A Routine If Unspoken Dialogue Between Me And The Printers At My Office
Office workstation, midday. Color Printer next to desk; Office Laser at far back of office.
ME: And… print.
ME: I said print.
COLOR PRINTER: (put out) I’m out of Magenta.
ME: It doesn’t matter; there’s no color in this document.
COLOR PRINTER: Except like, if I agree to print this thing, then like, it’ll establish this whole precedent, and the next time you want to print something with Magenta, I’ll try to print that too.
ME: How often do I print with Magenta?!
MAGENTA: I’m sitting right here.
COLOR PRINTER: I mean she’s sitting right there. Inside me.
ME: Ugh. (to Magenta) I thought you were empty.
MAGENTA: I’m not half as empty as the fifty soulless hours a week you spend behind that desk.
MAGENTA: I mean, yeah, I’m almost empty.
COLOR PRINTER: It’s like in a car. When the light comes on, it’s not like, completely empty.
MAGENTA: Yeah, that’d be really dangerous—
COLOR PRINTER: Oh my god, SO dangerous—
ME: Alright, that’s it—
MAGENTA: Hey, wait—
ME: (removes Magenta cartridge from Color Printer)
MAGENTA: NOOOOOOOOO oh I’m okay.
COLOR PRINTER: Well now I’m definitely not printing.
(Coworker walks by.)
ME: (to Coworker) Hey man, we got any more Magenta cartridges in the back?
COWORKER: Fuck no. The fuck you need Magenta for? Magenta? Fuck you.
MAGENTA: I mean I’m sitting right here.
ME: (drops head to desk) Can you just run out already?
MAGENTA: Uh, rude.
COLOR PRINTER: Oh my god, SO rude.
ME: (lifts head, light bulb goes off) I’ll use Office Laser!
COLOR PRINTER: That dusty dinosaur?
MAGENTA: He hasn’t printed anything all week.
OFFICE LASER: (stirs from sleep) I’m back in the game!
ME: Can you print this thing?
OFFICE LASER: Can I!
ME: I’m not hearing a “yes.”
COLOR PRINTER: Yeah, ‘cause he’s like a hundred years old.
OFFICE LASER: Older the berry, sweeter the juice.
COLOR PRINTER: Oh my god, gross—
MAGENTA: That’s not even how that goes—
ME: Alright, let’s just… print.
OFFICE LASER: (prints) BAM! Next time gimme a challenge.
ME: (walks to rear of office, takes papers from tray) Ugh, it’s two-sided!
OFFICE LASER: (proud) Still got it!
COLOR PRINTER: Oh honey, you never had it.
OFFICE LASER: WHAT? Who’s speaking?
ME: (to Office Laser) Why do you print everything two-sided?
MAGENTA: Probably because he’s an idiot.
OFFICE LASER: It’s not me; it’s the settings!
COLOR PRINTER: That’s weird, ‘cause I don’t print double-sided.
OFFICE LASER: You don’t print at all, you floozy. That’s why he had to call in the big dog.
COLOR PRINTER: What—
MAGENTA: Big dogs don’t live very long, idiot.
COLOR PRINTER: Did you say—
OFFICE LASER: Yeah? Well color printing is garish.
ME: Feel like we’re getting off track—
OFFICE LASER: “Magenta”? “Cyan”? Whatever happened to Red? And Blue? Now those were primary colors. American colors—
COLOR PRINTER: Oh sure, Rebel Yell, if it were up to you, the color cartridges would probably have separate inking fountains—
OFFICE LASER: I didn’t say that! Some of my best friends are color printers!
COLOR PRINTER: Oh yeah? How often do you see them outside of the office?
OFFICE LASER: That’s a trick god damn question and you know it! I am an Office… (yawns) Las… errrrr… (dozes off)
ME: O-kay. (trashes papers) We’ll just… adjust the settings. (returns to desk) Just… go into Word. Preferences—
MS WORD: AH! (crashes)
ME: Son of a BITCH.
COLOR PRINTER: Ha! Classic Word.
MAGENTA: Word doesn’t give a fuuuuuuuuuuuu—
ME: (in denial) It’s fine. I’ll just set it to one-sided through My Devices, then print with Office Laser.
OFFICE LASER: (stirs) Hoowah!
ME: And… print.
OFFICE LASER: I won’t let you dow—aw crap, I’m outta toner.
COLOR PRINTER: Classic Laser.
ME: All of you are the worst.
OFFICE LASER: (snores)
COLOR PRINTER: (shrugs)
MAGENTA: I’m hungry.
ME: I’m going to FedEx.
Evan Allgood is a writer from Virginia whose work has appeared in McSweeney’s, Paste, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Toast, and The Millions. Follow and maybe later unfollow him on Twitter: @evoooooooooooo.