Just so you know, I almost have no idea where this story will end...
George Tully, if you observed him closely, was a very abnormal man.
For starters, his interaction with his dog, Damper, each morning was like one that a man might have with a talking bouquet of flowers. George would pick Damper up, sniff his fur, and when Damper barked in his face, George would throw the dog out the window and run down the hall in fear. It is undeterminable whether George believed his dog was behaving ferociously or if he thought Damper was actually a frighteningly furry bundle of roses.
Furthermore, George's reason for choosing the small apartment in the middle of busy, downtown Daskenburg was that he wanted "to enjoy the countryside." Aside from not making sense, this reason was also nonsensical. Nevertheless, his wife Kate went along with it, and they and their five-year-old daughter Anne moved to 412 North Bridge Street.
Visually, he was as normal as could be, from his brown hair to his brown eyes. He was tall as a sign post, except shorter. Some of his favorite pastimes included what he referred to as "driving," searching for pennies in the subway station, and kissing his toy duck "McDucky." There were only two options if you knew George; you either loved him or you didn't. Truthfully, most didn't.
Now on this morning, which was a Tuesday, the alarm clock woke George and he, bolting upward like a burnt waffle, promptly slammed his head into the ceiling fan.
"Ow," commented George.
Kate grunted. "What's wrong?"
"I...I was having a good dream," said George sadly. "Stupid alarm clock."
"What kind of dream?"
"Actually, now that I think about it, it was a bad dream," said George. Then he whispered, "I was being chased by a giant peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich."
"Sounds terrifying," agreed Kate. She rolled over, away from him. "You better hurry up to work.
So George got off his bed and attempted to leave the room. He only succeeded, however, in walking into the wall.
"Stupid toaster!" said George angrily and randomly.
He managed to go out in the hall and into the bathroom. He closed the door behind himself, but because he hadn't turned the light on yet, it was dark.
"Ahh!" said George, and hurriedly flicked on the switch. He brushed his teeth and combed his hair - both with his toothbrush. As he exited the bathroom, he heard a squeal from down the hall, and turning he saw Anne running toward him. He crouched down and spread his arms for the embrace.
"You're going to work soon?"
"I guess so," said George.
"I know. Go on and watch some TV."
Anne ran off and did as she was told. George went into his room and got his suit and tie on, along with his shiny black shoes. He couldn't find his briefcase. "Stop hiding," he demanded of it. At last he found it under the couch; he'd forgotten that he'd stuffed it under there last night.
"Bye, honey! Bye, Anne!" he called before leaving out the front door-and walking out into a rainstorm unlike any the world had ever known. Well, in all actuality, it was like many the world had previously known, but that didn't stop this particular rainstorm from being very nasty, wet, and gray, as most rainstorms tend to be.
George hated rainstorms. In his mind they also hated him.
"Go away," he commanded it, agitated. The clouds began to move more quickly across the sky, as if actually exiting the area, but then it seemed to change its mind; it created a bit more mayhem in the form of lightning, promptly splitting a billboard, and soon after toasting a nice old lady's house.
George gave up and stomped in the puddles toward his car. The rainstorm followed him all the way to the office building where he worked. This building was just as cold, dark, and gray as the clouds threatening to dump rain on him. After having a bit of run in the revolving doors, he entered the bleak lobby, at which moment his boss Mr. Glub came dashing in sight.
"GEORGE!" he bellowed.
"MR. GLUB!" shouted George.
"Don't yell at me!" The man's eyebrows danced oddly.
"You...are ten minutes late, George. Again. Do you want to be fired?" Even Mr. Glub's green-and-yellow tie seemed threatening.
"What's 'fired'?" asked George interestedly.
Mr. Glub sighed. "Never mind," he said grudgingly. "Just...get to your desk. Do you have any idea how many calls you've gotten?"
"Well," said Mr. Glub, "a lot." And with that he stomped off, undeniably to get himself a friendly cappuccino.
"What an odd man," said George. He walked into the elevator and commanded it to take him to the 4th floor. Admittedly commanding an elevator was not quite the same as commanding a person, as it involved much less shouting and much more pushing of buttons. Nevertheless, the elevator obliged and at last George arrived at his floor.
Now it just so happened that George was a businessman. The name of the business was Bernburg's Corporation of Stupid Phone Call Receptors. George had never found out nor ever tried to find out who "Bernburg" was, but he assumed it was probably some business guy. As a matter of fact, receiving stupid phone calls was precisely what George did at work. It was quite an amusing way to pass the time, not to mention getting paid for it.
A field of cubicles stretched before George, with only things like "4C" on the outer walls to distinguish one from the other. He tread the familiar path: first to the center of the room, then down row 5, then up row P, then stopping confusedly.
"Ah, yes," said George resolvedly, and he walked straight into his cubicle.
JARED HARMAN, read the sign on the desk. George laughed.
"They always get our names mixed up," he said to no one. Of course, the janitors had come by and changed quite a bit in the cubicle, including altering the picture of his daughter on his desk to that of a twelve-year-old boy, changing the color of his filing cabinet to blue, and conjuring random papers on his desk with headings like "Six Ways to Unclog a Toilet" and "Why Forests are Never Made of Only One Tree." However, George thought it looked practically the same as yesterday. He sat down in his swiveling, bouncy office chair, putting his feet right on the desk.
"Comfy," he commented.
Now what was he supposed to be doing? Ah, yes. Mr. Glub had said something about an enormous amount of phone calls. Tentatively he stared at the black, shiny phone, which sat there sinisterly like a coiling snake. George's hand shot like lightning, grabbing the receiver and putting it up to his ear. He smiled satisfactorily at the phone cradle, which still sat solemnly on the desk.
