Pain Relief Comics

Here are some comics to get you through the day!
More after the jump.

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Worst Cubicles

A lot of people probably wish they had better cubicles, but after you see what we have in store for you, you'll just be glad that you're not one of them.

Good pictures after the jump...

no parking in my office. it's already small enough.

This gives new meaning to the phrase "corner office."

cardboard boxes as desk drawers. very resourceful.

"My desk has a column in the middle of it. Then it was cut in half. Now the wiring doesn't work." Shuffle the syllables around, and you could have a sad haiku.

" The winner the Wired News saddest-cubicles contest is David Gunnells, an IT guy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His desk is penned in by heavily used filing cabinets in a windowless conference room, near a poorly ventilated bathroom and a microwave. The overhead light doesn't work -- his mother-in-law was so saddened by his cube that she gave him a lamp -- and the other side of the wall is a parking garage. Gunnells recalls a day when one co-worker reheated catfish in the microwave, while another used the bathroom and covered the smell with a stinky air freshener. Lovely. "

Source: Wired

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Excuses for Going to Work Late

We all know the feeling when the alarm goes off at 6 in the morning, you just want to throw it against the wall. That might work for the lucky few who have lenient bosses, but for the rest of us, that means we better come up with some damn good excuses for being late. again.

Here are 10 real-life excuses we found that should NEVER be used:

1. While rowing across the river to work, I got lost in the fog.
2. Someone stole all my daffodils.
3. I had to go audition for American Idol.
4. My ex-husband stole my car so I couldn't drive to work.
5. My route to work was shut down by a presidential motorcade.
6. I have transient amnesia and couldn't remember my job.
7. I was indicted for securities fraud this morning.
8. The line was too long at Starbucks.
9. I was trying to get my gun back from the police.
10.I didn't have money for gas because all of the pawnshops were closed.

I was pretty lucky this morning and made it to work on time because i cured my transient amenesia last week and since the police didn't take away my gun, i used it to cut down the long line at Starbucks. What can I say? I'm a lucky guy!

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Thank you to all the winners for being so patient with us..your prizes are coming very very's a sneak preview

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Office Takeover

Sometimes you have to take things into your own hands in order to advance at work. When our Director of Business Development went on vacation, one of my coworkers decided that it's time for him to stage a takeover. Tape has never been more useful!

More pictures after the jump

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Top 4 Winners of the Best Story Contest

It's sucky Monday again, and we're back to the grind. But we do have a bit of good news for the 4 winners of our best story contest.

Here are the winners!
1.) Call me Ishmael
2.) O.D.D. Ball
3.) Unwarranted Serendipity
4.) Code Name: Pencil Pusher

Congrats to them all!

First place will receive a $200 dollar visa gift card, second place a $100 dollar gift card, third place a $50 dollar gift card, and fourth place an awesome nerf gun!

We just want to say thank you again for everyone who participated and voted! Don't hesitate to send in more stories, pictures, or videos at

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TOP 10 STORIES! for the Best Story Contest

The Best Story Contest has ended, and we have gotten some very exciting stories! Here are the top 10 that we think are the most entertaining:

1. McSplat
2. Baaad dog!
3. Foot in Mouth
4. She said WHAT?!
5. Happiest Day of My Life
6. Code name: Pencil Pusher
7. O.D.D Ball
8. Call Me Ishmael
9. Deep Throat Returns to the Big Screen
10.Unwarranted Seredipity

Please use the poll on the right column to vote and decide the top 4 winners!

And don't forget, we're always taking story submissions in order to get you through your boring Mondays.

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Unwarranted Serendipity

By Jason Sizemore

I’m at a rest area off the Bluegrass Parkway doing my business when I started to smell cigarette smoke floating over from the stall next to mine. Smoking in the boy’s room in public areas wasn’t something uncommon in these parts, so I paid it no mind. But when the smoker took things to that next level that he caught my attention.

“Going to Hypericon,” he said more as a statement, less as a question. “You know, the horror literary fan convention?” The voice sounded familiar but, without the face, I knew I’d never place him.

Even so, I hated to be rude and not say anything. And I figured trying to ignore the man would only encourage my new stalker. I grunted out a non-committal “I guess.”

Smoke rose above the wall separating our stalls. I willed my body to hurry and finish its business. It was like I was trying to urinate while standing to the high school bully. It just wasn’t going to happen.

He spoke up again.

“Keep your eyes open, Kid.”

“Who the hell are you?” I asked. “What do you mean ‘Keep my eyes open’?”

But whoever he was, he had nothing more to say. His stall-door opened and I hear him walk out, his boots make clacking noises against the filthy concrete bathroom floor in his wake.

Hypericon 20005 was to be the “coming out” party for Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest and my small press business Apex Publications. I’d just received issue two of the digest from the printer and was heading south to Nashville to thrust it upon the unsuspecting horror-fans in attendance. The first issue had been a modest success, both financially and critically, so I fully expected to sell several hundred copies over the weekend to throngs of adoring fans.

