Pop, pop, pop.
"Ca you stop that?", Eric said, "That's going to drive me crazy!"
Paul looked up from his desk, droppng the bubble wrap. "Sorry, it's a compulsion."
"Well, the noise is driving me nuts. Wait until I'm at lunch if you need a fix!"
Paul had popped bubble wrap for as long as Eric could remember. The guys in Shipping thought it was hilarious and gave him sheets of all the different kinds they had - blue, red, pink, small bubbles and large bubbles. Every so often Paul would find a brand new sheet on his desk and he'd be in Heaven.
Pop, pop, POP POP POP.
"Damn it STOP THAT!"
"Oh, God, I'm sorry, I didn't even realize I still had it - oops!"
"Well, go int he bathroom, or go bother the guys in Shipping." said Eric, "I swear by now that stuff must hate you as much as you love it."
Paul headed for the break room.
Eric seriously considered asking for a transfer. While his cube was a large corner cube, he'd give it up for a nice, quiet cube in the middle of the cube farm.
A few days later Paul stuck his head into Eric's cube.
"Hey Eric, look! I've never seen this kind of wrap before!"
Eric looked up. Paul was hold what looked for all the worlds most drab beige bubble wrap.
"That is the most lame bubble wrap I've ever seen. The bubbles aren't evenly sized or spaced, either."
"Maybe so, " said Paul, "But it feels different. The bubbles are real hard to pop and some of them self heal!"
"Paul, man, you've lost it. Self-healing bubble wrap? Better call NASA."
Paul snorted. "Maybe Monday. This makes a nice Friday present for me! Wonder who dropped it off?"
Pop. Hisssssssssssss. Pop.
"Paul go outside before throw my coffee at you."
It was blissfully quiet the rest of the day and Eric went home for the weekend.
Monday rolled around and Paul's manager stuck his head into Eric's cube.
"Hey Eric, you seen Paul? He has a report due and nobody can find him."
"Not today. It's been blissfully quiet, not a single pop all morning."
"Great, fine, I'll try his cell phone. Thanks."
Paul was usually very regular about arriving on time, he was pretty obsessive. But Eric considered it a blessing, the silence was blissful.
Nobody heard from Paul all day.
By the next day, Eric started to worry. Where was Paul? He decided to take a walk outside where Paul liked to hang out, to see if there was any evidence that Paul had been there.
In the small nook of trees behind the main building, Eric poked around until he found the almost-hidden passage back into the place that Paul hid during lunch.
As Eric pushed through the bushes, he heard a noise.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
"Hey, Paul man, where are you? Everyone is worried sick and your boss is really ticked off at you."
A slight rustle came from a few feet away, in the deep bushes.
"Paul, this isn't funny. Get your butt out here before you get fired."
Pop. Pop. Pop.
Eric thrust forward, pushing aside the dense brush between him and the sound.
"Oh my GOD NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
At the base of the bushes was Paul, completely covered in the beige bubble wrap. His body was twisted and broken, limbs and torso bent into an almost unrecognizable, inhuman shape. The wrap pulsated and moved across Paul's body. Through the wrap Eric could see Paul's face distort in a silent, endless scream as the thing on him squeezed his mangled flesh.
Pop, pop, pop.