Noodles

It was a day for noodles, so Veta embraced it.

She spent the morning cooking twelve packs of pasta, in various forms. Fusilli, spaghetti, linguini, lasagna, shells, penne…whatever she could find in the store. She mixed in a bit of oil to keep the individual noodles from sticking together.

Then, as was befitting, she loaded it all into a backpack and hit the road.

Veta had no altruistic intentions with her oodles of noodles. Instead she drove slowly, grabbing a handful at a time and tossing it at houses, landmarks, and a few people she didn’t like. No one was quick enough to video her; she would drive off in a hurry.

As the day neared its end, Veta still had a full bag of lasagna left. She stopped at a parking lot, got out, and slapped a noodle on every car she could. She left, just as people started to find her gifts.

Noodle Day was a success, once again.

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Interview Skills

Darren sat across from the committee. The space between his chair and the table was vast, a chasm that weighed on Darren’s mind. He didn’t like it, but couldn’t say anything.

“And why do you want to work here, Mr. Richardson?”

“Well, I like the business, it really suits my background, but seems to, um, offer opportunities for creativity and innovative pursuits.” He was struggling, he knew, but what can you do?

As the committee scribbled on their paper, a head poked out from under the table. Nose to the floor, the dog made its way over to Darren, taking a zig-zagging route. Darren watched the dog come toward him while the committee wrote.

When it reached him, Darren checked to make sure they were still writing, then bent over. He offered a hand to the dog, who smelled him. Approving, the dog offered its back for scratches.

Darren checked again, and noticed one of the members was watching him. He smiled as he stroked the dog’s back.

“Are you a dog person, Mr. Richardson?”

“I am. I had one growing up. I’m looking forward to adopting one, when I have the resources.”

Everyone was scribbling again, while Darren kept petting.

Finally, he heard someone say, “I think that’s everything. You’re our last interview, and the only one to show such initiative. You’ll receive your employment contract in a few days.”

Darren raised his eyebrows in surprise: one question and he got it. He looked at the dog, whose tail wagged. He smiled. The dog seemed to smile back.

“Thank you,” Darren said, rising. He said goodbye, both to the committee and the dog, then left, humming to himself.

Taco Day

Dear Mr. Waltrip,

Given the recent kerfuffle over Taco Day, I feel I must add my voice to the conversation.

While I have no qualms with Taco Days per say, I feel I must protest the use of Friday for such an event. Certainly, there’s the draw of the coming weekend, but to choose a day whose first letter is as far from “T” as possible is simply poorly considered. Taco Monday is strange, Taco Wednesday a bit better. Taco Tuesday, of course, is the ideal, but a Taco Thursday would also be acceptable, at least for visual aesthetic.

Taco Friday, however, makes little to no sense. Nobody wants Tacos on Friday. They want to go home. They want to rest. Maybe you’re trying to keep everyone around the office longer on Friday – evidenced by your holding Taco Time (see how well it works?) at 4:45. What sneaky nonsense. I can’t believe my own manager would stoop so low.

And not only that, you didn’t even get proper tacos. Fake meat? Shredded carrot? No cheese, no salsa, no sour cream? What are these “healthy” tacos supposed to be for? We only received two tacos each, and they’re bland, flavourless things? What tripe.

In conclusion, Mr. Waltrip, you have taken a beloved event – Taco Tuesday – and turned it into a sick bastardization. You should be ashamed.

Sincerely,

Your employees

Tech Gear

Bernadine watched as the musicians took the stage. They plugged in to the available jacks, and Bernadine released the mute button. She adjusted a few knobs, then gave the thumbs up. Then it happened.

The lead singer grabbed the microphone, just a little too tall for him, and pulled. Bernadine’s eyes widened. The microphone stand was pulled down. She could feel the grinding from here, as the stand was stripped a little. Became a little looser, more likely to fall.

“Fuck,” Bernadine muttered.

Hitting mute on everything, Bernadine came out from behind her sound board, walked up to the stage and said, “Hey. Don’t do that. Ever. Again.”

“Hey man, we’re the band, we do what we like.”

“No. No you don’t. Check the contract. I deal with this shit all the time. You don’t pull. You release, move, re-tighten. You pull that again, your pay is deducted the cost of a new mic stand. That goes for each of you. Learn gear etiquette. You drop the mic, you pay for a new mic. You do three shitty things, and your gig is cancelled, you don’t get paid, and you don’t come back. Clear?”

“You can’t do that, man.”

“I’m a woman, and I can. Read your damn contracts.”

“Fine, maybe we’ll just walk away, bitch!” he shouted from the stage. Bernadine shrugged, didn’t turn around. She returned to the sound board, let them flail about for a minute, then unmuted them. She waved for them to go ahead, if they wanted.

The band played that night. They were very careful with the gear.

