I am not affiliated nor do I own any rights to any televised version of The Office or the following Harvest Moon franchises: Tree of Tranquility/Animal Parade, Island of Happiness/Sunshine Islands, A New Beginning, More/Friends of Mineral Town, Grand Bazaar, Magical Melody, or Save the Homeland/Hero of Leaf Valley. This is a non-profit, fictitious comedy.
This is rated T for language and suggestive themes.
A/N: Disclaimers done with – I am completely insane. I've got a million stories to write and two jobs with impossible hours. So why the hell am I writing this? Well… honestly, I just felt like it. And I'm stuck on my next new story. And most of the stories I write are to improve my writing, but this one is just for fun. It is my playground. So that's that.
Though it feels more drabble-based because chapters rarely connect or refer back to one another, there is a continuous plot woven throughout. So don't worry about a thing – a story is indeed in this jargon.
If you're familiar with The Office, you're probably wondering how I'm going to tackle the documentary aspect. Since this is in written form, I find it would be much too confusing and messy to try that. So I'll just have dialogue and inner thoughts. Sorry, but I'm determined not to disappoint!
Enjoy the story, everybody! If there are any particular office scenarios that I haven't thought of, or you want to see, just give a shout. I'll be happy to make things crazier for our poor people at Persuasive Papers Inc.! :D
Welcome to the Office
Vaughn sighed, tapping his foot impatiently in front of the elevator. He looked down at his watch, holding a cup of hot coffee in his other hand and his black briefcase under his arm. It wasn't one of those fancy, designer ones like Allen's or meticulously well-organized like Gill's. Vaughn bought his in the back-to-school section at Staples. Because he didn't give a shit.
Come on… Vaughn grumbled, rapidly pressing the up arrow a few more times. He watched the steam escaping through the plastic lid on his coffee. He couldn't decide if he even liked coffee. But at Persuasive Papers, it was a need.
"Finally!" Vaughn rolled his eyes as the elevator jarred loudly in front of him. The smeared silver doors pealed back with a disconcerting creek. An old man with a mop and yellow bucket was the only other person inside. Vaughn boarded and quickly pressed three. Four was already lit up.
"Late again, eh?" He asked with a light sneer.
"Morning, Terry…" Vaughn tapped the button to close the doors quicker. It was an illusion. The doors never closed quicker. They finally began to slide shut as Vaughn picked a stray straw wrapper from his hair. "Car was giving me trouble…"
"Uh-huh. By the look of it, you had one too many drinks again. Denny giving you peer pressure?" The old man chuckled, leaning against the mop handle. He leaned too hard and the bucket's wheels pitched him off balance. He staggered and cleared his throat. "Shouldn't be drinking on a Sunday, boy. You'll look like crap on Monday morning."
"Shouldn't you be cleaning something?" Vaughn changed the subject. He didn't think he'd look as shit-faced as he felt. He took a swig of the scalding coffee, wincing as it burned the back of his throat and tongue.
The janitor snorted. He rubbed his bulbous nose. "Gill says he'll give me the boot if I don't swab up the restroom."
"You're just going to stand in there and look busy, aren't you?" The elevator rumbled to a stop.
"That's the plan," Terry admitted.
Vaughn grinned, rolling up his sleeves to his elbows. "Have a nice day, Terry."
The old man tipped his brown cap to him as Vaughn stepped out, the doors closing behind him.
The constant ring of telephones, fake friendly voices chatting on the line, the clash of staplers, and button punching bombarded his ears the moment the elevator released him. He had once again entered the world of ties and button up shirts, blouses and pencil skirts. Vaughn stared at the bustle and sighed, walking as quickly as he could to his desk across the room.
"Vaughn! Lovely morning, hm?" A red-headed, be-speckled man blocked his path. His clothes were all top of the line – blue suit and tie, from none other than Armani. Brown leather shoes, only Gucci. Smug look, courtesy of Douche Bag Warehouse.
Vaughn glared at him, heavy bags under his eyes.
Allen lightly laughed, giving Vaughn's silver hair a ruffle. "Aw, had a rough night?"
Luckily before he could be interrogated, out jumped Vaughn's most unlikely rescue. The dynamic duo and bane of the office.
Luke swung his arm around Allen's shoulder with a crooked smile. Again, he wasn't following the corporate dress code, waltzing around in jeans and a T-shirt. But Hamilton always allowed him and Tina to get away with anything. 'They're the creativity department! They need to let their energy flow!' Or some tripe like that. Whatever it was, it drove Gill up the wall. So they weren't all bad.
