Monday, March 31, 2008


It was the day of the photos, and as such, Myron was not feeling altogether well. The worst part of him this week was a fawn patch of contact dermatitis on his left calf, which would be safely covered, but it would be just like management to insist that everyone wear shorts.

Previous highlights of Myron’s company photo: A swollen bee sting above his eye; an infected boil on the side of his nose not covered but rather enhanced by convenience-store concealer; an unfortunate case of psoriasis that caused clumps of his hair to fall out. All these horrific and unfortunate facial maladies captured with a business portraitist’s evil sheen—the ubiquitous grey sponged background only pushing his face further into focus.

Myron spent all morning in front of the mirror in a staff bathroom on floor 29, wiping madly at his forehead with a damp antibacterial cloth he had bought from home. So far, nothing had gone wrong with his face. He had stayed away from all flammable surfaces, sharp edges and potentially allergen-filled areas all week. No grotesque facial growths had sprouted overnight. His pus remained hidden safely away wherever it is pus likes to go in its downtime.

Five minutes to go. Myron washed his hands thoroughly with non-allergenic soap. He checked his suit and tie. Then, staring into his own eyes in the streaky mirror, Myron threw up. Just a little disturbance of his stomach—a warm jumble of the morning’s plain oatmeal and organic orange juice coating his chin, dripping into the sink. Myron swung his left palm against the hot tap, leaving a small bruise the shape of Mauritius on his thumb. A painful, close to the bone bruise.

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