This would also be my initiation into the world of fan conventions. I’d heard of such strange things before, where the freaks (like me) could get their freak on. I knew better than to expect the madness as described by the news networks: furry parties, orgies, yiffing, BDSM, creepy roleplay. I figured the convention would be a small gathering of like-minded fans of the genre.

But the real question as to “why” did I choose Hypericon 2005 as the jumping point for Apex Digest and my new business venture when there were so many larger, more popular fan conventions held in the region? I don’t know. Truth be told, you could hold a loaded gun to my head and I’d still draw a blank. Maybe it was luck? Pure genius? Thinking back, I liken it to something I call “unwarranted serendipity.”

Arriving in Nashville, it didn’t take me long to find the hotel and to get myself registered. I found my hotel room and unloaded my luggage.

It wasn’t until I went back downstairs and walked around the dealers’ room that I realized something: I didn’t know a single person there. Images flashed through my mind. There was me, without friends, watching lame porn all weekend in my hotel room. There was me playing Marco-Polo by myself in the empty hotel pool. There was me watching from a distance as other convention members had fun, sharing experiences over a beer. Hell, this was going to be high school and college all over again! I was trapped. My little dark secret of being a closet introvert was going to make this the worst weekend of my life. It just wasn’t in my wiring to enable me to randomly speak to strangers.

“Don’t mess this up, kiddo.”

I jumped, startled. It was that voice again. And that damn cigarette. I spotted him, standing in the shadows of a large ficus in a far corner of the hotel lobby. I couldn’t make out any features, but I got a distinct Rod Sterling vibe from the man. But hell, for all I knew, it could have been Harlan Ellison standing over there giving me the finger.

The stranger nodded and I followed it to the lobby elevators. Okay, I thought, I’ll play this out. After all, I had no better plan.

I sauntered over and pressed the ‘Up’ button. I’m checking my watch when I hear an Enchantress speak: “Red heads are the scourge of the earth. When I’m in charge, they will be the first up against the wall!”

I’m a redhead therefore I found this particular declaration to be quite disturbing.

“Excuse me,” I said. I was probably blushing.

“Not you, those other redheaded assholes.”

The Enchantress spoke with a sexy, educated accent—my favorite. My gaze fell to her face. It could have been Greek…certainly Mediterranean in design. She had long, shimmering curly brown hair, and she wore a radiant smile punctuated by dark red lipstick. Accompanying her was an attractive lady adorned in full Goth regalia. Both made quite striking impressions.

My hand shot out in greeting. “I’m Jason Sizemore.” My hand was probably sweaty.

She smiled and I thought I would crumple to the floor in a heap of helpless boy hormones. “That accent, how cute!”

She was talking about my thick hillbilly drawl. It was certainly much worse than usual. I was nervous.

“I publish Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest,” I said, finally managing to string together a full sentence.

“Whores Digest?” She sort of backed away, glanced nervously at her Goth friend. “You do what with whores?”

“No, no! Not whores, hor-ror.”

“Oh, I see.”

We shared a laugh. I glanced over to the man in shadows. He shadowed face nodded and I knew he was pleased.


The door opened, vomiting a load of angry-looking horror fans (turns out most horror fans are angry looking), and admitted me and the two ladies. I pressed the button for the sixth floor where, according to the registration desk, all the action was supposed to be happening.

“Let me give you a copy of my magazine.” I dug through my backpack like a crazed rabbit rooting through an abandoned warren. The two ladies looked at each other and giggle.

I found it. “See, Apex Digest. That’s me.” I proudly shoved the first issue, with its aliens and stark landscape, at them.

“Oh, nice magazine,” the Enchantress cooed. She took it from my outstretched hand and proceeded to show it off to her friend (who, as it turns out, was Sherrilyn Kenyon!).


The elevator doors opened and the two women turned to depart.

“Wait,” I blurted out.

They paused and stared at me.

“Will I see you again?”

The Enchantress smiled, and again I was overwhelmed.

A wink.

“Keep your eyes open, and you just might.”

The elevator doors closed on me, and I take an unplanned ride back to the lobby.

Have you ever been the unwitting victim of obsession? Well, I was after that too brief encounter. My mind decided that two things must happen during Hypericon weekend, and both replayed themselves ad nauseum between my ears. First, I must become friends with this intellectual beauty. And second, I must have her for Apex Digest.

In retrospect, I can readily admit that the “friends” part was nothing more than that base need shared by all chest-beating males since the beginning of time: the urge to get close to the pretty girl. But the second part was more practical. One thing I had gleaned from the business of publishing a genre magazine was that you needed something to set it apart from the rest. Although I couldn’t tell you what this mystery woman could bring to the publication, I only knew that Apex needed it.

As I discovered, the real “fun” of any fan convention starts after dark. Room parties, networking, alcohol consumption, and friendships are all part of the experience. As a new publisher, I needed to make some “name” writer and artist friends, and then proceed into tricking them into sending Apex their work while paying them pennies to the dollar.

