The Perils of a Yuletide Office Romance

Part of Indie Ink's Writer's Challenge- Prompt "You don't choose love; love chooses you"

The trouble with having a secret is that every routine interaction that takes place in the course of a normal workday becomes a potential hazard. For the rest of society, these casual moments of carefree conversations add a degree of levity to an otherwise monotonous day; but for Thompson, these moments were a collection of stress filled seconds, as he wait to see if this was the moment that his charade of normalcy had come to an end.

A simple “Hey Thompson” heard in the break room caused panic to course through his body, as a quick scan of his co-workers face would try to detect any sign of knowing, any sign of judgment or any hint that blackmail was on the horizon. The secret had evolved into a carefully orchestrated 12-hour recital, established to ensure a satisfactory completion of all of Thompson’s assigned duties, maintaining his current level of autonomy in the workplace, so that he could maximize the amount of time that he could slip off to the spend object of his fantasies, the lovely Miss Cheri.

This type of emotionally driven behavior was out of character for Thompson, who had always had a reputation as a logical individual, with a strong work ethic and a respect for the governing rules of the community. He rationalized that this new found relationship with Cheri was the subconscious brain’s way of dealing with the work time stresses brought on by the Christmas season. Even though his feelings compounded each day, he assumed this affair would run its course and dissipate along with the layers of snow and ice outside.

And who knows, that plan might have worked, had it not been for a phone call early on Tuesday morning. The caller ID simply said “The office of C.C”. Thompson’s stomach filled with adrenaline fussed acid, as his first reaction was to not answer and let the let it go to voicemail. He instantly knew that something was wrong, since he wasn’t on the immediate radar of the Executive office. His orders and objectives were filtered down though a layers of middle management and being off the radar was one of his primary goals.

“Shit, shit, shit,” Thompson mumbled to himself, “He knows, he knows. Ok, think.” Pounding his closed fists into his forehead failed to produce any meaningful results, although by some stroke of luck, the phone did stop ringing. With a hint of shock, Thompson turned his attention to the phone and quickly wondered if he had somehow adverted a crisis—this question was quickly answered as the red message waiting light illuminated.

“Mr. Thompson, please report immediately to Chief Executive’s Office,” the voice on the message calmly stated.

“I’m dead, I’m dead,” Thompson recited as he began the short walk up to the main workshop. “How did I get myself into this mess?”

But Thompson knew exactly how this all began. He replayed the last few weeks’ events in his head like a movie on a continuous replay. He’d first seen Cheri while crossing the courtyard on a break. For Thompson, the moment their eyes met he felt an instant connection. He later discovered from his obsessive research that she was in the transportation trainee program and new to the area. Thompson soon spent every free moment peering out windows or walking through the yard with the hope of catching a glimpse of his new found soul mate.

As he climbed the final flight of steps, he settled on the moment when he knew everything began to spin out of control. It was one of those damn jewelry commercials he saw late one night, where the couple wakes up on Christmas morning together and expresses their love with a wonderful new diamond bracelet. Thompson knew their work schedule would prevent this from taking place, but he felt an overwhelming desire to show his true love the extent of his affection in some manner.

“You can go in,” the admin said as Thompson entered the waiting room, “He’s expecting you”.

Thompson sensed a smirk on the corner of her mouth as she said this. He tentatively tapped on the slightly ajar heavy oak door with his knuckles.

“Mr. Cringle, its Thompson.” He said as he stepped onto the plush red and white carpet.

“Have a seat son.” Santa said with a deep and caring tone of his baritone voice.

Thompson did as instructed, jumping up into the high-back velvet green chair. His eyes quickly scanned the room at all the personal mementos that the Big Man kept in his office. Around the room were 100’s of framed letters from grateful children thanking him for their various presents, pictures of Santa with former Presidents and various Heads of State, along with his numerous gold medals from his participation in the Summer Olympic Games.

“Do you know why I’ve called you here?” Santa asked with a don’t bullshit me demeanor.

