‘What’s the honour?’ I laugh. Then I stop in my stride. The office floor is covered in confetti. Mountains of it. Red and blue and yellow and silver and gold and pink.
‘Nothing special.’ Peirene throws more confetti over me. ‘I just got carried away. Couldn’t stop making it all night long.’
‘Making it!?’ I start coughing as some has got into my mouth. I lift my arms to protect my face. ‘Stop it, please,’ I beg her.
The paper shower ceases and Peirene stands in front of me, holding out a hole-punch. ‘The best thing that has happened to me in such a long time.’
I’m slightly bewildered, to say the least. ‘Don’t tell me you sat here all night and punched holes in paper?’
She nods enthusiastically, then sits down on the floor again, piling up a few loose magazine pages and punches holes into them with a face as if she’s performing a stunning party trick. ‘Look, what it can do. It punches perfect holes into all the pages, even when we have ten lying on top of each other.’
Suddenly she calms down and looks at me sternly. ‘You know, I think you could be sued for years of unreasonable behaviour towards your staff.’
I’m speechless. I’m not aware that I’ve committed a crime.
But the Nymph continues. ‘For ages everyone in this office had to put up with your old hole-punch that you inherited from your father because he didn’t want it 30 years ago. That monstrosity was such nuisance. Everyone hated it. At the end it could only make one hole at a time, in a single sheet of paper. And that often didn’t come out properly. But it never crossed your mind to get a new one and make our lives easy.’ She sighs. ‘Luckily we have James. A man of action. He decided to sort the situation out once and for all and bought a new hole-punch from his own money and gave it to me as a gift.’ She hands me the hole-punch. ‘Try it. It’s amazing. You won’t ever look back.’
Slightly reluctantly I do her the favour. After all, a hole-punch is a hole-punch, surely. But! Wow! What a feeling. Two perfect holes appear without any effort. I didn’t even need to push down hard. I try the same trick with a few pieces of paper lying on top of each other. Again, perfect. I repeat it a few more times. What fun!
‘It’s my turn again!’ Peirene grabs the hole-punch from me.
‘Ok, how about we take it in turns. You do ten holes, then I do ten,’ I propose, feeling slightly silly. But it’s so exhilarating to own a hole-punch that actually works.
Image by Asia Boros, creative commons.