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Monday, February 17, 2003

The Great Corn Nut Conspiracy

I once knew a guy who stumbled on his way to a pretty good life. He was working as the assistant to the boss' assistant and he had heard there might be a chance he might get the assistantship if the guy above him finally choked on his ego and BBQ Corn Nuts. This guy, we'll call him Roy, spent a good amount of time figuring out what it took to be a good assistant's assistant. But he also spent a fair amount of time digging through his immediate supervisor's Corn Nuts. The idea was simple: Every day, pull out two or three of the larger kernels. At the end of the month, slip the kernels in a new bag and wait for the guy to clutch his throat, fall to the floor, and kick a few times before dying.

Being a good assistant's assistant eventually became pretty simple for Roy. When the boss needed something, he asked the assistant to get it done. The assistant turned to Roy, made a few nearly-obscene gestures with his fingers, and Roy took off to get the job done. Since Roy hired on as the AA he had learned to make coffee, balance the company's books, and screw the boss' wife. Getting the promotion was going to have its disadvantages. Roy just couldn't stand the idea of someone else making his coffee.

One Wednesday in the middle of February Roy heard the assistant choking. Roy ran into the breakroom to find the assistant trying to keep two lungs full of smoke from letting go. Roy never asked what the guy was smoking. He walked out, disappointed the Corn Nuts trick hadn't worked yet. It didn't really matter, anyway. The boss' wife was waiting for him.

Roy was in full snuggle when The Wife started talking.

"Do you ever think about running away?" she asked, tossing a few Corn Nuts in her mouth.

Roy didn't answer at first. He spent a couple of minutes trying to remember the last time someone asked him a question that didn't end with the phrase, 'and get that done before five."

"Running where exactly?"

"The Keys. Mexico. Des Moines. Away."

Roy actually had thought about it. Once he thought he might quit his AA job all together an start a rental company on a faraway beach. "Pups and Tots" he was going to call it. At first the idea was to rent small dogs and small children to single men. Chick bait. Then--over time--he decided there were legal questions he couldn't answer. He still liked the name, though. He was considering the idea of a food stand that only sold hushpuppies and tater tots when The Wife talked again.

"I'm thinking about running away, AA," she said. "Would you come up with a list of places I might run? Oh yes. And bring it to me by five."

Roy went back to work and started on the list. He has listed a couple of backwater Mississippi towns and a Super Wal-Mart before he realized he still had to find a good accounting trick to justify the company's huge Corn Nut budget. He forgot all about the list and didn't get anything finished by five.

He showed up for work early the next day hoping to finish the list and Corn Nut Accounting before anyone came in. When he arrived The Boss and The Wife were both waiting. Boss needed his CNA report and Wife needed her list.

Roy was in the middle of considering what a Hushpuppy snowcone might taste like when he heard the noise. It sounded a bit like a dog with a chicken bone stuck in his throat. Actually, that's what it was. A collie that looked a little like Lassie with a chicken leg sticking out of her muzzle. Just about the time Lassie coughed the leg onto the Boss' carpet, the Assistant walked in. The simple joy of a non-choking dog pleased the Assistant so much he said, "Weee! Look at that!" just as he tossed four extraordinarily large Corn Nuts in his mouth. He choked and fell dead right next to the chicken leg.

Roy didn't miss a beat. He looked at the Boss and with all the power of a newly-promoted employee said, "Boss, we don't need to account for the Corn Nuts because we'll be buying no more. We'll use the money to send your wife to Mobile. No, Pennsylvania. Quaker country, sir."

The Boss looked briefly pleased, kissed his wife goodbye, and sat down at his desk.

"Son," he said, "would you see that the AA gets that mess cleaned up off my carpet and walks the dog?"

"Sir, we don't currently employ an AA. In fact, I was the AA until this man became the mess on your carpet."

"Hmmmmm." The Boss pondered this as he rearranged his ink pens and paperweights. "Well, then, hire the dog as the AA and see that he gets a good walk. Good show, son. Good show."

As Roy reached for the new AA's leash, he realized he may have made a mistake. He had just sent his only steady loving to live with a misunderstood religious sect. He would no longer get to make his own coffee. And Lassie didn't look like he knew his way around a ten-key calculator.

Roy and Lassie made their way onto the sidewalk and heard The Boss yelling from the window above.

"And make sure he gets that walk before five!" floated down from the 13th story window.

Roy waved. Lassie wagged his tail. They walked and talked about the legalities of making fruit smoothies with tater tots. They walked and talked about not opening "Pups and Tots" until 5:01pm. They walked and talked about whether The Wife would like the Quakers or if she might escape to the beach and if she would order hushpuppies or tater tots.

They walked, and walked, and walked.


Blogger Pokerwolf said...

You're going to give Wil hand cramps from pointing at you so much, Otis.

I'm starting to believe you like to make him jealous. :P

2:07 PM  

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