Thursday, January 29, 2015

Story 67: The Warrior Office Worker

            I used to have a hard time with my employees getting their work done.  Oh, they tried, their hearts were in the right place, but the bureaucracy, the clients, and the daily grind just got them down.  So I hired a warrior.
            I don’t mean a mental warrior, or a spiritual warrior, or even a peaceful warrior: I mean an actual warrior, with swords and everything (I got special approval from Legal and Security).  His attitude was great: every project was an enemy to be defeated, every telephone call was a battle, and every meeting was an opportunity for an inspiring speech.  Why, just recently, he was phenomenal on a conference call with one of our more “rambunctious” clients:
            Me: Maybe we can come to some kind of compromise here…
            Client: (Voice) No!  You either give me what I want, or our contract’s null and void!
            Warrior: What you want is immaterial.  What you need is life.  Life is all there is and all that is necessary: so it was and so it shall be forevermore.
            Client: (Voice) Who is this clown?  Is he your idiot nephew?
            Warrior: I am no rustic fool, nor a sibling’s simple offspring: I am the one will be coming to your domicile to destroy you.  My sword will be engraved with your name and the hour will be midnight.
            Client: (Voice) What –
            Warrior: The negotiations are over!
            Heh-heh, after Warrior defenestrated the phone, that client called back in five minutes and we got the deal we wanted.
            Warrior also was good with the copier/fax machine/nightmare when it failed to deliver: he usually was patient, but knew just where to slam it when it acted up, which was often.
            He was best with that last budget meeting, though:
            Me: So, sales have not been doing as well as desired, and yes, that arrow is pointing drastically downward over the past two quarters, but –
            Boss: But why shouldn’t I fire you?
            Me: Uh, well –
            (A flaming arrow then pierced the presentation screen)
            Warrior: That squiggle on that glowing cloth is nothing.  All that matters is the glorious struggle and the triumph of victory.
            Boss: Since that squiggle is the agony of defeat, and you damaged company property, you’re both fired.
            Warrior defended his honor and mine by then slapping our boss’s face with a gauntlet, so now poor Warrior is in jail and I joined the ranks of the job seekers after dealing with the Fire Department.  No worries, though: I have some needed time off, and Warrior is doing just fine with his unification of the prison gangs for better exercise routines in the yards.  He really was the best employee I ever had.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Story 66: Adventures in Plumbing

            The plumber arrived just in time.
            “Thank goodness you guys come on weekends,” the woman of the house led him to the only bathroom.  “It’s an almost-disaster in there.”
            “I’ve seen nearly everything in this business, ma’am,” he went past her into the room.  “Not much surprises – OH MY WORD!”
            He faced a pristine toilet.
            “This is worse than I feared!”
            “But I haven’t shown you – ”
            “Nope!”  He held up a hand.  “I can tell by its calm fa├žade that this commode is hiding an abomination.”
            “You can tell just by looking at it?”
            “It’s always the clean, serene-appearing ones that mask the horrors.”  He knelt down in front of the toilet and put his ear next to the bowl.
            “Are you listening for leaks?”
            “Ssh: the plumbing’s speaking to me.”
            “Ohhhh….”  She didn’t quite know how to take that.
            He listened in a few more places, then stood and took the lid off the tank and gasped.
            “Have you put chemicals in here?!”
            “Well, yes, it was rather dirty.”
            Never put chemicals in the tank ever again!  Swear it!”
            “I – I swear – ”
            “Good.”  He replaced the lid and lifted the seat.  Shuddering slightly, he turned to the homeowner.
            “I have to go out to the truck for a second.  I need – The Snake.”
            “Oh my, has it really come to that?”
            “It happens to the best of us, ma’am.”
            He retrieved The Snake from his truck that was blocking her driveway and marched back into the house, stiffening his spine and girding his loins for the ordeal that lay ahead.  The homeowner was still standing in the bathroom, staring confusedly yet sadly at the porcelain throne that had betrayed her.
            “Ma’am?”  She turned to him.  “It’s better if you’re not here to see this.  Things are about to get ugly.”
            “Of course.  Do what you must.”  She left.
            The battle raged for over an hour; there were heroes on both sides, and the losses were many.  When it was all over, the plumber emerged and went to the kitchen, where the homeowner was checking her e-mail.
            “Well?”  She asked, taking in his disheveled clothes and shaking hands.
            “I did all I could to save it,” he said, his voice cracking, “but I have been… defeated.”  He could barely choke out that last word in his humiliation.  “I’m going to have to install a brand-new toilet.”
            “I understand,” she said, bravely.
            “And new pipes.”
            “If that’s what it takes.”  She was wavering.
            “And it’ll have to be done in a separate visit.”
            “Confound it, man!”  She exploded at last; he took a step back.  “That toilet is needed today, do you hear me?!  Make it happen!”
            He blinked, pulled out his phone, and contacted headquarters.  “Cancel the rest of my appointments for the day – this is war.”
            He sprang into action and somehow had the entire installation completed by the end of the night, and that included a trip to the local home goods store to purchase a new toilet.  It was a feat never-before accomplished and never to be duplicated.  When it was all over, the homeowner awarded the plumber with a lovely check in exchange for a detailed invoice, and they parted as comrades-in-arms leaving the battlefield.  It was a sweet victory indeed, now that the thing could be flushed without fear for the first time in days.
           The plumber drove his mighty chariot off into the night, with the satisfaction of a job well done and the feeling that he would never truly be clean again.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Story 65: The Witch Department

