Poetry: MY CO-WORKER SLAMS THE MICROWAVE – Mike Young

~~ choose: “HE” | “SHE” | “THEY” ~~

MY CO-WORKER SLAMS THE MICROWAVE

as described to Matt Nelson

they are a human prune bag with no prunes in it

they cut their bagels in quarters

they act confused by diagonals in scrabble

they pick up parking tickets right after people drop them and say “excuse me” loudly

they chat you when you’re invisible and say “i know you’re not invisible”

they point at the numbers you’ve deliberately obscured and say “what do these numbers mean?”

at night they turn into an advanced VCR made right after VCRs became obsolete

instead of sleeping they polish their jackhammer collection

their jackhammer collection includes all jackhammers currently in operation and none of the jackhammers that are quiet

they call the dream factory and insist that all wet dreams be converted to dry dreams

they’ve been holding the post office hostage for 26 years through a complicated blackmail scheme that ultimately reduces the post office’s efficiency

they send a reply-all email saying “isn’t she not here anymore” regarding a co-worker who committed suicide two years ago after you accidentally include that co-worker’s email address in an email you send to everyone in the company on a Friday of a funny skiing accident video

their profile picture is an annoying sound that plays automatically

their favorite band is a fluorescent light

their favorite food is a weak cough

they sue the tinsel company because they counted each individual strand in a box of tinsel and it didn’t match up to the promises on the packaging

they win all their court cases

they throw away food based on the date you wrote on the piece of tape covering the tupperware, and not based on what the food actually smells like

they loudly scorn sports announcers and tell embarrassing personal anecdotes about them

they never mute commercials

they say “oh please” right at the good part of the movie

all the characters in their children’s book have ugly hats

they see nothing funny

they scrape your non-stick pan with a fork, rendering it cancerous

they are the deciding “no” vote on a bill to fund a space exploration program for cute dolphins

they start a pedantic Wikipedia edit war about your favorite tree

their xylophone keys all make the same note

they force the book club to spend the whole time talking about a small typo on page 46

they call their brother at the end of your joke and say they’re going to ask him to explain your joke because “he always knows about that”

when faced with three packaging design options for an olive oil bottle, they always picks the ugliest option, and the olive oil always ends up being a reliable success

they say “who’s that” at funerals

they say “for all indents and purposes”

they order sandwiches at Subway with overly specific coupons

they put your favorite old chair into a blender and it comes out an ugly orange chair

their heart is full of pistachios that seem like they have difficult shells but actually they’re impossible

if they were an app on your phone they would ask for an unseemly amount of permissions

you loan them your umbrella so they can run down the street to the post office and they wander into the middle of a desert and die

they invented fanny packs

their best friend is a stop sign in the middle of a highway

their mom is a confusing assembly guide for a piece of furniture that only has three parts

their dad is a gas station that won’t take credit cards and doesn’t have an ATM

their brother is the pimple that emerges from the pimple you destroyed

their sister is the hiccups

the sound they make when they chew is currently the highest polling republican candidate for president in 2016

they wear an enormous digital watch that has an alarm that goes off at obvious times of the day, like 5PM, and they always act surprised by it

all your friends can do is shrug and say “they’re not that bad” and then right as they’re saying “wait but actually” they are hit and killed by a 1993 ford taurus

everything in their bathroom is covered by a thin, hallucinatory layer of plastic

they email you after you fix something and say “it still doesn’t work” and somehow they are right

they smell like a flight cancellation email

in kindergarten they gave everyone a saltine cracker instead of a valentine

in heaven they gave everyone a sore throat

any sporting event they go to is guaranteed to end in a scoreless tie

when they make toast it tastes like an old calculator

their house is one leg of a giant pair of khakis

when they cry, they cry funky towel smell

when they love someone, it immediately triggers an IRS audit for them

Mike Young is the author of Sprezzatura, Look! Look! Feathers, and We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough. He publishes NOÖ Journal, runs Magic Helicopter Press, and lives in Portland, OR. Find him online at mikeayoung.tumblr.com.

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