Standing next to me is a kid on rollerblades. He is freakishly thin, sunken eyes, face like a bird. He looks the way a scarecrow would look if you put oversized clothes and high-impact kneepads on it. He has a pair of headphones on, the cable disappearing inside his T-shirt. His body is moving. And he is singing.

He is not a good singer.

This torture will only last for about five seconds, but it's still five seconds too many.

This is on the elevator, going from the third floor to the fourth. I am on a mission. On a mission of, quote, strategic, unquote, importance, or so my manager said. He had the good timing of showing up just after Eddie left. I had just sat down and was about to look at the new package when Ted's head slid into view from behind the right side of my cubicle-entrance, his neck seemingly attached to the wall in a bizarre man-and-fabric-covered-carboard symbiosis.

Hi, Ted's head said.

Hey, I said.

Ted's body moved out of hiding, and his head changed angle, no longer attached to the wall. I could imagine the body, silently panicking, screaming, Take this horrible thing off me!, arms trying to pull the head out while the head defended itself by biting. I chuckled.

What? he said.

Nothing... I said, the image of the head fighting it out with the body still in my mind.

Do you have a few minutes? he said, with a Very Serious Look.

Sure, I said, and as soon as the word was out of my mouth I started kicking myself for it. The fantasy battle between Ted's head and body had distracted me, lowered my defenses. Now, anything could happen. I had breached the golden rule. Never, ever say that you have some free time.

Ted's body walked into my cubicle, and his head followed.

You know, the memo we sent out last Friday to all departments about Operations Efficiency? he said.

I had no idea what he was talking about.

What about it? I said.

Well, there was a mistake in the second paragraph. A decimal point was off-place, he said, and paused for a moment, looking Very Serious, probably waiting for the enormity of what he'd just said to sink in.

Aha, I said.

Ted cleared his throat, and continued, So, we need to distribute a a corrected version. But the network is down, so we need to do it by hand.

Right, I said, not liking where things was going but not seeing a way out either.

Kathy has a set of printed copies, and a list of the people that should get them, he said, Can you go floor by floor and give a copy to each department head?

Company mailman, a new job to add to my resume.

What a waste of time.

While Ted waited for my response, I was trying to find a bulletproof excuse to get out of this, something that would counteract all the usual illogical arguments and, quote, issues, unquote, that would come out of Ted's mouth whenever you said something he didn't like. Nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. Oh, what the hell.

Sure! No problem! I said, big smile on my face.

Great, Ted said, Let me know later how it went. And with that his body was gone, head and everything.

Which brings me back to this elevator and this kid next to me, singing, or trying to. I'm out of the elevator even before the doors have opened completely, carrying a binder with the printouts of the revised memo that I haven't yet delivered. I stop in my tracks, looking at the next name on my list.

It's Pete.

Maybe this mailman gig won't be a complete waste of time after all.