Having no friends, I went alone to the designated party floor. An elderly man in chaps being led around with a leash and collar by a younger lady cornered me as soon as I got off the elevator. They sported sexy BDSM gear.

“You’re Apex Digest, aren’t you?” he asked.

I gulped. Although having attended a liberal arts college (Transylvania University) and being a rather open-minded person (or so I thought), I’d never encountered such a thing before. An elderly man on a leash just wasn’t my “thing.” I fought to keep eye contact with him, refused to allow myself to look at the pair of studded leather briefs he was wearing.

“Yes, in a sense,” I answered.

“Brian Keene was looking for you.”

My heart lurched. Brian Keene was looking for me. Landing a Brian Keene story would be big business for an upstart like Apex. Back then, Keene was (and still is) the King of Our World. And for good reason…he’s one of the best writers in the business—a man among boys.

“You mean like, Brian Keene?” I asked, dumbly.

“Yes, room 508. He’s having a private room party.”

My excitement waned. If it was a private party, I couldn’t just waltz on in. Keene and his entourage would kick my ass and send me whimpering back to the private confines of my hotel room. Lonely hotel porn became a real possibility once again.

“Here, I’ll take you there,” the collared man offered. His young mistress had yet spoken a word, or even bothered even acknowledge my existence. “I’ll introduce you, tell him you’re a friend of mine. They’ll let you in.”

“Do I have to wear a collar?” I asked.

The elderly man’s bushy left eyebrow arched and he looked at his keeper. She shot her nose up into the air and said in a disgusted manner, “No.”

Quietly, the pair walked me down the hallway, snaking through the crowds hanging outside the hotel rooms. We step through a crowd of people in large animal costumes. The most disturbing of these was a squirrel marked with large band-aids and blood. The furries were mostly interested in a room that emitted a light blue glow. Inside, groups of…animals were frolicking on the floor.

I look up to the elderly man for an explanation. His eyes tell me to not ask.
We push forward.

We encounter another large crowd. They’re standing outside a room blasting techno-music. An angry looking man is standing around holding a meatloaf. I take a quick peek inside and see a full-fledged orgy that would make Bob Guccione a proud man.

Finally, we reached room 508. Somebody knocked on the door. It cracked open and we’re admitted inside.

The room was veiled under a fog of cigarette smoke. I hear lots of swearing. My survival senses tell me that at any moment, a blade could be pulled and somebody would lose a finger, a toe, or even an ear.

A large man blocks my way further into the room.

“Mr. Keene is not signing at this time,” the big guy said. “Please leave.”

“It’s okay, Big Joe, let he who steps into my room face the master of the guard.”

Big Joe. I recognized the name. He was the famous bodyguard of Brian Keene.

Through the clearing haze, I see Brian Keene. He’s holding a tumbler full of Knob Creek in one hand, a cigarette in the other. He squints at me.

“Who the fuck are you?” he finally asked.

The elderly man with the collar spoke up. “This is Jaso…”

“Frank, I don’t remember asking you a goddamn thing!” The murmur of the crowd died. Everybody turned to look at me.

I can’t help but notice that room 508 is a Mecca of famous writers. I see Tom Piccirilli leaning back in an uncomfortable hotel chair in the back of the room. He’s watching the proceedings much like a bemused crime boss. Bryan Smith relaxes on an ottoman, nursing a beer and a cigarette. His face is a mask of indifference. I could be gutted and tossed out the window and he’d not give a shit. James Newman is sitting on the floor, hard to read behind his dark glasses. Deborah LeBlanc pops her knuckles, her expression grim. Other famous horror writers sit around the room, each looking equally annoyed.

“I asked you, who the fuck are you?” Keene demanded again.

I closed my eyes, summoning courage. When I opened them again, I see the stranger. He’s standing in the darkened far corner of the room. A plume of blue cigarette smoke drifts to the ceiling from his mouth. He, too, is awaiting my answer.

“I’m Jason Sizemore.”

“So?” Keene said.

My heart palpitated. Sweat has already formed on my brow. At that moment, I realized I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life. I should never have gotten into the publishing industry. I don’t have cajones. All the naysayers were right, you can’t produce a profitable magazine. I should just go home, tail between legs, and forget this all ever happened.

“I’m sorry, I’ll go,” I said.

I turn. But in mid-stride, I hear that voice of beauty and dynamite.

“He’s cool, Brian. That’s Apex Digest.”

“Wait a minute,” Keene said.

I stop, frozen. When Keene bellows out an order, everybody, including God and Satan, stops to obey. He’s got that kind of voice.

Keene held up the copy of Apex Digest issue one I’d given to the Enchantress. “You mean he’s this.”

Then she steps magically out of the crowd. “Yes, he publishes Apex.”

“Goddamn. Then come inside, buddy! Have some Knob Creek. Big Joe, take care of the man.”