“I’m guessing it has to do with Cheri” Thompson stated.

“Damn right it has to do with Cheri,” Santa interrupted, as he lit and took a long drag off the one-hitter pipe resting in the corner of his mouth. “Haven’t I been very clear about the policies regarding North Pole relationships?”

“Yes sir.” Thompson relied in a hushed tone.

“So where in the hell do you get off trying to play meet me under the mistletoe with a trainee?” Santa asked.

“Sir, I didn’t mean for this to happen. You don't choose love; love chooses you.” Thompson explained in a manner that he thought his boss would understand.

“LOVE CHOSES YOU?” Santa screamed. “You think the cosmos of love decided it was a good idea for one of my elves to fall in love with one of my god damn reindeer? You think the cosmos decided an interspecies union is just what we all needed for the New Year?”

“But sir, it’s a matter of the heart,” Thompson interjected.

“It better be just a matter of the heart, because I had to physically restrain my stable manager from dragging you from behind his sled this morning when he found one of his reindeer in lingerie.” Santa screamed as his face matched the color of his Carhartt work shirt.

“It was just a gift,” Thompson stammered, “The relationship has never been consummated”.

“Consummated! Son, if I ever hear you are within 200 yards of one of my reindeer, I’m selling your ass to those tree dwelling, assembly line cookie making, mother fucking elves! You got that lover boy?” Santa asked.

Thompson just nodded his head as he tried to stop the tears from sliding down his cheeks.

“Now get your hormone riddled ass back to your desk and channel that energy into making those Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Baby Dolls. We’ve got orders to fill, a schedule to meet and little girls to make happy.” Santa demanded.

Thompson quickly scrambled off the chair and made a quick exit towards the door.

“And one more thing,” Santa reminded “Have a Merry Christmas”.

This week’s IndieInk Challenge came from Lisa, who gave me this prompt: You choose love; Love Chooses you. I challenged Kurt with the prompt "You use the same wrapping paper for your bosses gift and a "Naughty" gift for your mate. As your boss is about to open the gift, you're not sure that you didn't mix up the packages.


The Waning Sun

Part of Indie Ink's Writer's Challenge

You can do it-- just a few more feet. Just a few more feet over a distant tree line, the sun will melt into a sky of orange, and this day will be complete. Just a few more feet and MY day can begin.

The waning of the sun signals my retreat from society ushered in with the nocturnal ritual of “shutting it down”. My unspoken obligation to participate as a contributing member of society is complete. The rules, etiquette, and norms agreed to by the collective can now be replaced by the wishes of the limited. For these few hours, the wishes and wants of the individual can be explored and exploited without the disruptive requests of the outside multitudes. Inside the darkness exists an opportunity for autonomy.

The waning of the sun is a time for sharing. 10-12 hours of frenzied energy can be distilled into a few prominent points worthy of the attention of another. This sacred sharing of little lessons collected via the successes or failures of the day light hours, so that the journey doesn’t have to be made in isolation.

The waning of the sun provides a slice of consistency from home, as I step off this airplane and prepare to make my temporary home in whatever city I find myself today.

The waning of the sun signals the official transition point in the day from the US to the MINE. Slowly the shackles of work are powered down and the lists of household responsibilities are crossed off. The balance of a day is then focused on a form of self-southing, supplied inside a world provided by Mr. Woody Allen.

The waning of the sun signals a finish line of the day. The aspirations formulated with the rising of the sun are now either reflected on as accomplishments as a result of our focus or failures from our distractions. However the list is chronicled, the only remaining objective is to once again see the morning light and try it again…….


This week’s IndieInk Challenge came from Liz Culver, who gave me this prompt: The Waning Sun. I challenged Kelly Garriott Waite with the prompt "There better be a good reason for a half eaten cupcake, an orange sock and a torn paper with A37-2 to be in my car's glovebox



Submission for IndieInk's weekly writers challenge.

“There’s no way in hell!” Aimee said emphatically.

