The Light Blockers, A Poem by Chris Russell

I tried to get through but my coworkers blocked me. I tried to go around and some of them shifted to the other side of the table and placed a couple of chairs in my way. “Let me just slide over the table,” I said. I sat on the table, but Wilma started spraying Windex on it, so I had to walk to the other side of the room to attempt escape. I went into Francine Cruz’s office. “Hello there Mr. Tucker,” a voice said. A shadow emerged from the darkness and blocked the door leading out into the hallway. She pulled the fire alarm. I felt it prudent not to ask her why. I went back to reconvene with my group, but they were gone. I slid across one of the tables, but, when I landed, I slipped on a piece of paper someone had placed carefully on the floor, and by the time I righted myself, the alarm had gone off. I ran out the exit at the end of the hallway. A few of them were shaking their heads at me in disapproval. “Franz, they tried to make me late,” I said. He put in his ear buds and started humming. I tapped on his shoulder and he winced. “Are you okay, Franz?” Penelope MacNamara said. “I’m fine, thanks Penelope,” he said. Then he turned on his iPod. Groups of consenting adults were standing under trees, holding each other. Tom Chaney was rubbing his pelvis against Eleanor Campbell without her knowing. I was about to judge him when a concerned citizen walked her baby stroller against him and said hello. Butterflies were flying around the dumpster for some reason. It started sprinkling and they let us all know we could go back inside. I was just about to walk back into the building when Margaret Frampton hip-checked me out of the way, making room for a stream of following coworkers. I walked into the building and entered our office, only to be met by something sticky on the doorknob, so I went across the hall and wet a paper towel to wipe it off. When I returned the door was open and on the other side of it there was this blinding light. I tried to walk into it but there seemed to be some invisible force field that wouldn’t allow me to pass through. It shocked me every time I touched it. It was obviously some sort of Alien-informed government experiment modeled after Pavlov. I grabbed the broom from the supply closet and tried walking into the light, holding onto the wooden end because I thought that would ground me. It didn’t. I could smell burnt hair. “If I get through there, you’ll wish I hadn’t,” I said. “We don’t wish,” a voice said.

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