polls in the cold

As she kept the phone up to her ear, between her shoulder and left cheek, she spun the leaky pen in her right hand as she rolled her eyes at the over-the-top laughter in the background. Poor attempts at kiss-assery were being made but she couldn’t be bothered. She had important calls to make at 9:04 AM, when people were barely awake and looking for anyone to spill their family tension onto – preferably a stranger on the phone.

By 11:34 that morning, Amilia had been hung up by 4 strangers, interrupted by 8, and monologued by 3, which was 3 too many. As she grudgingly pressed the next number on the list, she got out her cell phone to scroll through Instagram. The least she could do for herself was to detach from the mind numbing voice of the woman who suggested she make voicemails every time someone directed her to their voicemail inbox, some of which were thankfully full at times.

“Hello?” the voice rang across the city, although not as clearly as Amilia had hoped.

“Hi, good afterno- I mean good morning. Thank you so much for your time – I was just wondering if you could take a quick poll. Our company was wond-”

“You people are parasites – I never want to hear from you again so you can excuse yourself and get lost. Delete my phone number from your directory and I hope the rest of your day goes to hell because mine just did because of you.”

Amilia’s eyebrows furrowed together as she slowly came to terms with the rude awakening the woman served her over the phone.

“Oh, yes… ma’am I’m so sor-”

“Just stop talking, I don’t want to hear your voice anymore.”

The anonymous woman’s voice was replaced by a beep and Amilia sat there, phone in hand, mid-scroll on her best friend’s Instagram account. She was trying to catch up on all his recent adventures in Italy while she sat there, melting in an air-conditioned deprived office with the coldest thing there being her boss, who had chilled her heart just for Amilia.

“Hey are you okay?” Endem asked tentatively, as he approached her cautiously.

“Yeah, sure. It’s whatever.”

“I heard the lady – she was so loud. She could command an entire battalion with that speakerphone of a voicebox if she wanted to.”

Amilia let out a chuckle as a small piece of her gratitude. Truth was she already wasn’t having the best week and this stranger on the phone with a stick up her ass was the last straw. Amilia excused herself, took the bathroom key, and let herself sit on the toilet seat for 4 minutes, just enough time that no one would suspect anything else but an innocent little break amidst the billion calls their office was making for this new poll. The war had just broken and it was in Amilia’s office’s fateful hands to get the pulse of the nation and they did not have a moment to spare if they were to beat every other polling company in Andovil.

As she got up, she shook the toilet and as it did, she heard something come into contact with the walls of the tank behind her. She wiped her loose tears and stared at the toilet. Instead of letting her curiosity win over her disgust to go toilet diving, she left the restroom in haste and sat herself down in front of her desk as she stared at the 134 names that lay before her, ready to be crossed off by her red pen.



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