Canned Ham and Animal Crackers

Who is living under the bed of ignorance when they refuse to see that the price of
canned ham products and animal crackers are shooting through the roof?

Everything costs more these days and sometimes, you can’t just put necessities off any longer
because of lack of money. I mean, the broken training wheel on my bicycle isn’t going to
fix itself and the pet rock needs braces.

I had to ask for a raise at work. But how?

After shooting 200 top quality steel-tipped aluminum 13/8, 1.828 mm staples into my
cubicle wall from three feet away while pacing nervously thinking about all my money
woes, it dawned on me that I had spelled the word “pleh” out of staples which is “help”
backwards. Indeed… it was a sign.

Finally, at 4:59 p.m. on a fateful Friday afternoon, I walked with determination to the
boss’s office where I was forcefully stopped by the secretary, Ms. Butinsnots. She hit me
in the left eye with a #34 rubber band with a 1/16 thickness. I only know that because
the #24, 1/32’s sting but don’t leave a red mark.

“Where do you think you’re going?” she snortled.

“None of your business!” I shouted back as I ran into the boss’s office, tears running
down my cheeks, right hand over left eye, nose fluids flowing profusely.

I wanted to say “I demand a pay raise” but all that came out was a very garbled, “I
demand a PEZ.” Fortunately, he had a Humpty Dumpty PEZ dispenser on his desk
and offered me several candies. They were strawberry with a slight aftertaste of mint
toothpaste.

“So you want a pay raise, is that it?”

“Yes, yes… that would be nice. Thank you!”

“Well you’re not going to get one. In fact, I had twenty-two complaints this month
alone about someone in your department stapling all the napkins together in the
employee break room as well as writing ‘Ted from Accounting is a jerk’ with staples on
the wall of the senior management conference room.”

I reminded him that it could have been anyone from my department and I would be
sure to dish out swift justice. He then reminded me that I was the only one who worked
in the department. Touché!

As I left his office, Ms. Butinsnots chortled then hit me from behind with a #24. She
wasn’t laughing on Monday when she woke from her nap and found herself stapled to
her chair and her box of rubber bands glued shut. It may have been someone from my
department, but I’m not saying who.

Where’s My Money?

“Sarah, come back,” the waitress shouted. “I love you to pay the bill now please. Why you no pay the bill? You no have no money?”

Sarah turned around abruptly.

“Rachel, stop using that stupid fake Spanish accent of yours. It’s as fake as you are.”
By now, everyone in the cafe had their attention riveted on the squabble. The waitress looked around nervously at all the faces, trying to think of something to say or do. She froze for a moment. Then her lips moved.

“I don’t know what ju are talking about. My name is not Rachel, you crazy lady. You going to pay me or what?”

“Hey, pay the waitress!” came a shout at the back of the cafe.

“How dare you stiff that poor girl,” came another. Sarah’s eyes tightened as she threw an ice stare at whoever dared make eye contact with her.

“For your information, this imposter was born and raised here in the good ol’ US of A. New Jersey if you really want to know.”

“Ju are a crazy lady,” the waitress said. “I never see you before in my life.” A heavyset man at a window seat got up and approached Sarah.

“Listen, lady. I don’t know what’s going on here, but where I’m from, we pay our bills.”

“Exactly! Now please tell that to Rachel here who hasn’t paid her share of the rent for three months now.”
The room was silent with confusion.

“Quien sabe la verdad?” a man said from behind the waitress. “Yes, my dear. Who really ever knows the truth?”
She turned around to see a man dressed in a brown sport coat and corduroys. He had slipped into the cafe during the ruckus, sitting relaxed at a table behind her.

“What’s the matter, don’t you understand Spanish?” he said as he slowly got to his feet. The waitress’s eyes widened with fear and she tried to run. Instead, the man grabbed her by the arm and forced her towards the front door.

“Hey, wait!” Sarah said as she ran after the couple. “What about my money?” The man looked at her calmly as he held the squirming waitress.

“I’m afraid that as her husband, I control the finances. She was never going to pay you. I’ve been looking for my wife here for many months now. It would appear that she has been hiding away with you.” He shook the woman’s arm. “Is that what happened, Nadia?”

Tears were running down Nadia’s cheeks as she looked at the man, then shook her head back and forth.

“No, no, I meant to pay,” she cried. Then she turned towards the crowd. “Please, you have to help me,” she said through the tears as she looked at the bewildered faces.

“C’mon, honey. It’s time to go. I think you’ve had enough fun for awhile.” The man calmly but forcefully directed Nadia towards the door. She struggled to get free, but the man pulled her closer. “I said it’s time to go!” he said through gritted teeth as he forced her outside.

Sarah thought she saw the man push a gun into Nadia’s side as he forced her out the door and down the street, quickly getting lost in a sea of pedestrians. As Sarah ran towards where she last saw the couple, she heard gun shots.

The sea of people parted and Sarah caught up with the man, laying dead on the street.

“Damn!” she said. “Someone owes me some money.”