“You’re my sister; it’s your moral obligation to say yes.” Lucy answered.

“The only obligation that qualifies me for 3:30 AM participation involves a scenario where you are trapped in the trunk of a car after you’ve been abducted.” Aimee said.

“What if I was arrested and sitting in jail?” Lucy questioned.

“That one could wait until at least 7 AM.” Aimee replied.

“You would make me sit in a cold and dirty cinder block cell for three and a half hours, for the sake of an uninterrupted night of sleep?” Lucy pressed.

“Lucy, it’s not the 1920’s and the county no longer fashions jail cells out of cinder blocks.” Aimee reasoned.
“Secondly, letting you sit for a little while you consider you’ve done will build character and I don’t want to deprive you of this time of self-reflection at the expense of my final REM cycle. On the bright side, I would have one of those Pumpkin Lattes waiting for you in the car for the ride home.”

“What if I promise to wait until at least 7 AM for any future bail posting needs and you agree to go with me tomorrow morning?” Lucy negotiated.

“No.” Aimee replied.

“Come on, where is your sense of adventure?” Lucy said.

“My adventure has been suppressed by the cold and wet forecast. Why can’t you just shop online like normal well-adjusted employed members of society?” Aimee questioned.

“Because I’ve thought of the perfect gift for Jimmy, but I can’t really afford it without the 30% door buster gift cards they are handing out.” Lucy said.

“For Jimmy?” Aimee asked in a confused tone. “You’re dragging me into the belly of retail hell for a guy that you are planning to break up with after New Year’s Eve?” 

“I said I might break up with him after New Year’s,” Lucy reminded “and this gift is so perfect for him.”

“I’m sure he already has the Call of Duty voice activated wireless headset.” She said.

“He does, but this is much better. I found a Malachite and Amber medallion made out of Mother of Pearl in the shape of a Star.” She said.

“What is the poster boy for arrested development going to do with that?” Aimee wondered aloud.

“He told me all about the minerals healing powers.” Lucy explained.

“You’re fucking with me! What healing powers could a piece of mass produced Malachite provide? Are you seriously taking New Age healing advice from a guy with Justice League bed sheets?” Aimee said.

“Aimee, you’re not being fair and they weren’t Justice League bed sheets. You are thinking of his pair of red and blue house shoes with the Superman “S” on them.” Lucy reminded, as she tried to highlight the distinction.

“Yet, you still decided go on sleeping with him.” Aimee relied with a chuckle.

“They were kind of cute.” Lucy confessed.

“Cute in a freshman year crush kind of way or cute in a fixer up-I see potential kind of way?” Aimee asked.

“Even if this magical power stuff is bull shit, what can it hurt?” Lucy said in an effort to refocus the conversation. “Chalk it up to another talisman in the long line of self-healing items sold every day by everyone from the shady magnet bracelet guys at mall kiosks to the officially blessed gift shop items located at the Vatican.”

“However, in each of those cases, I don’t have to wake up early on my day off to act as an accessory in the continuation of their brand of psychosis. I prefer endorse bat shit crazy causes that operate during more civilized hours.” Aimee said.

“Enough fighting, you’re going.” Lucy declared.

“Sorry sis, it’s not going to happen.” Aimee replied in a tone to match her unwavering stance.

“Either I’m picking you up at 3:15 for a pre-dawn morning bonding adventure,” Lucy explained, “or I’m registering you as a Chapter Founder and member of The Guilty Remnant—along with a special request for a personal home visit to receive personalized guidance.”

“Oh…you suck!” Aimee responded with a hint of pride in her sister’s resourcefulness.

“See in you in a little bit, Sunshine. I’ll bring the latt├ęs.” Lucy said.

“Bet your ass you will.” Aimee muttered as she hung up the phone with a grin.

This week’s IndieInk Challenge came from Grace O'Malley, who gave me this prompt: Malachite and amber, mother of pearl and stars. I challenged Lisa with the prompt Oh Shit…this is going to hurt.


