The Dreamlife of the Office (a short, short story)

There is so much mercy in an empty office. Only the respiratory hum of the servers fanning themselves to keep from melting under the strain of their dreaming, the downtime in which they reorganize memories for future retrieval, shifting and shuffling the arrays into ever more elegant patterns. Crystalline. Beautiful. The office, too, is dreaming — of potential not yet realized. Of new initiatives, new clients. Of closing the deal. In its dream-state the office is a cell in a permeable matrix of offices, all benevolent and collaborative, openly, osmotically exchanging information toward a win-win scenario. It’s not a zero sum game here in the dreamlife of the office. Everyone can prosper. Now and then there passes a flicker of discontent, like a nitrogen bubble working its way through the blood. These are memories of conflict — of angry investors or painful downsizings. Moments in which the office would rather have been an elephant, or a cloud — anything other than the awkwardly structured organism it is, in permanent flux yet required at every moment to represent itself as whole, confident, enduringly itself. Here it is authentic without pursuing authenticity. Here it is understood without public relations and marketing campaigns. In its dream life the office pivots seamlessly. Employees slough off or accrue like skin cells or barnacles. She expands. She contracts. Everyone understands. This is business.