Friday, April 27, 2012

Why You Were Late For The Meeting

You're at lunch when your smartphone buzzes with an e-mail from your boss: "Don't forget, we have a meeting in 10 minutes."  Of course you did forget, so you rush out of the restaurant and attempt to make it before it starts.  But a crazy chain of events stops you from getting back in time for the meeting.  Writer's Digest

I was feeling the effects of the food coma I had just caused when my phone started vibrating.  I fumbled with it but managed not to drop it.  I touched the screen and read the email on it.  The email contained a single line: "don't forget, we have a meeting in 10 minutes."

I freaked out and bumped the table as I got up.  The silverware rattled on the plates and a cup of water spilled over.  "I'm sorry.  I really need to go."  I handed the waiter a ten dollar bill and took off running.

The cafĂ© was only a block away from the office but I was already gasping for air when I reached the front door.  I stopped for a second to catch my breath when my phone started vibrating again.  This time I didn't bother to check it and walked into the building.  I looked across the lobby and noticed one of the elevators was open.  I took off running and yelled "Hold the door!"  The door closed as I was getting to it.  I lost my footing as I tried to stop and ended up on the floor knocking down the trash can between the elevators.

I got up and ran across the lobby and headed for the stairs.  The stairwell was made up of grey concrete and grey railings spanning from the basement all the way up to the tenth floor, my final destination.  I was about to reach the fifth floor when the door flew open.  A young executive assistant came through the door carrying about two trees worth of paper and bumped into me.  I grabbed her by the arm and steadied her.  One more step and we would have had a Carnival in the stairwell.

I made sure she was OK and continued on my journey.  By the time I reached the eighth floor I had slowed down considerably.  Then I noticed a hissing sound coming from above.  I leaned on the railing and looked up towards the ceiling but didn't see anything out of the ordinary.  I continued to climb becoming more aware of the sound as I got closer to the source.  I reached the tenth floor to be greeted by a leaky water pipe.  I put my hand in front of me to shield myself from the water when the pipe burst open.  Cold water rained on me and within seconds I was soaked from head to toe.  I managed to stay on my feet and staggered to the door, went through it, and shut it behind me.

Everyone in the office stopped to look at me.  I tried to catch my breath, then asked "where's the meeting?"

"You didn't get the memo?" one of my coworkers asked chuckling.

Dumbfounded I reached into my pocket and took out my phone.  With wet fingers I unlocked the screen, touched the email icon and then selected the unread email.  It read: "Meeting rescheduled for tomorrow.  Same time."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bribing an IRS Agent

There’s a knock on the door. It’s an IRS agent who has come to your house to audit your taxes. Knowing that you fudged a few numbers on your forms, you decide to attempt to bribe the agent. Much to your surprise, it’s working, but things take a peculiar turn when the agent makes an odd request. Write this scene.  Writer's Digest

As I was getting ready to feed my fish I heard a solid knock on the door.  I placed the food on the table and walked over to the door and looked out through the peephole.  There was a man standing on my porch.  He stood a little over six feet tall with broad shoulders, a thin complexion, and a tired expression on his face.  He wore a two piece suit and a leather shoulder bag.  He had no adornments or jewelry, aside from his wedding ring.  He raised his hand to knock on the door again and I asked through the door, "Who are you?"

"My name is John Pierce, I work for the Internal Revenue Service."  He shifted his leather briefcase to his right hand and used his left hand to get his credentials and hold them up to the peephole.  I opened the door and he moved his hand holding his credentials towards me.

"How can I help you Mr. Pierce?"  I said.

"I was sent here to talk to you about your taxes Mr. Klein.  May I come in?"

"Sure."  I said opening the door.  I led him to the living room.  There was no furniture in the room besides an arm chair and a coffee table.  On either side of the room were my two aquariums.  One full of exotic fish.  The other held a school Piranhas.

John Pierce took out a single manila folder from his bag and pointed at the coffee table.  "May I use this table Mr. Klein?"

"Please call me Allan."  I said nodding.  He ignored my comment and continued sorting his papers.

"Mr. Klein, there are some irregularities with your tax forms."

"Is that so?"

"Yes sir.  Although you have an exotic fish business, your revenue comes from the sales of aquariums and accessories, yet the majority of your expenses revolve around exotic fish."  He must have noticed my clueless expression and continued on.  "You see Mr. Klein, if you are not selling fish, why are you buying so many of them?  Unless they are not for the shop and are instead part of a personal collection."  He looked directly at one of my aquariums, then the other, then back at me.

"John, may I call you John?"  He nodded.  "You see, my shop is very small and I can only keep a limited amount of fish in the aquarium there."

"The problem is Mr. Klein, that you have never sold a single exotic fish in your shop, which makes you either a liar or a very bad business man.  Claiming these are part of your shop is far fetched and I for one don't buy it."

"I guess you're right John.  What if some of these fish found a new home?  Like a promotional or marketing strategy?  Do you have kids?"

"Are you trying to bribe me Mr. Klein?"  He said and walked over to one of the aquariums.

"Not at all John!"  I said trying to sound offended and failing.  "I am just trying to see what my immediate options are."

"I see.  Well, Allan, I guess we could work something out.  I am sure my daughter would be thrilled to have one of these."  He pointed at one of the most colorful fish in my tank.

"That is a beautiful Mandarinfish.  I am sure she would be thrilled.  I can arrange to have it delivered to you along with a suitable aquarium and anything else you may need to give it a cozy home.  Do we have a deal John?"

"One more thing Allan," he said with a hint of a smile on his face.  "I understand that piranhas put up a good show when fed and I would love to see it before I go."

"Sure!"  I said unable to contain my excitement.  I walked over to the aquarium and took out a piece of meat from the container on the table.  I opened the lid of the aquarium and John stopped me.

"Allan, that's just not fair."  I looked at him perplexed.  "The piranhas are hunters and a piece of dead meat is not what you would call fair game, is it?"  I shook my head.  "If you want me to fix your paperwork," he used his hands to make air quotes around the word fix, "then you need to do better than that."

"What do you want from me?"  I said and heard a hint of fear in my voice.

"Stick your hand in the tank Allan.  Give your hand to the hungry piranhas and all of your problems disappear."  I looked at John, at the papers on the coffee table, at the aquarium, and back at John.  "Go on!"

I placed my had just above the water and watched the fish stir up in excitement.  I thought to myself, here goes nothing! and plunged my hand in with the fishes.