A Cold Where You (Fill in the Blank) Instead of Sneeze

You’ve developed a cold only to discover that instead of sneezing, you (fill in the blank) every time feel like you have to sneeze. This side effect proves to create a fairly entertaining scene at the office with coworkers during your weekly budget meeting. Write this scene.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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21 thoughts on “A Cold Where You (Fill in the Blank) Instead of Sneeze

  1. tlcall01

    Lexi laid her head on her desk. The pressure behind her eyes was unbearable. She had only to make it through the weekly budget meeting before slipping out for the rest of the afternoon. With the end of the fiscal year approaching, and the Board of Directors scheduled to visit later that week, she needed to be at the top of her game. Instead, she felt like she was scraping bottom.

    Sitting up, she rubbed a hand over her face and starred at her computer screen. Her eyes itched and her nose tingled. She rubbed at it, but the tingling got worse. Grabbing for a tissue, ready to intercept the on-coming sneeze, she let out a loud hiccup. A few minutes later, she felt a tightening in her extremities. Her hands clutched the desk as an uncontrolled wave swept over her. “Oh my,” she said, laying a hand over her racing heart, “That was unexpected.”

    “Talking to yourself again?” Lexi’s head snapped up. Standing in her doorway was Sam, Samantha, who worked in the office across the hall. “Come on or we’re going to be late.” Lexi stood, hesitantly, and looked around her office. She made a grab for a note pad and pen and then snatched up a box of Kleenex before heading out the door.

    As she settled into the oversized conference chair, Lexi felt another sneeze coming on. She turned to sneeze into the crook of her arm, but found herself letting out another loud hiccup. She looked up and started to pardon herself when she felt an even stronger wave wash over her. She sank back in her chair, her eyes rolling back. She let out a groan and opened her eyes to see Max from Accounting sitting across from her, mouth agape. Lexi was about to get up and leave when the atmosphere in the conference room suddenly changed. “Good afternoon gentlemen,” boomed a loud voice. “Ladies,” Bolton Finnegan, CEO of MediAssociates, gave a slight bow toward Lexi and Sam, the only two women in the room. “Let’s get started.”

    About twenty minutes into the presentation, Lexi felt another sneeze coming on. Panicked, she wondered which would make Mr. Finnegan angrier: excusing herself mid-meeting or potentially stunning the entire room. The last thing she needed to do was create a commotion. Employees had been fired on the spot for causing dissention. Either way, she was bound to upset the meeting. She was weighing her options when it happened, this time even stronger than before. After she stopped quivering, she glanced around the soundless room. Lexi looked past the stunned faces to Bolton Finnegan, his face stony and impassive.

    After the meeting ended, Lexi raced back to her office and slammed the door. Mortified, she sunk down and let out a sob. Looking up, she noticed the voice mail indicator lit on her phone. It was Bolton Finnegan wanting to see her in his office. Lexi stood, straightened her skirt, and said a silent prayer.

  2. justme143

    It appeared that I needed to take care of this cold, as I reached fror my coat, hat, gloves and yes, the extra scarf. I must, I declared in earnest, that I must stop now I, it happened, I tooted so loud that it sounded like a car horn…this cannot go on, the meeting, my important meeting is today. How will I ever get thru this day? Whistle farting started in my family a long time ago and to the horror of all in the family, it did not seem to skip a generation. There are ways to control it, I have been told, by my mother, but I got the rarest form, loud whistle tooting when I sneeze, of course, today I would have a cold.
    As I shuffled my way to the office, I heard toot, toot and another toot, bowing my head made it almost look like I was a bobble head on the dash board of a car. What am I ever going to do?
    In the front of the large conference table I stood, holding my nose to stop the whistling that I knew would come from my ass. I was mad now, ass seems to be such a fitting word for me, my co-workers and the meeting. I really do not want to make an ass out of myself. Whistle, toot, sneeze..I forcfully bowed my head, when will it ever end? But in the process of this rythmic dance, I noticed that there was a tapping on the table. Whistle, toot, sneeze, again, tapping. It semed only fair to go along and as I gave my presentation, the room was filled with whistle, toot, tapping. Could it be, that I had found a new way to present my work? Could I somehow be the next America ‘s Got talent star? Maybe not today, head held low, I also got the other worst symptom, the smell to take their breath away.