In record time, I found myself holding some bourbon. I look over to my angelic benefactor. She smiles and my heart melts.

Most conventions go from Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, I had only planned to stay until Saturday evening. That meant I had little time to find her. Throughout the day, I see people, new friend, I’ve met. Brian Keene gives me a hearty slap on the back, wishes me luck with the magazine. Tom Piccirilli (probably the nicest guy in the world), shakes my hand, gives me a pep talk about Apex, and mentions he might have a story to send to me. Bryan Smith confides in me that he has this great novelette he’s like to see me publish. Deb LeBlanc’s grim expression had turned into that wonderful smile that so many cherish.

Life was grand.

But I couldn’t find her. I made my final trek through the hotel, worked my way back around to the lobby.

Am I never going to see her again?


The elevator opened and out she comes. I hopped up, full of courage and initiative. From of the corner of my eye, I see the smoking man smiling at me.

“Hey!” I called out, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically.

“Apex Digest!”

She gave me a light embrace. I have somehow befriended this beautiful person.

She crinkled her nose. “Do you smoke? You always stink like cigarettes.”

I smiled. “Well, not technically, no, I don’t smoke.”

“Have a good time last night?” she asked.

“Absolutely.” I paused. “I need to ask you something.”

“Yes?” The apprehension in her voice made me wince.

“Do you write?”

She shook her head. “Not much. I write movie reviews. I blog sometimes. Nothing impressive.”

“Would you work for me?”

“What do you mean ‘work for me?’”

I explained to her my plans for global domination. I tell her that we already printed stuff like reviews and standard non-fiction fare in Apex. I described to her that I need content that would help make Apex different from the rest of the crowd.

“I can’t pay much,” I warned her. Unfortunately, writers are used to hearing this.

“I’ll do it,” she said. We giggled and embraced, spinning around in each other’s arms.

“Not bad, Sizemore,” the now familiar Rod Sterling voice said from across the lobby. “Not bad at all.” From over her shoulder, I watched as he faded away like a dying television image. After a couple of seconds, only a spent cigarette remained in his spot.

As I’m about to leave, I realize that I have yet to ask the Enchantress her name. This draws embarrassed chuckles from us both.

Again, there’s that smile. “Alethea,” she said. “Alethea Kontis.”

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Deep Throat Returns To The Big Screen!

By Andrew Whiteoak

Working in a cinema, or movie theater to my trans-Atlantic brethren, allows ample time for people-watching. Being in the centre of a reasonably large British city, a high proportion of our clientele are idiots. Perhaps that’s a sweeping generalisation, but the Britain portrayed, aptly for this piece, on the big screen by such pictures as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill is so far removed from the reality its not funny. It’s so not funny that it is indeed funny once again. If you imagine what a typical football, sorry soccer. hooligan running amok on foreign turf throughout the 80’s and 90’s looked like, you’re almost there. Add an imitation Burberry baseball cap and some ridiculous gold jewellery and that’s the general look sported by probably thirty percent of our customers. They’ve just moved their loutish, thuggish behaviour from the stadiums to the pubs and nightclubs on a Saturday night, but that’s a different story entirely! Now, this type of customer, or ‘guest’ as the company doctrine demands we call all ticket-buying members of the public, are not suddenly the way they are when adulthood hits, oh no! Such idiocy must be nurtured, must not be corrupted or distorted by the evils of reading, for example, or school. So the point is we get a lot of idiots in the making, the young boys you know will be robbing old ladies for either kicks or drug dependencies, and the girls who’ll almost certainly have squeezed out one or two kids before they’re eighteen. I could write an amusing story once a week based on this particular social group, but the one I’m going share here is particularly scandalous.

It happened a couple of years ago during an after-school show of a film, the title of which was clearly so forgettable I‘ve forgotten it. Upon checking the auditorium about half way through the performance, one of our ushers noticed a couple sat at the very back, aged somewhere between 13 and 15, still in school-uniform. The girl appeared to by lying across the boy’s lap, her head bobbing rhythmically. The boy noticed as the girl apparently quite quickly jerked away and sat bolt-upright. The usher let everyone know to keep an eye out in that particular hall, as there was potentially some untoward and inappropriate actions taking place. As a projectionist I heard the radio call and chuckled. My colleague, a huge, quite menacing-looking man pointed out there was a service entrance at the back of that auditorium, and, be it from boredom or something sleazier, decided give it five minutes and take a look.

He followed through and managed to walk to within six feet of the pair, who had, in quite a gutsy move, continued pleasuring each other orally. Cool as a cucumber he leaned over uttered the now immortalised line: “Take that out of there,” - gesturing appropriately - “and get out.” After watching them sheepishly leave the auditorium, we hastily organised a decent farewell to maximise their embarrassment. Our employees lined the entire walkway through the foyer toward the front doors, looking, pointing and giggling loudly at the now mortified pair as they hurried out in the least dignified manner. Amazingly however, they stopped at the box office to ask for a refund! To this the manager, keeping an entirely straight face, pointed out that we have a "No Refunds For Under-Aged Children Engaging In Oral Sex During Movies" policy, and sent them away empty handed.

