A short I wrote while being inspired listening to The Radio Dept.’s Clinging to a Scheme album.
The Skype ‘Away’ symbol is a shade of yellow that is very much like a banana. Intoxicated by the trance of half-sleep, he wishes to gingerly peel it off from the glare of his screen, to paste it onto himself like it is a sticker. He imagines that this would then signify to his impending surrounding audience, the cashier at the 7-11 he frequents every morning to purchase his cigarettes, the bus driver of bus RapidKL number 88, his girlfriend, and the hurrying strangers along the streets of Kuala Lumpur, that he is not compounded to speak at certain hours of the day. That for the ghost of the moment, he is gone, dismal as an echo.
He likes the feel of putting on his on-ear headphones as he starts off his day. He likes the trickle of that first song into his ears, so carefully picked like a firstborn’s name, and occasionally ticklish in a way that feels almost like a subtle act of flirtation. The song fills up his head every morning at the chill of 7.30am like how you would fill water into a fish tank; deliberately slow at first, then a rushing gush of water once momentum has been built.
Yes, that would be the perfect time for him to put on his Skype ‘Away’ sticker onto himself. No need for formal introductions or little pleasantries exchanged throughout the day while making copies or brushing elbows at meetings, no need for small talk or petty gossip while he isn’t in the mood, no need to respond ‘Yes, baby’ to his girlfriend’s whiny little insecurities about being fat or about him checking out other girls.
Yes, that would be perfect, he concludes before falling asleep face first on his mountain of ledgers.