The Rainstorm

It is a well known, though hardly accepted fact, that those persons who make the avoidance of all types of infuriation, annoyance, aggravation, and exasperation a veritable hobby are usually honored with attendance of these frustrations with peculiar regularity. Evidence of this law can nearly be seen like a cloud over those unfortunate enough to have the favorable conditions, and no better a collection of these miniature thunderstorms can be found anywhere than in the executive offices of Jamson & Eggle Bottle Company. Broken shipments, incomplete paper work, overdue payments, every day the list got longer, and every day the thirty-seven employees, one bathroom cleaner boy, and a beleaguered red-faced Mr. Eggle worked harder to track shipments, double-check forms, and pay the bills on time. Whenever they thought they had at last done all in their power to avoid, and successfully so, all infuriation, annoyance, aggravation etcetera, another problem would arise and they would be forced to respond to it. Well, today was no different, though neither the thirty-seven employees, the bathroom cleaner boy, nor the beleaguered red-faced Mr. Eggle could have guessed the dilemma it would bring.
Today was the big day, the day the Jamson & Eggle bottle Company would be rid of all its problems for good. How was this achievement to be realized? By strength in numbers the executive offices of the company would desiccate the rain clouds, and let the sun shine again.  A new employee was coming to work in the office, making the total employees of the company’s executive offices come to thirty-eight. A day earlier at lunch, which the company’s employees made a habit of eating together in the office’s dilapidated cafeteria, a rather thin and wobbly man named Tinsly, generally called Doctor Tinsly (though no one knew why), commented wisely: “since seven is lucky, eight must be luckier.” Everyone, gathering around his table, agreed, and many added optimistic comments of their own.
Mr. Eggle, though proud that the company would be taking on another employee, was nevertheless exasperated in his attempts to keep the current company employees concentrating. “Sally!” Mr. Eggle exclaimed huffing and puffing up to the desk of a young female employee starring dreamily at the ceiling. “What does he look like?” was all he could get out of her.

Mr. Eggle then lumbered exhaustedly to the desk of a middle-aged man idly starring at a stack of papers on his desk. “What are you doing?” said Mr. Eggle in an attempt to seem intimidating.

“Trying to decide which of my assignments I’m going to give to the new guy.”

 
“Oh!” exclaimed Mr. Eggle rocking from side to side, “if only Jamson was still here, may he rest in peace, he’d have known how to deal with this crowd!”
Mr. Eggle would have gone on longer had not the door to office suddenly opened and a man entered dramatically. Sally went crimson and leaned over to another woman of similar age sitting at a nearby desk. “He’s a little short, but he’s gotta be at least a couple inches taller then Mr. Eggle.

Her companion replied, “but Mr. Eggle is only about four feet tall.”

The middle-aged man, who had come to a decision about which work to pass on to the newcomer, now leaned over to comment to a friend: “Look at his hair; it’s all–flat.”

“Maybe he accidentally poured glue on it,” was the reply.

A man from the south said not too quietly “Look, at that devilish smile of his. He’s a real creeper.”  

 The office fell quiet. On one side, thirty-seven pairs of inquisitive eyes looked towards the front door, on the other stood a very short, very strange, very unimpressive man and the bathroom cleaner boy trying to understand. Mr. Eggle came forward. “Everyone, this is Reese. Reese, why are you late?”

The man swallowed, then he spoke. “Enough talk, let’s work.” And that’s what they did, but Reese spent the following hour choosing who was going to be his friend and who wasn’t. “Hi, I’m Reese. Isn’t Reese such a good-looking name? It really matches me.”

“Ya, it does,” said Sally, who was wisely losing interest. “It sounds like grease, like your hair.”

“Oh, thank you, you are so right,” replied Reese, missing the point, but the bathroom cleaner boy didn’t get it either.

Similar encounters repeatedly played themselves out between Reese and his co-workers throughout the early part of the day. Mr. Eggle was forced repeatedly to stop Reese and send him back to work. He had just managed to get him seated at his desk with not a few words from the odd man about rights, and the responsibility of allowing his co-workers to see him, when the middle-aged man walked up and placed a stack of papers on Reese’s desk. “These are your assignments,” he said cheerily.

“No, they’re not,” said Reese.

“Yes, they are,” replied the man.

“I don’t have time to argue with the likes of you. I’m above that,” spouted Reese.

“Good, because neither do I. Have fun.”  The man walked away, and the bathroom cleaner boy still didn’t understand.

At lunch Reese exclaimed, “This food is too greasy. It’s inedible.”

“Just like your hair” said Sally repeating her earlier observations.

“Oh, well thank you,” replied Reese confused.

“We eat it all the time, and so can you,” stated the southern man.

“But, you see, I honor you with my presence. You can’t expect me to eat the same stuff as you. I’m like a different type of creature.”

“Well, you could certainly pass for alien,” said the middle-aged man.

“Stop bothering Lucky Eight,” said Doctor Tinsly.

“Ya stop bothering me. You have no rights.”

The afternoon wore on as Reese caused more and more trouble around the office. First was his second trip around the office to again fulfill “the responsibility of allowing his co-workers to see him.” Then, Reese insisted on bringing an “afternoon snack” (which nearly constituted a meal) into the office, which caused quite an uproar from Mr. Eggle, who spoke at length about cleanliness and organization. After finishing his snack, Reese indulged in making paper airplanes from the stack of papers on his desk, and sending them plummeting over the heads of his more industrious co-workers. Through all this sat the bathroom cleaner boy, who still didn’t understand.

The end of the day neared, and the thirty-eight employees of Jamson & Eggle Bottle Company began to leave for home. All but one. A shadow splayed itself over the window shade of Mr. Eggle’s office. Reese stood there stupidly. “Have you done anything productive today?” asked Mr. Eggle doubtfully.

“Of course I have. Don’t be stupid,” replied Reese rudely.

“Like what.”

“Plenty of stuff.”

“Give me an example.”

“Lots of stuff. I just can’t remember.”

Mr. Eggle looked hard at Reese “I can’t remember either. That’s why you’re fired!”

“That’s not fair”

No reply.

“It’s not fair!”

Another day closed on Jamson & Eggle Bottle Company, another rainy day. A figure could be seen walking out of the company’s offices long after most others had left. It stalked angrily down the sidewalk muttering about “rights” and “fairness.” Another figure came out and walked slowly in the opposite direction. Both were short, but not as short as the bathroom cleaner boy sitting deep in thought, still trying to understand.

 

 

Ancel Briley

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