His fingers drummed slowly on the worn patch of his desk as he glared at the page in front of him. His breathing deepened, trying to steady his building rage as the tiny muscle beneath his left eye began to pulse and twitch. It was a CMR-3600, revised 2000 form unrepentantly plopped on his desk without even the thought of placing it in his In-basket. In the back of his mind he could hear them snicker at their game. They knew the revised 2000 form was retired for the updated 2008 form. The 2000 verbiage was too nebulous, the 3rd paragraph heading in the 2008 carried more clarity, authority.
He didn't want to touch it. If he did he would have to time stamp it, accept it. He felt a low grumble of fresh acid in his stomach because their little joke went on. They had filled it out, hand printed in block letters which, although archaic, was still minimally acceptable, but they twisted the knife in his already rolling guts by using black ink! If copied, no one would know which was the original, he would have to use his colored date stamp and they knew, they all knew the hoops he would have to dive through to get the refill on it. The one he had was expected to last till the end of the quarter.
His mammoth hand, knuckles tattooed with the F.L.A. of H.A.P.D. slowly reached out across his desk. H.A.P.D. was the H.R. office slogan back in the 70's for Have A Pleasant Day. The interm director pointed out that it should be H.P.D. for it to be a proper T.L.A. On the day it was stricken from the billboard in the break room, he had his fingers tattooed.
He hadn't had a pleasant day since.
As his fingers turned the stamp tree, softly squeaking, he noticed in the upper corner of the form, right where he was going to stamp it, he spied their final joke, their plunge of Brutus' daggar.
A quarter circle coffee stain.
His twitchy eye was in full on tick.
He swiveled in his chair and pulled out his key board, his fingers tight, hovering above the dark stained home keys. He would draft an e-mail that would shake loose the ceiling tiles! They would know fear! He would wrack havoc and mayhem that even Genghis Khan would say, "Whoa! Easy there, buddy." except Genghis would say it in Tatar.
He paused, fingers poised, eye twitching, stomach heaving, breath hissing from his already twice broken nose. It would have been their plan. All carefully orchestrated to rile him like a bull in heat and then laugh at his feeble protests. This was their game and he was playing right in to it.
He reached back towards the stamp tree and took out the colored time stamp. He checked the date, clicking the settings one, by one before setting on the form, right over the quarter circle coffee stain.
Kah-chunk! The two tone red/blue ink glistened for several seconds as it dried. With a sneer, he picked it up and stuffed it into his out-box.
He would let them have this round.