This is a work of fiction. A short story of 1170 words.
“Where’s my coffee then, Kev?” Phil pointed to Kevin’s coffee cup, as the bespectacled man sat down at the next desk. Kevin grinned back at him. “Sorry, did you want one?” He got up from his seat and walked back out to the machine in the lobby. Inserting the token, he pressed ‘White Coffee No Sugar’, and waited for the cup to fall into place.
One of these days, he would sort Phil out, thought Kevin. He would tell him just what he thought of him, and really put him in his place. Being tall, athletic, and popular with everyone had given Phil too much confidence. He acted above his station, thought everything he said was funny, and took advantage of people. Kevin could plainly see that, and wondered why the others couldn’t.
Back at the desk, he handed Phil the coffee, and didn’t even get a ‘Thank you’. As resumed his seat, Kevin felt a sharp pain in his behind, and jumped up immediately. His chair was covered in drawing pins, and one had gone straight into him as he sat down. Phil snorted with laughter, ejecting a mouthful of hot coffee as he guffawed. Kevin looked around as he plucked the pin from his rear end. Angela was giggling, and even the boss, Frank, was chuckling too. They had all been in on it. Kevin grinned at the faces in the room. “Got me.” He said cheerfully. It wouldn’t do to show anger.
Not today, anyway.
There was a time when Kevin had been friendly with Angela. She would sit with him at lunch, and he sometimes gave her a lift home when they worked late. He had once hoped that things might develop into a proper relationship. But then Phil had joined the firm. His work rate had been phenomenal from the start. Things just came easily to the man, including Angela, who was soon seemingly besotted with him. Not that Phil would ever be interested in her of course. Besides being years younger than the woman, Phil had his sights set on much prettier girls. Kevin thought that Angela would see this for herself in time, and realise who her true friends were. But instead she had highlights put in her hair, wore shorter skirts, and smirked at Phil whenever he passed by.
Last Christmas, Phil had only just started there, but felt that it was alright to suggest to everyone that they have fancy dress at the office party. It was welcomed enthusiastically by the staff, all except Kevin, who hated such things. But he decided that he had to play along, as he didn’t want to be the odd one out. So he hired a Spider-Man costume from the shop in town, and drove to the venue wearing it. He even wore his hated contact lenses that night, as he couldn’t very well turn up as Spider-Man wearing glasses. Entering the room hired for the party, he immediately realised it had been a trick. The other twenty-odd people there were all smartly dressed, and nobody was wearing a costume, except him. They must have all been in on the joke, even Angela.
The whole room burst into riotous hilarity, led by Phil, who was red in the face from laughing so much. Kevin grinned at them all. “You got me.” That was all he said. No point spoiling the evening by being angry.
Not that night, anyway.
Brushing the rest of the pins onto the floor, Kevin sat down and got on with his work. Phil was already on the office phone, telling people in other departments how he had fooled Kevin into sitting down on some drawing pins, his voice as loud as ever as he boasted about the prank. Frank and Angela were still grinning, but Kevin acted as if it was nothing, and started to check some sales figures on his screen.
Back at home after work, Kevin burned with rage. He would show Phil that he wasn’t prepared to be the constant butt of his teasing. Standing before the long mirror in the bedroom, he practiced what he would say when he confronted him. Drawing up to his full height, he held up his right hand, palm forward. “Now just hold on a moment, Phil. I don’t know who you think you are, or who you are dealing with, but I am here to tell you that this has all got to stop. Enough of these jokes and pranks. As of now, that’s an end to it. Or there will be trouble, I assure you.” His tone was measured, controlled, with just the hint of a threat. Kevin was sure that this would be the right way to go about it. People like Phil had to be stood up to, told when they had gone too far. He went over it again later, as he went to sleep. In his mind, he could see himself doing it, and imagined the surprise on Phil’s face, and the respect he would gain in the eyes of Amanda and Frank.
Kevin slept well that night, his decision made.
By the time he arrived at work that Friday morning, everyone else was in, and busy at their desks. They all appeared to be intensely focused on their jobs, and nobody glanced at Kevin as he sat down. Seconds later, he was on his back on the floor, staring at the ceiling. The chair had collapsed completely as he sat down, and had literally fallen to bits around him. His back hurt where a large section of metal was wedged underneath him, and he realised that he had shouted in panic as he fell. The others were standing over him, almost screaming with laughter, and pointing at his sprawled out form on the carpet.
Phil was dangling an adjustable spanner from his thumb and forefinger. The penny dropped for Kevin, and he knew that Phil had undone all the fixings on the seat, leaving it looking apparently normal at first glance.
They must have planned it in advance, making sure that everyone was in early, and close enough to see it happen. He noticed Amanda, her chest rocking with laughter, head shaking from side to side. Phil was ecstatic. When he managed to calm down, he exclaimed, “I can’t believe that nobody recorded that on their ‘phone. Priceless!” Frank bent down to help Kevin up, sliding another chair over for him to sit in. “Sorry mate, but that was really funny”, he said, totally unaware how unfunny it really was.
A short while later, Kevin sat trembling in a toilet cubicle. He was so furious, he couldn’t keep still. That was the last straw, he thought. Today is the day when he gets it. But it was Friday, and the weekend was ahead.
So not on a Friday, anyway.
Maybe Monday, Kevin thought. Monday would be good.
It would happen on Monday, for sure.