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Call me Ishmael

By Jennifer Rose

Bachelor's degrees have not saved us. I feel adrift, clinging on to a secretarial desk like a life raft, thinking that a steady (but small) paycheck is enough to keep me afloat and breathing.

My life raft exists in a small private school in a Southern California beach city. Or, in short, a place where there are a million phone calls a day from homemaker mothers with nothing else to do but call me to see if Camden (yes, all of the children have names like that) wore her jacket on the playground, to make sure that I tell little Taft to not pick up trash even though it's Earth Day (he's allergic to too many things!), to remind me to distribute the party invitations to little Harrison's 4th birthday even though Harrison's nanny has already left me three square notes on monogrammed linen paper from Harrison's mom, instructing me to pass the invitations out . . . the list goes on and on. These are also the same moms who forget that they have to bring snack for their son's/daughter's class even though she is assigned this task only once a month – meaning that I have to take the time out to call them, to remind them, though I'm not sure why these moms forget because they only have one child (maybe the mom had a morning Botox appointment? A manicure/pedicure? A lobotomy?).

This happens every morning.

And, none of my co-workers -- the teachers -- are that much help.

Most of them are too busy being bitter single moms in their thirties who took their respective teaching jobs so their own child could attend this exclusive private school at half price. They all talk about how life is so hard for them, being a single mom, their voices full of entitlement. They're all pear-shaped and disappointed and unfucked.

The school phone rings every 2 minutes. I deal with irate parents who are on the waitlist. I deal with impatient parents who want to be on the waitlist. I deal with current parents who keep asking the same questions month after month (is it Free Dress Day on the first Friday of the month?). I make spreadsheets, I print out flyers, I make copies, I stuff the "Wednesday Folders" for 250 families every Wednesday morning. I correct spelling errors and grammar mistakes that are all over the teachers' classroom newsletters. I spend 40 hours a week doing this.

In college, I had studied the Lost Generation writers; I fell in love with Gertrude Stein and T.S. Eliot and Ernest Hemingway. I wrote papers about Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the poems of John Keats, about Mersault in Camus' The Stranger. I discussed Edward Said's influence on Roland Barthes at an annual critical theory research conference.

And here I am, at this school, getting paid as much as the janitor who can barely speak English.

So, I ask for a raise. My boss tries to talk me out of it. She says she will schedule a meeting with the school's owner to discuss it. She goes home early because she says her office is too hot to work in.

She, too, is pear-shaped, disappointed, and unfucked.

The meeting never happens.

The next day, I sit at my desk. I look at all the little loose-leaf mountains of paper scattered around my desk. The phone is ringing nonstop. The teachers are talking about last night's episode of American Idol.

I place a note in my boss' inbox: "I am leaving with the same respect that was given to me yesterday."

I walk out of the building, abandoning my bullshit life raft.

And I do not feel like I am drowning.

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O.D.D. Ball

By Eric Scot Tryon

“Bueller? . . . . . . Bueller?”

Calling roll on my first day as a remedial English teacher was nothing like the comatose rendition so beautifully given by Ben Stein. The students were not apathetic lethargic slugs that drooled on their desks or glared at me with thoughts of murder. Nor did my voice trickle out in a slow monotoned drawl of painful indifference. They were nervous and excited to be in their first college classroom, and I was anxious and confused to be on the other side of the desk; the room buzzed.

The first few names came out a little shaky and only one foreign last name (damn that Southeast Asia) sent me bumbling into a consonant-induced verbal seizure. But by the time I hit the S’s I was rolling. Maybe I did belong here. Maybe they weren’t sending in a remedial teacher to teach remedial students. I called out names with authority, and by golly I was going to educate!

But then I reached the final S name. The onomatopoetic serpent in my teaching garden: Lucy Strapinksy.

“I’m here!” she called out, clearly irritated.

Before I could get out the next name, she interrupted me.

“But there’s something I’m supposed to tell you.”
“Okay,” I said, “go ahead.”
“I have O.D.D.” She said it with a smile. “Just to warn you.”

First of all, what the hell is that? More importantly, is it contagious? But I glanced at her ratty red hair, her mismatched clothing, the three cell phones and four Diet Cokes lined up neatly on her desk and figured it meant just that, that she was odd. Maybe weird people finally have an official acroynymed title now. But I bit just the same:

“Uh, what does that mean exactly?”
“Oppositional Defiance Disorder.”
I was no psychologist, but I knew those words.
“So. . . you’re basically going to fight everything I say this semester?”

And so it was. I asked for black pen, she used pink. Essays were to be double-spaced, she used one and a half. Break was fifteen minutes, she took twenty. Apparently her father owned half of Southern California and contributed ungodly sums of money to the school, so not only were my efforts to boot her from class thwarted, but I was encouraged to “do what I could to pass our dear Ms. Strapinsky.”

