People on the Highway

I’m trying out a new path home from work.  As a semi-professional liar storyteller person, the new route is amazing.  It is peak Colorado front range.  I see cattle pastures, oil derricks, corn fields, industrial concrete recycling, small town schools, manufacturing plants that smell funny (likely because they are next to giant giant mounds of fresh fertilizer, but that is beside the point).  I see a new story setting every five minutes.  I am very much enjoying the new path.  Another thing it has going for it; very few other people on the road.

Consisting mostly of side roads, I don’t have to deal with too many Honda sedans with a texting driver at the wheel.  The standard situation for Honda sedans in Colorado at least.

Today, I had company on the commute and this is her story.

Today’s tale: Sunny

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Benji Can Explain

“I can explain!”

Benji had been starting conversations this way since grade school.  He never intended to be such a source of problems, but intent and reality were having a conversation without Benji.

“No, I should not have had the yo-yo out on the factory floor.  No, I should not have had my headphones in and listening to Chumbawumba at full volume.  I realize this is both damaging to my ears and dampens my ability to hear forklifts.  No, I should not have screamed when the forklift zipped by me.  Probably should have tried to stop myself from falling over so dramatically too.”  Benji’s second part of explanation statements tried to head off as many suspected questions as possible.  As previously stated, he’d been doing this for quite some time.

“Things got really weird when I was falling though.  Did you know this place has mice? Like, a ton of mice.  I saw a mouse as I hit the floor.  So I threw the yo-yo at it.  It was instinct.  You see something that carries the plague, you throw something at it.  Well, I should have played more baseball as a child because I missed the target entirely.  The yo-yo hit one of the robotic arms and twisted it.  I only use solid steel yo-yos, so the impact was quite forceful.”

At this point, Benji wondered if he could skip some details as his supervisors were staring at him with very cross expressions.  He opted against skipping any detail.

“The robot spun around and knocked down a tray of finished goods.  The goods began to roll.  I guess the vibration on the floor panicked the rest of the mice because they erupted into a stampede.  I’m still on the floor at this point and see a hundred tiny furry feet racing at my face.  I panic.  I launch myself up with one of those cool ninja jump moves like in the movies.  Well, I should have checked my surroundings first because I jumped right into Martha.  She shouts, starts falling over too, sees the mice, decides falling is a bad idea and stops herself by grabbing my shirt.  We avoid falling over but I spin around. Again.  I’m very dizzy at this point.  Martha let’s go of me and I stumble over my own feet and knock down another stack of goods.”

Benji paused to make a shrugging ‘what-do-you-do?’ expression.

“This time we go all movie cliche and the racks starts falling down like dominoes.  I’m horrified of course, but fear only takes over when the racks knock over that vat of near weightless chemicals that has been here since the 80s and we can’t legally destroy or we get a Ghostbusters style visit from the EPA.  So the vat starts rolling and rolling.  We’re shouting for people to get out of the way.  If a Go-Pro had been attached to this thing the footage would have been amazing.”

He took in a deep breath.

“The vat rolls right out the shipping dock and opens up.  The chemical is translucent and apparently photo-volatile.  As soon as the sun hit it, the chemical erupts in flame.  Now, before we go all crazy here and say I should be fired let me state this; the trees needed to go anyway and now we can put a parking lot back there.  It really is a win-win when we get down to it.”

Benji finished his version of events with a smile.  A moment later he was escorted from the building.

 

A Performance Review Compromise

“Robert, could you come in here please?” Frank said.

Robert pushed his chair away from his desk and his mind went wild with what a sudden discussion with his boss could mean.  “What’s up, Frank?” He asked, stepping into the office.

“Have a seat and shut the door if you would. Thanks.”  The two took their seats.  “Just a quick performance review.  Have to say, you’re doing great work.  I do want to discuss one little issue though.”

The two real estate developers stared at each other a moment.  Robert was pretty sure he knew what was coming.

“Your development name ideas during project proposals have some of our other developers concerned,” Frank said.

“Oh come on. They’re proposals,” Robert retorted.

“For example.  The golf course anchored development on 51st was pitched with Loch Luster.  During the pitch you kept insisting it would be called lackluster.”

Robert laughed.

“Or the gated community called HDOTU.  After hours of chit chat it was revealed that this meant Heat Death of the Universe.  You laughed and changed the name to Duckberg when you noticed people didn’t like that.” Frank said.

“And now Duckberg is a well loved community.  It worked out,” Robert said, stifling a laugh.

“I’ll just read some of these names here.  Zombie Proof Acres, Apocalypse Ranch, Totally Haunted Patio Homes at Dove Ridge, Acid Rain Ranch, Martian Landing Site Ranch, Cracked Concrete Ranch, really just a bunch of Ranch names for the next, uh,” Frank flipped through a stack of papers, “next seven pages.”

