"They'll never catch me, man, because I'm fucking innocent!"-- Dignan, Bottle Rocket

Episode 2.03

"Creed Bratton's Day Off"

It was a day like any other for Ninth Grade Honors Student Pam Beesly, which of course meant endless vitriolic mocking from her classmates.

It all started in the usual fashion, Jill Cooney came up to her and made what seemed like an innocent inquiry about the sweater Pam was wearing. Pam cheerfully replied that her mother had made the sweater for her... which Jill responded that much was more than obvious. From there, Jill somehow managed to trace Pam's inability to lose her virginity back to the sweater and predicted the condition would exist indefinitely.

At that point Jill's boyfriend Nicholas Kittridge took this opportunity to argue that Pam would, in fact, eventually have something resembling intercourse, she just hadn't found the right person (i.e.,someone drunk and/or stupid enough).

Pam was just about to excuse herself and find some quiet corner to disappear into for all eternity, when both her classmates were chased off by her Seventh Period Art Teacher Mr. Daniels.

"Don't worry, Pam," Mr. Daniels assured her, "those kids will never get anywhere in life. but you're bright and hardworking and clever... and one day soon, the whole world will be yours."

Pam brushed her tears away and smiled. Let them laugh, she thought, in ten years, they'd all be working for her.

----

"Dunder-Mifflin, this is Pam." It was ten years later to the day. Nick was a high-powered corporate lawyer, Jill was a successful New York real estate agent, and Mr. Daniels had been arrested for propositioning his students. "Hi, Creed... No, this is Pam... the receptionist... right." What he said next changed the way Pam saw the world forever.

Jim was wandering in when he noticed Pam seemed to have suddenly turned paler than usual. "What's up?" he asked as she set the phone down.

"Creed just called in sick," she replied, not really believing it herself.

----

Jim: Creed has done many, many shocking things in this office in the years that he's been here... but he has never once called in sick.

Pause.

Jim: This means he actually has a better attendance record than Dwight, who takes off one Thursday and one Friday a year to attend the San Diego Comicon, he calls it a "religious holiday."

Pause.

Jim: No one's really sure how Creed is able to make it work everyday, but I think a few of us were fairly certain that he was actually sleeping here.

-----

"A temp is like a stem cell," Michael began, using his most Zen Master of tones, "you can plug them in anywhere and they immediately assume the traits of the job around them."

He smiled warmly at Ryan, who remained frozen in silent terror.

"One day, they're a salesman, the next a receptionist, the day after that... Quality Assurance," he continued softly. "This is the true value of the stem-temp."

There was a pause of notable length before Ryan awkwardly coughed out "I'm not a temp anymore... remember? You promoted me."

There was another pause.

"A new employee is like a stem cell..."

-----

Ryan: I'm fairly certain Michael's entire knowledge of stem research comes from watching Comedy Central.

-----

"Calling in sick," Dwight glowered, "I can't think of anything worse than letting physical weakness get in the way of the job. I don't know how the Company can permit it."

Jim smiled, he'd been waiting for this a long time. "How do you think the Company would feel about you writing fanfiction on the job?"

Something dropped out behind Dwight's face. "I don't write fanfiction," he said just incredibly unconvincingly.

Jim pulled a battered manuscript out of one of the drawers of his desk and began to read aloud. "'It was during his adventures that your Uncle Bilbo came into possession of this Ring,' Gandalf bellowed with a silence that could shake the mountains. 'He saw in it a great power and he knew that it would one day come to you, so he decided he must keep it safe at all costs. He knew that many were the Armies of the Dark Lord and that never would they surrendered in their quest to find the Ring, and so he decided to keep it concealed...'" Jim paused, seeing the words waiting in front of him and feeling the need to make the moment linger. "'...inside his arse. Then he came to entrust the care of the Ring to me and I hid it in my arse and now, Frodo Baggins, the Ring comes to you...'"

Faced with his own handiwork, Dwight nearly swallowed his own face.

"So... that's a Lord of the Rings-Pulp Fiction crossover?" Jim asked, feeling extremely proud of himself for having finally had a chance to bring this moment into being.

Dwight, again, said nothing.

"That's some nice work there, Dwight," Jim said nodding.

Andy, meanwhile, took the momentary distraction as an opportunity to slip away in the direction of Quality Assurance.

"So, Big Turkey," Andy called over as he swaggered over to Creed's desk, "I hear you're taking over for Obi Wan today."

"So it would seem," Ryan nodded weakly.

"Does that mean you will be managing all of his duties?" Andy asked surreptitiously.

Ryan eyed him with hostile confusion. "What do you mean?" he asked, suspecting that he didn't want to know the answer.

Andy looked left, then right, then leaned closer to Ryan than he would have liked and whispered "Well... I've been having some joint pain lately. You know, some pain in my joints and..." he smiled in a manner Ryan was sure he thought was subtle "...Creed is usually the one I go to when I need some joint medicine. So I was thinking that if you were picking up the slack for Big Crabby..."

"Yeah... sorry... I don't have anyway marijuana to sell you, Andy," Ryan replied loudly, brightly, and matter-of-factly.

"Whoa-whoa-whoa, Turkey!" Andy raised his hands and backed away from Ryan as though he had suddenly become a hot stove. "Be cool."

For the first time in months, Ryan found himself smiling at work.

----

Creed had almost forgotten how amazing it felt to wake next to a beautiful woman.

Waking up next to a beautiful woman with her own Nintendo Wii, however, turned out to be even better.

Their relationship was not without its problems, of course, her father didn't approve of Creed and let him know that in no certain terms. Creed didn't let it faze him, though, he just picked up his pancakes and left the breakfast table.

Once breakfast was complete, Creed quickly disrobed (again, to the inexplicable hostility of her father) and rushed up the stairs, eager to hit the shower.

Creed generally preferred to allow his natural musk to be tempered only by the judicious application of Hai Karate, but this wasn't most days.

No, today was special.

----

Creed: My name is William Charles Ertmoed Xiang Bratton and this is my day off.