My favorite day was one in which we were going outside to do some descriptive writing.
“Ok,” she said, “but my bodyguard has to come.”
You gotta be kidding me.
“Huh?” I asked.
“My bodyguard,” she repeated. And sure enough, I opened the door to find a dopey-looking fat kid waiting in the hallway. He couldn’t have been more than 17 and would have trouble running down a three-legged turtle. I rolled my eyes and said that he could come along. To which she replied, “Ok, but he has to stay far enough away so he can’t hear you.”
I bit again: “And why’s that?”
“Well, he’s not allowed to learn anything.”
The class, as the usually did, stared at her in wonder and confusion.
“If he learns while he guards then they’ll charge him tuition.”

I was certain I was being Punk’d. But Ashton Kutcher didn’t jump out, so I took one more look at the oaf and wasn’t too concerned about him accidentally picking up any part of my lesson.

Despite the O.D.D., I did survive that first semester. But when the powers that be called me in and asked if I wanted to teach the following semester, the past couple of months played in my head like an 80’s movie montage: I said the comma goes here, she put it over there. Papers were to be stapled, she used a goddamned purple hair clip. And when the final project was due, she turned in pictures of her with Arnold Schwarzenegger at a benefit dinner. But wait. I did have one breakthrough! On Lucy’s final exam – probably for the first time in her life – all her sentences ended with periods and not hearts.

I guess I could teach after all.

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Code Name: Pencil Pusher

By Joy Bernardo

My job? Pencil-pusher. Filing Professional Extraordinaire. My duties include filing, pushing, typing, daydreaming, and sleeping. Daydreaming is my specialty though. Lately, I have been spending my "production time" in my novel life. My novel life would be exciting. I would be a secret agent with my own theme song. If I could steal a theme song, it would be the theme to Hawaii Five-O or the very beginning of the song "Superfly" by Curtis Mayfield. But if I had to make one up (because of copyright infringement), I think it would go something like:
"Dun dun, dun dun, doo doo doot, dun dun, dun dun, doo doo doot…"

I would travel the world and solve exciting crimes that have to do with large sums of money and big, burly men with big, burly guns. I would be mysterious, stealthy, and my code name would be "Panther". My personal life would be filled with handsome men but I would feel lonely because I couldn't connect with any of them (because of my inability to share the fact that I am a secret agent and because my life is so hectic). Until one man comes into my life. A hot man. Who used to be a hot firefighter (until he had a horrible accident while he was saving some children from a burning orphanage). He would be handsome, smart, witty, and incredibly charming. However, he would be slightly distant. It would seem as though he is keeping some kind of secret from me. What could it be?

Perhaps, it's just that he wants to remain mysterious in my eyes? I would brush it off as paranoia because of my inability to connect with people who want to be close to me. He would sweep me off my feet and I would think that he is the perfect man until [dun dun dun] I found out that he is a part of a drug-smuggling, money-laundering, crime ring. I would be heartbroken! Would I choose true love over my career? Or would I give up the only man that I have ever loved for something that has always been there for me: my career?

Or I could be a mysterious woman in need of some help from a handsome detective. "My husband is missing," I would say. I would walk swiftly into his life, turning it upside down. I would always look stunning, in a slinky, black dress or a long red one. Every time that I appear at his door, you would first see my silhouette in the doorway and he would stop whatever it was that he was doing. The handsome detective would help me find my husband but he would secretly be harboring feelings for me. When we do find my husband, he would be dead in an alleyway. [gasp] The search would now be for my husband's killer. And, now, I would be grieving and the handsome detective would be there so that I could cry on his shoulder. He would devote himself to finding the killer. But in his search for the killer, he would find out that I have a horrible secret! [A twist in the plot!] What would the secret be? What could be so terrible that I feel as though I have to keep it from the people closest to me? Would this secret make him rethink his feelings for me?

But, of course, I am brought back to reality by my boss asking me what's taking so long with the latest numbers. "Come on, how long does it take to add some numbers together???" Little does he know… "Dun dun, dun dun, doo doo doot, dun dun, dun dun, doo doo doot…"

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Sucky Monday again...

Dear readers,

Wouldn't the world be a better place if the work week began with half-day Mondays? Just imagine how much better the rest of the week would be and how much easier the relax to work mode transition would be... people might even look forward to Monday!

Anyways, wishful thinking aside, thank you to everyone who has submitted a story so far . We have been reading all the stories and enjoying them very much. Currently, we actually do not have many entries- so please, if you have a story from work you'd think others would enjoy- send it in!

It's Monday again, but keep your head up and tough it out!

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The Happiest Day Of My Life

By Michael T. Smith

It started innocently.

Many years ago I worked in an office with large windows facing a busy overpass. I was standing by one of those windows one day when a woman in a passing car looked up and made eye contact. Naturally, I waved.

