All Stories, General Fiction

Otter by Tim Hildebrandt

My cubical is in a row along the east wall of the building. Windows provide ample light on a sunny day, filtered through a bank of trees ringing the parking lot outside. The wind in the trees create moving shadows on my desk, and I follow them as my mind wanders.  I gaze at the ceiling ignoring my work. Reading is time-consuming, time I need for maintaining appearances and impressing others with skills and abilities always needing attention. Skills and abilities are my life’s work. I know what people look like when they have such skills, I know how they act. I try to act the same way so people will assume I have the same abilities. My goal is to learn how to engage effortlessly in small talk and put others at ease with humorous anecdotes. I search for anecdotes whenever I can, I sprinkle them throughout my conversation. But it is hopeless, I know I have no social skills. One has to learn how to get along with people, it isn’t an innate skill.

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