Eternia’s Anklet

Today, on the 135th floor of an office building of a corporation that manufactures and sells honey products, a low-level employee named Nerwin is walking down a hallway, toward his cubicle, about to pass by an unoccupied office that was previously occupied by a recently fired ex-employee named Jenna. Jenna is a beautiful woman who Nerwin used to be heavily infatuated with.

Though Nerwin has since transferred his infatuation to another beautiful female employee, he can’t help but feel a sense of sadness about Jenna being gone. The idea that he will probably never get to see her shapely body again makes him very sad indeed.

As Nerwin is passing by the office that was once Jenna’s, he is surprised and annoyed to see a sleazy male co-worker named Thad in the office, rummaging through various belongings that Jenna left behind. Nerwin stops. “What are you doing in there?” Nerwin says.

Thad grins. “I’ve been given the task of cleaning out the office,” Thad says. “Discarding what can be discarded. Salvaging what can be salvaged. Etcetera.”

“How can you be so cheerful about this, Thad?” Nerwin says.

Thad shrugs. “Jenna was just some random attractive woman,” he says. “There’s plenty more like her here, many of which I’m currently involved with, as you know.” Thad winks mischievously.

“Jenna wasn’t just some random attractive woman,” Nerwin says, furious. “She was like a goddess to me! I practically worshipped the ground she walked on!”

Thad looks sympathetic. “Sorry, Nerwin,” he says. “I had no idea you felt that way about her. But if it’s any consolation, I’m fairly positive you would have never had a chance with her, even if she was still around. She used to comment to me that she wished the company would fire you and replace you with someone attractive. So her firing’s really no big loss for you.”

“That’s supposed to make me feel better?” Nerwin says.

Thad shrugs. “I thought it would,” he says.

Nerwin storms away.

A few minutes later, Thad stops by Nerwin’s cubicle, where Nerwin is sitting. Thad is holding something behind his back. “I’ve got just the thing to cheer you up,” Thad says.

“What?” Nerwin says, already certain that Thad’s good intentions will cause Nerwin some form of misery.

Thad reveals the object from behind his back. He places it on Nerwin’s desk, inches away from Nerwin’s face.

Nerwin is shocked by what he sees. “Is that what I think it is?” Nerwin says.

Thad nods. “It was in the bottom desk drawer, underneath a stack of papers Jenna left behind,” he says. “I guess she forgot to take it with her.”

“Why would she keep that in her office?” Nerwin says.

“To use it during her workdays, obviously,” Thad says. “And now it’s yours to keep.”

“What?” Nerwin says. “Why would I want this?”

“You said Jenna was like a goddess to you,” Thad says. “You said you practically worshipped the ground she walked on.”

“So?” Nerwin says.

“So this is the ultimate memento of her!” Thad says. “Think about where this thing has been! It’s like a rock that fell from heaven. This is like the anklet of Eternia,” Thad says, referring to a character from a short story who is a very beautiful goddess. “And one wouldn’t throw away the anklet of Eternia, would they?”

“Well, no, but-” Nerwin says.

“Great!” Thad says. “I hope you enjoy it!” Thad walks away.

Though Nerwin knows that it would be in his best interests to remove the object from his desk as quickly as possible, he can’t help but take a moment to gaze at the object in awe, and also jealousy. He would have given anything to be granted access to where this object has been.

As Nerwin is about to throw the object away, a female co-worker named Hana is passing by and sees the object on Nerwin’s desk.

Hana is deeply offended by what she sees. “That’s so offensive, Nerwin!” Hana says. “Why would you bring that to work? Why would you keep that at your desk for people to see? I’m going to report you!”

“No, wait!” Nerwin says as Hana is storming away. “This is all a big misunderstanding! It’s not mine! This is all Thad’s fault!”

But Hana doesn’t stop. She reports Nerwin. He is suspended from work without pay for five weeks and forced to attend a misery-inducing, six-week seminar about the differences between appropriate and inappropriate workplace behaviors.

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