As I walk to my manager's office, I notice that few people have come back from lunch. Another floor with too much silence. But this one is my floor. Who would have thought that I would miss all those annoying office noises?

Next to Ted's office is the big surprise, an empty cubicle. All its contents have been packaged and stacked, just like Sally's cubicle and the others. It seems as if a strange virus is spreading through the building, or as if we are under attack by some invisible enemy that makes people disappear and wraps everything else in transparent plastic.

I look at the empty chair and try to remember. Who worked here? A woman. What was her name? Have they relocated her from my mind too? What did she do?

My trip down memory lane is suddenly interrupted by Ted walking out of his cubicle.

Hey! he says, Finished with those memos?

Yeah, I say, No problem.

Good, he says.

You know, I say, I have a question for you.

Shoot, he says.

Damn. I left my .357 at home.

What's happening? I say.

He scratches an eyebrow, then says, With what? Happening?

All the empty floors, cubicles with no people. Everything packed up. Reorgs.

Empty cubicles? he says.

I take one step back and point at the empty cubicle next to his.

Oh, that, Ted says.

Yeah, that.

You'll be at the meeting this afternoon, right? he says.


Great, he says, You'll find out then! Excuse me.

And with that, he leaves.

Confrontation didn't work. He didn't know, or he didn't want to tell me. Who might know about this?

A metallic sound growing in the distance brings the answer. Don Cicce.

Don Cicce is the man responsible for nourishing the caffeine addiction of the executive ranks of the company. He travels from floor to floor delivering the goods. Coffee made with imported beans, pastries and sandwiches that are so good he has to cover them to prevent a wave of heart attacks as he pushes the clanking metal cart with its precious cargo. Rumor has it, he even has M&Ms. For the CEO, you know.

And now he is approaching me, whistling a happy tune as usual, pushing the cart along. If he doesn't know what's happening, no one does.

Don Cicce! I say.

Bambino! he says, raising his arms. One day I will find out what bambino means. I'd bet it's an insult.

Hey, I say, I wanted to ask you something.

You want some coffee, yes? he says in his inimitable Italian accent, hands already moving to pick up a cup.

No, no, I say, Just a question. Do you know why so many floors are empty? The people gone?

Ah, the ree-org, he says, Nobody knows. They are-a moving to a new building.

And you don't know where, I say.

No, niente, but I am-a working extra tonight, he says.

Thanks, I say, and I pat him on the back. He leaves, and as he walks past me he starts whistling again. A happy soul.

They are moving the entire company? It seems the meeting today is not going to be a happy one. Not that I didn't expect a layoff or two. But future layoffs, not everyone laid off today... and Ted is so relaxed...


I wonder, should I start packing?