He gets a papercut on a manila envelope at work, one of the really nasty fuckers that bleeds and hurts in a way that makes him feel singled out and persecuted. Ryan guesses it was inevitable. It's two weeks after he starts temping at the paper place, at the point where there's no excuse for him not to know everybody's name, but he still can't keep straight which one's Phyllis and which one's Meredith, and he's not sure if Kevin is the fat bald guy or the old bald guy. To be fair, he hasn't been trying that hard.
It's not like it matters, really. If this is anything like his other temp jobs he'll probably get reassigned soon, a whole new set of faces not to learn, although at this very moment Dwight is standing on his desk convinced that Jim covered his seat with itching powder while he was at lunch, so it's actually safe to say this isn't anything like Ryan's other temp jobs.
He wraps his finger in a Kleenex and waits for the blood to stop, but it still stings like a bastard, so he gets up and wanders over to Pam's desk to ask about a band-aid. Ryan actually thinks Pam seems pretty cool, for what it's worth--for sure the person in the office who could most likely be doing something less boring than this--although after Ryan sat next to her one day at lunch his first week, Jim cornered him in the breakroom, looking a little too casual for Ryan's comfort.
"Look, just so you know, Pam is engaged," Jim told him, in a voice like Jim was the one she was engaged to (which Ryan now knows he isn't--he made the mistake of asking that girl Kelly, correctly assuming she'd be the one to talk to about stuff like that, but now she comes over to his desk all the time wanting to chat about the personal lives of the employees of Dunder Mifflin Scranton, and also she keeps putting her hand on his arm).
"Oh," Ryan replied, nodding. "That's cool."
Anyway, Pam's chewing on her lip and playing Free Cell, mouse moving quickly and with authority. She looks like somebody who spends a lot of time on this game. "Hey," he says quietly, "is there a first aid kit around here someplace?"
Pam glances up, frowning. "Medical emergency?"
He holds out his Kleenex-wrapped index finger. "Pretty dire. I might need to go out on workman's comp."
"God, sometimes I think about throwing myself down the stairs for that exact reason," Pam says, then, like she thinks he's going to put her on suicide watch or something: "I mean, I'm just kidding."
"Yeah, no, I got you." He smiles. Ryan spent a semester in Europe when he was an undergrad, so his taste kind of skews toward sophisticated women, but Pam's cute in a badly-dressed sort of way. She has a pretty face.
"Anyway," she says, "yeah. First aid kit. I can show you where it is."
Ryan follows her into the kitchen, sort of enjoying the worried look on Jim's face, and watches as she digs a box of superhero band-aids out of the white plastic case. "Here you go," she says, handing him a Batman. "I try to save the Superman ones for Michael. They're his favorite."
"Understood," he tells her, and he's not sure at all if she's kidding or not. God, this place is so weird.
So Pam takes the tube and squeezes a little bit onto his finger, meticulous, squinting, then wraps the band-aid around his knuckle. It's stupid, but it makes him smile. It's been a while since somebody took care of him. "Better?" she asks, glancing up. Her hair is frizzing out of its clip.
She's about to say something else, but Kelly comes careening into the breakroom, looking positively alarmed. "Oh my God, Ryan, what did you do to yourself?" she demands, like she's ready to call an ambulance and introduce herself to the paramedics as his next of kin. It takes him a minute to explain that this isn't actually anything to panic about, and when he looks up again Pam has slipped quietly out the door, back to her desk. He watches Jim get up and beeline over. His finger stings.