He has small, beady eyes...and thick glasses. Real thick. Very thick. Block of cheese thick. They pull on his face, making his head tilt down. I imagine he has neck problems. I'm glad.
His head is shiny, and it appears he must shave his scalp every morning because he never has stubble. Ever. Not even at the end of the day. Perhaps he touches it up during lunch break when people refuse to talk to him, or to be seen with him. I don't know.
On the wall, there are pictures of jousting and the mock swords he owns and brandishes. His suit of armor looks polished and well-loved. There is a picture from a cruise that he took with his wife (I guess) from 1999 on the wall. Huh, that's almost ten years ago. Somebody has loved this guy?
He talks through his nose, and when he yells at me, via overnight phone calls, it sounds like his must have the flu:
"...so, Professor Manasse, we need at least 24 hours to return your copy request....24 hours from when we open it...not when you send it, and..."
This doesn't make sense to me. Why is he yelling? Why can I hear the snot bubbling in his throat? Why is this message five minutes long? Does he have a script? He has said this before...this sounds too rehearsed.
I need to see him...I need to go in there...and I know that he hates me, and he hates his job. I ask him to do what he was hired for. That's a mistake.
I work up the courage for hours. I'm lying. It's days. I put it off as long as I can. I walk in and wait for the comments.
His horizontally-lined shirt is overly tucked in, as usual. His stomach is round. There is a drip stain on the belly and another one on the chest. They are both brown and look set in. The lights spotlight his pink, smooth, and freshly waxed head. I notice the drops of sweat that easily roll down the sides of his temples. He tilts his head back, firing those overly exerted neck muscles...his short, pint-sized fingers push his glasses up in the middle. He is taking a real good look at me. He is out of breath and suffocating again.
I smile. I wait. What did I do wrong this time? I spent all week waiting for this moment...I cursed the pictures in my head. I already had played the scene in my mind...I would watch them as he undressed me for something I didn't do. I would say something this time. I had rehearsed something, too. I knew how to joust.
"Evening Professor Manasse...How are you tonight? What can I do for you?"
My anxiety-filled anticipation. Denied.