I leave the pub and I feel like walking. The street is a more quiet now; it's that space just before lunchtime when things slow down and people aren't rushing anywhere. The calm before the storm. That's why I feel like walking, maybe. Some of the most unsavory characters in the office leave really early for lunch. My mission, right now, is to avoid them.

Alas, I have failed.

Ahead, I see Tony walking towards me, flapping his arms about, which I interpret as a greeting. Tony is a pain in the ass.

Hey, hoo you doin', he says. He is not from anywhere where they talk like this. He is not from the inner city. He is not undereducated, on paper at least. He is not poor. He talks like this because this is his Classic Mob Week. Every week, Tony delights us with a new impersonation. His theory is that his performances make him appear versatile and funny, and so give him the favor of managers and co-workers.

Everyone else's theory is that he is a fucking moron.

He is, and he doesn't notice. This is the first of Tony's distinct traits.

About a month ago he was in his Hindu Person Week. He couldn't imitate the accent, so he spent the week eating rice with curry, oblivious to the thump in the cubicles around him as people dropped like flies from atmospheric intoxication. This week, he started his Classic Mob Week by preceding every sentence with Hey Bro. He went on like this for half a day until somebody pointed out that the Italian Mafia is not particularly known for talking like that. The next day he came back saying that he had spent the entire night watching the first two seasons of The Sopranos, and that he was now a fuckin' expert yougoddit? Good for you, Alice said, So you watched all the episodes in the first two seasons. In just one night. And did you park your time machine out front?

We chuckled, and he lauged, but he didn't get it. After a few minutes he did, and he started explaining how he had fastforwarded most of the episodes. Right.

The second of Tony's distinct traits is, he is a pathological liar, or he doesn't think before opening his mouth, or both.

At least he doesn't do his job well.

Now he's within three feet of me, and ready to start another one of his anecdotes, right here in the sidewalk. I can see it in his eyes. His mouth opens. I take a deep breath.

Hey, I'm going to get some pasta, he starts, but I say, Can't talk now, later, and I walk past him without looking back. I can feel his eyes for a moment as he tries to decide whether to call out or not, and he doesn't. I'm safe.

That was too close. I need cover. I walk back to the office.