            “Hello, thank you for calling --- Company, this call may be recorded for quality purposes, my name is Maria, how may I assist you?”
            “Yeah, I’d like to lodge a complaint – could you transfer me to the Witch Department?”
            “I’m sorry, which department?”
            “Don’t play coy with me – I’m in a witchy mood, but you sound nice and if I yell at you I’ll feel bad later, so I need to speak with a fellow witch so we can yell at each other.”
            “One moment, please.”
            “Hello, Witch Department, this is Todd.”
            “Hold on – you’re a guy?!”
            “Hey, just because I’m a guy doesn’t mean I can’t be a witch – I find that view sexist and inaccurate!”
            “Now that I think about it, most of the guys I know are witches, so I stand corrected.  Can we start over?”
            “Sure – what seems to be the problem?”
            “Well, Todd, the problem seems to be that your product is garbage and doesn’t work!”
            “Let’s back up the train a bit.  First of all, I didn’t make the thing, so it isn’t my product.”’
            “Right now, you have the awesome responsibility of speaking with the company’s voice, so yeah, it’s yours!”
            “Second, did you use the product outside of its intended purpose?”
            “Of course not!  Are you calling me an idiot?!  And why would I even admit to it if I did?”
            “Have to ask, if later it turns out you’re a liar.”
            “You – !”
            “Thirdly, did you try replacing the batteries?”
            “Ye – no I didn’t.”
            “Then maybe replace them before wasting any more of my time!”
            “You people should have put in a ‘low battery’ indicator!”
            “‘We people’ did!  Did you even look for it?!”
            “Of course I – oh, yes, there it is.  Well, it should be bigger!”
            “It should be this, it should have that: maybe it should have a brain so it can think for you, too!”
            “Oooh, I’m never buying anything from you people again!”
            “Good, then our phone lines won’t be tied up with all your non-problems!”
            “I’m telling all my friends and the media that this company is awful!”
            “You’d be the only one with that opinion, so no one would care.”
            “That’s it!  I’m throwing this thing out and I want a refund!”
            “This call is being recorded for quality purposes – so, no.”
            “Phew.  That was very satisfying.  I feel comfortable that all my options have been exhausted.  I’ll go back to using the piece of garbage.”
            “That’s good to hear.  Is there any other way that I can assist you today?”
            “No, thank you – you did splendidly.  It’s nice to yell with someone who speaks the same language of Witch.”
            “Well, like knows like.  You have a good day!”