A Car Named Darryl

“I’ve decided to name him Darryl,” Travis said.

“Darryl? Why Darryl?” Darryl asked. “That’s my name.”

“I know it is. But you’re a good guy, and it’s a good name, so I’ll call my car Darryl. He’ll never let me down.”

“Thanks buddy. But aren’t we supposed to name them with women’s names? Some kind of subtle, like, sexual thing or something? Patriarchy and all that?”

“Naw. I mean, you can. But not for me. I’m going with Darryl.”

“Okay. Sure, yeah, that makes sense I guess. But, I mean, you never expressed those kind of feelings for me or anything. We’re both married.”

“Yeah. I know.”

“Okay then.”

“Yup. Want a ride?”

“Uh, sure, yeah.”

Vegetarians

Vegetarians. The bane of Tyrone’s existence.

There was nothing particularly threatening about vegetarians that made Tyrone’s life difficult. As a beet farmer, he even depended on them.

But still, they haunted him. Wrestled with him in his dreams. Screamed at him. Dumped paint on his polyester jackets.

Tyrone would awaken from these dreams with a start, horror settling over him. Eventually the horror would pass, but still, he would shake for hours.

And so Tyrone ate meat, and only meat. It wasn’t terribly healthy. But one must do what they must.

Garth’s Gum

Garth’s gum never ran out of flavour.

Thanks to a mix of special chemicals, Garth’s gum could last and last, all day, all night. People made jokes about it, usually referencing someone else’s mother. They weren’t good jokes, but most jokes aren’t, so they fit.

It was, then, a sad day when someone came to Garth’s store, laid down a wad, and said, “My gum has run out.”

Garth looked at the man like he was crazy, then grabbed the cold, sticky wad on the counter, popped it into his mouth, and started chewing.

“I’ll be damned,” Garth muttered.

Spitting the wad of gum out, Garth apologized, and handed the man a new packet, free of charge. He then took the old wad back to the laboratory to figure out what had gone wrong.

When the man returned the next day, Garth knew something was up. Thus began the Quest To Find Out What Was Going On With Garth’s Gum, the longest, and most inconveniently-named project Garth had yet undertaken.

Adding Lessons

“What is it Jack?” the teacher asked, exasperation in her voice.

“If I have two apples and two oranges, why am I adding them together?” Jack asked.

“Because you need to.”

“But they’re two different things.”

“Maybe, but you need to know how many items you have in your box now.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know Jack, it’s not important.”

“It is to me,” he said, grinning mischievously.

The teacher sighed. “Okay. You need to know how many miscellaneous fruit are you in your package, because you’re sending it to a friend in England and the post office needs you to fill out a customs declaration form. There’ve been problems with trade between England and their main fruit suppliers lately, because England unilaterally imposed sanctions and the countries, due to trade deals, responded in kind. Now with the stalemate, the daily lives of the British are difficult because they can’t get the fruit they’ve grown accustomed to thanks to globalization. How’s that?”

Jack thought about this for a moment, then asked, “Is this because of Brexit?”

“In part. There are also long-standing historical colonial issues, as well as human rights abuses in the countries on whom sanctions were imposed.”

“Oh. Okay, thank you teacher.”

“Now, how many items are in your box?”

“I dunno, three?”

The teacher rolled her eyes, and started a reiteration of the lesson on addition.

Ancestral Advice

Lesley stood before his ancestor’s gravestone, wondering what he should say.

The stone was simple, a basic curve up top extending down to the ground. “Lincoln Bartol” read across the top, with the dates 1762-1818 underneath. That was all.

“Well, ancestor, I’ve found you. Any advice?” Lesley said.

In front of him, a ghost shimmered into existence. “First of all,” the ghost said, “could you get off of me? You’re not exactly light.”

Lesley was in shock for a moment, then took a step back. “I didn’t really expect you,” he said.

“No shit, Sherlock,” the ghost said. “But here I am. Now, second bit of advice, find something you like, and that pays well. Look after folks around you. And don’t believe the priests, they’re just lining their own purses.”

“Woah,” Lesley said. “Why are you talking so…uh…”

“Modern? Because I’ve been around for a while, boy-o. I’ve seen some shit. Some of it really weird. Do you know what kids get up to in cemeteries? Weird. Anyway, believe me on the priest thing.”

“I do. I’m not even religious.”

“Good. What else do you want?”

“Um, I dunno. Anything I should know?”

“Well, I lived in the 1700s. I don’t think most of what I could tell you would be relevant. I’ve seen what goes on now, but seeing and partaking are two different things. So, you know. Earn money at something you enjoy, or can at least tolerate. Help others. Be good and whatever.”

“Got it.” Lesley said. “Well. Uh. I guess that’s all.”

“Good. Come back if you need anything else.”

The ghost shimmered out of existence, and Lesley was left just staring ahead for a moment before heading back to the road.

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