This office is not the exception

in The Ink Well3 years ago (edited)



"Sitting at my seat again, Brian?"

"It's just to be closer to you."

"You wouldn't want, by any chance, the closeness of my fist?"

"Give me your best punch, love."

"Brian, Liz, stop it! Can you just take a break today?"

"Leave me alone and the office will be a paradise, Jack!"

"It can't be a paradise. We've got about 100 docs to transcribe today," said Mr. Wallace, grabbing his hair.

"Don't complain. The stubborn boss resigned yesterday. We can excuse low productivity due to hierarchical issues," commented Rick with a confident tone and a smile as big as his face.

"And then, what?," asked Liz, "We blow up the office because of the stress of all the work piling up?

"Surely you're not the one with broken fingernails from all that typing," said Grace with her arms crossed as she glared defiantly at Liz.

"Excuse me? I'm not the one who goes out early for boyfriends," replied Liz.

It was then, in the blink of an eye, that an argument went off like dynamite. At first it was Liz and Grace, but progressively the furor escalated as others in the office complained about each other's actions and comments.

Vulgarities flew around and so did the keyboards and mouses in the midst of the chaos.

It was just another day at the Syce's office.

No matter how much was said, hurled or complained about, Irving's kindly man almost always appeared to calm things down.

"Guys, guys," he said in his slow, thick voice, "it's time to offer you something divine. I bought a bar of the new Hershey's presentation for everyone."

Maybe tempers were running high this time and that's why Irving seemed to be talking to a wall. But he had a plan b.

Like a pitcher warming up, Irving tossed bar after bar to each employee. Some were instantly startled. Others stared incredulously at the new chocolates.

"Irving, have I told you that I love you more than my own family?" said Brian as Jack almost threw him out of a window.

Similar comments arose as the coveted bars were tasted. Everyone thanked and embraced Irving as a hero: Chocolate-man.

It was 11 am and Syce's office was a Swiss watch. Each one worked with exact timing, performing the most arduous tasks as an integrated body.

The machinery stopped for a moment.

As it turned out, Mr. Wallace suddenly remembered that the receptionist had mentioned to him earlier in the day that a new boss would be arriving today. He would be introduced at 11:30.

Mr. Wallace had not finished delivering this news when the farm was in an uproar again. Although this time the uncertainty was greater than the desire to complain to each other. Thus, everyone was running around wondering if they had finished the job, if the makeup looked good, or if the boss was just another dictator.

In their nervousness, no one remembered the time or the importance of the moment. Everyone was immersed in building their perfect image to win the approval of the new boss.

However, to their greatest surprise, a loud bang resounded throughout the office. It was like a sledgehammer that broke the very wood being used.

The eyes of even the neighboring building immediately looked for the source and saw that it was Jack, who had a piece of wood broken in half.

"I almost died of a heart attack because of you, Jack," cried Grace shrilly.

"Is it because you want more chocolate?" asked Irving with concern.

"Jack put that away or throw it away! The boss should be here any time soon," warned Rick as if it were the end of the world.

These words bounced off Jack as he scowled and glared at everyone in Syce. Then he soon replied:

"I'm not going to do anything because I'm not Jack. I'm Carl, the new boss."

There was an almost total fainting in the office, and those who were still standing were stunned as they watched the new boss remove the special makeup and wig that made him look so much like Jack.

For her part, Liz reacted to this by screaming and throwing her phone into the air, causing the fire alarm to go beeping.

Such a symphony made the secretary appear. She despaired of both the alarm and her sister's out-of-control behavior. She quickly deactivated both and, looking incredulously at the boss, said:

"Mr. Carl, you have... I didn't see that you...."

"Don't worry, Miss Michigan. This was my plan," said Carl, trying to calm her down in a cool, clear tone.

The calm was short-lived. Car took several short, forceful steps over to where his subordinates were standing and said:

"I was already aware of this work environment. Many comments had reached my ears. That's why I contacted Jack yesterday, explaining that I was going to be his new boss and that I would be giving him today off for organizational reasons in the office."

"Wait, did you know that he...?" asked the secretary in astonishment.

"Yes, of course," Carl soon interrupted. "I already knew that Jack was the only one who didn't have a phone, besides being the one who doesn't get along with nobody here. I did my homework. I knew he wouldn't say anything."

Then Carl continued, commenting:

"It took me half a morning to find out that everything that is being said is true. I even almost self-defected and sent myself to jail. Nice first day, isn't it?"

"Excuse the zoo, Mr. Carl. From my years of experience, I believe you are an honest man and did not deserve to meet us like this," said a very apologetic Mr. Wallace.

"And I shall know no more. Just as I came in, now I'm leaving Shyze," said Carl, taking his things.

For a moment, the embarrassment that pervaded the office was transformed into a mute stage. Carl imagined they could keep telling him more things to stop him. But instead, Brian let out a chuckle that gradually turned into a giggle.

"Are you laughing because you're nervous?" Carl asked indignantly, confused.

"Mr. Carl," said Irving, "I think there's been a big mistake."

"What? This sounds like the worst and best joke of my life," said Liz, who also began to laugh.

Rick walked over to Carl and put his hand on the stricken man's shoulder:

"A lumberjack in space is less confused than you are now."

"As if everything I've seen wasn't enough, now I have to listen to this insult as well. I..."

Interrupting Carl with a gesture, the secretary confessed apologetically:

"Sir, Carl, this is not Shyze. It's Syce. Both belong to the same owner, but their objectives are different. I'm afraid Mr. Milton, our CEO, has played a trick on you."

Carl opened his eyes so wide they almost popped out. He turned as red as a tomato and it even looked like some smoke came out of his ears for an instant before he shouted:


At the end of the day, for the first time in months, the Syce staff did not end up upset, but rather reminiscing about all the funny things that had happened including the crashed ambulance that came for the crazed Carl.


Hello! It's nice to be around again. I just came back at about a couple of weeks ago and I have read great stories in The Ink Well. I think it is a community where you can always find quality reading. And, to be honest, I'd like to contribute posting what I have written lately. Hope you guys like this one!


Hilarious story! I like what you did with the dialogues. That's an element I tend to struggle with when writing. Also, you described the environment of some of the workplaces I've had hahaha some days all that could break the mayhem was chocolate. And I'm crazy about chocolate.

So, you're Chocolate-woman? Be ready to team up with Mr. Irving next time Haha.

Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate it. I think I usually can sketch some dialogues because of my habit of listening to people talking. This helps me to find out what gets people interested in a conversation.

This is a fun story. Almost a textbook example of how to drive a narrative forward with dialogue. Thank you for posting the story in the Ink Well community. We appreciate that you engage with other writers.

I'm pleased you liked my dialogues. Thank you for giving all kind of writers weekly opportunities to share their stories with the world.

And, I already commented a couple of stories:

I commented on:

Magic Table on a Caribbean beach by @gracielaacevedo

Feast mode! by @beautifulwreck

Funny story and the premise is so out there!

Thank you! I'm glad you spent some of your time reading my story.

I had a lot of fun reading this story, @gabmr. I love stories where crazy and unexpected things happen! Very entertaining.

Hi. It's my pleasure you found some fun in my story. I often try putting smiles on people's faces!