Arthur is at his desk, staring at an inbox full of hell after a few days off sick. He decides to prioritise, and logs straight into Facebook. Seeking the most succinct way to express his feelings he selects and sends an image of famously miserable internet feline ‘Grumpy Cat’ with the caption “I hate morning people. And mornings. And people.”
The recipient of Arthur’s message has his own problems. He has been diagnosed with something unpleasant and possibly serious. Arthur is upset by the news, and sends his friend a cartoon image of a tubby grey cat weeping. Its pixelated tears plop into nothingness, three at a time.
The friend does not think this is an appropriate way to respond, and says so. There is an argument. This day is going from bad to worse, thinks Arthur, and spends ten soothing minutes watching a video of a baby-faced fluffy cat trying to fit into a series of boxes.
His line manager catches him in the act. There is a public shaming. The air-conditioning wheezes to a halt, making the shouting seem louder. Arthur finds himself staring hungrily at his mouse.
Sweat tricking down the back of his neck, Arthur is sitting in a meeting. Nod and smile, nod and smile. It is his turn to feed back the latest figures. He tries to focus but the pie chart has grown pointy ears and blinks uneven slices of eyes at him.
He fumbles through his presentation. The CEO asks a question that manages to be both patronising and breathtakingly rude. Smiles are suppressed. Mavis from the press team sniggers.
Arthur clenches his jaw to avoid stammering and reflexively clicks onto the next slide, from which March’s figures have vanished… How? Grumpy Cat has returned, displayed large on the screen. He has this to say:
“I’m not saying I hate you. I’m just saying that if you got hit by a bus, I’d be driving that bus.”
Arthur is enduring the bollocking given him by his line manager for carelessness. He is more disturbed by the psychic manifestation of his innermost feelings, and the form they took.
Arthur sneaks out for some air and wanders into a coffee shop. The barista greets him: “Hey. Howareya?” Stripped of the means to convey the state of his health and feelings, Arthur falters, tongue-tied. The barista looks confused. The silence lengthens.
Story by Badger
Illustration by Ashley Le Quere