Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: First World Problem (04/17/14)
TITLE: The Beast
By Joe Moreland
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“You are never taking anything from me, ever again! You hear me?”
It all started earlier that day with a cup of coffee at the corner shop. Okay, maybe a cup of coffee and a scone. Sue me. As I was leaving the store, I overheard two people discussing an opening for an accountant at a nearby office.
I'm an accountant. I'm out of work. Divine intervention.
“Excuse me, were you just talking about a job opening?”
A short, dark haired woman turned to face me. “Yes. Are you an accountant?”
“Yes. I have a degree and everything.” This was my disarming banter. Works every time.
“Are you certified?”
“As in 'CPA'?”
“No, as in 'lunatic'.” She smiled as she said it. Drats! Out bantered.
I smiled back. “Yes. I am a CPA.”
“Perfect. Maybe we can salvage something on this project after all. Assuming you are acceptable, that is.”
“Oh, I'm acceptable alright. I've been housebroken and everything.”
The woman inclined her head to one side and seemed to take a harder look at me. Slowly her eyes widened and her mouth came open slightly, as though a new realization had just dawned on her.
“You think you're witty, don't you?”
“And clever. Witty and clever.”
She studied me some more. Finally she let out a small sigh. “I guess I really don't have much of a choice. I need to move quickly. My name is Ms. Jenkins.” Just like that, a business card was in her hand, extended towards me.
“You can meet Mr. Davenport here at 1pm. Do not be late.” Her eyes flicked quickly down to my sandaled feet. “And wear shoes and socks.”
I pocketed the card before she could change her mind and snatch it back. On my way home, I tried to think.
Where was the last place I saw my socks?
I was pretty sure I had seen them just the other day. Or at least one of them. I practically ran home. Well, I walked quickly, sipping my coffee.
In no time I had made mincemeat of my closet, bedroom and livingroom – trying to find both of my black socks. Once I had them and started to lay clothes out across my bed, I got a whiff of the socks.
Later, when I regained consciousness, I realized that laundry would have to be done.
This is where the “DUM-DUM-DUMMM” Mystery movie reveal music gets played. Laundry is my nemesis. The washer is evil and the dryer...well, the dryer is Satan. That's why it's so hot in there.
I had managed to clear the complicated hurdle of laundering my socks (yes I ran the washer with just my socks in it), but now I had to face the daunting task of drying them. I know, most people think that washing is more complicated; measuring out detergent, selecting a cycle (is it warm, or is it cold?), and applying softener – and I'm sure I messed up each and every part of that equation - but, for me, it's the dryer that is truly cringeworthy.
Things go in there without ever coming out. Where do they go? Nobody seems to know. There is a Bermuda Triangle in my dryer! I could not afford to lose a sock right now. I figured my chances were better if they were the only items in the load.
I eyed the beast from across the room. Slowly the rumbling began to slow and soon the machine was still. Nervously I walked over to the dryer and reached for the door.
The mouth of the beast.
The phrase made me hesitate. What if they were gone? I could hardly be surprised if they were – it was Satan, after all.
I took a deep breath and calmed myself. No sense in getting worked up yet. Carefully I opened the door and reached my hand into the mouth of the beast and pulled out...a single sock.
Mr Davenport shook my hand and eyed me carefully. Head to foot. It was at my feet he stopped.
“Good heavens, man! What happened to your sock?”
“Heh.” I snorted with some satisfaction. “You should see the other guy.”
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