  3. linfady

    TWITCH
    By bedtime I knew it was coming. Scratchy throat, watery eyes, itchy nose. In other words, the common cold.
    To add to my misery, the memo had come down from the top man, “Budget meeting tomorrow. Mandatory. All staff. No excuses. signed J.R./CEO” I could not miss work. Acting on the premise that alcohol kills germs I downed a double scotch then dropped into bed.
    By morning the virus had full control of my body. “Mandatory…” “No excuses.” I washed down a couple of cold tablets, wormed into my clothes, and, alternately shivering and sweating, stumbled out the door.
    It was mid March but I drove with the window open, my left arm resting in the cold air. As I stopped at a traffic light my body tensed in anticipation of a sneeze. Then, suddenly, instead of my nose, it was my left arm that itched then jerked into the air, fingers clenched into a fist — all fingers but one, the digitus impudicus, the indecent finger. It twitched rudely into a single finger salute as Reverend McCoy stepped into the crosswalk. I stared ahead, hoping the good Reverend would not realize that the offending finger was attached to me.
    It happened again as I parked in the company lot. This time my body tensed and my tongue twitched out – way out. Bennie, the computer tech, was sitting in his car next to mine. He leared and winked.
    As I rushed into the building I felt the familiar tension. I did a quick goose-step as my right leg followed by my left leg twitched rigidly in front of me.
    I slipped my shoes off as I joined coworkers in the budget meeting.
    Conversation was lively as departments debated over where money was most needed. The tension mounted again. My arms alternately twitched, then jerked into the air, “voting” on issues with careless abandon.
    Herb Matthews, my most vigorous critic, frowned at one of my “votes.” I attempted an apologetic smile as my left leg twitched, then jerked his direction and I felt his hairy leg as my bare toes brushed under his trousers. He returned my smile. I bit my tongue to control the twitch I felt developing but it darted his direction anyhow. Fortunately everyone else was watching J.R. as he described the pay cut he was asking each of us to accept
    I turned my attention to the proposed pay cut. J.R. asked for a vote and, as he called for a show of hands from those who agreed, the familiar twitch began again. Against my will, my right hand voted for the cut. Turns out that became the deciding vote and I left the meeting $1200 a year poorer.
    Afterwards, Herb, Bennie, and J.R. all came to my office asking me to lunch. I hesitated, feeling the twitch in my nose. Where would the “sneeze” strike this time? I sneezed – a real sneeze! Herb and Bennie backed from the room. J.R. lingered only long enough to suggest that I recuperate at home.

  4. emillerphx

    Mitchel’s phone called to him, begging him to pick it up and play the new level of Angry Birds that updated last night. The weekly budget meeting was not the worst hour of the week, but it certainly sat in the bottom five. Slaughtering pigs with suicidal birds seemed like the best way tot kill the hour. But his boss, Janice, had already had a “talk” with him about paying attention in meetings.

    The room was part of the problem. Beige with brown carpet, brown table, and light brown chairs. It smelled of old donuts and sweat. Plumbing supply distribution was not a glamorous world, and Mitchel never felt less glamorous than when in this meeting room, reviewing how each department spent every penny.

    Johnson was nattering on about the need for his department to have higher quality paper or some such in order to “improve the overall corporate brand identity.” And then Johnson finished and Janice moved on to Susan. Mitchel decided to pass the time by counting how many times Susan used the word “really.” With Susan, everything was “really” something. Really important, really critical, really bad. When he got to fifteen, Mitchel came to the conclusion that he was really bored.

