Gordon Ramsay – Josh Sherman

Every day you’re late to work by exactly eight minutes. It’s kind of like being on time, you think. Nobody says anything, and ever since your desk was moved closer to the entrance, there haven’t been as many people to walk past and be late in front of — fewer witnesses.

Unlike you, the man in the black V-neck sticks to no discernible routine. He appears at random, and sometimes you don’t see him for months at a time. Today, he shows up at 10 a.m. Your office is on the sixth floor of a converted textile factory, directly across from a boutique hotel with balconies and big glass windows. The man in the black V-neck is standing on one of the balconies, smoking.

During the Toronto International Film Festival each year, the hotel becomes a destination for movie stars trying to keep a low profile. The rest of the time, like on this spring day, porn-production companies rent out the suites. You’ve tried searching all variations of “Toronto hotel porn” on PornHub but haven’t found any videos that look like they were shot at the hotel. (You’ve come across some pretty good stuff, though.)

You think of somehow asking the man in the black V-neck — everyone calls him Gordon Ramsay because he’s always wearing a black V-neck like the celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay — about where to find the videos. He’s one of the people who rent the boutique hotel suites to shoot porn in, so he should know. 

Gordon Ramsay tosses his cigarette onto people or cars or cement or whatever is below and steps back into the hotel.

He isn’t gone long, though, and you’re the first to notice his return because your desk faces the most active porn-making suite. Another perk of your new seating rearrangement. 

This time, Gordon Ramsay has a camera, and he isn’t alone.

She seems nervous, and when she realizes everyone in your office is now watching from the windows, she puts her hands up to cover herself — but only for a second. The flicker of chastity seems endearing to you and also kind of sad. You realize that this sadness isn’t a progressive sort of sadness and most likely springs from your repressed upbringing. You’re also pretty sure it erodes your ally status and maybe somehow supports the machinations of the patriarchy in an indirect but meaningful way. 

But the way she puts her hands up.

Just for a second.

Then one of your colleagues, someone you classify as a theatre person, holds up a sign they’ve made for these occasions.

It says “APPLAUSE.”