10/14/10: Way to shame me into updating again by commenting, people who comment! (Seriously, though, hi, welcome, and pull up one of the splintery old orange crates that we use for seating 'round these parts seein' as we can't afford no fancy chairs.)

The rules from
here still apply.

Friday, November 17, 2006


The foreman coughed politely. "Need some help there, Murray?"

Murray felt his face go red, but he remained as he was, facing the door, head down so he could get a better look at his keys. "Nosir, Mr. Talbot. I know I've got the right key here; I'll find it any second now -- aha!" From the massive keyring he triumphantly held one key aloft, a huge silver-colored affair, worn and greasy with the use of years. "Sorry about that, sir, there's just so many keys to sort through that it... hrm."

Talbot frowned. "Problem?"

"Wrong key." Shamefacedly, he held the keyring even closer to his face, nervously aware of the seconds ticking by even as the key he sought continued to elude him. "There's just so many of them I need to have on me, you see, and so many of them look alike, and -- "

"Murray, your boss and I have been somewhat... concerned, lately," Talbot interrupted smoothly. "You've worked here for, what, fifteen, twenty years?"

Murray felt his throat tighten, but he answered as calmly as he could. "Twenty-three."

"Twenty-three. That's a long time to have kept up your janitorial duties, and you've generally performed admirably." Talbot paused slightly, then continued. "However, we have noticed lately that you appear to be having... difficulties."

Murray turned to the foreman in alarm. "Sir, if this is about that door I left unlocked last week -- "

Talbot shook his head. "No, no, it isn't just one thing; it's more a series of incidents, minor ones, certainly, but... they do add up." He coughed, then pointed to Murray's belt. "Is the key you need on your other keyring, perhaps?"

"Oh." Murray went red again. "I think it is, actually."

Talbot's hand came down on his shoulder, heavy, insistent. "As I said, your boss and I have been talking about your performance lately, and... I'm afraid we're going to have to let you go."

"Oh," Murray said again.

"Perhaps there's something else on your mind lately, and that's what's got you distracted," Talbot went on, not letting go of Murray's shoulder. "We would certainly be willing to consider rehiring you in a year or so, if that is the case. And we've no hard feelings, you understand."

"Yes," Murray agreed.

"We just have to look out for the success of the company, you see?" Talbot gave him a brief, meaningless smile. "That's all."

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