    At “really” twenty seven it happened. He felt a tickle in his nose, not surprising since he had been nursing a cold for a few days. It worried him because he was a serial sneezer. He could never sneeze once, he always had to sneeze at least 10 times before he stopped.

    He took in his breath and reached up to squeeze his nose, to keep it in. He tensed up and…

    “SQUEEEEAK.”

    Susan stopped mid really and stared at Mitchel. Everyone stared at him. He felt his cheeks turning red and tried to cover “Sorry guys. I was trying to hold that one in and – SQUEEEK – it snuck out. Darn, did it again”

    But he realized in horror that it didn’t sneak out. He had not been holding his nose that time. He had been talking and a sound like a mouse being stepped on came out of his mouth. A large mouse that had been stepped on by a big foot.

    “SQUEEEEAK, SQUEEEEAK, SQUEEEEAK” three in a row that time. Mitchel felt the eyes of everyone in the room staring at him. “I’m sorry guys, I don’t know what is wrong.” he said, taking a deep breath and trying to relax. “Please, Susan, go on.” The beige walls seemed to be closing in, making the room feel small and cramped. He sat as still as he could, trying to calm his nose.

    Susan started to go over her detailed expense allocations when Mitchel let out a massive “SQUEEAK, SQUEEAK, SQUEEAK, SQUEEAK”

    She stopped mid sentence again and said: “Mitchel, that is really, REALLY annoying”

    Mitchel could think of nothing better to say than “Twenty – SQUEEAK – eight, twenty nine SQUEEAK!”

  5. Dani

    As Sammy sat in the over-sized conference room chair, she nonchalantly stirred her tea. She was eager to give off the impression that she belongs in this room, she should be here. Her silent pep talk continued and so did the stirring. Suddenly to her horrification she realized she could feel the cold leather seat through her nylons. The cold feeling was the first indication that her skirt was too short. She silently cursed herself for wearing this suit, she knew better. Especially today. She wanted to show off now that she was the new Director of Finance. Today was the annual budget meeting with the partners and her goal was to make a memorable first impression. Her stomach rumbled and she quickly looked around the table to see if anyone heard the tossing and turning. Everyone was transfixed to their ipad’s, iphones or their coffee. More co-workers filtered into the conference room. Sammy’s stomach still rumbled and now she could swear she was getting a fever. This can’t just be nerves, I must be sick, she thought.

    The managing partner was making introductions and Sammy’s nose began to run. She softly sniffled but the uncontrollable mucus was sliding down without any remorse or consideration for the owner of the nose it dripped from. She immediately reached into her purse and grabbed a tissue and casually blew her nose. Her stomach growled in reaction to her bending over. She sat upright and uptight, attempting to focus on an associate who was talking about his department. Her eyes began itch and water. Sammy looked at the clock praying she could last. She had to, she had no choice. Then it happened. Her biggest fear, well, everyone’s biggest fear. She sneezed and although she successfully held in the sneeze, unfortunately she let something else out. A fart. She collapsed back in her chair and with fear in her eyes she glanced around the table to see who heard her. She looked at a coworker next to her and from his red face she could tell he had heard the horrible sound. Before she could come to terms with what had just transpired. Her body again betrayed her, she sneezed! And once again, out of reflex, she attempted to hold it in and once again let out fart. Larger and louder. Is this really happening? Her side of the table heard the flatulence. Their grins and snickers paused the speaker. That half-second felt like an hour. Tears welled in Sammy’s eyes. She got up to leave and excused herself, needing a moment to gather her nerves. Giving herself one of her famous silent pep talks, she headed for the door… ‘it happens to everyone, it’s a natural function. Get back in the game’…. Two steps away from the exit she sneezed again and more noisy wind came out of her rear-end. To her chagrin she realized that she had succeeded in making a memorable first impression.