“That’s seven pages of project proposals though. Good year for the company!” Robert said.  Frank did not enjoy the sarcastic tone.

“You know what, let’s compromise here.  Could you name each proposal Duckberg 2, 3, 4 and so on.  Like a horror movie franchise.  I’ll even allow three ‘Duckberg 2 v Duckberg 3 in Space’ titles over the next 12 months.  We just need fewer end of times ranches and more marketing flyer friendly names, okay?” Frank pleaded.

“I will try my best.  But there is a pitch for High Noon Duel Community coming across your desk shortly.” Robert said.

“Last one, kid. Last one.”

A Theory Proposed

The bed had never felt so comfortable.  Pillows were perfectly positioned, the blanket just right; a long, long day had come to an end.

“That was a long day,” Xavier said, “but, a very informative day.”

“Informative?” Tala asked as she tapped her cell phone screen a few more times before calling it a day.

“Today I learned why people chew with their mouths closed.” Xavier said.

“Is it for reasons other than being rude?” Tala asked.

“You know, I always that was the reason too.  Maybe to prevent food from just falling out.  I don’t know what I used to believe.  Now, I know the truth though.  Thousands of years ago a family of cave people were sitting around a fire chowing down on mammoth steak.  Parents both exhausted from a day of cave-people-ing or whatever and little Grog in minute 42 of a story about a flying sabertooth tiger who just loves the color green and knocking down trees.  That’s when cave-mom has a brilliant idea, nudges cave-dad with her elbow and gives that ‘follow me on this one’ look.” Xavier explained.

Tala’s cell phone was on the bed side table now.

“Cave-mom says to little Grog that he has to keep his mouth closed or the mammoth steak will attract evil spirits.  Grog listened.  Grog stopped talking.  Cave-mom and Cave-dad had a solid three minutes of relative quiet.  They told the rest of the cave-clan about the new trick and here we are a few thousand years later telling our kids to chew with their mouths closed in hope of getting a few minutes of quiet.” Xavier wrapped up his explanation.

“Do you think Grog continued to listen?” Tala asked.

“Oh goodness no.  Kids have been the same throughout history.  Grog was back to old habits the next night, but it worked once.  When something works once, we know this, we try it again and again and again in hope of repeated results.” Xavier answered.

“And this is why we chew with our mouths closed?”

“Just a minute or two of quiet.”

“That sounds accurate.” Tala said, accepting the theory.

Willa’s Impact

Willa Wallace was wildly intelligent.  Her days were spent making businesses better, helping clients save the world and generally leading her best life.  Her parents were proud of her.  Her friends were proud of her.  Her colleagues were proud of her.  She was proud of the hard work put into making this her life.

Every where Willa went, she had an instant and remarkable impact. At the moment, her impact on the area was not exactly positive.

“There’s no unexpected object in the bagging area you lousy machine!” Willa yelled as she attempted, for the final time, grocery self check-out.

Terrance Has IT

“What we need is a catchy slogan.  Maybe a hashtag campaign.  #FeelingIT  #IThasit  #ITistheSh- well, maybe we don’t go there.  Also, a brand book.  We need to pick our colors, a logo.  Designate a social media lead, get an intern to run the day to day.  Metrics measurement.  We need engagement records per post.  Click rates, click throughs.  RTS, likes, sub tweets.  Someone get me an SEO expert up in here.  If we aren’t first on Google search results, we’re last.  Everybody got it?” Terrance looked around the room for the exact length of one heartbeat, if the heart belonged to a hummingbird.

“Good,” Terrance continued, “this department needs to sizzle, we need to pop.  We need to attract all the talent.  We don’t want to steal people, we want them to beg to come to us.  Got it?” He began pointing to each person sitting around the large conference room table. “Got it? Got it? Got it? Good.  Make it happen.”

Terrance never sat down during the meeting.  One final finger point and he fled the room.

Those sitting around the conference table looked at each other, waiting for any one to react.  Finally, the company president sounded off, “I need maintenance to remove the espresso machine from the IT office space.  And if someone would decipher what Terrance said for me, I’ll follow up.  I have no idea how to follow that interruption, so let’s all get back to work.”

Regulations State

“Thanks for coming to this safety training.  As leaders in your departments, I want this to be your first takeaway.  First, everybody look at your hands.”  Darrell, OSHA certified safety instructor, started the class.

Fifteen faces stared at thirty hands.  Darrell knew he had his audience.

“Good.  Those hands are important.  Those hands can act if they want to.  If they don’t, no body will.  Remember that.  The opposite is you could act real rude and totally removed and act like an imbecile.  No body wants that.”  Darrell appealed to their sense of power.  He felt the whole safety talk and dance was going well.   Continue reading