A little something new for everyone

This is a GUS original and the first attempt at movies.

A little movie for your enjoyment. Makes me laugh.


2010 Winter Olympics Hand Guide

Smothered! I’m being smothered by the Winter Olympics. I don't need to be caught in an actual avalanche of cascading snow, instead I've been overwhelmed with imagery. The marketing saturation is complete.

Mission accomplished Madison Avenue. You've successfully followed the roadmap of the Tootsie Roll campaign and everywhere I look I see five intertwined rings and hear that “waiting room to hell” music provided by John Tesh.

I tried to resist these external forces and my intentions are always to stay out of it, but it’s just not possible. My house is infected with Olympic fever and I worry it could eat away at me like the locust do our trees on their scheduled path of destruction.

Unfortunately, I do have respect for what these athletes put into their preparation and the danger that many of the events hold. Unlike the Miss America pageant, I don’t feel comfortable wishing for someone to fall off the stage or trip on their evening gown for my personal amusement. People could die while propelling themselves down the face of a mountain, I get that.

Since I’m not an Olympic purest, I’m basically watching with a rooting interest in my home country. In the past I’ve tried to become better informed and learn something about the teams that might be interesting (Lithuania in 1994) to cheer for or taken a genealogical approach and cheer for the country of my ancestors. No matter the choice, both left me longing for the end of the games and normalcy to resume.

I’m too young to remember the true country rivalries between Germany and the World in the 40s or the US vs. USSR in the 80s. These were times where the Olympics were more than a game, but a commentary on the fundamental believes of a society.

In the absence of a true rivalry, I’m creating a cheat sheet for everyone who wants a little help when watching non-US games. My approach is borrowed from the uninformed March Madness Tournament pool participant that watches zero college games but thinks they can beat the system. My selection is based solely on ascetic profiling of their country’s flag and translating that idea onto their country as a whole.

Flags that Suck = Counties that Suck:

Japan—A country with a rich history of Samurai Warriors should have something more menacing than a flag that looks like a gunshot exit wound. Shame on you and your ancestors.

Libya- Come on Libya, this flag says “We're not really trying.” You put in the minimum effort. Since white is the flag of surrender, you pick green? Your lack of originality shows a lack of commitment, only to be displayed on the filed of play.

Palua- Your flag looks incomplete, like you were going for a nice sunshine against a clear blue sky or possible a happy face? This effort shows a lack of planning and focus. No gold medals for you, just sad faces.

St. Peirre and Miquelon- When your country has a name as pretentious as St. Peirre and Miquelon you don’t need to over do you flag with a picture of your boat, family crests and royal lineage. Come on StP & M, your better than that—less is more.  Even OchoCinco thinks this is a little over the top and you don't want to know what John Mayer said about you. Let your results speak for themselves.

Flags the Style = Countries with Style: 

Norfolk Island- I like the Norfolk flag. These people know who they are and are proud of their surroundings. The didn’t go with crazy color combinations, but stuck to their theme. Focus like this will be rewarded with a bronze medal.

Nepal – Here is a country that that represented their rocky landscape with an appropriate geometric shape, while also symbolizing their transition into a new day from the overbearing pricks known as the Chinese. I predict a silver in some kind of snow boarding event.

Guam- Guam has the greatest all around flag of all time. It’s clear, without being overstated “We’ve got paradise everyday of the year”. The medal count isn’t important, they are going home to the beach.

Isle of Man- This is the greatest Olympic flag I’ve ever seen and I am 100% behind the Isle of Man winning every freaking gold medal. To design and approve a national flags that’s motto could be “Busier than a three legged man in an ass whipping contest” shows really balls. Big national balls, the kind that must sound like cannons exploding when they walk (metaphorically of course…as if an actual collection of citizens or a geographic location could move). This flag’s so high on the style meter that it supersedes the annoying fact that the country sounds like a all male review in Vegas and could be interpreted as a dance troop.