  6. kapman33

    So I woke up this one morning , and felt like crap. Head ache, congestion, a bad cold to say the least. I walked into the bathroom and ran the shower water. I stepped under the hot stream and I felt a sneeze coming on. I decided to let er rip, but to my surprise, I didn’t sneeze, but rather burped. I thought that was odd, but told myself, whatever, it happens.
    I dried off and was brushing my teeth and again I felt a sneeze. This time, instead of sneezing, I farted very loudly. What was going on I asked myself? Very oddd, but no big deal.
    I got into my car and pulled out of the drive way and a third sneeze was coming. Instead of sneezing this time though, my leg twitched and shot out in front of me quickly. Weird, very weird. WTF was going on here…

  7. onaway

    This morning I sneezed my brains out. They fell onto the table. I wiped them onto the floor with the back of my arm and put my head down on the table. My cheek was cold to the grain of the wood. The arms dropped to my sides like a gorilla’s and a slow stream of drool rolled out and over my lip pooling on the desk a few inches from the eye. After some time I sneezed again and started. I picked up my brains from off the floor and squeezed them into my pocket. The office was closed for the weekend now and I walked across the floor towards the hall of elevators. There was no line for the elevator so I took the stairs. I like to run up the stairs. At floor nineteen I was tired from running (I work on floor seven) so I took the elevator to the roof (twenty stories). I walked out onto the top of the building to watch the sun. Then the night. When the sun came back I was tired of waiting so I walked back to the elevator. Once inside I sneezed again and collapsed in the corner of the car, slumped over on my knees, going down.
    I had to get away from the elevator music so I got out of the elevator. Walking to my ride, without the keys to start the car, I paused at the ramp for some extra time. I didn’t get any.

  8. jojo2006

    Marla had a cold, a cold unlike any other.
    She woke up in the morning on a hunt for her mother.
    She felt she had a dream, one she didn’t understand.
    For every time she would need to sneeze she seemed to raise her hand!
    She couldn’t control it, and didn’t know why,
    But every time her nose gave a tickle she looked about to fly.
    Her mother braced her arm in cloth and bandages.
    “You’ll go to work and claim to have done harm making sandwiches.”
    So Marla went forward doing as her mother suggested.
    Though her afternoon budget meeting caused her stomach to be un-rested.
    The day went by, co-workers believed the “accident” lie.
    Though the meeting time was drawing near and Marla’s arm still wanted to fly.
    She did what she could, taking medicine and rubbing cream,
    But it wasn’t working, a disaster was sure to be seen.
    Marla entered the meeting worried and scared,
    That her arm would fly up and her absurdity would be shared.
    Low and behold the meeting got started,
    And when Marla’s boss opened, Marla’s arm had darted.
    Straight up in the air, plain as can see.
    Marla didn’t know what to say, she could only plea.
    “I found a budget plan that can save us thousands,
    Yet I’ll need more time to receive what my Intel sends in.”
    The lie got attention sure and quick,
    Because her boss loved to save money through any trick.
    As he tried to ask a question though,
    Marla’s arm gave another show!
    Appalled she said, “I’m so sorry,
    But a surprise is better and it won‘t be tardy!”
    She stood up holding her arm,
    Hoping there would be no more harm.
    She turned to the door, and said to her boss,
    “Give me a day for it won’t be a loss.”
    She ran out the door as fast as can be,
    Straight home she went, straight to safety.
    She explained all to her mother with her arm flying through the air,
    Listening with intent her mother could only stare.
    Asking her mother what to do,
    Her mother simply said, “Call in sick with the flu!”

