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Another day at The American Center For Research of Matters that are Questionable

Daryl Moody rides the bus four blocks to work every day, because he read somewhere that Europeans -- "the elites" if you believe as Mr. Moody does that all Americans are fat, stupid, uncultured swines -- are big on public transportation.

His wardrobe consists of a black turtleneck that's two sizes too small; six brightly colored silk shirts -- red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple -- three identical pairs of black cigarette pants; two pairs of alligator wingtips in yellow and purple; one battered pair of knee-high, black combat boots; and a gray trench coat that converts into a cape for his meetings with the underground elven society. He ties what little hair he has back in a tight ponytail -- so tight that it lifts his eyebrows 4.4 centimeters above their natural position so he appears perpetually shocked and bewildered.

Daryl works at The American Center For Research of Matters that are Questionable (The Center), which -- due to the questionable nature of the matters researched -- I cannot discuss, except to say that The Center has assembled an eclectic team of inquisitors to investigate said matters -- or unsaid matters since I've told you nothing about them except that they are questionable.

Daryl was recruited for his extensive knowledge on elf politics and elf subculture -- in fact it's rumored that he has an elven proverb tattooed round a certain unmentionable that is NOT unique to men. (I cannot confirm the rumor's authenticity as I have no desire to inspect Mr. Moody's rear end.). How he conjures the nerve to be snooty is truly baffling, but Daryl -- his colleagues call him Douchey Daryl -- is a serious twat. He's the know-it-all sort, who despite his Texas upbringing and the minor detail that he's never set foot outside of the continental United States (he's never even been to New York) -- fancies himself a worldly scholar, an intellectual and a vessel of European eliteness.

Daryl considers himself an attractive, stimulating companion -- never mind that no woman spare his mother has tolerated his company for more than six months. Daryl became infatuated with Inquisitor Veronica Smith . (Note that Veronica Smith is not her real name -- it's the ethnicity-free name she was assigned by The Center in an effort to minimize high-risk interactions between team members. Human resources prohibits employees from inquiring about their co-workers' marital status, age, heritage, religion, political affiliations, education, health and well being; therefore all ethnic names are checked at reception.) 

Veronica is beautiful, but describing her in detail violates section 675-0009 of the Employee Code of Conduct pertaining to talk of ethnicity. Remarks about her beauty are grounds for immediate  termination, but it must be said that she's lovely. It's a little known fact that Veronica was recruited by The Center for her expertise in Organic Chemistry and natural poisons. In other words -- Veronica Smith is more than a pretty face, but Daryl doesn't want her brain.

He seems rather desperate since Veronica doesn't acknowledge his efforts. He tells her every day how pretty she looks. He leaves her plates of cookies that mysteriously appear in the kitchen every afternoon with a sign that reads "Free cookies -- Don't know if they're edible?" It's painfully obvious that Veronica wants nothing to do with him, but Daryl won't accept it. He asks her to lunch -- "I've already eaten." He needs a different strategy.

So this morning Veronica and another inquisitor are exchanging childhood war stories. Veronica shares the details of her deep-seeded hatred for Halloween, which sounds very strange from a recovering candy addict. But it turns out that based on her coloring and other characteristics I'm not supposed to talk about Veronica was offered the same two costumes year after year -- they were Princess Jasmine and Pocahontas, and Veronica hates them like a person hates kidney stones and vomit.

Daryl unfortunately lost interest in the story thinking about the weather and how stupid it is in America that people wear clothes outside when it's sunny. All he hears is Veronica shouting "Jasmine and Pocahontas." That's it!

"You look just like her," Daryl shouts eagerly. "Princess Jasmine. I'm sure you made a lovely Princess Jasmine."

Veronica whips around in her chair and shoots Daryl the type of glare that scientists think is responsible for thousands of apparently-spontaneous castrations.

"OK -- you don't like Princess Jasmine," Daryl stammers. "Pocahontas then -- you'd make an exquisite Pocahontas."

The second suggestion is clearly as bad as the first. Veronica mutters under her breath -- "stupid piece-of-crap-#$%#! mother-*&%! ..." She bolts from her seat and shakes her fist at Daryl, while the surrounding inquisitors shrink down in their chairs awaiting the barrage of unpleasant screams from their lovely co-worker, but the moment Veronica opens her mouth inquisitor Jimmy Jones swaggers in winking at his colleagues.

"How's it going Ladies?" This is meant as a joke, and everyone receives it with laughter and relief.

Jimmy is charismatic like a 70s-era Hugh Hefner-Johnny Carson amalgam. You'd never suspect beneath his seemingly jovial exterior lurks a man with a plan to take over the world -- perhaps the universe if NASA would ever get its shit together. Tucked away in the secret pocket of his gray hooded sweatshirt is a journal he's kept since he was 6 years old plotting his campaign for world domination. A normal person -- on the remotest of chances that Jimmy mislay his journal -- would see a child's sticker book with peculiar characters scrawled neatly in the margins and back side of each page.

Jimmy has cleverly written his observations about the world's most powerful governments in a coded language that can only be read with a cryptex he made from a Rubik's Cube. The stickers -- of the scratch-and-sniff variety -- represent countries. Russia is bubble gum, The United States is strawberry, China is popcorn, Germany is bananas, and so on and so forth. Taking control of the universe requires followers and that is all that motivates Jimmy to amuse people -- total domination. He discusses the details of his future dictatorship with his coworkers and everybody laughs which tickles Jimmy more than anything -- they think he's joking.

Jimmy -- like Daryl -- has no context for the discussion he's just wandered into. His colleagues are crossing their fingers that he'll change the subject to something brilliant like time machines or double agent grandmothers. But Jimmy can't help himself.

"What's this I hear about Jasmine and Pocahontas?" He asks winking. "Are you curious which one's gonna do me?"

"You've got to be kidding me," Veronica howls.

Every mouth -- except lead inquisitor Amelia Adams' -- drops open. Amelia's longing to see Veronica beat Daryl senseless. She hates him -- his goofy clothes, his insistence that elves are people too ... Amelia's happier than she has been in decades.

"We were just debating whether VERONICA looked more like Jasmine or Pocahontus," she says. "Any thoughts?"

Jimmy hangs his head red faced  and mortified -- he's lost serious ground in his scheme to control the world -- "That's horrible."

The inquisitors turn to Daryl. The unmistakable footsteps of a dozen HR troopers marching in stilettos mean somebody's taking a trip to the basement. Amelia flashes them all a knowing smile and greets the troopers cheerfully at the door. They take Daryl into custody and the lot of them disappear in The Center's winding corridors. He'll be remanded to the tiny room in the basement where fallen inquisitors research the stuff that nobody wants to -- Justin Bieber: boy or robot; emo kids and the shortcut to human extinction; poo and pee; sparkly vampires in America; and Gumball.

Several hours later, Jimmy's sitting at his desk -- his teammates are gone for the day, but he scans the room once more to make sure and reaches inside his sweatshirt to retrieve his journal.

"For the record," he whispers while he codes. "I would do Pocahontas."

He places her sticker next to the entry, returns the journal to it's hiding place and continues his research.


  1. Sounds like your average day at work.

  2. Disclaimer: Any resemblance to real people and places is purely coincidental.

  3. The canny fisherman lays the bate on the water....reels it slowly in and i am helplessly, waiting to read more, and headed to the net!!!!

  4. OOPS..... DUH......BAIT!!

  5. Not math challenged. Spelling challenged? Doh!

  6. I'm not spelling challenged, Doda!


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