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 go and see Bob, your next door neighbour and slightly unhinged survivalist.

Bubble Bobble

You trudge round to Bob's house next door, avoiding the barbed wire (a recent addition to Bob's unusual garden design), past the mines, over the trip wire and you stop at Bob's door.

Remembering that Bob is a big fan of 'Home Alone' you decided against ringing the bell, or knocking on the door.

"BOB" you shout.

"Bob, are you in there, I need your help !"

BANG

A bullet whizzes past your head.

BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG.

And then as you slump to the floor, bleeding just a little bit, you remember that you owed Bob 1 and that he said he would kill you if you didn't pay it back soon.

THE END

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