  9. GlenIra

    I developed a cold not too long ago only to discover that instead of sneezing, I found the urge to go to the water cooler for a drink of water. This side effect proves to create a fairly entertaining scene at the office with coworkers during my weekly budget meeting. So there we are sitting at the round table and Sam, our controller is just launching into his spiel about to much time is taken in product testing when I jump up and run out the door, down the hall to the water cooler. Julie, our bookkeeper jumped up and ran to the door to see what I was doing. She got there just in time to see me getting my cup of water and heading back to the conference room. Turning around and going back to her chair she informed the group that I had this panic-stricken look on my face just to get a glass of water. A minute later I came back into the room and sat down, placing my plastic cup of water in front of me. I smiled at the group and said: “Sorry guys, just had to get some water. I really did not want to sneeze all over you. Sam, you were saying…?” Sam started in on his summary of product costs again when Mike our shop foreman interrupted him to ask a question. I felt a sneeze coming on but instead of putting my finger to my nose to stop the sneeze I found my self jumping our of the chair an running back to the water fountain. I grabbed another cup of water and hurried back to the boardroom. There sat my Team. Some had bemused looks and others were showing annoyance. “Sorry. I just had to get this water instead of sneezing.” Even I wondered at the words coming out of my mouth. “I know that you called this meeting” said Mike “but I have people on the floor who need my direction. Can we please not have any more interruptions?” “Sure Mike” I mumbled. Just then Julie came back into the conference room carrying a pitcher of water with ice in it. She placed it in the middle of the table easily with my reach. “Here you go, this might be helpful.” “That was thoughtful of you Julie. Ok, I am settled now let talk shop.” There was a shuffling of papers and Ralph broke the silence by saying “My job is to sell. It is great that we have a proverbial better mouse trap than our competitors and people are beating a path to our door but we need to be considering…” My listening was broken again. That sneeze was coming. I grabbed onto the chair arms. I was not going to run again. My arms were at the breaking point and then it happened. I sneezed. I felt myself shaking. Then I awoke. The alarm clock showed 2:39am. I suddenly felt thirsty.

  10. kevinmeagher

    “You sound like traffic,” he yelled.

    Every time i sneezed a horn sounded. Pathetic i know but what the hell was going on today.
    I awoke with a cold and soon realized this was a freezing. A cold is manageable, a freezing is hell on earth, especially when one still has to go to work.

  11. baldjeff

    The first achooo came. What a mess. Mucus and saliva all over the place. In the shower, getting dressed, eating breakfast. Well actually, more of it came out of my mouth then went into my stomach. The breakfast I mean Achooooo. Yea great and what do I do at the presentation.
    Today was the day. Bob and I were to each make a presentation to Mr. Jones. Based on our performance he would decide whom to give the Davis account. Having the Davis account meant being groomed for the executive suite. It has always been between Bob and me. We started at the same time Moved up at the same pace. I could not stand him. I had no problem with the competition. That I could handle. I enjoyed that. I hated him because he had all those attributes I did not. He always knew the right thing to say, right clothes to wear, right jokes to say. All of it was a complete façade. He was a complete selfish phony. Everybody knew it and accepted it. I had to sweat. And today today! I achoo.
    Right after I entered the office. Achoo. At least I knew enough to cover my face. Everybody looked at me. Everyone there just stared at me. You can read it in their faces. Great he had to get us all sick. Will I have enough notice to duck if he misses the hanky? Everyone but Bob. He had a slightly different look. Smug victory the promotion is his. That look.
    “Mr. Jones wants you both in his office in ten minutes for your presentations.”
    “No problem here Marge.” But do you want Mr. Jones in a closed room with Pete. After all we wouldn’t want Mr. Jones to catch his cold.
    “We all know how much you care Bob. Mr. Jones can take care of himself,” Marge answered flatly.
    Eight minutes and five loud wet achoos later I started walking into the conference room expecting and hoping that I to be told not to bother. I was just about in the room, feeling another one about to come, but it didn’t! At least not out of me. Bob let out an achoo that was louder and wetter then anyone I had ever seen. I again felt ready to let go and it did. Out of Bob again. Mr. Jones looked disgusted
    “At least Pete knows enough to bring a hanky to work with him when he has a cold. Go home. Looking at me he said” You too Pete take care of that you’ll be fine.” He said leaving the room
    Bob could only just look at me. ‘But I feel fine?”
    I just shrugged my shoulder as I felt another sneeze coming, and it did, out of me, “Go figure”
    .