"Morning, Allen!" Tina chirped from his opposite side, tucking her short brown hair behind her ear. She held up her camera and quickly snapped an unnecessary picture of his profile with a giggle.
"We need you to look at the Harmonica report!" Luke punched Allen's shoulder and got a sharp glare he seemed oblivious to. "Come on, it's your job to ship these bad boys out! And you're our favorite editor!"
"And we don't want to proofread it!" Tina smiled.
"Where's Rod? Can't you get him for this menial labor?" Allen scoffed, removing Luke's hand from his shoulder with a look of disgust.
"Right here, Allen!" Rod seemed to appear from nowhere, hopping up with as much energy as the source team.
"Ah, there's my favorite little gremlin," Allen said, flicking the hair from his face and placing a sassy hand on his hip. "Won't you take care of this troublesome report?"
"But we're a team, Allen," the ginger haired boy reminded, a positive attitude just exuding from him in clouds. "It'll be fun!"
"As much fun as Vaughn's morning, I'm sure…" Allen grumbled, being pulled away.
But Vaughn was already long gone. Dodging his colleagues rushing about and passing the reception desk where little, mousy Molly sat. Just a glance at her would fool anyone into thinking she was as sweet as Georgia tea, but Vaughn had an alliance with her against the Assistant Regional Manager - Gill. She was as sly as a fox, and the pranks they pulled together were legendary.
"Just one moment, sir, I'll connect you to the Regional Manager," Molly said into the phone at her ear, typing away busily at her monitor.
Vaughn gave her a nod in passing which she returned with a smile, juggling the phone to her other ear as she reached for the receiver and the next call on hold. "Yes, right away! Persuasive Papers would be very happy to help you with your problem, sir. I'll connect you to a higher department right away—"
Vaughn dropped his things on his desk with a heavy sigh. Papers were scattered everywhere, none of his supplies matched, and he didn't even want to imagine what was in the file cabinets and drawers. Those were dark places, only to be visited on rare occasions. As the lone sales representative of the brochure company, Vaughn's job was on the telephone and in his notebook. He switched on the desk light and tapped the blinking phone. Eleven missed calls.
He fell into his swivel chair and opened his briefcase, pulling the essentials out of it. Looking over the aisle to the desk across from him, Vaughn's face blanched as the larger office chair swiveled around to reveal a very irate looking young man with such light blond hair it almost looked white under the fluorescents.
"You're late," he stated, pressing his fingertips together, looking like Dr. No on a bad day.
Vaughn stared flatly at him. He knew it was better to avoid an argument.
"Two minutes and twenty-four seconds," Gill elaborated, snatching a stack of papers on his desk and straightening them to perfection. "Two minutes and twenty-four seconds longer than your usual five minutes and thirty-seven seconds late. Very… unusual."
His piercing blue eyes stabbed Vaughn on the last word, hoping to create an intimidating effect. Vaughn would have been intimidated if he didn't already know what a sleazy coward he was. Vaughn grabbed a stray pencil rolling around his desk and poised it over his notebook, preparing to review the missed calls. He didn't bother acknowledging Gill.
"Hm," he said. With each tap of the papers, he said again: "Hm, hm, hm."
Vaughn pressed the play button and listened closely to his headset over the roar. "Hello? Is this Persuasive Papers? I'm from Harmonica Town calling about that brochure we ordered—"
Gill slammed his hands down onto Vaughn's desk, making him jump. How'd he get here so fast!? "Tardiness is a viable outlet to getting yourself fired, Mr. Vaughn. Keep that in mind."
"You have no power," Vaughn grumbled, deleting the message and moving onto the next.
Gill's face wrinkled in anger, but before he could get out a retaliation, the boss's door opened with a bang. "Oh, Giiill~? Can I see you in my office for a moment? This week's budget has been finalized by Louis and Candace – I want you to look over it!"
He sighed. "Yes… Mr. Hamilton. Right away, sir."
Vaughn watched him go, receiving a threatening 'I'm watching you' gesture before Gill disappeared inside the manager's office. Vaughn busied himself with his work after that. He made his phone calls, marketing the business and selling it like it was the shit. It was not the shit. It was just shit.
