Thursday, February 25, 2016

Story 123: Office Supply Thief

            Darn it, I’m out of staples again.  How am I supposed to keep the reams of my very important personal papers together if the company doesn’t chip in for the cause?  Speaking of reams, I need another one of those, too – at least there’ll be a delivery of paper this afternoon, especially since I’m the one who placed the order.
            I can’t believe the company I work for makes so much money yet is so cheap that it can’t pay me a decent home office supply wage.  I figure at the very least it owes me some paper clips.  And correction tape.  And regular tape.  And all the binder clips.
            They raised the cafeteria prices again?!  What for, the food’s still gross.  I think they want me to starve when I stay overtime even though I don’t have to.  This calls for some extra spoons and ketchup packets for the old apartment kitchen, I think.
            Ah, that lady in Cubicle #38 left that really good brand of scissors on her desk, unattended, yet again.  When will she ever learn?  Hopefully never.
            Another budget meeting.  Did they leave out those laser gadgets again for us to use “just for the meeting”?  Yes they did!  My nieces love these things.  I tell them that they’re gifts from vendors wanting our business, so the devices won’t be infected with any potential feelings of guilt.  Not that I ever have any of those, but they’re sensitive little girls.
            Shift change: time for pen rounds.  Some desks have really nice ones – you know, the ones that it seems a shame to throw them away after they run out of ink `cause they’re so elegant or pretty, but really, what is a pen without ink?  Worse than useless.  Those are the ones that I crave, and Cubicle #57 has them aplenty.  This time, though, there’s a note on the pen holder: “Dear Pen Stealer: Would you like more variety?  Different colors?  Please, let me know how I can brighten your day.”  Well, that was thoughtful; I take the biggest pen and write back in disguised script: “Yes, please – some fluorescent greens would be great.  Thanks a bunch!! ♥ ♥”  People like it when you take a moment to show sincere gratitude.
            Let’s see, end of the work day, my hand truck is nearly full – I’d say I got a lot accomplished today.  I wheel away my new possessions, dumping my computer keyboard on top of the pile (the one I have at home has a stuck letter “E,” so forget typing anything ever again on that), and whistle all the way to the elevators.  As Security meets me there and escorts me to H.R., I lovingly slide the special pen up my sleeve for safekeeping.  The rest of my stash can be returned to their rightful owners or thrown out or whatever, but only I can possess that pen.  The company owes me that much.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Story 122: Wandered Into a Horror Movie

            Oblivia decided that a walk in the woods was in order that day, mainly because she had nothing else to do and the woods were just standing there, waiting to be walked in.  The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the insects were biting, and all was right with the world.
            As she came upon a quaint little footbridge that practically screamed “Kitsch!”, someone else literally screamed at the far side of the crossing.  Oblivia noticed that a river troll was trying to drag a jogger by the foot into his under-the-bridge lair, and was not being too gentle about the whole thing.
            “None of that!” Oblivia chided in her disciplining-children voice as she walked over the bridge and stomped on the troll’s fingers.  “Hands to yourself, if you please.”  The troll gave a yelp and slithered back to his den of iniquity.
            “Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!”  The jogger shook Oblivia’s hand vigorously.  “I thought I was a goner!”
            “Yes, perhaps a warning sign should be installed – I’ll be sure to speak to the ranger office before I leave.  Enjoy the rest of your run!”  And Oblivia continued on her way: she had five miles to cover on this blue square trail and she had lost time already.
            Around mile 3.3, all sounds of Nature ceased abruptly as she entered a tranquil field.  The sun was covered suddenly by cumulonimbus clouds and a mysterious fog rolled in from out of who-knows-where.
            “Interesting,” Oblivia observed as she continued her brisk pace past a random ancient burial plot.  The chill increased to the point where she had to pull her hoodie over her head; she wished she retroactively had thought to bring a heavier jacket, but that may have made her uncomfortably warm and sweaty later.  Dressing for spontaneous walks in the park is not to be done carelessly, she thought as ghost hands reached out to her.
            “Oh my – coming up on your left!”  She remembered to call out at the last moment.  In all her musings on trail-walking attire, she had almost neglected trail-walking etiquette.  That would be forgivable in an amateur, but not in a seasoned pro such as herself.
            “I’m coming for youuuuuu….” The ghost moaned after her.
            “Oh, that’s all right, I’m headed in the opposite direction – thanks!”  She had not quite heard what the figure had said over her own thoughts, but ending with a “thanks” usually settled things for good.
            Approaching mile 5, she saw at the top of a hill a bunch of teenagers running haphazardly in all directions.  Does the high school cross country team have a meet today?  She wondered this before noticing that the kids were not in the best of shape, nor were they wearing anything that resembled any kind of uniform.
            She then saw that they were followed by an immense figure dressed as a clown, who was giggling and honking a horn as he ran after first one teen, then another.  A unique way to motivate them to exercise, she thought.  “Go get `em!”  She cheered and clapped her encouragement at them.
            The clown stopped short when he heard her, then turned and ran back into the woods.  Oblivia ran after him: “Wait, Coach, you’re the last hope these kids have!”  But he was gone.
            Seeing as the teens were all gone, too, Oblivia decided to finish her walk since she was nearly at the end of the trail and the sun was almost set.  Reaching the parking lot just after the moon had risen, she enjoyed the ambient sounds of wolf howls, mountain lion roars, chainsaws, and panicked human yells.  “Ah, Nature,” she reflected.  How relaxing.
            However, she almost had a heart attack when she got into her car and saw that the gas tank was almost empty: “Aiiiiiii!!!!”

