A Routine If Unspoken Dialogue Between Me And The Printers At My Office

by Evan Allgood

Office workstation, midday. Color Printer next to desk; Office Laser at far back of office.

ME: And… print.

(Nothing happens.)

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.

ME: …

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)


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.

(Coworker exits.)

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?


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.


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.

MAGENTA: — uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu —

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.

MAGENTA: — uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

ME: All of you are the worst.

OFFICE LASER: (snores)


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.

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