What kind of company makes exaggerated, falsified tourist brochures for run-down towns? Persuasive Papers promised to fool any ignorant passerby into visiting or even buying real estate before even looking over the properties. And Vaughn's job was to find seedy villages to sell their service to.
Leaning back in his chair as far as it would go, feet on his desk, Vaughn held the phone to his ear as he recited the same old spiel over again. "Yes, sir, I'm sure Persuasive Papers is the perfect fit for your needs. If you want to draw people to your town, we're the company you're looking for. May I transfer you to our product department? Our source team will be happy to speak with you also in order to work out all the best points of your brochure…"
He trailed off, staring at the empty reception desk. Quickly, Vaughn ended the call the first chance he got and hurried to the break room. Though it was midday, his coffee wasn't empty. He tossed it in the bin for an excuse to get more from the sputtering coffee machine in the back.
The blinds on the glass door shuddered as Vaughn pulled it open. The door swung closed behind him with a racket. Inside the little room with a kitchenette for the employees were Molly and Candace, talking and giggling about something. Upon his entrance, the girls stopped their chatter and turned around.
"Need another pick me up?" Molly asked, sipping her own rancid coffee.
"Yeah… rough day," Vaughn nodded, taking a Styrofoam cup and filling it from the lukewarm pot. The coffee was terrible, but at least he got to see Candace…
Candace, the blue haired beauty, was in accounting with Louis. He was rather an insufferable nerd, but he was nice. Stereotypical glasses and pocket protectors and obsession with mathematics. He screamed virgin. His coworker Candace though was shy and dainty and very sweet and soft spoken. Vaughn could never say it out loud, but he had a desperate crush on her. That everyone seemed to know about except her.
Her big blue eyes examined Vaughn as he tasted the coffee. "R-Rough day? I'm sorry to hear that, Vaughn…"
"I bet it's Gill," Molly swung her legs from where she was sitting on the yellow counter. "I heard him threatening to fire you this morning."
"Oh my!" Candace gasped, hands going over her mouth. She turned further around in her chair to face Vaughn. "He wouldn't do that, w-would he?"
"He's just a lot of talk…" Vaughn shrugged. He enjoyed the attention Candace was giving him though. She'd be pretty put out if he was gone…
Molly rolled her eyes at the daydreaming expression on Vaughn's face. She tossed her unfinished coffee in the trash can under the sink. She leaned over and snapped her fingers in his purple eyes, literally snapping him out of it. "Ahem. Yeah, I don't think there's anything to worry about. Mr. Hamilton is happy with our little office group. I doubt Gill could convince him to get rid of anybody. Especially our only sales representative."
No one in the room remarked on Molly's logic as an awkward silence fell. Candace pulled at the sleeves on her airy white blouse, hiding her hands. Her hair looked very nice today, piled on top of her head in a loose bun. Her small nose was pointed at the ground where her eyes seemed to be fixed to the grey carpeting.
Allen opened the door and practically fell inside. He closed it quickly behind him, nearly running into Vaughn. "Phew! Sweet relief!"
"Hello, Allen!" Molly smiled, crossing her legs and placing her hands on her knees. Vaughn noticed her black pencil skirt was shorter than usual. He gave her a disbelieving look she ignored as she focused on impressing Allen.
"Candace, my lovely, I've missed you!" Allen leaned down and gave Candace a kiss on the cheek. Her face turned the color of a tomato as she squeaked and held the spot like she was slapped.
Molly's shoulders relaxed into her usual posture, her arms folding across her torso. She glared protectively for her friend's sake. "Allen, you know she hates it when you do that! We ought to report you for sexual harassment…"
Allen leaned against the refrigerator. "Mm, sexual~"
Both Molly and Vaughn rolled their eyes as the door opened once again. Peeking into the room was Louis, the round glasses perched on his nose reflecting the light. He pushed them up his nose, revealing brown eyes hidden under sloppy dark hair. "Uh, Candace? I need you back in accounting… sorry!"
Candace nodded, quickly rising. She avoided Allen like the plague and whispered a good-bye to Molly. Passing Vaughn, she stared for a moment before giving him a small wave. She scurried out after Louis, Rod taking her place through the door.
"Allen! There you are!" Rod smiled, entering the break room. "Alice was looking for you. Said you have to see something."
Allen groaned and slouched against the refrigerator door. "Probably Dan sleeping at his desk again. She's determined to document it every time and make a collaboration for YouTube."