A chuckle escaped my lips as she turned and tried to identify me. It was the beginning of a year of window antics. When things were slow, I would stand in the window and wave at the passengers who looked up. The strange looks made me laugh and stress was washed away.

Co-workers began to take an interest. They would stand from view, watch the reactions I received, and laugh along.

Late afternoon was the best time - rush hour traffic filled the overpass with cars and transit buses, and providing lots of waving material for the end-of-day routine. It didn't take long to attract a following - a group of commuters who passed the window every day and looked up at the strange waving man.

There was a man with a construction truck who would turn on his flashing-yellow light and return my wave, the carpool crowd, and the business lady with her children fresh from day care. But my favorite was the transit bus from the docks that passed my window at 4:40pm. It carried the same group every day, and they became by biggest fans.

After a while, waving became boring, so I devised ways to enhance my act. I made signs: "Hi," "Hello," "Be Happy!" and posted them in the window and waved. I stood on the window ledge in various poses, created hats from paper and file-folders, made faces, played peek-a-boo by bouncing up from below the window ledge, stuck out my tongue, tossed paper planes in the air, and once went into the walkway over the street and danced while co-workers pointed to let my fans know I was there.

Christmas approached, and job cuts were announced. Several co-workers would lose their jobs, and everyone was feeling low. Stress in the office reached a high. A miracle was needed to repair the damage caused by the announcements.

While working a night shift, a red lab jacket attracted my attention. I picked it up and turned it in my hands. In a back corner where packing material was kept, I used my imagination and cut thin, white sheets of cloth-like foam into strips and taped them around the cuffs and collar, down the front, and around the hem. A box of foam packing and strips of tape became Santa's beard and when taped to the hat, slipped over my head in one piece.

The next working day I hid from my co-workers, slipped into the costume, walked bravely to my desk, sat down, held my belly, and mocked Santa's chuckle, as they gathered around me laughing. It was the first time I had seen them smile in weeks. Later my supervisor walked through the door. He took three steps, looked up, saw me, paused, shook his head, turned and left.

I feared trouble. The phone on the desk rung a few moments later, "Mike, can you come to my office please?" I shuffled down the hall, the foam beard swishing across my chest with each step.

"Come in!" the muffled voice replied to my knock. I entered, and sat down. The foam on the beard creaked, and he looked away from me. A bead of sweat rolled down my forehead, the only sound was the hammering of my heart. "Mike..." This was all he managed before he lost his composure, leaned back in his chair, and bellowed with laughter. He held his stomach, and tears formed in his eyes, as I sat silent and confused. When he regained control he said, "Mike, thanks! With the job cuts it has been hard to enjoy the Christmas season. Thanks for the laugh, I needed it."

That evening, and every evening of the Christmas season, I stood proudly in the window and waved to my fans. The bus crowd waved wildly, and the little children smiled at the strange Santa. My heart was full of the season, and for a few minutes each day we could forget the loss of jobs.

I didn't know it then, but a bond was forming between my fans and me. It wasn't until the spring following the Santa act that I discovered how close we had become.
My wife and I were expecting our first child that spring, and I wanted the world to know. Less than a month before the birth I posted a sign in the window, "25 DAYS UNTIL B DAY." My fans passed and shrugged their shoulders. The next day the sign read, "24 DAYS UNTIL B DAY." Each day the number dropped, and the passing people grew more confused.

One day a sign appeared in the bus, "What is B DAY?" I just waved and smiled.

Ten days before the expected date the sign in the window read, "10 DAYS UNTIL BA-- DAY." Still the people wondered. The next day it read, "9 DAYS UNTIL BAB- DAY," then "8 DAYS UNTIL BABY DAY," and my fans finally knew what was happening.

By then, my following had grown to include twenty or thirty different buses and cars. Every night they watched to see if my wife had given birth. Excitement grew as the number decreased. My fans were disappointed when the count reached "zero" without an announcement. The next day the sign read, "BABY DAY 1 DAY LATE," and I pretended to pull out my hair.

Each day the number changed and the interest from passing cars grew. When my wife was fourteen days overdue she went into labor, and the next morning our daughter was born. I left the hospital at 5:30am, screamed my joy into the still morning air and drove home to sleep. I got up at noon, showered, bought cigars, and appeared at my window in time for my fans. My co-workers were ready with a banner posted in the window:

I wasn't alone that night. My co-workers joined me in celebration. We stood and waved our cigars in the air as every vehicle which passed acknowledged the birth of my daughter. Finally, the bus from the docks made its turn onto the overpass and began to climb the hill. When it drew close, I climbed onto the window ledge and clasped my hands over my head in a victory pose. The bus was directly in front of me when it stopped dead in heavy traffic, and every person on board stood with their hands in the air.

Emotion choked my breathing as I watched the display of celebration for my new daughter. Then it happened: a sign popped up. It filled the windows and stretched half the length of the bus, "CONGRATULATIONS!"

