Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Story 119: Puppet Theater Audience

             The curtain rises on the marionette show.
            “Funny kitty!”
            “Where did he come from?”
            “Where’d he go?!”
            “How are they flying?”
            “Probably fairy dust; that’s what I use.”
            “What’s that thing?”
            “Where are they going?”
            “Is that a real unicorn?”
            “No, there’s no such thing as unicorns.  It’s a horse playing a unicorn.”
            “Can I touch them?”
            “Where are they going?”
            “Ha ha, that cow’s flying.”
            “Who are those people in the ceiling?”
            “Why are there a lot of strings in the air?”
            “That doll is mean, she pushed the other one down.”
            “Mommy, I need the bathroom!”
            “Me too!”
            “Where is the kitty from earlier?  Was she fired?”
            “Where are they going?”
            “Where do the puppets keep their souls?”
            “Are they dancing or fighting?”
            The curtain falls.
            “Is it over?”
            Parent: “You must have great concentration to block all of them out.”
            Puppeteer: “Thanks; I used to be a stand-up comedian, so this is nothing.”

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Story 118: Office Doppelgänger

            Employee shuddered as Boss rolled into her office.  “Hi – what’s up?”
            “Oh, I don’t know, EVERYTHING!”  Boss said as she dropped a pile of papers on the desk.  “This is a mess.  Clean it up.”
            “It was fine when I sent it in – ”
            “Well it’s not now!”  Boss practically shrieked.  “This is unacceptable!  You’re lucky you still have a job!  And your desk is absolutely filthy!”  Boss swept her arm across Employee’s desk to knock everything excluding the computer and including the phone onto the floor.  “I don’t know how you get anything done.  Tool!”  She left on roller skates.
            That night, Employee called Friend.
            “I always say I can’t take it anymore, but I can’t quit!  Can I call in sick, every day, until I retire?”
            “I have a better idea,” Friend said.
            THE NEXT DAY
            Boss strolled on foot into Employee’s office.  “So, I heard rumors that you actually leave your desk for lunch and WHO THE BLAZES ARE YOU?!”
          Friend was sitting with her hands folded at Employee’s desk.  “I’m Employee today.  Whatever you want to say to her, you can say to me.”
            “Certainly.  Feel free to continue your thought.”
         “OK... oh yeah: I can’t be having my workers thinking they can just pick up and leave whenever they feel like it!  I don’t know how seriously you take this job, missy, but the quality of your work speaks for itself when you whiningly insist upon such things as ‘bathroom breaks,’ and ‘eating,’ and ‘leaving on time.’  Who do you think you are?!  I think you think you’re me.  Well, you can’t be me, because I’m the boss!  Which you can never be, ever!  And while we’re on the subject – ”
            “Are you finished?”
            “I – clearly not!”
            Friend stood.  “Sit down.”  Boss sat on the floor.  “Here is the reality you cannot see: you are inadequate.  You do nothing substantial with your life except yell at people because you feel like garbage.  I hacked into your computer this morning and found cat and celebrity videos in your browser history, so you obviously are the only one not really working in this office.  My guess is that no one likes you, and they’re not so much afraid of you as irritated by you, as one would be by a fly that constantly buzzes around one's ears.  Think of this, if you would: people wish you would vanish in a puff of smoke when you enter a room, and feel the sweet relief that is freedom when you depart.  You have no friends, and you’ll probably be terminated by upper management next quarter, and then what will you do with your loathsome self?  You can go now.”
            Boss fell out the door.
            THE NEXT DAY
            Employee sat apprehensively at her desk as Boss peeked around the corner.
            “Oh, it’s just you," Boss said as she came in.  "Um, I wanted to say, I think we’ve been getting off on the wrong foot for the past three years.  I know you work hard and you do good things here; I’m just under a lot of stress from higher up to meet our goals, you know?”
            “OK, thanks, well, glad we got that out of the way!”  Boss stood to leave, headed towards the door, and turned back.  “Oh, one little thing: when you’re talking to clients, don’t be so courteous and polite to them.  I know it’s good customer service, but you’re not being paid to gab here, and you’re too nice to them, and – ”
            Friend appeared behind Boss.  “Sorry, I missed that last bit, what were you saying just now?”
            Boss screamed and ran down the hall to hide in her office.
            Employee smiled at Friend.  “Thanks for all that, you’re a lifesaver!”
            “Sure!”  Friend said.  “I’m available 24/7 – anyone else here you think needs me?”
            “Possibly Boss when her boss calls her in, ironically enough.  The cycle never ends.”

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Story 117: Author Interview

            Host: We’re in the studio today with our guest, author ---- ------.  Thank you for joining us today; such a pleasure.
            Author: Thank you.  You’ll soon come to see that the pleasure is all mine.
           Host: …So, your new book was just released yesterday and has been described quite forcefully by a number of critics.  Several have been quoted as stating that your book is “an insult to anyone and everyone’s intelligence,” “dreck,” “desecration to the memory of the trees that were sacrificed to print this abomination,” and, the old chestnut, “offensive to humanity.”  Pretty harsh reviews, I’d say.
            Author: And you’d be right.
            Host: Now, what is your response to all this criticism?  One newspaper had a two-page feature where the reviewer proposed that you, and I quote, “were unleashing disgust upon the world in apparently the only way the author knew how: the written word.  The grammatically incorrect written word, it must be added.”  Now, how does one respond to this vitriol?
            Author: Well, there really is only one response.  (Faces the main camera) You are all correct.  I wrote this book specifically to insult your intelligence.  My plot holes and nonsensical twists and turns were all created purposefully to drive you mad with impotent rage.  I gleefully crafted a vile mess of unintelligible garbage just so you would regret paying my publisher $27.95 for the unpleasantness.
            Host: (Laughs uncertainly) Yes, that’ll stick it to them.
          Author: I am deadly serious.  I wrote solely to offend the senses and repay my fans’ years of loyal patronage with faulty product.  If I could reach through the pages of each copy of the book and slap every reader in the face, I would.  In the meantime, I have to settle for the same effect in a metaphorical sense.
            Host: Uhhh... why are you saying all this?  People could have forgiven a well-intentioned misfire, but you have just now completely destroyed your career, the public’s goodwill, and quite possibly your personal safety, all in the span of less than a minute.
          Author: Because if they think I wrote this horribly by accident, their contempt would overwhelm me.  Now that they know it was all part of the plan, they admire my bravery for letting it all out there.
            Studio Audience: Boooo!!! (Paper airplanes are thrown in disdain)
            Host: No one likes being played, now get off my stage.
          Author: (Exiting) You all talk big, but you know you won’t resist my next book: Yes I Still Write and Yes I Still Don’t Like You!
            Host: Ooh, when’s it coming out?