Office Romance

There once was a girl who worked in a big office deep in the heart of a city. She wasn’t given a lot to do, so her mind began to stray, she wondered into the darker and less used spaces of the building. One day she wondered into a room full of strange beings, they clicked and clattered. She was nervous of these beings at first, she had seen them preform strange functions, such things pouring from their various orifices. She was intrigued though by the sturdy build of these beings, stuck by the power that radiated from them. She quickly left the room, full of wondrous excitement, maybe tomorrow she’d visit the room again tomorrow. She’d find a reason to be there, as to not have the beings think she was just coming to look at them like they were a zoo exhibit. She took two days to find her excuse, this room also had a monopoly on paper clips, and she was inundated with piles of bug reports. It took her a minute or two to fill her herself with enough bravery to face the room again. She slowly left her chair though and made her way down the narrow hallway. Her palms were sweating, her breathe catching as she rounded the corner. The beings were spread around in their usual spots, quietly humming, deep into processing their work, she felt like she was intruding on the silence. She wanted to interact, but instead hastily grabbed her paper clips and rushed away. She returned to her desk and thought nothing more of the beings for the rest of the day. The next day she again found herself in a similar predicament, paper pyramids filling her desk like the deserts of Egypt. Heart racing she walked the now familiar route to the room, this time she stood in front of one of the beings, she was so close she could feel their warm breath against her skin, and gave her shivers and again she departed swiftly, forgetting the paper clips. She was growing more confident at the idea of befriending these beings. The girl was somewhat of an artist, nothing special, but she could make the occasional decent art piece. That led her mind down a path of wondering if the being she had stood in front would like a piece of her art. So she began to draw and got completely lost in the process, and made all kinds of animals, those were her specialty. The only question became which would make the being soften and begin to befriend her. She chose the picture of a cardinal, it was a noble bird and she liked her rendition of it. That night she washed her hair and got ready for bed, almost too delighted to sleep, she had a plan. The sun rose the next day and found the girl padding down the hallway towards the room of the beings. She entered and laid her eyes on the one she found most appealing, they weren’t the biggest or the strongest, but she they had what she felt she needed. Again she came close, feeling the warmth, she saw the light in their eyes and her tongue tied, she hurdled the drawing at the being and ran from the room, so embarrassed at her nervousness, vowing to overcome her fear. The next day, she marched right into the room, with a drawing of an owl, she zeroed in on her being and walked straight up to them and listened to their quiet hum, and thought they seemed ready, she slowly extended her drawing, until it was fully submerged in the flesh of the being, anxiously she waited, light flashed, her body enveloped in their radiation wave. Growing fearless, she reached out and touched the being, their body was feverish, warmer than she expected. She was frozen for a moment, desire pulsing through her veins, she needed something from this being, something no other could give her. Once the lights had gone down, she trepidatiously let her fingers graze the features of the being, understanding their power and abilities, she swallowed deeply, took one breath and pressed their biggest button, out it shot, white, warm and still sticky. She gathered it up in her hands, the flood of joy filled her to the brim, she hadn’t known a feeling like this, and she must have it again. So she quickly jabbed her fingers over their knob, and pressed again and again, wild with yearning, she waited, and the low hum began to build into a crescendo, it was coming, and out came the same white, warm and sticky product. She must know their name, and just below the beautiful features she traced the words, HP LaserJet.

An Usual Story about an Usual Muffin.

Our story begins on an ordinary side street in Glasgow Scotland, the street’s sidewalk was currently being occupied by a very unusual boy, I’d explain his unusualness but that’s not really what the story is about. The story is essentially about a muffin, a blueberry muffin to be exact. This muffin starts its life in the regular way, a bakery up the hill, it had been bought by a clumsy postman to eat while he went along his route. How the muffin came to sit on the street was not special, it simply fell out of the postman’s bag while he was climbing back into his truck. The boy came along the muffin, still in the box, shortly after.  He was hungry, it had been hours since his morning toast with marmalade and since it was still in the box he decided to eat it, right there sitting on the curb of the sidewalk. He started to open the box, struggling over the tape closure, undoing the fitted sides, his hunger and frustration growing as the cardboard flopped and bent in an attempt to protect the muffin. As he was pulling the side out, he heard something, a heavy sigh, he immediately dropped the muffin box and whipped his head around, had the muffins owner come back to claim the baked good? The street was empty though, not even a stray cat wandered. The boy returned to his task, and again heard a sigh, or maybe it was more of a wimperish yawn, either way the boy again dropped the muffin box, the street remained empty. He picked up the box, determined this time, he pulled the sides out finally revealing the muffin, the boy quickly dropped the box, and yelled “It’s cursed” What would cause this kind of reaction to a baked good? It had a face; two tiny black eyes, a button nose and pencil thin lips. The normal person might have walked away and never looked back upon this mutant muffin, but once the fear subsided the boy’s curiosity began to creep in, he collected the now open box. The eyes stared at him, with a sort of frightened surprise, he stared back in silence, lips began to move then and in a high voice the muffin asked “will I be a mid-day snack?” The boy’s anxiety surrounding this situation now was at its peak, a talking muffin, with a strangely adorable face. This boy was lonely though, ostracized by his peers, this fueled his decision to reply to the muffin, some kind of contact was better than none.

