, you work too much. You should stop and relax more often. Take care of yourself first before worrying about everything else.” He pauses briefly then adds, “And don’t forget to eat healthy food. Your brain is what makes your code sing, remember?”
My stomach growls loudly as I roll my eyes internally at his silly platitudes. I suppose he means well, but his advice irritates me, so I sigh and mutter only half aloud, “yes, yes.” Then I try to concentrate on getting comfortable until the damn computer finishes loading all the programs.
“I’ll handle a couple of your tickets, alright?” Jordi says.
The kid is browsing my active tasks on Service Manager. It makes me feel naked.
“If you want to do my job, knock yourself out, as long as I get paid the same amount.”
“You really aren’t in any mood today, are you?”
“To put it this way, if I had a gun you’d witness me opening a hole in my skull.”
Jordi snorts, then nods knowingly.
“Yes, the line is so thin, isn’t it? I could just grab a pen, stab someone in the eye and then my life would be ruined. Sometimes it feels so easily to slip over that precipice…”
The kid trails off and looks thoughtful, but I have given up on paying attention to my surroundings. I want to lose myself in coding and forget that my life has been crumbling steadily for years. I have barely revised yesterday’s work in Visual Studio Code when the characteristic clicking of heels approaches us from behind.
“Hiya guys!” Jacqueline says cheerfully. “How are you today?”
“Just the fucking worst,” I answer sullenly.
She laughs, Jacqueline’s default reaction whenever she encounters anyone who’s having a bad day. Her smile infects our intern, and likely brightens the atmosphere, but my brain is impervious to her influence. My skin prickles uncomfortably.
Jacqueline’s dark hair is pulled back in a ponytail. She’s wearing a cream white, low-cut blouse with gilded buttons, tucked into a dark grey skirt. A pearly pendant hangs between her large breasts, which are enticing enough to make most men drool uncontrollably, or me for that matter when I yearn for a mommy to nurse me back to sanity. Today her legs are also clad in white stockings that show a bit of her shapely thighs.
Jacqueline is carrying two cups of coffee. She sets one down next to Jordi’s keyboard, then she pats his head. After she places the remaining cup next to her keyboard, she bends over to turn on the radio that will play her preferred music until the workday ends. I get a good whiff of her floral perfume mixed with the scent of warm milk and sugar.
After Jacqueline sits down, I thought I would get to concentrate on my code, but her piercing blue eyes are staring at me. They look like a summer sky dotted with clouds of white cotton candy. They glow warmly; last night she likely milked a much younger guy dry. I feel like she’s rubbing it in my face, but I remind myself that our clerical worker is pushing forty five, evidenced by the wrinkles she tries to hide, and that none of those hundreds of men have settled for her childless self. In a few years, twenty something year olds will consider Jacqueline a middle-aged woman, so the available pool of booty calls will diminish by thirty percent or so.
Jacqueline narrows her eyes at me as she sips her coffee.
“So how’s it going, sweetie?” she asks softly.
Her voice, including that slight French accent, should clear away all of life’s troubles and woes.
“You know, just the usual nightmare,” I reply curtly. “Nothing special.”
Jacqueline’s lips curl upwards ever so slightly. When she studies me this closely I can’t figure out if I want to tell her to knock it off or if I want to shove my tongue into her mouth.
“Another sleepless night, huh?” she guesses.
I slept more than usual, likely because yesterday’s hallucinations and the general panic drained my energies.
“Not everybody can always seem as happy as you, Jacqueline.”
“I wish I could transfer some of my happiness to you, Leire,” she replies with a soft laugh. “But alas, that would require a miracle.”
In a couple of minutes my coworkers understand that I’d rather be alone, so they stop talking to me, but my hands still tremble as I struggle to get in the zone. How come these two are always at least content, anyway? How does anyone wake up at six and a half in the morning five days a week to come sit at an office to fray their nerves for hours, and then manage to smile? Everyone around me seems to be able to cope with life, while I struggle with every little task.
Jacqueline takes a sip of her coffee. She’s working in an Excel spreadsheet, entering numbers, copying data and pasting it elsewhere, changing values, erasing lines… She works slowly, but she’s very thorough in every step that she performs, and saves her work frequently.
If only I was programming a video game or a VR experience, maybe I’d come to work eagerly. I’m sure I’d end up crashing my car on the highway because my brain was brimming with exciting ideas to implement. But I don’t want to hear yet another HR employee telling me that she’s sorry, but that she doesn’t believe I’d fit in a team environment. Can’t I just find a job that doesn’t make me want to die? Is there such a thing? Do companies exist for people like me?
My fingers fly across the keys and such fragmentary thoughts fall apart. As the minutes pass, from the jumble of incoherent nonsense that life is made out of emerge patterns that I can comprehend. My brain operates faster and faster until the problem becomes manageable, a series of steps that lead me towards success.
I’m not crazy. There’s nothing wrong with me that can’t be fixed by medication or suicide. I live alone in Irún, that’s why I’m depressed. Without adding hallucinations, my city is hopeless even for young couples raising children, and I’m a thirty year old who expects to die alone.