  12. Icabu

    Almost two weeks ago, Bridgette Ledbetter made the mistake of looking in the eyes of the man that had given up his seat to her on the crowded PubTran. She’d immediately felt the disassociation from the invasion of the Parasitic Alien. She’d avoided PA infection thus far and felt ashamed falling for the trap of a handsome and gallant man. Like everyone else, she knew better than to look anyone in the eyes. Now her higher-level thoughts were carried around, rather clumsily, in her remote controlled body – at least until she could get someone to look into her eyes.

    Even with limited input from the rest of her body, Bridgette felt the early stages of one doozey of a cold coming on. It didn’t surprise her. From lack of sleep and poor diet, her stressed-out body made an easy germ target. The PA controlling her had developed a taste for her mutt’s Snausages treats and staying up to watch the late, late movies on TV.

    Bridgette sensed the weariness in her body more than feeling it as her cold progressed. It appeared to be affecting her PA significantly, which gave her a glimmer of satisfaction even though she walked into more walls than usual. Aware of the need to sneeze, the PA stopped Bridgette in front of the full length mirror on her closet door. She didn’t actually sneeze; instead, she felt the PA losing its grip on her. Bridgette confirmed this as a string of unrealized sneezes seized her and she was able to glimpse some of her body in the mirror. Normally, with PA infection, there is no mirror reflection due to the PA projecting its desired image directly to viewers. From the discreet looks from some of her coworkers, it appeared Bridgette’s PA had very poor taste in projected imagery.

    Sitting in the weekly budget meeting was torturous for Bridgette. Her cold had strengthened. The PA wouldn’t blow her nose and merely wiped the drips on her sleeves or whatever was handy. Midway through the boring presentation, a series of building sneezes beset Bridgette. The acute need to sneeze, and not actually getting to, nearly drove her insane. But it was enough to free her of the PA.

    Bridgette finally sneezed, loudly and freely. Without the cloak of the PA, she felt the chair’s leather against her now visible naked body. She saw the others looking at her, then quickly darting their eyes away, as usual. She gratefully laid her fevered forehead against the cool marble conference table. A coworker dropped a suit jacket over Bridgette’s bare shoulders. Resting at the table, Bridgette managed to smile; the PA couldn’t handle a few sneezes.

    Everyone looked up as Mr. DeWitt, the CFO, walked into the wall beside the door on his way out of the interrupted meeting. His awkward movements definitely showed the signs of PA infection. Bridgette felt a sliver of sympathy – maybe she would find the opportunity to sneeze on him.

  13. FinnMacCoul22

    For some reason I go to budget meetings every week at the office. I don’t pay attention, I don’t know what’s going on, and everyone knows it. I do not know why they wanted me there in the first place, but I think it was supposed to be some kind of compliment.

    Around this time of the year I start getting the sniffles on a pretty regular basis, just something I have to deal with. The sheer ferocity sometimes makes people uncomfortable, but we all get used to it after a while. They can generally see I’m in misery. My eyes water and my nose turns red and both start discharging things we would all rather they didn’t. It’s pretty disgusting.

    So I’m at the budget meeting, working on a family tree of the British royal family starting with William the Conqueror, like I do every week. I’m at the part that always causes me trouble, Edward III’s children. I feel a sneeze coming along, and get the crook of my elbow ready to receive it.

    I close my eyes, heave from my stomach, mentally and emotionally detach from the rest of existence for a moment, as I do when sneezing, but this time I just blast a chunk of snot out of my nose. It sneaks right under my arm and ruins the family tree I’d been working on.
    Peter Preston on my right notices immediately, and starts laughing. Pretty much in my face. I suppress my initial urge to wrap my hands around his neck, but not successfully. I’m shaking his skinny little neck, and realize immediately I have a new problem. I try to cover it up by laughing and moving my hands to his shoulders, patting affectionately.

