It was 11:00am in our small accounting firm, and Derek, my all-time worst enemy in the office, still hadn't shown for work. My boss Sheila was so nonchalant about the whole thing (maybe she likes him more than an employee. Gross. Sheila might be pretty but now she disgusts me). I was incensed. Was Derek playing hooky, while I had to work? Or maybe something terrible had befallen him. I left the office for half an hour and when I came back, I dimmed the lights as I headed toward my cubicle.
HOWARD: What the hell?
Howard is a sixty-ish ex-army Sargent-turned-accountant.
ME: Everyone! Gather around!
SHEILA: Where have you been? You're supposed to be working.
I quickly unwrapped a game board and its pieces and placed everything on my desk.
ME: It's a Ouija board. We're going to have a séance. Maybe talk to Derek's spirit. Find out what really happened.
SHEILA: This is ridiculous. Someone turn the lights back up.
The lights went back to full.
I gathered up the board and pieces.
ME: I'm doing this in the lunch room. Come on everyone!
SHEILA: Oh no, you’re not. You’re getting back to work.
I slammed everything back down on my desk and sat down.
SHEILA: That goes for everyone. Back to work.
I dialed up a number on my phone.
ME (quietly into the phone): Hi. Yes, it's me again. I still haven't heard anything. Have you?
Charisse walked by my cubicle then.
ME (into the phone): I know. I really feel for you at this time. My prayers are with you and your family.
CHARISSE: Who are you on the phone with?
I covered the mouth piece with the palm of my hand.
ME (whispering): Derek's mother.
ME (back into the phone): Don't cry. Don't cry. I think the smart thing to do would be to brace yourself for the worst. Do you know of a funeral home?
CHARISSE: What are you doing?
I spent the next half hour talking with Derek's parents, consoling them, offering hope, and then asking for the telephone numbers of any siblings and immediately calling up his sister, and offering a shoulder.
At noon, while everyone in the office was enjoying their lunch in the lunch room, I walked in and turned off the lights.
HOWARD: What the?
I lit a candle and everyone turned and saw me seated alone at one table, conducting a séance before my Ouija board. I closed my eyes and placed the tips of my fingers on the movable Ouija board pointer which is called a planchette.
HOWARD: Could someone please turn the lights back on? I can’t see what I’m goddamn eating.
The lights went back on.
ME (in a deep, ominous voice): Derek. Derek. Can you hear me, Derek?
HOWARD: Could you keep your hooey down? We're trying to have our lunch here.
ME (ominous voice): Derek. Where are you right now, Derek?
The planchette moved, spelling out a word.
ME: H…E… L… L… Hell? You're in hell?
I looked around at everyone, eyes wide with shock.
ME: Derek is in hell.
Everyone stared back at me, blankly.
ME: Well, I suppose he did deserve it.
Sheila was now just outside the lunch room, staring in at me through the small window in the door. She shook her head to herself as I looked back down at the planchette.
ME: But I feel bad for his girlfriend though. And for Sheila. Now, they'll both have to find new boyfriends.