Rod laughed, rubbing the back of his head. His light green button up shirt was rolled up to the elbows much like Vaughn's white one. Vaughn recognized the shirt from Wal-Mart. It was nice to know that even though Rod was Allen's closest friend (no one knew how this had occurred), he wasn't as vain as him. They evened each other out. "Sounds like fun! Will it be a time lapse or—?"
The door opened wider behind Rod. Gill poked his head into the room, frustration in every line of his face. "What are you all doing crowding the break room? Get back to work!"
Everyone rolled their eyes and slowly filed out. Gill tapped his foot, watching them all leave. He looked down at Molly's feet. "Where are your shoes, Miss Molly? It's against dress code to go walking around bare foot."
Molly shrugged. "Must've left them under my desk. And I'm not bare foot, I have stockings on…"
"When you step on a staple and sue the company for health benefits, don't say I didn't warn you!" Gill called after her.
Vaughn walked side by side with her back to their desks. "What a Nazi…" she muttered.
"Just another day in paradise," Vaughn said, leaving her as he went to sit back at his own desk.
The rest of the afternoon passed quickly. All Vaughn could think about was finally asking Candace out. He wasn't some loser teenager anymore. He was a grown man. He shouldn't be so terrified of the idea – especially with a girl like Candace! It should be simple with a girl like her. Then again, a rejection from someone so kind would probably hurt twice as bad…
Vaughn pulled his head up from his desk with a start. Had he dozed off?! Quickly looking across the way, he saw Gill's desk was mercifully empty. At the reception desk, he saw Molly packing away her things.
He jumped up, stuffing everything into his briefcase haphazardly. He punched it shut and switched off his desk lamp, rubbing his eyes.
"Feel better after your nap?" Molly smiled sweetly.
Vaughn glowered. He shook his head to clear away the cobwebs in his brain. "Yeah, actually… Where's Candace?"
"Finally gonna do it, eh?" She continued to tease. Vaughn wasn't laughing, so she threw a thumb over her shoulder and snapped her purse closed. "She took the stairs not even a minute ago."
"Thanks," he said shortly, making his way to the elevator. Maybe he could beat her to the first floor…
"Go get 'em, tiger!" Molly fist pumped and laughed, heading for the stairs.
Just ask her out right. Don't beat around the bush. Just… do it! Say: 'Candace, would you like to go for drinks?' No, not drinks. She probably isn't the type. And the last thing you need to do is get yourself wasted in front of her—
"Vaughn~! Where've you been all day?" A sickeningly sweet voice called. A girl wearing the tightest black dress she could find that would still fit dress code blocked his path, standing a little too close for comfort.
"Alice," he grunted. This routine again… "I'm in a hurry."
"Oh?" She asked, tilting her head sideways. Her dangling earrings followed her under her long silver hair. Her green eyes sparkled mischievously as she adjusted his black tie. "Darn, you must be busy. I was hoping we could get a couple drinks tonight…"
"In a hurry," Vaughn repeated, trying to step past her.
Alice pushed against his chest in urgency. She pouted. "I-I wanted to ask you about the Harmonica Town brochure! You know how Dan is – I have to edit it all by myself! Couldn't you just look it over real quick? For me?"
"Sorry, Alice. Tomorrow," he inwardly cursed himself for saying that. She would hold him to it.
Alice's face fell angrily, but she perked right back up as Vaughn marched towards the elevator. She waved. "Okay! Tomorrow! You promised~!"
Vaughn groaned, waiting for the elevator. Come on, come on, come on! Candace is probably already out of the building by now…
Ding! The doors opened and Vaughn scrambled inside, rapidly pressing one.
Again, the only other passenger was the old janitor. The elevator was his favorite hiding spot to avoid the work waiting for him all throughout the building. He stared at Vaughn bouncing on his heels. "Gotta piss or something?"
"No! I'm trying to…" Vaughn nearly explained. He turned to the janitor, the only person in the office he didn't mind talking to all the time. "You should at least clean the elevator. Would explain why you're always in here."
Terry shrugged. "It's an idea."
Vaughn knew it was just an idea. Terry hadn't removed that mop from the bucket in over a year, and he doubted that record would break any time soon. The elevator lurched suddenly, the lights going out. They were trapped halfway between floors. The red service light blinked.
Vaughn groaned and hit his head against the wall.
"Ha!" Terry laughed in the darkness. "Happy Monday."