For a bit of background, I work at an insurance company. I’m not exactly changing the world, but it pays well and it’s usually pretty chill. Except for yesterday, which I just really need to rant about. It was a bunch of little things that stacked up to my… almost explosion.
The water cooler was dripping nonstop. Citrix servers had gone down and that was the main program I use for work. I had a pounding headache from the bright lights in the office and my skin was all dried out from the artificial air. And for fuck’s sake, Barbara would just not leave me alone.
I’m not a people person. I can answer the phone and be amicable enough, but I’ve never been like BFF’s with my coworkers at… any of my jobs. Most of my coworkers get I’m here to do my job and get paid. Barbara though, good god. She just doesn’t get the hint. And I can’t exactly mouth off to her because she’s been with the company for like two decades so if she complains I’m the one in trouble… not like she’s done work for the last five years, but I digress.
“So is this your boyfriend, Ellie?”
I chewed the inside of my cheek as Barbara plucked one of the pictures in my cubicle up, cooing and aww’ing. I hated being called Ellie. “He’s so cute!”
“Andrew is my brother, actually. I’m not seeing anyone at the moment.” One of the only other people I can tolerate in this world. I grabbed the picture and not so gently snatched it back, setting it down. The vein in my forehead probably popped out another good inch as I saw that Barbara had left a greasy thumbprint on the glass. I’d need to clean it when she was gone.
“Oh!” Barbara cocked her head to the side. “You don’t look alike!”
“I’m adopted.” Desperately I stared at my computer, willing Citrix to get its shit together so I could tell Barbara I was busy working. I was not going to be that lucky.
“You know, I have a son about your age.” Barbara started fiddling with the other things in my space, my notepad, the pens. “He just broke up with his girlfriend, and I was wondering, I bet the two of you would love to have coffee together…”
“I’m sorta preoccupied with other things at the moment than dating. And I hate coffee. I’m more of a tea person.” Jesus Christ, I was at the point where I was begging the clock to speed up. Even with the systems down, I still wasn’t allowed to leave until four. Just in case they came back on, even though they never had in the past. I wouldn’t mind getting paid to sit on my ass and do nothing if fucking Barbara would leave me alone.
“At your age?”
Oh, here we go. I rolled my eyes as Barbara tutted her tongue at me. “You need to get on that, honey, otherwise you’re going to be unmarried at thirty! After that it’s all downhill, not to mention how this could effect your future children- is something wrong with your arm?”
Shit. I hid my hand under my desk. “No!” I spared a glance and almost starting cussing. Of all times to start shedding, this was not a good time. “Bathroom emergency, move it!”
I shoved past Barbara, accidentally pushing her to the ground in my haste. I heard her snap after me but I didn’t care. I scooted into the bathroom and slammed the door behind me.
I held my hand in front of me to see more skin start to flake off, revealing the putrid muscle and flesh underneath. Fuck me. Today had to be that bad, huh?
My brother used to call it my ‘zombie mode’ to make me grumpy, but it’s not really like that. I keep my sanity, but I just start rotting and falling apart at the seams. It’s been like this since I was a kid, though I do tend to rot quicker when I’m having a shitty day, so Barbara can get fucked.
There’s really only one way to speed up the process so my skin grows back normal and healthy, and it sucks.
I sent Andrew a text, telling him to come pick me up as soon as he could and to bring my large coat. He knew what I meant. With a sigh, I double checked the lock before I pulled my shirt off, bra following onto the floor. Where the underwire was pressing against me the skin was already starting to come off. I gritted my teeth, grabbed on, and yanked.
It doesn’t hurt, not when my skin’s already dead. Sometimes a bit of the live skin comes with it and oh that hurts like tearing a hangnail, but it’s hardly lethal.
Pus and blood spattered into the sink as I ripped more and more of my skin away, both lumps I once called breasts slapped on the ground with a wet sound. I could see tumorous, bulbous growths starting to form in the fat. With most of the skin on my torso gone, I moved onto my arm. I groaned with relief as I finally scratched away at the sore, ripping away more skin and flesh.
I had skinned my entire upper body and was finally starting to feel relief when I heard a timid knock at the door.
“Sweetie? Ellie? Are you okay?”
Barbara’s voice made my blood boil, but right now she was exactly what I needed. I cleared my throat before approaching the door. “Sorry, Barb, I… I threw up. Everywhere. On my clothes, on the sink. It looks like a horror film in here. I called my brother to come get me, but could you please bring me stuff to clean up? I am not leaving this for Willis to clean up tonight, he’ll probably quit.”
“Oh, of course, sweetie! Don’t worry about work, I’ll handle it.”
She even was nice enough to cover her eyes as she handed me the cleaning supplies through the crack in the door. I scrubbed that floor and counter spotless, filling a garbage bag with bloody paper towels and gore so that no one would assume I butchered someone in the bathroom.
My brother gave me my trench coat when he came to pick me up and acted like he was helping me out of the building as he escorted me, in reality he was making sure I wasn’t bleeding over everything.
Now I’m home, enjoying a few seasons of Friends as I heal up. Andrew is a coroner and if I didn’t have him, I probably would’ve lost my mind and eaten Barbara on a bad day years ago. Whenever I’m done ‘shedding’, he brings me home a few human body parts so I can eat. I usually add them to whatever junk I’m eating, but Barbara was nice enough to bring me some chicken noodle soup. Now it’s chicken noodle soup plus a kidney, but hey, what can you do.
Whoa, feels good to get my shitty yesterday off my chest. Thank god it’s Friday.