Tears formed in the corners of my eyes as the bus slowly resumed its journey. I stood in silence, as it pulled from view. More fans passed and tooted their horns or flashed their lights to display their happiness, but I hardly noticed them, as I pondered what had just happened.

My daughter had been born fourteen days late. Those people must have carried the sign, unrolled, on the bus for at least two weeks. Everyday they had unrolled it and then rolled it back up.

We all have a clown inside of us. We need to let it free and not be surprised at the magic it can create. For eight months I had made a fool of myself, and those people must have enjoyed the smiles I gave them, because on the happiest day of my life they had shown their appreciation.

It has been more than 18 years since that special time, but on my daughter's birthday I always remember the special gift they gave me

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She said WHAT?!

by Anonymous

I was working late one night in 2003, along with my best friend at work. Let's call her Best Work Friend, or BWF for short. BWF and I were both relatively new to the company, and we'd bonded quickly. I stopped by BWF's cubicle for a quick break around 6 p.m.

One of the head honchos (let's call her Head Honcho, or HH for short) in our department was leaving for the night. As she left her office, she came over to say good night to me and BWF. The three of us chatted for a bit. HH's husband knew a lot of filmmakers, so she often talked to us about movies, both mainstream and arthouse films. On this particular night, we asked HH for some movie recommendations for the weekend.

After HH gave us her recommendations, she then said, "Oh, and I also saw The Pianist, and so ... " HH had started looking for something in her purse as she said that, and she trailed off before she finished her thought.

Without skipping a beat, BWF looked up and said, "Oh, you saw the Penis Dildo?" There was no mistaking what BWF had said.

HH looked up with a horrified/aghast look on her face. I was frozen in disbelief. Before I could stop myself, I doubled over at the waist and laughed so hard that I couldn't even make any noise. I could NOT stop laughing. I heard HH say, "No, I said the Pianist," and I heard BWF say, "Ohh....." in a small voice. I felt bad, but I was still laughing throughout all of this.

After HH left, I asked an extremely mortified BWF why she had said what she said. BWF said, "Well, I don't know ... she sees all these artsy movies! I thought maybe Penis Dildo was one of those independent films!" It did make sense to me, but I still couldn't believe BWF had actually said that. Luckily, BWF didn't write me off as the worst friend ever for laughing at her in front of HH.

BWF and I are still good friends. To make it up to her, maybe I'll make a documentary one day about people's embarrassing moments at work, and I'll call it Penis Dildo.

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Foot in Mouth

by Anonymous

In the summer of 2002, I was a fresh-faced new associate at a big consulting firm. While most of my fellow recent college grads were still traipsing around Europe or having their last hurrah before entering the "real world," I was assigned to go on my first-ever business trip with my boss. We were to meet with a senior partner in the Minneapolis office (yes, I know, very glam!), who would go with us to pitch a proposal to a new client.

I was nervous and excited. I would finally get legitimate use out of my business cards (having my mom laminate one and display it proudly on her fridge didn't count as a legimate use in my book), and it would be my first time traveling in a suit. Here I was, jetting off on my high-flying career! Everything went well -- the senior partner in the Minneapolis office was a very nice woman, the client was easygoing, I didn't flub my lines, and we got the work. Yay, right?

After the big meeting, the senior partner drove me and my boss to the airport so we could catch our return flight. With work over for the day, the three of us chatted about our personal lives. The senior partner asked me what I had done the previous weekend. I told her that my friends and I had gone to a party at an apartment shared by two guys whom we'd known in college. The guys' apartment was impeccably clean and well-decorated. It looked like something out of a West Elm catalog, not the pigsty in which you'd expect two 22-year-old guys. I recounted how there were tea candles on the steps of the stairs, Asian-inspired floral arrangements, even placemats on the dining table.

"Wow," the senior partner marveled. "Can I have them come decorate my house?"

"Yeah," my boss chimed in. "It's not everyday you hear about two young guys having a beautiful apartment."

"I know!" I was giddy from my good performance at the meeting and about the fact that I was chatting casually with two senior people from work. To show how witty I was, I then added, "I'm going to bet those two guys bat for the other team, if you know what I mean!"

There was a bit of an awkward silence and then some laughter, but in my blissfully ignorant state, I didn't notice that anything was amiss.

After my boss and I had gone through security, she turned to me, and we had a conversation that made me turn red from head to toe.

"So, I know that when everyone starts talking casually, it's easy to feel like we're just among friends," she said. "Like in the car, just now."

Alarm bells were starting to go off in my head, but I couldn't figure out what had gone wrong in the car. "Did I say something wrong?" I asked.

My boss was such a nice woman. Clearly, the answer was YES!, but she said, "Well, no, but it's just good to be careful about what you say." Pause. "For example, when you said the thing about the two guys 'batting for the other team' ... well, what you don't know is that [Senior Partner's Name] recently got divorced because her husband suddenly told her that he's gay."

And that, folks, is how I learned not to make inappropriate comments in work settings!

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