Read Me A Story...

Good Morning!

Huh! Stupid alarm clock! Your dreams of sailing down a river of jam on a giant panda are interrupted - as usual - by the braying voice of "Mickey Mickson and his Funky Breakfast Shindig" on Radio 6. As you repeatedly try and fail to smack the top of your clock radio you glance at the red numbers below. It's 7:30. Since you don't have to be out of the house until 8:00, you decide to go back to sleep. With one final swipe you happen to land your fist on the snooze button, roll over and fall asleep again instantly.

You wake up again at noon.

Running for the bus, you pass a shop you'd never noticed before. The sign - which looks surprisingly weathered - reads "Fiona's Fruite Ande Vege" and a withered old lady sits inside knitting.

More than a little curious (not to mention pretty sure you've fired by now anyway) you go inside. The lady smiles sweetly and leaves you to browse her stock.

After finding no sweets, computer games or motorbikes in the shop you decide to leave... but your conscience gets the better of you and, rather than leaving empty handed, you buy the cheapest thing you can find. A tomato, for your lunch... or failing that, to throw at your boss when he gives you the bad news.

As you walk down the street you playfully throw the tomato from hand to hand, for the next half-mile or so at least. It's only when startled by a cat running out in front of you that you accidentally throw the tomato up into the air and fall backwards onto your rear, to the badly-hidden chuckles of the few people to whom you were visible.

The tomato, however, rather than slamming onto the ground and going "squesh" - that's "squesh" - instead drifts slowly towards the pavement and hovers, about a foot from the dirt, as if to make sure that you're alright. As you change from glancing to staring at the floating fruit it suddenly falls the final few inches onto the ground and lies there motionless. Not quite sure whether you just saw what you think you saw, you contemplate your next move.

You decide to forget about it and go to work.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To Work We Go

You keep a tight hold on the tomato all the way to work - not so tight as to crush it, of course, but tight enough to stop it dropping towards the floor again, and all that it may entail. However, as much as you try to dismiss what happened, you can't help feeling that, every so often, the tomato seems to be dragging your hand more than you're hand is carrying the tomato. Again, you try to push it to the back of your mind

Amazed that you haven't been sacked, only given another formal warning, you put the tomato in your desk drawer and get on with the day's paperwork. Working in an office isn't a great job, you reflect, but it gets you out of the house... which, similarly, isn't a great house, but it gets you out of work, especially on those days when the roof falls in and pins you to the kitchen floor. The pub often gets you out of both, and consequently wins hands down

You hear a thud from your drawer. Then a second. Then... more of a squelch. You take a peek inside and see squashed tomato all around the inside of the drawer. Seeds are scattered liberally among the elastic bands and paperclips. Sections of skin lie draped over the holepunch and the electric pencil sharpener which you still haven't managed to smuggle home. And, at the back of the drawer, in the darkness, the stapler seems to be dancing a small jig.

Your heart, which had been getting louder and louder seemingly in your throat, skips a beat... a pause just long enough for you to hear a quiet ghostly voice singing "Finally, I'm out of that tomato... I've got a new place to live, doo-dah, doo-dah..."

You decide to yell "Hey, everyone, look at this!" to your fellow workers.

You're Pushing It...

As if turning up late for work wasn't enough, you decide to put your career on the line by standing up in the middle of your office and shouting to everyone about your dancing stapler. A couple of curious folk, knowing that you're not really the type to be seeing such things, come over and peer into your drawer with you.

The stapler... does... nothing.

You're sent home sick and told not to come in for the rest of the day. You're lucky it's not more permanent.

You decide to break back into work to kidnap the stapler.

A fishy-tomatoey-stapler eh ?

After sitting motionless on the far from comfortable sofa that occupies the majority of your poky lounge for six hours twelve minutes and 83 seconds, you come to the realisation that you actually did see a floating tomato and a dancing stapler. Another scan of the room still reveals no answers, no empty bottles of that Nicaraguan Tequila (which was the cause of the last series of visions), no remnants of a prawn curry from the worryingly named 'Uh Oh Curry House' down the road. Incidentally the only known curry house to give out free sick bags with purchases over £5.00.

You decide that if the stapler was real and if the stapler could dance, even just a few jigs to begin with, maybe some more classical styles later, but that was more a job for Mrs. Taggart who instructed begginers tap at the local church hall, then there was some money to be made here.

In this case there was only one choice, break into the office, steal the stapler, make some money, get the girls, live the high life, retire, and then live out the rest of your life as a sugar daddy in Monaco.

Then it hit you, the memory of the last time you tried to leave the office with company property. Three days in a cell block, hours upon hours of interrogation, sleep deprivation, humiliation, name calling, torture and all because you had tried to take a drawing pin home to put up that calendar of a certain celebrity that you had got for christmas.

You decide to risk it and go to the office empty handed.

Going Solo

You raid all your cupboards and drawers for all the weapons you can find and 2 hours later you emerge from your house wearing a balaclava, black catsuit and spray-painted black primary school-style pumps carrying a corkscrew.

It's just starting to get dark and you're unsure whether anyone will still be at work or not. Even so, you decide to approach the building in a series of sideways jumps, hiding along the way behind pebbles and fences. By the time you get to the building you've been gunned down a total of zero times, so you're pretty sure the journey was a success. You then realise that you've lost the corkscrew.

You glance at the floor. Three discarded items lay beneath the dark, locked window. In the distance, you hear a car. Realising that it will pass by in a few seconds, you deduce that you've just enough time to pick one and somehow use it to get into the building.

You decide to pick the rock.

You pick up the rock, and quickly scan the building for any windows built using SilentGlass (the glass you can smash without making a sound). After ten minutes of running round and round the office block, you remember that the company that created SilentGlass went (rather unsurprisingly) into liquidation in 1977, and the cornerstone laid by ArchDuke Flurflurflur to commemorate the opening of the building bears the inscription.

'This stone was laid by
ArchDuke Flurflurflur
on 29th February 1987'

So that was Plan A scuppered, and as you decide to walk away and forget all about tomatoes and staplers and everything else you had seen that day, something glinting in the moonlight catches your eye. You walk over to the exact spot where you picked up the rock and lying on the floor is a key. Not any old key mind, the master key to your office block. And as though somebody turned a lighbulb on above your head, you remember that the security for your offices used to be run by the firm 'FlossGuard', which was run by your Aunt Flossie. Which explained a lot, the reason 'FlossGuard' folded, the reason that her and Uncle Benjie had to sell their house, car and all of their possessions and go and live in a caravan in Llanllanllanllangollen was simply that she was using the old 'key under the stone' security techniques developed by your gran in the early 1920s.

After a bit more reminiscing, you remember the job in hand, rescue the stapler, train the stapler to dance at your command, make loads of money, rescue Floss and Benjie from Llanllanllanllangollen, and take over the world.

Tentatively you try the key in the door.

Click,click,clunk.

It unlocks, you walk in and close the door behind you.

You decide to go to the photocopy room and make numerous copies of your body parts.

Don't you ever grow up?

You grin as you enter the photocopy room but the smile on your face quickly fades when you find out that the first machine is out of order. Luckily there is a second copying machine! Again a grin appears.

First you put both hands over the machine and with your tongue you hit the green button.

*buzzzzz* *flash* *buzzzz*

A sheet of paper rolls out showing your hands.

That was fun, but you’re bored already. You decide to drop both your pants and underwear and start climbing on the machine butt-naked. Again you hit the green button.

Nothing happens.

A yellow light flickers.

You climb down to inspect what happened, or better: What not happened. The light is indicating that the machine is out of paper.

Just your luck.

Nobody's written what happens next. How about another random story?