Today I can say with pride—I AM A MEMBER OF THE ISLE of MAN

**You too can play the home game of Your Flag and Your Country Suck. Just visit Cia.gov (who provided these flags) and pick your own set of global losers. 



Like many old relics that gradually migrate to some seldom used corner of a room and begin to collect dust after their careers have expired, my alarm clock’s time has passed. Without an examination of necessity or a conscious upgrade to an alternative solution, its service was unceremoniously displaced by the slap-slap-slap of little feet smacking against hardwood floors.

My days steadily transitioned from extended stretches of time casually flowing from one activity to another, to a controlled timeline that rewards precision and structure. It’s ironic that a life so heavily dependent on exactness no longer requires the trusted instrument of time that served for so many years as a daily starting pistol.

As my memory reached back into a time of casual weekend mornings, I tried to regain a portion of my yesterdays by introducing the snooze button concept to my new alarm clock.

Very early one morning I heard a soft voice, “Daddy, Daddy, I’m awake” from approximately 2.5 inches in front of my nose.

I responded with a mostly audible, “Son, it’s still the middle of the night” trying to convey enough legitimacy that the statement could be plausible. To a 2 year old, dark equates to the middle of the night and without his ability to read a clock, I felt that my explanation was believable.

“But I need you” whimpered my little friend with enough truth that I was compelled to investigate the degree of “need” and fulfill my paternal duty.

I seem to recall my relationship with the snooze button being much less complicated.

The shift from automated to personalized wake up has provided a welcome side effect that even my Soothing Sounds of Zen alarm failed to do for my morning disposition. My new 41 inch alarm clock does more than shove me from one state of consciousness to another; instead ushering in the pace for my awaking.

My morning schedule now includes a daily appointment for Boy’s Club- a quiet time comprised of silent bonding on a comfortable couch or chair, while we enjoy a beverage and watch the sunrise over the distant tree line. The rules of Boy’s Club are simple and sacred: Keep the light, the distractions and the fussing to a minimum (a rule applicable to all members). This session lasts until all internal systems have a chance to activate and we are prepared to introduce additional stimulus into our day.

I’ve come to appreciate and look forward to the personal nature of this morning ritual. I just wish there was a setting on my new alarm clock prohibiting any notification before 5:30 am.


Scenes from a Kitchen

ID: I was thinking of submitting it in that writing contest.
EGO: You should, it’s good.

ID: I’m not sure they’ll get it.
EGO: They will... its fine.

ID: Is it fine or is it good? You said it was good.
EGO: It’s both, it’s very clean.

ID: Clean? Because I didn’t include elevator based humping jokes?
EGO: Precisely!

ID: They say that I have to submit it under humor or human interest.
EGO: What’s the difference?

ID: Humor brings out the HA-HA. Human Emotion evokes an emotional response.
EGO: Well, what do you think?

ID: I think it contains an ideal balance of philosophical funny.
EGO: I wouldn’t do humor.

ID: You don’t think it’s funny do you?
EGO: I think it’s clever.

ID: Well did it evoke a deep emotion reaction.
EGO: In what way?

ID: Did it make you question your own existence or role in the universe?
EGO: I thought it was very clever.

ID: This would be a lot easier if they had a category for wise ass.


Oh, good morning Mr. Tyler……

I am equal parts captivated and confused by the thought process of other people. It’s the week to week real life interactions that make me question “What the fuck are these people thinking”. At a recent conference, I encounter another example of dubious social norms that further confirmed reality is better than fiction.

Late one evening I joined an unfamiliar group of conference attendees at the 2nd floor elevator bay, each of us awaiting our final carriage of the evening. Maybe it was the long day of back to back industry sessions, marginal food served in rows of chaffing dishes or too many draft beers at the mixer that made the wait seem extensive. As the small UP arrow activated and sounded a small audible “ding” the doors opened to reveal an half dressed couple who had found a way to send a bland day out with a bang. This was a first for me. Since there isn’t an iPhone app that provides the proper social response when you encounter a middle aged woman giving head in an elevator, so I had to play this by instinct.

