Yeah. Back when I named this one, I
didn't actually expect to come up with 22 stories, but here we are,
only a week in, with 11 stories and 11 PSAs.
I quite surprised myself, actually. Here's hoping this style catches on (I call it WarioFic or Meal of Side Dishes), now, if nobody minds, I'm going to sleep.
9. Tales From The Cross-Gender Universe
As Paul Beagle saw his boss pop out of office and towards his desk at reception, he found himself wishing for some sort of trapdoor to escape from.
For all the times he'd wished that throughout his time at Dunder-Mifflin, he was actually somewhat at a loss to explain why he hadn't broken down and built the damn thing yet.
Paul: "What is it like working for Michelle Scott?"
Paul: Last week, Michelle decided we should all celebrate Mardi Gras.
He looks into the camera with pained eyes.
Paul: At the beginning of the day, she handed me an armful of beads and promised she would be "earning them back" all day.
Michelle buzzed over her receptionist like a particularly virulent gant. "What do you think my bra size is?"
"I... don't... know..." Paul was doing his best to shrink within himself from sheer mortification.
"Guess!" Michelle merrily insisted. "It's bigger than you think!"
"You know, I totally could have been a stripper," Michelle reflected proudly, jutting her hips out at bizarre angles.
Typically, it was Jill who came to the rescue. "Hey, Michelle, did you talk to Ian today?"
Michelle's face lit up. The entire company was aware of her rumored affair with Ian Levinson, just as the entire company was aware that at least 97 that it was Michelle spreading those rumors. "Did he call?"
"Well, no," Jill admitted, "but you know how some of these guys are. They wait three or four days before calling back."
Michelle nodded sagely. "Sometimes it takes a couple weeks. Or a month."
Jill returned the nod despite being consistently called the next day. "Right."
"You could call him," Paul offered.
"Do guys like that?" Michelle asked, her eyes like two hopeful puppies.
"Absolutely," Paul replied, "it takes the pressure off them."
Michelle disappeared into her office, slamming the door behind her. Paul offered her silent thanks to Jill. Sure she was something of a Sarah Plain and Tall, but there were times she made Paul almost wish he wasn't engaged.
Jill could feel the slight blush on her cheeks as she sat back down at her desk. There was something about Paul that never failed to made her glad she never made it into the WNBA. Then she caught a glimpse of Ilsa Schrute across the desk and all that positivity just drained right out of her.
"Hey, Jill," the Valkyrie across from her bellowed, "do you think there's an alternate universe where everybody is the opposite gender?"
Jill gave Ilsa the typical wrinkled nose expression of distaste. "Not a chance."
Mindy: Never wear socks with sandals.
Mindy, sternly: Ever.
The More You Know.
10. Okay, you all knew where this one was going...
It was her ex-husband's weekend with the children, and that always left Carol with a quiet sense of melancholy.
She loved her children more than anything else in the world, more than she could properly express, but...
In many ways they were responsible for her depression.
She didn't regret the divorce, it had been the right decision for everyone concerned, but, at the same time, she had no desire to live her life through them while she was left to die alone. But it was difficult finding love again. Most available men her age had either purposely avoided having children and thus saw hers as an unwelcome intrusion at best, while the bulk of the rest were in the same situation as her, divorced after a long period of marriage, with children of their own to focus on.
She thought of Michael.
In many ways, he had been a godsend. A successful (at least relatively) single man who not only accepted that she had children, but seemed genuinely willing to love and care for them as if they were his own. More than that, Michael and the kids had been a natural fit; while most of her boyfriends had been greeted with hostility and suspicion from the get-go, the kids had instantly latched onto Michael in a way that surprised Carol herself. Rather than being an excuse to spend time away from the house, her dates with Michael became full-fledged family outings, rich in puzzles, games, and child-like laughter. The kids still asked about him. Was she right to end it like that?
Yes, she was.
First thing tomorrow she was going to start burning pictures and deleting emails.
She was insane for not doing it sooner.
Jenna: The "shush." It's not polite. It's pretty. But it works.
She shakes her head mournfully.
Jenna: And sometimes, you have no choice.
The More You Know...
11. Pressure Drop.
Michael, fighting back the tears: All good things must come to end.
He chokes back another sob.
Michael: And so must things like this.
Jim pulled into the parking lot with some trepidation. His time in Stamford notwithstanding, he had been pulling into this parking lot for nearly five years, but today things were completely different.
She gave him a reassuring smile. "Are you going to start by introducing yourself as a robot Martian?"
He laughed. "Hey, I'm always in favor of stealing from the industry leaders," he quipped, trying to mask his growing apprehension.
Jim, slowly, as if still trying to figure out how he feels about what he's saying: They have given me Michael's job.
Jim: Yeah. Apparently the members of the Board weren't too impressed with his latest magic trick.
Jim's mind kept sending signals to his legs and ass, expressing a complex plan that involved switching off the radio, taking the key out of the ignition, and walking into the old familiar office building, but somehow the ability to move seemed to be unjustly impaired.
"Hey," she said, sliding her hand onto his until the smooth white gold of his ring met herself with a satisfyingly symbolic klink. "You can do this."
He nodded, he still had his doubts, but at least he knew she was with him.
Then, as if God were a DJ, Jim was given his sign, the intro that he knew he could never quite forget no matter how hard he tried. He took a good look and the woman seated across from him, then took her face in his hands and kissed her for what felt like the first time.
Jim: Strangely, Michael was called out of town the actual day of the wedding and Kevin's band got a better-paying job at the last minute.
He raised as eyebrow as though perplexed.
"You know something, Karen?" he said, more than a little out of breath.
"This is a really good song," he whispered seriously.
Still smiling, she punched him lightly in the shoulder. "Idiot."
He nodded as he killed the radio and climbed out of the vehicle. It was a fair enough criticism.
Jim: Don't feel too bad for Kevin. He got over it.
He nods, smiling.
Jim: He's in a Run-D.M.C. tribute band now.
Kevin, as slow and monotone as usual if not more so: It's tricky to rock a rhyme to rock a rhyme that's right on time it's tricky...
Steve: Did you ever hear the saying "having your cake and eating it, too?"
Steve, confused: What does that mean?
Steve: I mean, is that like an "American Pie" thing? 'Cuz... that's just disgusting.
The More You Know...
Coming Soon from Halloween Jack and Kowalski187: Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, and Mindy Kaling in "Scranton Sex City"
Roy, visibly sweating, with eyes like he just spent ten years in a room full of Dementors: I don't want to talk about it.