The first week of working with an oddity I could not understand came and went. Each day, I became more perplexed by the existence of a creature who had no will.
Each day of the week had gone exactly like the first. My motions unchanged, the conviction and authenticity behind them unwavering. I'd never felt so defeated leaving work, so scared to face the funnel in the morning.
I found myself staring down the barrel of the weekend knowing I had to come up with something phenomenal for the next week.
Routine ruled my weekends too and, while there wasn't anything to speak of, I was fretting over how damaging a disruption in my routine would be if I didn't solve my little problem. It was, then, supremely satisfying to be me when I popped out of bed with a solution, brilliant as the sunshine, behind my eyes.
An inspired vision.
I could hardly sleep that Sunday night and morning couldn't come soon enough.
When I got to work, I was first into the room and, instead of walking around the funnel to my side, I stopped on his side, closest to the door and directly beside the dull but magnificent mountain of rocks.
My inspired vision played out perfectly:
He arrived on cue.
Not the least bit unsure of why I might be standing on his mark, he began to stroll around the funnel to my side.
I intervened by loudly and intentionally clearing my throat.
He stopped and looked at me and, unfazed by the eyes that didn't see me, I broke into a big, toothy grin and picked up a rock.
Instead of aiming for the hole in the floor, I tossed the rock, underhand, over to my coworker.
He caught it and I motioned with my head, indicating that he should throw it into the funnel.
We repeated this process, the interval of time between rocks leaving my fingertips to close the short distance between us lessened and my smiles grew wider. We were dancing, even if his face didn't acknowledge it.
Everything went according to plan until, in spite of myself, I became aware of how quickly our waltz was turning the mountain into a hill. I had unconsciously moved from goal two, stretching my band of determination, to goal one, filling the silo.
I was frenzied. Things were changing, I knew it.
Turns out, this time I was right.
End inspired vision.
In one movement, his hand, previously catching the rocks I threw, dropped and the rock hit his upper thigh, another on its way before I realized what was happening. I looked up at his face and it had changed color. It was red and, for the first time, his eyes were full of emotion and they were angry at me. I tried to recover by smiling wider, if it was possible, and locking my knees and elbows in contrived cuteness.
That was the wrong thing because he swiftly spun around, his hands flying up into the air as though he were surrendering and his body moved seamlessly toward the brick wall behind him. I was sure he was going to use his palms as a weapon to explode through the wall but he stopped abruptly just before they hit. He jerked his hands down to his sides and slowly turned back toward me, face expressionless once again.
In an unprecedented moment of exasperation, I flung the rock I had in my hand at him as hard as I could, overhand, and watched as he didn't notice it hitting his chest.
The next morning, I woke up late.
Things had changed.