Tuesday, May 13, 2008

the day the crazy guy at work was arrested

understatement of the year: people are freaking weird. yet this weirdness is exacerbated when you put lots of different people together. like at work. there are any number of truly strange individuals in your office or firm or fastfood restaurantorium, but seeing them all together let you really get a good sense of whose freak flag flies highest.

Gorbachev was that guy at my work. That's not his real name of course, and I say was because he is no longer employed here. because he was arrested. and fired. and now there is a restraining order against his ever setting foot in the building or the immediate blocks around it. Police thought the restraining order was a good idea considering what Gorby did to get arrested in the first place. but before that, some back-story.

Gorby had worked here for ten years or so. Kind of a lumbering guy, big and slow moving, useful in physical tasks like moving stock around and stuff like that. He was also counted on to shovel the walk and take care of what little grounds needed to be taken care of, and since he got to work as early as 6am, this proved useful for everyone else. But Gorby wasn't all there 'upstairs.' Any brief conversation with the man would tip you off. He was constantly talking, to himself and anyone he was around. It was an anxious voice, like he was nervous all the time and felt he needed to talk or make jokes to relieve tension nobody else felt, well, until he was around.

And his jokes were never mean-spirited and almost always only funny to him. I don't think he had a mean bone in his body, or didn't, rather, before the incident. You see Gorby liked to play pranks on the other tenants of this building. If they put up fliers on the communal bulletin board in the elevator he would deface them, always subtly, like he was afraid of getting caught but just couldn't help himself. From time to time mail would get delivered to our office which was not for us, which was for someone many floors up, and once this mail included several heavy boxes. Our boss told Gorby he needed to take these packages to their rightful owner, and Gorby resented this deeply. Not that anyone knew this right away, he never said a word, just smiled and went to his task. yet if you were a fly on the wall of whatever hallways he was lumbering down with those boxes, one by one, I'm sure you would have been privy to a very long and random stream of disgruntled consciousness.

So Gorby decided to exact some revenge. Over a period of months, he would often pillage a control box, or circuit board (mother board?) on the floor of the person who so deeply wounded him. He would unplug wires and tangle them, plug them in the wrong slots, and this caused all kinds of network problems for the entire floor. Not exactly a smart prank, even though he often did this well before anyone was in the building, let alone on the floor in question. Seeing as it was not even on my office's property, it was all the worse. Eventually the tenants planted a sting, purposely broke the circuit panel door so that it had to be pried open, then watched as Gorby came by, fiddled, left, came back with a screw-driver and levered the door open. he then began to messing with the wires and with that, the trap was sprung and the dude was arrested.

His original statement? "I just saw that the wiring were broken and was trying to fix it." Only after a half hour or so did the strange revenge drama come out. Needless to say, he was fired on the spot, and not just because he committed these acts against the same people we rent our space from (awkward!). We then got an disconcerting message on our intra-email system warning us to keep a look out, and to call the police if we saw Gorby anywhere near his former workplace.

So, for the past week I have perfected my drop and roll into the adjacent room. I have my back to the front door and if anyone came barging in with a rifle or anything, well, it's nice knowing you all for as long as I have. I am left only with the memory of on old prank he perpetrated on a colleague of mine on Halloween. From what I heard Gorby snuck into this guy's office wearing a Reagan mask and carrying a 2x4. he then lurked in the corner before the guy came back, sat down, and saw him in the reflection of his computer screen. I still remember the scream of terror.

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