I hadn’t noticed that I had lifted my gaze off my computer screen, and it has fallen upon my supervisor Ramsés, who is walking past our table towards his office. He’s carrying his laptop bag and he has dressed his paunchy body in his suit jacket and slacks, as if he’s coming to a fancy restaurant instead of to sit behind his desk and do paperwork and call clients. He smells of expensive cologne and soap. His mustache is trimmed so precisely that one could use it for shaving one’s legs, not that I’d ever want that ugly bastard near my bare skin. He looks like a parody of himself.
Ramsés catches me looking his way, but before our gazes meet, I hunch over and pretend that my code can’t wait. I get the feeling that he’ll call me into his office soon enough to discuss some details of my tasks, and I’ll have to tolerate his gaze slipping down to take note of every curve that I cover with my hoodies and sweaters. I wonder how often he strokes his fat cock while thinking about me. Maybe he pictures himself fondling my ass cheeks and pinching them so that I squirm and moan like a slutty whore. Or maybe he fantasizes about forcing me onto my knees and shoving the head of his dick deep into my throat.
Once Ramsés enters his office and leaves the door ajar, I take a deep breath and force myself to return my attention to the keyboard. I try to overcome the wave of dizziness that has suddenly overwhelmed me. Maybe I should see a therapist again, then drug myself with anxiolytics… No, they prevented me from thinking coherently, and from caring, and I need to pay the bills. So many bugs on the backlog that either myself or Jordi will have to squash. I can’t allow my swirling thoughts to distract me anymore.
At around twelve, I find myself rubbing my thighs together. I need so bad to masturbate. I worry whether my coworkers can smell my arousal. I should be able to rub my clit just a bit while I picture myself grabbing a handful of large breasts, firm mounds of flesh heavy with milk, their texture smooth and silky. Or a pulsing, veiny cock that fills my hand. I want to spit out a load of cum in a face full of hair, or into a mouth with wet, full lips, to feel the warmth of her tongue and her throat as she swallows the salty seed. Please let me climax, damn it! Anything to escape this hellish life, which has become too vivid to ignore any longer.
I slouch to rest my elbows on the table and cover my eyes with my sweaty palms as a bout of uncontrollable trembling threatens to shake me off of my chair.
Jacqueline’s caring voice washes over me from my right.
“Take a break, Leire. You are working too hard.”
“Thanks for noticing,” I mutter. “Yeah, I need a coffee.”
She smiles sympathetically as she bores holes into my eyes with her blues. I picture myself grabbing a black coffee from the machine, then returning to my seat, unbuttoning Jacqueline’s blouse and squeezing her breasts to sweeten my beverage with her tit milk. If we were married I’d spend most of the day sucking her tits while she stood at her vanity mirror admiring herself.
I hurry out of the office and down the hallway towards the bathroom while I try to steady my breath. I need to be alone. Could I get away with locking myself in one of the stalls and rubbing one off? Or better yet, I could dare to enter my supervisor’s office and tell him that I’m taking the rest of the day off because I’ve been having nightmares. He might even give me money for groceries or something. No, I’d rather stick around and remain miserable and horny than interact with that prick.
Why do I need to touch myself so badly? Should I eat something instead? Yes, yes, eat something salty and oily to lubricate my channel. I’ll think later about eating something, though, because now it’s all about nipple stimulation. Go ahead, suckle those nipples one more time, please! A little more pressure, a little harder, fuck!
After I burst into the communal bathroom and close the door, I wonder whether anyone will come in while I splash my face with cold water. I’ll also need to wash away the sticky residue between my legs. Any of the women from the neighboring offices may ambush me, and then she’d push me into one of the stalls, bend me over and shove her thick strap-on inside me while she squeezed my tits and her tongue lapped away at my ear until her strap-on shot plastic cum deep into my cunt. Afterwards we could lick the sweat off each other’s skin or go back to her place where she’d feed me her cream pie for dessert. That would definitely help me forget about everything for awhile.
My heart is pounding on my chest while I wash my hands and my face furiously. A stall door squeaks open slowly. I must have bothered someone while she was taking a shit. I casually look over my shoulder and find myself staring at the head of a horse, that is peeking out of the stall’s entrance. Its nostrils flare wide, accentuating long hairs that trail below its muzzle like whiskers. Its ears droop low, almost touching its neck. Its grey lips curl back to reveal sharp teeth and black gums.
I freeze as I gape at the vision. Its amber eyes lock onto mine as if reading what lurks within me. Maybe tired of waiting for me to react, the horse’s hairy hooves click on the tiles as it steps out of the stall. My heart pounds against my ribs. The horse is standing on its two hind legs; his front two are retracted and atrophied, like vestigial limbs, but the healthy legs aren’t adapted either for walking like humans. Instead, the horse walks hunched forward, and its hind legs move only enough to support the weight of its bulky body.
Drool is dripping in thin strands from the beast’s chin. There’s a sutured wound where the dick should be.
“Hello,” the horse says.