    Now they may have bought that, but I felt another snot sneeze rising up. I spin around to get my face away from the room of people staring at me. I bring the royal stemmata I’ve been working on up to my nose and aim into it. Somehow I was holding it in such a way that instead of absorbing and halting my nasal discharge, it sped it along its surface and launched it towards a poster of a cat on the wall.

    The cat is splattered with bright green stuff that came out of my body, and people start freaking out. The elbow and then the paper had failed me, and strangulation hadn’t panned out, so I was low on ideas at this point. The cat was staring at me with its sad, splotchy face. I mumbled something about allergies and got out of there.

    I lost some friends that day, but I wasn’t fired or disciplined, and they still expect me at budget meetings. Which I still choose to see as a compliment. I probably should have been in trouble over the choking, but if they’re willing to put that whole day behind us, so am I. Upside is I’m given a lot of space these days.

  14. egg

    I fell asleep watching ‘Borat’ last night. It could be just a co-incidence but I rather suspect that some part of that ridiculous movie has planted itself deep in my grey matter, only to reveal itself at the most inopportune moments.

    I first noticed my newly acquired habit in the elevator on the way to the office when the sickly sweet perfume of our matronly, HR manager invaded my nostrils like an adventurous blowfly.

    “She’s far too young to get married,” the woman whispered conspiratorially to our dowdy pay clerk who was clearly not interested in elevator gossip.

    “NOT!” I exploded as my nostril hairs tickled the inside of my shnozz and I tried desperately to suppress a sneeze.

    The HR mama turned and glared at me through thick, black lashes in an obvious display of irritation. I developed a sudden fascination for the beige interior of the elevator just as the clunky doors slid open. My nostrils twitched for a second time. I held my breath as my co-workers fled from an orchestral version of Hotel California, leaving me to scuttle red-faced behind them.

    “He’s such a rude man!” sneered Cruella as she shuffled down the hall with her co-worker.

    “NOT!” I erupted as I dashed to the goldfish bowl that was my office.

    I had ten minutes to gather my stats before the weekly budget meeting. As I consulted my gantt chart for last minute reassurance, I was relieved that my sinuses had nothing to say on the matter.

    The accusing stare of the HR dragon watched me as I entered the conference room and made my way to the opposite end of the table.

    “Maggie, would you like to open proceedings?” boomed Frank’s authoritative voice.

    The HR Manager perched thin, granny glasses on her heavily powdered nose. “Our advertising campaign of last month continues to attract high quality recruits resulting in ongoing cost-savings…..”

    “NOT!” I shouted across the room. I stayed very still and pretended to consult my notes. A low, quiet chuckle from the IT Manager and a girlish titter from Frank’s PA danced irresponsibly in the menacing silence. I sneaked a glimpse through my bangs at the frowning faces and crossed arms of my colleagues.

    “Is there something you’d like to add, Kevin?” asked Frank.

    “No sir,” I said. “I was just thinking what a wonderful job Maggie is doing.” My eyes squinted and my mouth dropped open. “NOT!”

    The young, EHS Manager bowed his head and chuckled to the table. The IT Manager and PA laughed unabashedly.

    “I’m sorry, everyone,” I said. “It’s this stupid cold…. Ah.. ah.. NOT!”

    Frank regarded me suspiciously. “What say you go back to your office and send your report via email?”

    “Great idea, boss,” I said as I gathered my notes and hurried for the door. Two steps later my nose started twitching. “NOT!” I screamed as I ran down the hall.

    That damn movie. I knew I should have watched Pirates of the Caribbean instead…. arrgh!

    1. Patrick Michael

      Egg,
      Great setup and delivery with the “NOT”s! You used some contrasting word choices that made for an interesting duality of character (i.e. mama, conspiratorially and dragon). The descriptions of a few seemingly unimportant details stood out as well (the goldfish bowl that was my office, orchestral version of Hotel California, danced irresponsibly in the menacing silence). I’m not sure if those descriptions highlight the comedy of the situation by posing some stark contrast or subtly undermine the joke.

