Tag Archives: office

My Chipmunk Saga

This is a true story. My office is in the basement of a converted house and it is surrounded by death traps. To be fair, they’re called window wells and nothing has actually died in them, that I know of, but it’s been close. Baby animals especially fall in there and can’t get out.

This afternoon, one of my coworkers came into my office and said there was a small chipmunk in the window well. We both work in the basement so it’s easy to see into the window wells. I never look into them, however, although she does. “It’s alive but it’s not moving much and it’s covered with flies.” Uh oh, that didn’t sound good. She thought it was a baby one. I went over and looked. It looked small, but all chipmunks are small, so I couldn’t tell if it was a baby or not. It looked dead to me and had flies on it, but she said she’d seen it moving. We figured it could have been down there for days without food or water.

picture-of-a-baby-chipmunk

I didn’t think it had much of a chance but I didn’t want a dead chipmunk in our window well and I wanted to at least try to save it. I went outside and climbed down into the window well, while she watched from inside. The little guy was definitely alive but barely. I scooped him up with a piece of bark and put him on the grass outside. He moved feebly, but couldn’t stand up. I went and got a paper plate with some water on it, although I thought he looked too weak to drink it.

So I left, not expecting him to survive, but not knowing what else to do. A little while later, my coworker came back and said, “He fell in again.”

chipmunk

Grumbling about suicidal chipmunks, I went back and looked out the window. There was a chipmunk in there but definitely not the same one. This one had lots of energy and was trying to jump up the molded ladder to get out, but he couldn’t quite make it.

The day was shaping up to be a reverse episode of Chip and Dale, Rescue Rangers, where I was the one rescuing the chipmunks. I went out and found that it had started to rain. The first chipmunk (let’s call him Chip) had crawled about three feet and was still lying on the grass, trembling and getting soaked by the rain. I picked him up with the paper plate and put him under some bushes to stay dry. Then I got a mop and angled it down into the window well so the other chipmunk (Dale) could climb up.

Now that it was raining, Chip probably had enough water, but needed food. “If only we had some nuts,” my coworker said. “I have some,” I said. I have a container of trail mix in my office to stave off mid-afternoon munchies, so I picked out some peanuts and raisins and carried them out and put them next to Chip. He got up immediately and tried to eat but his legs were shaking so hard he could barely stand. I looked down and saw that Dale was gone, so I assumed he had climbed up and brought the mop back inside.

I was just about to go home when my coworker mentioned that there was a chipmunk in the window well, yet again. I was tempted to let stupid chipmunks lie, but I went outside and looked in. Again, I couldn’t see anything. Then, as I climbed in to get a better look, I noticed that a section of siding was trembling. I lifted it up and there was Dale, hiding underneath it. Apparently, he had never climbed out, just hidden. I had a plastic garbage can and so for the next few minutes, I terrified the little guy by chasing him around the window well, trying to get him into the garbage can. I felt like a nurse running after a fleeing patient with needle, shouting, “It’s for your own good!”

Finally, Dale made a mistake and fell into the garbage can. Before he could jump out, I lifted it out of the window well and laid it on his side. A second later, he dashed out and was off to safety. He’s probably still telling his chipmunk buddies about how he evaded death at my hands.

Chip was gone, which I took for a good sign. About half the nuts and raisins were left and at first I felt this was bad, until I realized that, considering that a single peanut would make a good meal for a chipmunk, he had probably stuffed himself. So, hopefully he is off in some hole now, recuperating.

We really need to cover those window wells with nets or something.

chipmunk 2

I just want the best for you, Chip.


The Office Zebra

I love my job a lot, but it has been a hard last couple of weeks there. I never write about my job. Not directly, at least.

zebra stapler.gif

[*]

The Office ZebraTM

I sat next to the smoking wreckage of my cubicle and took a sip of coffee. No one blamed me for what happened; I knew that. I did have a lot of work on my hands; everyone knew that.

Looking back, there was no real way to avoid it, but I still had that faint feeling like I should have known.

Clearly I should have gone into studying tardigrades. At least they were tiny and nearly indestructible. But no, I had to study zebras. Zebras were definitely not tiny and, looking around at the assortment of black and white striped flesh that was strewn liberally around the remains of my cubicle, I could say with some certainty that they were not indestructible.

The reason I studied zebras was that our former CEO had been crazy about zebras, and so all the researchers went whole hog into zebras. Unfortunately, it turned out that the CEO had been literally crazy about zebras, a fact we all discovered when they hauled him off, raving about how the next president was going to be a zebra and he knew because he’d already voted for it. Suddenly, there were a lot of us with advanced degrees in zebras (including the highly dubious PhZ) looking sheepishly around, wondering how to make ourselves profitable.

“I’ve got a great idea,” my co-worker Adrian said.

“What?” I asked.

“Promise you won’t steal it.”

“I promise.”

“Zebra flight attendants,” he said proudly, like a 3-year-old showing off his indecipherable finger paint smears.

“That is literally the worst idea I have ever heard,” I said. He ran off crying.

I didn’t tell him my idea, because it was actually good. My grand idea was to make a zebra that would work in an office setting. Your average zebra has no business being anywhere near an office, so clearly this was going to involve genetic engineering and maybe something more.

One night a bottle of vodka and I laid out my plan. The Office ZebraTM was going to have a stapler for a mouth, the ability to recycle paper by eating it, and maybe a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot in its back. Honestly, I quickly ran out of ideas for what a zebra could actually do in an office. Luckily the vodka had some ideas. About halfway through the bottle, the pencil drawn diagram of the Office ZebraTM had really come to life. It had a different stamp on each of its hooves, you could pull on its tail to dispense hot coffee, and its eyes shot lasers, for some reason. The next morning, when the vodka could no longer give suggestions, I got rid of the coffee dispenser and laser eyes.