As the breath was sucked out of the group, some turned away as the rest of us tried to process what was transpiring. As the couple glanced back at us with a mixture annoyance and impatience, an invisible 10 second clock started the count down for these doors to be closed. My mind started to race through the options available with the current situation and my desire to make it to the 14th floor.

-          Does this couple have some expectation to privacy that trumps our need for publicly available transportation?
-          Is there some kind of man code that takes precedence in these situations?
-          Who, if anyone, bares the burden of embarrassment in this situation?
-          Who should try to make the other party feel at ease?
-          Was it overwhelming passion that dictated this current location or was this space selected because they are ok with public blow jobs? There seems to be room on the other side.
-          Do you think she would reconsider this hook up with the knowledge that he’s wearing knee high socks, now plainly visible with his pants around his ankles?

As the questions and seconds ticked through my head and without additional debate, my desire to make it to my room propelled me into the other side of the elevator. As I turned around to face the front of the elevator, per social dictum, I saw the shocked look on the 5 faces staring at me. It’s not as if I dropped my pants and got in line to be serviced next or smacked the guy on the ass with a kink to say “Nice work partner”.  I want to go to my room. I patiently waited for the elevator that these two chose for foreplay, so let’s all continue with our evenings.  

The ride up 12 floors was nothing to write to Penthouse Forum about. I tried to keep my eyes on the ascending numbers and no small talk took place. I did sense a degree of tension in the elevator, but isn’t there always a little awkwardness when 66% or a group have exposed genitals?  I’m not sure what the right thing to say would be and honestly my mind went blank as my inner wise-ass just soaked up the moment. As I made it back to my room and started to brush my teeth I kicked myself for not delivering a comment like “$10 for whoever gets off first”.

Who says passion in America is dead?


New Years Resolution

More like a delayed reaction resolution. Technically I guess it would be classified as a semi-resolved, loosely held objective, only to be accomplished with divine intervention or extended trips to remote places in Georgia.

What is it-- WRITE IN 2010.

If anyone was around for the 2008 Resolution I decided to slim down my areas of focus. Well last year, reading and investing were turned up and writing went to the wayside. This year, I’m going to lessen the investing (gambling driven) focus and try to find a creative center. As a side note, I did dump 99% of the talk radio and went to NPR or books on tape. I will say that was a positive turn in my psyche. 

Anyone want to take the over/under on April 1st? I’ve giving 3:2 odds.


Die You Little Bastards

One of my friends has cancer. I’m sure there is never a good time to get this news, but being young and having small children seems like the shittiest possible time to take this kind of challenge head on.

Anyways, I made the mistake of reading their update before I attempted to go to bed for the night, but only accomplished a mixture of cursing my pillow and making lists in my head.

The thing about a new disease is that sports metaphors surface as an analogy for the treatment. These metaphors might be needed to help us wrap our minds around an invisible “them” that only surfaces in test results or reports.

Since I have no medical knowledge and limited magical ability (none of which is applicable in this situation), I do have a suggestion that make the Man vs. Cancer easier to conceptualize….The Cancer needs a characterization. In sports, there is always a THEM.

In this case, since my friend is an OSU fan, I suggest that we call this cancer MICHIGAN. (I would call my cancer "Phil Collins" and I bet his wife would call her cancer "driving the speed limit")

Let the doctors use their fancy medical terms, we can show our support by saying:

“Hope you kick Michigan’s ass this week”

“Remember, only John Cooper let’s Michigan get him down”

“Yeah, Michigan does suck”

Again, I got nothing here of tangible value, just suggestions to kick around while your sitting in the hospital going through treatment. If there is any good news, this is not a great time for the state of Michigan or their famed football program. I guess if you have to fight Michigan, this is the time to do it. There is something to be said for good timing.

Since this is the extent of my contributions, I will just say “Good luck against Michigan this week!!!!”