Office Christmas exchange. Kill me now.
I’m sitting in a Kumbaya-style circle with my coworkers, fervently wishing I was at home watching Rick and Morty while getting high off my gourd on a mountain dew and cheeba chew smoothie. But my boss has mastered Bossery, and used passive-aggressive threats to imply that I’m gonna be plinking out an arsenal of TPS reports if I don’t attend this party.
I actually love Christmas. I love the costumes and lights. I love the festive decorations. Hell, despite being a big-nuts man-dude, I’m not ashamed to admit I listen to Mariah Carey’s Christmas stuff all year ’round.
But I hate showing up to work on off-hours, and I hate pretending to have fun when I just wanna chill. I hate maintaining that thin veneer of pretend-sanity that keeps my coworkers in their cubicles week after week, pretending that they’ll one day grow enough balls to pursue their dreams. It’s like they’re all infected with some psychic necrosis that burns away their desire for personal fulfillment.
A sparkly box lands in my lap. I unwrap it with wooden fingers and hold up a scented candle from Bed Bath and Beyond.
(I would have preferred a lump of feces. At least that would have made me laugh.)
“Oh look!” I exclaim brightly. “This’ll help my bathroom recover after the giant turkey dinner that’s gonna come rocketing out my—”
My boss shakes his head, a Joker-wide grin affixed to his face. “Too edgy,” he mutters through smiley teeth. “And smile wider, Kent.”
I smile wider. Don’t know about the rest of you, but it hurts my face when I force a smile; it WORSENS my mood instead of lifting it. Nevertheless, I grin and endure.
People open presents, oohing and aahing over tchotchkes like booklamps, keychains, and bottle openers. I open another gift, and whaddaya know! Is it something cool like a ninja star or a jetpack? No! Of course it isn’t! It’s a fancy bar of soap with some obscure French name embossed on its side! How novel! How unique! How perineum-ticklingly grand!
This is too much—I open my eReader to Echo, activating its reality distortion powers. Magic flash.
My boss opens the next present, but instead of some Container Store/Pier One Imports/Old Navy travesty, it erupts with slimy tentacles. They rip off his face and I catch a brief glimpse of red-washed cheek muscles, right before a tentacle wraps around his neck and pops his head like an overripe zit.
“OH MY GOD—”
“WHAT THE HELL IS THAT???”
“SOMEONE CALL SECURITY!!!”
A Cthulu-style creature emerges from the box. It looks like a hideous land-squid equipped with various insect parts. Pincers line its tentacles, and chitin coats its thorax.
It starts mowing through my coworkers like a hot knife through butter. Heads roll. Severed limbs slide across the floor. The overhead neons fritz and burst, showering me with sparks, then start blinking like hellish strobe lights. Overhead sprinklers come to life, drenching us all. Water mingles with blood and forms long rivers of puddling red gore.
“KENT!” I look right and see…what in the hell is th—
A proton pack. Flying right at me.
I strap it on and power it up, my heart thrumming with excitement as I hear that familiar, ka-chunk-mmmMMMM…and level my wand at the Cthulu-thing. Venkman, Egon, Winston, and Ray start blasting the crap out of it, and I add my own incandescent barrage to the mix.
Egon turns to me, multicolored radiance splashing off his glasses. “KENT! DON’T—”
“—CROSS THE STREAMS! I KNOW!” We share a grin and pour it on.
In a few minutes, the horror from beyond is contained in a steaming ghost-trap. We all sit down and grab plates of leftovers, sprawling onto the few office chairs that aren’t burnt or decimated.
Best. Christmas exchange. EVER. 😀
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