The news surged through the office like a wave flooding
a sand castle. “Jim’s dead,” a colleague told me before
the morning coffee. Jim from maintenance, the quiet giant,

whose easy smile was a part of his uniform. The somber
report continued to seep through the office like a foul
poison, producing disbelieving gasps. The rumors swirled;

“-Heard they found pieces.” “No, he was stabbed-” “I heard
it a jealous ex-”. With pursed lips, I watched them, sickened
by the carrion birds picking at road kill.

Jim, who always smelled of cheap aftershave, worked after
hours like a rain storm persisting even after the bellowing
thunder and lightning called it a day.

By lunch hour, orchids, lilies,
and daisies piled in the oaf’s small workspace, cheap petals falling
as a janitor tried to keep complaints to himself.

I listened to Sherry from accounting as she reminisced
about Jim in exchange for a fleeting chance of attention.
The poor tact aside, I could understand the appeal.

I left for the day, as few others had out of grief or respect.
I picked under my nails, holding my carrier,
as blood flaked onto the parking garage floor.

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