June 17, 2010 in O
I arrived at work, hung over and wet from the rain, to find an octopus lying on my desk.
Its slimy tentacles were wrapped around my keyboard. Its eerie eyes swivelled to face me.
“Um,” I said out loud. “Excuse me. Who left an octopus on my desk?”
No one in the open plan office answered. I looked back down at the creature. It was quite large. And wet. What the hell was I supposed to do with it? Call the cleaners?
My computer was turned on. Windows software update was running in one window. Pitchfork.com was open in another. I never read Pitchfork. I looked around the office again.
“Sorry. Did anyone leave an octopus on my desk?”
Jenny who sits opposite me shrugged and shook her head.
I eased a plastic ruler out of my desk drawer, and prodded the octopus with it. The octopus reacted by flailing its tentacles over my keyboard.
I dropped the ruler.
In all its random button-mashing, the creature had accidentally opened up Notepad on my computer, and written some text into it. I assumed it was gibberish. But the shape of the letters caught my eye:
ouch! stop that!
“Did you…” I said, and stopped because I was about to ask a question to an octopus. “Did you just write that?”
Tentacles wriggled over the keys.
yes, said the words in Notepad. hello!
“Um. Hello. I don’t mean to sound rude, but… what are you doing on my desk?”
updating your software, it wrote.
i work for IT. it’s my first day.
“Oh. Well. Hi. Welcome to the company.”
It seemed like the polite thing to say.
Windows software update pinged to say it was finished. The octopus wrapped a tentacle around my mouse and logged out of my computer. Then it waved goodbye, slid off my desk, and started suction-cupping its way across the carpet between the cubicles.
I reached for my phone and dialled.
“Hello, IT Help Desk,” said a voice on the other end.
“Hi. Listen, I just had an octopus on my computer installing software updates.”
“Uh-huh. That’s Nigel. It’s his first day.”
“He’s an octopus.”
“Yeah. He’s great a squeezing under desks to run cables.”
“But he’s an octopus!”
“Mmm. Sorry about the slime.”
I hung up. A squelching noise came from the cubicle opposite me, and Jenny stood up.
“Hi Nigel,” she said. “Have I got time to go make a coffee?”
Moisture steamed off my damp coat in the air-conditioning. My hangover was pounding behind my eyes.
I pulled out a box of tissues and started wiping my keyboard clean.