Things always flew through the air when Naya was on the premises. Paper airplanes, paper clips, balled up paper, and, more often than not, feathers. Sometimes she threw products, sometimes they fluttered from her arms as she passed furniture and walls too closely. She threw things out of annoyance, boredom, or habit, but most often she threw things out of the door.

When Naya was in a throwing mood, an item might bounce off your cheek or shoulder. If you were Robert, it landed in your afro, and if you were Janika, it stuck in your lace. Once, a pen lid bounced against the wall into the Chief Financial Officer’s front jacket pocket, and everybody clapped. Sometimes you went home and your spouse found a “save this ticket” ticket in the fold of your sleeve, or a Tic-Tac washed from your body to the shower drain.

Occasionally, Naya was mildly reprimanded. However, her fault was minor compared to those of other employees. Their production slippages, calculation mistakes, theft, and sexual improprieties occupied the management’s attention. The odd three by five index card tossed into the air wasn’t high on their priority list.

When Naya left abruptly for a job at another company, everybody was relieved. No more flying sugar packets or unexpected glitter showers. We joked that she went to a company that made baseballs, darts, or fits.

But things weren’t the same after that. An unexplained tension built. After several weeks, the atmosphere was barely tolerable. The staff slumped in their chairs and snapped at one another. The strain finally eased one day after Nelson threw a paper cup at Janika, and everybody realized that Naya had fulfilled a necessary though undefined role. But Naya’s shoes were difficult for one mere mortal to fill, and Nelson couldn’t sustain the energy required. We now take turns catapulting this or that at one another. So if a drinking straw drops onto your desk out of nowhere, don’t complain to the management. Just move on. And give in to the temptation to lob a candy bar wrapper over your shoulder from time to time. It serves a purpose.

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