"I have won yet again," he whispered at it. "Now..." He removed the receiver from his ear and stared at it as though it was a foreign piece of spinach he had been about to eat. "Who on Earth could all those calls have been from?" He settled for simply pressing the redial button.
While the phone rang he studied the lights on the ceiling above. "It looks like sugar candy," he said.
Finally the ringing stopped.
"Hey, honey," said a female voice.
"Right," said George. "You called?"
"Nope," said the woman. "You sound a bit strange. Do you have a cold?"
"Is that the subject of your phone call?" demanded George. "I mean, it's not quite my area of expertise. You might want to try the Medical-"
"Stop joking, Jared," said the woman a bit more sternly, but sounding on the verge of laughter. "What'd you call me about?"
"I'm quite sure one of us is confused," said George. "I must say that it was you who called me. Plus you too have gotten my name wrong." He scowled.
The woman laughed. "All right then, Sir Pumpkinbread, what do you need?"
Quite sure now that this woman must be one of those telemarketers, George said, "What are you selling?"
"I suppose it's you doing the stupid phone calls now, isn't it?" said Ms. Telemarketer.
"ANSWER THE QUESTION -- !"
"George!" came a voice. George turned his head and saw Jared standing in the doorway. "Who the hell are you talking to?"
"A telemarketer," said George innocently.
"GET OUT OF MY CUBICLE!"
"Who is that?" said the telemarketer. "Is that -- ? Are you -- ? Jared!"
"Is that my wife?" shouted Jared, snatching the phone from George. "Honey?"
There was a muffled reply from the telemarketer that George could not hear.
"Sorry. I was...I was getting coffee and -- "
"Jared! Don't buy it!" shouted George. "Whatever she's selling, don't buy it!"
"Shut up!" said Jared harshly. "Listen, honey. I gotta go. I have things to do. I'll see you around 5:30, okay?"
The telemarketer said something else, most likely, George thought, trying to get a last minute advertisement in there. George wondered why he kept referring to the telemarketer as "honey."
"Bye." Jared hung the phone up. He turned to George. "Why," he said, "are you in my cubicle?"
"This is my cubicle, Jared," replied George, spreading his arms as though indicating a rather obvious fact.
Jared sighed. "George, what is your cubicle number?"
"Twenty-six," said George.
"And what is this cubicle number, George?" said Jared.
"Twenty-seven," said George. "The janitor switched them last night. You know how they do things like that."
Jared sighed again. "No."
"Yes," said George pointedly.
"Yes, yes, and yes."
"Whatever," said Jared. "George, just get out. Look." He walked over and picked up the picture on the desk. "This is my son, Henry. He's twelve. Do you even have a son?"
"Yes, but he's a girl and much younger," said George. "What's your point? The janitors obviously cleaned the picture so much that it created distortion."
Jared looked like a flare about to go off. He grabbed George by the shoulder, steered him around, and pushed him toward the doorway. "Get. Out."
George stopped moving. Jared was only a little man after all. "Listen, Jared. Why don't you get on home and have a good drink, and maybe a nap? You seem a little stressed. I think...I think you may be dealing with some emotional blows."
"What -- ? I mean...uhhh...hey, that sounds like a pretty good idea, George." Jared stopped trying to push George out of the cubicle.
"Tell you what," said George. "After that, if you're feeling better, we can party tonight."
"Sounds good." Jared started to leave the cubicle. He was out in the aisle.
"So, I'll see you at -- what? -- seven?"
"Sure," said Jared, straightening his jacket. He started to retreat.
"Hey, don't forget the fruitcake!" George shouted after him.
"I won't," said Jared a little confusedly, but George's friendly wave reassured him as he exited.
* * * * * *
George spent the majority of the next hour causing a considerable amount of mayhem: he trashed Jared's cubicle, reducing the papers to shreds. He managed to break the Xerox with a ballpoint pen. He made several people angry by running around crying, "CHICKENS IN THE BREAK ROOM!" over five hundred times. By lunchtime he had set off the sprinklers after he had caused a fire in cubicle seventy-one.
He was sitting down enjoying a tuna salad sandwich when Vanessa Shoemaker of cubicle thirty approached him.
"Mm?" he asked through a mouthful.
"Glub wants you in his office now. He says it's urgent."
"Okay," said George, confused. He stood up as Vanessa walked away.
Mr. Glub was in his office waiting for him. George pushed open the door tentatively.
"Stop doing that," said Mr. Glub.
"Sit down, George," said Mr. Glub from behind his desk, indicating a chair. George sat. Mr. Glub sighed. "George...the Xerox machine is broken. Do you know how that could be?"
"Well...," said George uncomfortably.
"Mr. Glub should these be stapled or paperclipped?" said a voice from the doorway. A short, balding man stood holding a stack of green papers.
"Go away!" barked Mr. Glub irritably. The little man obeyed. "Now, George, I have heard from at least five people that you broke the Xerox machine using -- I believe -- a ballpoint pen?"
"But sir!" said George. "I didn't do it! The pen dove in after the lost penny and I...I was trying to save it, sir. I just...well, I guess I added some unnecessary force..."
"Unnecessary force?" thundered Mr. Glub. "You shoved the pen into the thing and broke it!" He sighed. "I-I just don't know what to do now, George. How many times have you broken it now? Five?"
"Six. Yes, well. I'm afraid it just won't do. You're going to have to find a new job, George."
"Why would I do that?"
"Because I'm firing you," said Mr. Glub.
"What's 'firing'?" asked George.
Mr. Glub stood up. "It means you don't work here anymore. You're being replaced, you're leaving, you're out."
"Get out, George! You're fired! Go find a new job!" roared Mr. Glub.
"Okay," said George. And he left the office, closing the door behind him.