      Who has NOT wanted to do just that in the office with bosses and errant co-workers? Great fun reading this story!

      Thanks~
      Patrick’s Blog

  15. 2tsala

    (Standing around the water cooler)
    I can’t believe you missed this morning’s budget meeting. Just wait till you hear what happened. You know that real bitchy girl, Tracey from accounting? She showed up this morning complaining like she always does about her weekend. Apparently THIS weekend she got “stuck” babysitting her sister’s sick kid and was afraid she caught her cold. She no sooner said that when she started laughing. Two seconds later she stopped and the meeting started.
    Ron was beginning to tell us how we came in behind margin and Tracey burst out with a loud “Hahahaha”. She immediately apologized and Ron began again. According to Ron we did so poorly this month that the President is actually considering closing this location! Can you believe that Tracey responded to that with a series of short giggles? I think she’s on drugs.
    Once she composed herself, AGAIN, we went around the room with ideas on how to increase revenue. Sally gave her same old ideas, John had some really unique insight to what he thinks is holding us back and Tracey, well Tracey couldn’t finish a sentence without short bursts of laughter erupting from her pie hole.
    Before you knew it, every time she had another laughing fit it became contagious and everyone was laughing. By the end of the meeting Ron thought this was Tracey’s way of boosting morale during a grim situation and gave her a promotion. God I hate that BITCH!

  16. egg

    I admire your tenacity. Did you read the WD article on ‘How to Write Better Using Humor’, 9 Aug 11? It offered some interesting pointers that I think you could easily apply here. Good luck!

  17. Patrick Michael

    Gerald woke up with a cold today. He has a big sales presentation for a major client and a weekly budget meeting. He did not take Maximum Strength Pseudacleanyourpipesadrin ™, he took a generic brand of grape flavored cold medicine. Let’s see how his day went…

    The effects of his cold made for an interesting sales presentation filled with dancing and spilled coffee. Each time Gerald was going to sneeze he held it in and a series of spirited convulsions wracked his limbs. The clients were taken aback yet mildly entertained when he appeared to fall into a full-on Pop and Lock routine at the front of the board room. A fellow presenter suggested that he take a seat and poured him a cup of coffee. While adding a large helping of non-dairy creamer, his arm jerked when he held in another sneeze and he dusted the room with the white powder. That set the entire room in to a fit of sneezing and wild spasms. From across the hall the CEO thought Gerald looked like he was leading the unfortunate break-dance troupe “2 P.M.”.

    Gerald took another dose of the generic grape flavored cold medicine just before entering the weekly budget meeting. He took a seat in the back of Conference Room B and waited for the others. As the lights dimmed and the meeting commenced Gerald fell in to a deep slumber. The speaker’s comments were punctuated every few moments by Gerald’s loud snoring. A team member jabbed him in the side, he started awake and held in another sneeze causing more unrestrained action from his extremities. Gerald’s limbs flailed wildly and knocked all the artisan coffees, sitting on a tray in front of him, across the room and slashed the participants with the scalding bitter drink. The CEO turned to Gerald and suggested that he leave the conference room to pack his desk. The office did not need another “Charlene Incident” or more accidents due to generic grape flavored cold medicine.

    Don’t be a “Gerald”. Make sure to have your Maximum Strength Pseudacleanyourpipesadrin ™. Before a meeting, class or dates, if you feel cold coming on, take Maximum Strength Pseudacleanyourpipesadrin ™. It will turn all your dancing in to napping and your napping in to dancing!

    Questions:
    1) What parts could be highlighted for comedy? Where were punches pulled?
    2) Was the action/plot enough to drive the story? What parts need more description?
    3) If you posted on this prompt, have you commented on Other writers’ posts? (Post Once, Comment Thrice, “p1c3”)

    Thanks~
    Patrick’s Blog

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