For a few weeks, I've been rolling the below story around in my head. I'd been having a difficult time getting past the first sentence. However, since I posted only once last week (okay, I may have had good reason to feel less than enthusiastic about everything, including writing), I decided to go for it. Below is the result.
Inside the husk of a walrus lay a lovely lady named Enid. But to most people, her Humpty Dumpty-shaped outer shell outshined her inner beauty.
A lonely soul, Enid cherished her time away from home. Starved for attention, she often recounted lengthy stories about family, former workplaces and church musical productions to cornered coworkers passing within an eight-foot radius of her desk. Soon, people rerouted their typical paths to the copy machine, break room or bathroom in avoidance of the "Enid time vacuum."
Of course, the decreased foot traffic caused an isolated Enid to waddle from her desk in search of human contact. In response to Enid's cubicle drive-bys, the office bustled with activity. Workers cited conference calls, meetings and deadlines as a way to dodge Enid's blathering. As a result, Enid added an extra ten to fifteen minutes of chitchat per client call. Complaints flowed in, but even with a reprimand from her supervisor, Enid continued to barrage clients with idle prattle.
Finally, management removed Enid from the phones. Instead, they assigned her a time-sensitive, labor-intensive data-entry job. With overtime approved, Enid threw herself into her work, typing as furiously as her pudgy little fingers would allow, often outstaying her coworkers.
Over the next several weeks, management was pleased to find Enid arriving early and staying late, and not a single complaint had been lodged against the rotund worker in nearly two weeks. With the project's final deadline looming, Enid's supervisor stopped by the "time vacuum" for a status update. But Enid sat too rigid, skin paler than a blank sheet of copy paper. Enid's boss grabbed a ruler and poked at the woman's arm, stiff with rigor mortis. No response. She tried for a pulse at Enid's wrist, but there was none. Enid, the lady who wanted nothing more than a few minutes of human contact a day, had suffered a heart attack at her desk, and no one had even noticed.