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Story 121: State of Emergency

            She woke up feeling strangely refreshed and rejuvenated.  Stretching, she strolled to the back door of her house and opened it wide, causing the icicles and mounds of snow to fall off the roof and avalanche at her feet.
            “Ahhh….” She breathed in that fresh -10°F air.  Nothing beats blizzard weather, she thought to herself.
            She ate her breakfast seated on top of her frozen picnic table as she listened to her favorite morning radio show.  “We barely made it to the studio today, under pain of termination…. This just in: the voluntary stay-off-the-roads is now mandatory due to the governor declaring a state of emergency.  You’re telling us this now?!”  She turned the radio off at that point – she hated it when things got political.
            After a brisk brushing-off of a foot of snow from her car, followed by an invigorating shoveling out of her driveway, she was ready to go.  The roads oddly were barely plowed at all, but that’s what four-wheel drive was made for.  First stop: town hall, where she had to dispute her property taxes, yet again.
            The parking lot was an eerie sea of white when she arrived and hers was the only car.  Perhaps everyone took a healthy walk to work today, she thought as she tried to open the locked entrance.  The building’s remaining doors were in the same condition, and no amount of banging on windows or throwing snowballs at walls got anyone’s attention.  Surely their work ethic wasn’t that poor that absolutely no one would come in to run the town today?  That kind of thinking leads to anarchy.
            Since official business was now a bust, she decided to take advantage of the mall’s super sales and headed that way.  She arrived an hour later than the normal commute took, after being pulled over three times with each cop kept insisting that no businesses were open and that she needed to go home.  She agreed with them so they’d leave, but she knew in her heart that they were mistaken: the mall never closed during super sales!
            The same sight that greeted her at town hall also greeted her at the mall: a sea of white, no cars, and locked doors.  She felt a bit put out – if she could make it there when it was snowing sideways and ice was forming on her face, why could no one else in the world demonstrate the same ability?
            It was getting late and the show at the local playhouse was scheduled to start soon, so she decided to forego driving back home to change into non-snow clothes and went straight to the theater instead, collecting two citations on the way and threats of arrest for her continual commutation.  Honestly, such a fuss over a few flurries, she mused as she strapped on her snowshoes to walk to the theater from the mini-mountain where she had parked her car.  Since no one was there to open the door for her admission to the show, she was forced to come to the conclusion that the play had been cancelled due to lack of attendance.  Hopefully, she would be reimbursed for this: after all, she was there; she couldn’t help it if no one else was.
            Back home after another citation and a police escort, she comforted herself in spite of her unproductive day by re-shoveling the driveway’s new two feet of snow and knocking the ice out of the roof’s eaves.  My word, she mused as she watched the trees and neighboring houses sway in the howling wind while she drank her tea in the kitchen and the power went out, people really do push the panic button much too frequently to get anything done around here.