On Thursday, I went into the kitchen at work. There’s a table in the corner where the daily newspapers are put, because many of the people I work with are older and enjoy the stain of news ink on their fingertips. This table is also the table where people put things they no longer want. If something is on this table, it’s fair game—in fact, this is the same table where I put my Quality Street chocolate tin last week (update: it’s gone to a new home where it will hopefully live out its days filled with buttons). In the past, the table has featured boxes of tea, spices, a painting (which I snagged right away for my office), leftover sandwiches from board meetings, a cardboard virtual reality viewer—no one took it initially because no one knew what it was until someone from IT identified it—and mostly books. Because I work with a lot of educators, the books are typically on pedagogy or leadership. Sometimes there are novels, which is nice too. Unfortunately, I can’t take any of them. If you know anything about me at all, you’ll know I have some weird hygiene issues, and one of them, which a lot of people don’t understand, is that I can’t stand to touch used books, and ESPECIALLY library books. The idea of the hundreds, maybe thousands of people who have touched the book before me, in all kinds of unsavoury circumstances (it’s amazing how many people like to read on the toilet) makes me feel icky, which is a technical, medical term for ‘extremely uncomfortable, like I really need to wash my hands’. The other day, I was looking at a friend’s library book, and I really wanted to know what it was about, but I couldn’t bring myself to touch the cover so that I could open it to read the synopsis because it was wrapped in that weird library cellophane and it was all finger-printy. I resorted to saying, “That book looks interesting. What’s it about?” and she replied, “Here, take a look,” and tried to hand it to me. I reacted in an externally reasonable way, which was NOT to yell, “No! Don’t let it touch me!” Instead, I said, “Oh, but it would be so much better if you gave me YOUR impression of it.” And then she laughed, because she remembered that I have an issue with library books, which I MIGHT have mentioned once (maybe more than once), and she told me what the book was about instead of making me touch it. See, now THAT’s a friend. Although, she’s also the person who told me about finding bed bugs in a library book last year, and how now she always puts them in the freezer for a few hours to make sure any bugs are dead, so in a way, she also contributed to my fear of library books. Oh well, six of one, half a dozen of the other, right?
But on Thursday, there was a book on the table in the kitchen. It was a large, thick, white book. On the cover was a picture of a semi-clad woman with gigantic breasts and the word “Rizzoli” below. My curiosity was piqued to the point where it outweighed my fear of germs. So I very gingerly, using the tip of one fingernail, opened the book up. I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses, but I could clearly see that this book was simply pages and pages of photographs of a woman in various stages of undress. As I quickly let the book fall closed, I also realized that the whole book itself was rather crumpled and worn, as if it had been clutched tightly while damp. I immediately ran to the sink and scrubbed my hands, then ran down the aisle to where my team was sitting:
Me: Guys! There’s a porn book in the kitchen!
Maria: It’s a book of Kim Kardashian selfies. It’s gross.
Me: It’s disgusting!
Me: Who do we work with who would have a book like that? And WHY THE F*CK would they put it in the kitchen?!
All (*look around suspiciously*):
Me: It’s all SQUISHY, like it’s been ‘well-used’.
Me: It’s almost as if we’ve become the…SIXTEENTH FLOOR.
I said that very ominously, and everyone knew what I meant. The 16th floor in our building is commonly known as “the porn floor”. There are two production companies on the 16th floor: Bump N Grind Media and Pink Lady Productions. Whenever we’re in the elevator and someone gets on and pushes the button for the 16th floor, we all give each other knowing glances, and later we speculate about what the person’s “role” might be. Sometimes, it’s obviously an “actress” or “pizza delivery boy”, but occasionally it will be a short, balding man that we have dubbed “the producer”. There’s also a guy in our building that we call “Vaping Elvis”, although to be honest, he looks more like Buddy Holly. He has dark glasses and black, slicked back hair. He’s slightly paunchy, and always wears a long, black leather coat. He stands right outside the building doors vaping every day, even though the sign CLEARLY states that you can’t smoke within 9 feet of the doorway. We’ve always assumed that he works on the porn floor as a creepy-ass director or something, but a couple of weeks ago, he got off on 8 (that wasn’t a pun or a euphemism. He exited the elevator on the 8th floor, you perv).
But if people I actually work with are bringing porn to MY floor, then all I can think is that the secret agency has been discovered and this is the first step in finding us a new cover story. I mean, what better way of disguising your real identity by pretending to be a porn production company? The best part is that we could have a contest for a clever new name. Here are some suggestions:
1) He Shoots, He Scores Inc.
This is a great name, particularly for a Canadian porn company, second only to “Pour Some Syrup On Me-dia”.
2) The Blue Pages
If you’re an educator where I live, you will know why this name is hilariously apropos. If you’re not, it’s still a really good name for a porn company that puts out magazines and books of half-naked Kardashians.
3) My Little Pony Productions
Every film this company puts out features a miniature horse just standing in the background somewhere. Don’t ask me why.
4) Existential Butt Films
Our motto would be “Dirty and Full of Dread”.
5) Velociraptor Videos
In honour of the Toronto Raptors winning the NBA, this movie company would only show people watching basketball games in the nude. It would be as boring as actually watching basketball. Don’t @ me. Bom-chicka-wow-wow.