Everything around me is white, white ceramics on the walls, white floor, white plaster ceilings. The seat I'm on is not really called a seat, it's a cover. Plastic. Below it is what's actually called the seat, another slice of plastic with a hole in it. Big hole. The plastic below me creaks and moans every time I move, so I try to stay still. This is where I find my peace, the ultimate sanctuary.

Where I am is in a bathroom stall, in the toilets of my floor. I only come here in emergencies, metaphysical or the other kind.

This, is an emergency.

Excess of truth, that did it. Just as Don Cicce was pulling away, I had an idea. There was one more thing I had to ask. I ran after him and his clacking cart and stopped him.

I said, One more question.

Don Cicce looked at me, inscrutable.

When are they planning the move?

Ah, Don Cicce said, Tomorrow-a!

Tomorrow? I said.

Yes, Don Cicce said, and left me standing just like before. Tomorrow.

So I walked back to my cubicle to sit down and think, and as soon as I relaxed the phone rang. God! Let a person have some rest! I thought, even though I wasn't really tired and I hadn't done any real work in quite a while. What is it with my job that it feels like work even when I'm doing nothing?

Anyway, I had to get out. I went to the kitchen, but Tony and Little Bernie where there, apparently performing surgery on a sandwich and talking excitedly about different types of Italian dressing.

The kitchen was not an option.

So, here I am. The door is closed, and everything is silent except for the remote dripping of a faucet somewhere. I've been here for maybe ten minutes, and still the image of that sandwich with two grown men slobbering over it as if it was made of gold haunts me. Two words, whispered, reach me. The horror. The horror.

All the movies about Vietnam put together are nothing compared to this.

I am trying to concentrate on the problem at hand, namely, the fact that I might soon be out of a job, when I hear the bathroom door open.

Steps. A faucet opens. Water. A deep breath.

The door opens again.

A voice. A woman.

There you are, the woman says.

What is a woman doing here?

The water sound stops, and after comes the creaking of the mechanism as it's pushed beyond its limits. Then comes the reply.

What? I recognize the voice. It's Ted's.

No one else here?

Let me check, Ted says. I raise my feet from the floor, and wait.

A moment passes. Yeah, we're alone, Ted says finally.

My feet go back to the floor, slowly.

When are you talking to your people?

Later today, Ted says, I figured it was better to tell them at the end of the day.

Good. Be tactful.

Tactful? I think.

Some people are not taking this too well, the woman goes on, Mark Spielman, from Corporate, had a guy throw a tantrum in the middle of the meeting. The guy ran to the kitchen and came back with a bottle of ketchup. Splattered ketchup all over everybody.

Savages, Ted says, When was this?

Just now, the woman says.

I try to think who would do something like that, but the conversation goes on.

What happened to your pants? the woman says.

My pants? Ted says.

Did you wash them with wine or something?

Picture Ted in his dark purple pants, the one he's so proud of he went on about them for a week, explaining everyone in the office how he'd gotten a great deal on them in his trip to Italy. They are the latest over there, he'd said.

Yeah, my wife screwed up, Ted says.

A beeping sound. Then hands running over clothing.

Look, I gotta run, says the woman. See you at the meeting at eight.

Okay, Ted says, and I can see his fake smile at full volume.

The door opens, then closes. I wait.

And wait.

The door opens and closes again.

I still wait.

The door opens once more, and this time I raise my feet again. I can imagine Ted crouching next to it, double checking.

The door closes.

Feet go back to the floor and they stay there, still, but my head is spinning. Maybe I shouldn't pack.

Maybe I should just get my hands on a large supply of ketchup.