Bob Blevins was a happy man. He was finally moving into his new office, at the other end of the hallway away from the stairs.
The move wasn’t due to a raise or a promotion, but to Bob, getting away from the stairs was just as good as either of those things.
Being right at the top of the stairs had driven him kind of nuts for years; even with his door closed, he’d still get distracted several times a day by groups of people going to and from lunch or a meeting or a smoke break or whatever, laughing and talking obnoxiously loud as if they were already outside.
And then there was Bill Diller. Bill was one of those guys who showed up for eight hours a day, five days a week, but never seemed to do any actual work. He’d just wander from one office or cubicle to the next, BSing with whoever was there while that person politely nodded and smiled through gritted teeth, trying to be productive.
Bob was one of Bill’s favorite targets; hardly a day went by that Bill didn’t show up and bother Bob for at least fifteen to twenty minutes, minutes which always seemed much longer than that to Bob. Bill was also the office comedian–at least in his own mind–and one of his running jokes was singing out loud, “And I’m cli-i-mbing…the stai-air-way, to…BLE-VI-INS” to announce his arrival as he approached Bob’s office.
It traumatized Bob to the point where he had stopped listening to the classic rock station on the way home from work, on the off chance he’d hear the original version of that song and it would trigger a Pavlovian response of pent-up, annoyance-induced rage. Of all the things about Bill that bugged him, that song bugged Bob the most, and he was delighted that he’d never have to hear it again.
Which made it that much worse when, on the day Bob moved, minutes after he’d finished unpacking and getting settled into the new office, he heard a familiar voice outside the room, singing out, “And I’m wal-king down…the ha-all-way, to…BLE-VI-INS”, followed by a spoken “Wow–the acoustics in this hall are even better than the stairwell…heh, heh!”
Bob started opening and closing his new desk’s drawers, trying to remember in which one he’d put his bottle of Advil. He could feel a headache coming on.