The lab started work right away. After a few focus group meetings, they decided to give the zebra a larynx and the instinctual ability to say “Good job!” at random times. It also pulled a small cart with snacks and coffee (no unfortunately placed dispenser, luckily).

“What are you working on?” Adrian asked one day.

“I’ve got something in the works,” I said coolly.

“Me too,” he said, smugly. “It’s going to blow your socks off.” He strode off, still looking back smugly at me and promptly walked into a door.

The lab really came through, I must say. Six months later, I went down there to find a zebra that not only stapled my papers and brought me snacks and coffee, but also stamped my parking ticket and brayed a rather indistinct “Good job!” at me. It was not its fault that it said it just as I was coming out of the bathroom.

The next step was that step which every R&D person dreads; field testing, or in my case, office testing. I decided to bring it to my cubicle and see how it fared. It arrived the next day and I led it proudly it through the halls as my co-workers all gaped. Adrian was nowhere to be seen, unfortunately.

I started with the stapler. I fed paper into its mouth but it just ignored it or bit the paper in half. I tried the stamps on its hooves, but they didn’t seem to work. Even the Wi-Fi wasn’t on. I went to copy room to get some scrap paper to feed it when I ran into Adrian in the hall.

“Hey, have you seen my KamikazebraTM?” he asked.

“What?”

“My KamikazebraTM. Hey, why are your eyes widening in dawning horror?” It was about then that a distant boom from the direction of my cubicle answered his question.

All zebra projects were quickly cancelled. Apparently, when no one can tell a stapler from a bomb, it’s a bad thing. Adrian got in trouble for bringing his KamikazebraTM to the office. I didn’t get in trouble, they just made me clean up what was left of my cubicle.

I wasn’t in any hurry. I took another sip of coffee, appreciating the thin silver linings. I didn’t have to check my email today. The air smelled vaguely of barbecue. Adrian had gotten in trouble.

Things would work out somehow. They always did.


Good Times at the Water Cooler – Friday Fictioneers

copyright Madison Woods

copyright Madison Woods

Our company was crashing hard when the head of my department rage-quit, switching our water cooler with a beer keg before he left.

HR found out . . . and started stopping by for a 10am pick-me-up. The company grapevines lit up and soon we were like the popular frat house of the company. I started answering morning emails to the hammering thud of techno music blaring over the cubicles. On Friday I had to step over the passed out CFO on the way to the bathroom.

Productivity plummeted.

That quarter, our profits skyrocketed. Turns out, productivity had been our problem all along.

 


Endy and the Office

Endy was a baby enderman. In that way, he was an enderboy, if such a thing existed. Endy didn’t know; he couldn’t even remember his parents, except that they were tall, shimmery, and had purple eyes. Just like him, minus the tall part. But Endy had teleported away from them one night and couldn’t find his way back. By morning, he had sought refuge in an office building and had gotten stuck in an office.

All Endermen can teleport, but for some reason Endy couldn’t teleport through things. He didn’t know if it was because he was young or if there was something wrong with him. This particular office had had the door open but usually it was shut and Endy was trapped. When the professor who worked there was in, the door was always shut and Endy did not dare move while it was open, in case he was spotted.

When he was alone, though, he could do what he wanted. He quickly made friends with the computer mouse.

Endy and the Office

“Let’s go for a ride!” Endy said. He teleported to Mouse’s back

“Okay, here we go!” Mouse said and reared up like a horse and slid over the mouse pad as far as its cord would allow.

“Go further! More! More!” Endy had said the first time. Mouse stopped and his scroll wheel blushed deep red.

“I can’t,” he said. “I’m not wireless. If I were, I could anywhere, but I’m stuck here. My dream is to leave and scroll across the world, double-clicking on everything I see.” Mouse was a little weird, but he was a good friend.

Endy tried to make friends with the keyboard too, but that was harder. The keyboard could not talk like Mouse but it could push its keys down and spell things out. Endy couldn’t spell well, but with the help of an elderly electronic dictionary that lived in the top drawer, he soon learned all the keys.

“Hey, this one says End!” he exclaimed. “That’s almost like my name.”

“What does the one above it say?” the dictionary asked.

“It says Home,” Endy said. “Does it work? When I push it, can I go home?”

“Only if you live at the beginning of a line,” the dictionary said, which did not make any sense to Endy.

Endy and the Office

The keyboard was a little gruff and would sometimes put down its Shift key and burst out with a series of *%$#@ expletives if Endy got too rowdy, but it was usually protective. Endy would play around the keys, especially near the End and Home keys, which he liked the best.

At night, Endy slept on top of one of the speakers. It played soft music for him to fall asleep or occasionally, if Endy was feeling homesick, parody songs about his people that it found on Youtube.

Endy and the Office

One day, the professor got up to go to class. He was late and in a hurry. Endy looked up and saw that the door was still partially open.

“The door’s open,” Endy told Mouse. “What should we do?”

There was a furious clacking from the keyboard. It was repeating pushing down it’s uppermost left key.

“What’s it saying?” Mouse asked.

“It’s saying ‘Escape,’” Endy said.

“Go on,” Mouse said. “You deserve it. Go find your family.”

“No, we’ll do it together,” Endy said. He jumped on Mouse’s back. “Come on, try! Try to break free.” Mouse strained and pulled and then there was a pop and his cord popped out the USB slot. They were free.

“Good bye, Keyboard! Good bye, Speakers,” Endy said. “If I can, I’ll come back and say hello again. Good luck.”

Ctrl-C, the keyboard typed. With that, Endy and Mouse rode out the door.


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