He whispered to the muffin “How is it that you can talk?” the muffins thought this over and returned with that he didn’t know. The boy left it at that, he began asking the muffin questions as if it were a coma victim just waking up, “what is the current year?” “Who is the prime minister?” “What is nine multiplied by four?” The muffin, being that is was just a muffin knew none of these. Its little beady eyes downcast in embarrassment, the boy’s heartstring were pulled then, for he too often did not know the answer to many things. He calmly reassured the muffin, that no, he would not be eaten. He stood up from the curb, box in hand and continued his journey home, famished for lunch. He arrived home, his parents both gone as they often were. The boy placed the box on the table and moved around the kitchen making his lunch.  Minutes later the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is plated and the boy sits opposite the box. The boy raised the food to his lips, but was suddenly startled by the muffin pondering what kind of Jam was on the sandwich, then boy muttered back “I think raspberry”. The muffin continued with on with “Oh I love raspberry, well I’ve never had it, but back in the case I was placed next to a very sweet raspberry danish and we had a lovely chat about the origin of the word danish, did you know its actually from Austria, and not Denmark?” The boy taken aback, sat pensively, well no he had really never thought about where a danish had come from, but his surprise more came from the notion that baked good talked to each other, and about things like their homeland and not just the flour that had been used in them.  He began to wonder if other seemingly inanimate objects also converse between themselves, would a sidewalk ever ask a bird not to poop on it? These thoughts danced though his head, the sandwich was neglected as he delved into the mysteries, but those mysteries are not this story, remember this is about a muffin. We return on the scene, the boy still lost in thought opposite the boxed muffin, the silence was broken by the muffin quietly saying “I hadn’t either, but I won’t overwhelm you with silly stories, you should finish your lunch.” This was a considerate muffin.

The boy, yanked from his thoughts, gobbled the remaining triangles and slurped the glass of milk down.  The boy puts his dish away and sits down. He asked the muffin “what was is like being in oven?” a reasonable question to a baked good. The muffin groaned out “it was awful hot and sort of sticky and we all, the other muffins and I, were growing and expanding in our tin foxholes, and we grew and grew and then just when we thought would burst from all the steam, we were pulled out, a cold breeze from an open window poured over us and we hardened.” The boy thought this was wonderful, and questioned on “were you scared in the oven?” the muffin paused a moment and then volleyed back with “no, not scared as much as claustrophobic, you see there’s only so much room on a muffin tin and the muffin beside me, a larger one, insisted he needed more space, so his batter bubbled up right next to me, it was quite unfair.” The boy’s mind played a scenario of him on the school bus, pressed up against the glass, when it was full, his skinny framed thoughtlessly jostled about against the hard metal and the soft body of a larger boy, he empathized with the muffin. He told the muffin his tale of bus time calamities and the muffin laughed and said “See even though we’re different we can still get along.”  The boy felt understood, and he never quite felt this way before, someone got his side of the story, he wasn’t alone. Excitedly he asked the muffin if they can be friends, and the muffin quipped back “I thought when you didn’t eat me, it was explained.” The boy overjoyed, a friend, at last, yes it was a baked good, but it didn’t matter, for once he wasn’t enveloped in the familiar cold silence that was his home.

The boy and the muffin bantered on and became excellent friends and shared stories that would have made a seasoned war veteran cry, they bonded over many things, being runts, hating their parents, although in the muffin’s case it was his ingredients he had always dreamed of being whole wheat instead of all purpose. The day drifted on and the friendship deepened, and the boy had even placed the thing most precious to him inside the box with the muffin, a lapel pin from a rugby game his father had taken him to when he was younger, and his father still thought his scrawny child would share his love of violent sports one day. The boy treasured the item, only for that it seemed like in that moment his father really cared for him. The pin was given to the muffin as token of friendship and also in gratitude for making the lonely boy’s world at little noisier. As night rolled around the boy made a bed out of tissues for the muffin, and finished it off with a pillow created from a rolled up sock, the boy assured the muffin it was clean. The boy prepared himself for sleep, hopped under the cover and turned out the light. The boy and his muffin, talked late into the night, the boy explained stories from his comics books and the muffin made “mhm, hm, and oh” sounds in agreement.

They talked until the boy fell asleep. In the morning, the boy awoke with excitement and thoughts full with how him and his new friend would spend the day. He pulled back the paper lid and peered into the box, something was different and the fear crept up his spine, the face was no longer there, replaced by squishy looking blueberries, the boy in panic began to shake the box side to side, in an effort to wake the apparently “sleeping” muffin, but it was to no avail, whatever magic had been there was now gone and had left a cold day-old muffin in it’s wake. The boy distraught slumped to the floor of his rooms, alone again. He heard a soft knock on the door, it was Saturday and his mother was home, she entered and asked if he felt okay, he mutters something about climbing under a rock, which she quickly ignored and proceeded to share that she had just heard on the news that the local bread company was recalling all the bread they had made that week due to the rye getting wet and moldy, leading to people having hallucinations. The very same company that provided the bread the boy had eaten the day before for both breakfast and lunch. The boy sighed “well as Theodore Grisel said I shouldn’t cry because it’s over, I should smile because it happened.” After a long stare, and a hope that maybe his muffin friend would reawaken, he dumped the box in the waste can on his way to the kitchen. He was still sad though and he remained that way for many days afterward, until one day he came home from school plopped down his books on the table and clumsily settled into a chair, he glanced at the table, wondering what to have for lunch, and just briefly out of the corner of his eye he saw a heart, a heart made out of crumbs, muffin crumbs, blueberry muffin crumbs if you want to be exact, the boy smiled, and went about making his lunch.