With “Love in the Afternoon,” we return to the surreal as we take a very different look at the love that grows among officemates. Here there are three types of beings: the narrator, who aspires to be a part of the machinery, even to be a machine himself; two genius computer coders who live outside the corporate norm even as they spend more hours at the job than just about anyone else; and the rest of the workforce, who, at every level, from executive on down, tend to move through the office by rolling across the floor or performing gymnastic or even balletic moves and are given to forming human pyramids and lying across filing cabinets slowly waving their arms in circles. Our narrator watches as a platonic love overwhelms the two coders and he/it tries to understand what transpires when the beta of the two must find a way to escape the alpha. The alpha, who has taken a liking to our narrator, is mystified, too, and heartbroken. Soon both coders are gone from the company, leaving our narrator clinging to the unlikely hope that someday his workplace, which appears to be his entire social world, may deliver him.
In submitting for publication the Transcendent Guide to Corporate America, my collection of stories about work and life in the corporate era, I wrote a detailed description of the book. It turned into a story-by-story summary about how themes in the stories relate to the general themes of the guide. I thought I'd present them here, one story at a time. This is the tenth. As for what the individual stories are actually "about," you're on your own. If you'd like to read one, some can be found online here.