Rumors

On the 135th floor of a building that is the headquarters of a corporation that manufactures and sells popular honey products, a low-level employee named Nerwin is sitting in his cubicle, toiling away on a boring project. One of Nerwin’s co-workers, a sleazy, handsome man named Thad, enters Nerwin’s cubicle.

“Did you hear the latest rumor?” Thad says.

“No,” Nerwin says.

“The rumor is that two of the female secretaries on this floor are going to be terminated later today,” Thad says.

“Which two?” Nerwin says.

“Rachel and Courtney,” Thad says.

Nerwin nods, taking in this information. Rachel and Courtney are both very beautiful, blond women. Nerwin has always secretly lusted for them, even though both Rachel and Courtney never acknowledge his existence except when their jobs require them to do so. Nerwin wonders if Thad has ever had intimate encounters with Rachel or Courtney. Thad has had intimate encounters with many of the beautiful women who work at this honey corporation. For that reason, Nerwin is very jealous of Thad, who always seems to get what he wants and never what he deserves.

“Why would Rachel and Courtney be getting terminated?” Nerwin says.

“Apparently, Olivia wants to get rid of them,” Thad says, referring to Olivia, a fat woman who is the owner and president of the honey corporation. “According to the rumor I heard, Olivia is conducting another round of massive terminations, and she plans to terminate two employees from each floor… and Rachel and Courtney were selected for our floor.”

“That’s… too bad,” Nerwin says. “Thad, did you ever have intimate encounters with Rachel or Courtney?”

“No,” Thad says. “They both rejected me! Me! The most attractive man in the entire building! So as far as I’m concerned, good riddance to the both of them. I’ll enjoy watching them walk their shapely bodies out of this building for the final time when they’re terminated later today.”

“Thad, how can you be so cruel?” Nerwin says.

Thad shrugs. “If they don’t want to be with me, then they’re of no use to me,” he says. “So good riddance to them. Well, I must be going now. See you later, buddy!”

Thad exits Nerwin’s cubicle. Nerwin despises Thad, and wishes Thad wasn’t so oblivious to Nerwin’s hatred of Thad. From Thad’s perspective, they are good friends.

A few minutes later, Nerwin gets up and exits his cubicle and begins walking toward the elevator doors. On his way there, he sees Stephanie, a beautiful female co-worker who he is secretly infatuated with.

“Hello, Stephanie,” Nerwin says.

“Hello, Michael,” Stephanie says.

Nerwin’s female co-workers get his name wrong on a regular basis. He usually doesn’t bother to correct them when it happens.

On his way to the elevator doors, Nerwin also sees the two beautiful, blond female secretaries, Rachel and Courtney. They are conversing with each other and both look very distraught. They are undoubtably discussing the rumor that they will be terminated by Olivia later today.

One of the secretaries, Rachel, sees Nerwin looking at her. She stares at him with an expression of icy contempt, as if he is somehow directly and singlehandedly responsible for her impending termination.

Nerwin gets on one of the elevators and rides it up to the building’s highest floor. On that floor, he goes to Olivia’s office. The door to the office is open and Olivia is in there, sitting at her zebra-colored desk. At the moment, she is eating from a jar of honey on her desk.

She stops eating when she sees Nerwin standing by the doorway. “Hello, Thad!” Olivia says, pleased to see Nerwin. “Please, come in!”

Nerwin enters Olivia’s office. “I hope I’m not interrupting you,” Nerwin says.

“Not at all, Thad,” Olivia says cheerfully.

For as long as Olivia has known Nerwin, she has thought his name was Thad. Nerwin has never corrected her about this.

Olivia dips one of her fat fingers into the jar of honey, then holds her honey-soaked finger toward Nerwin. “Would you like some honey?” Olivia says.

Nerwin has no desire to taste Olivia’s honey-soaked finger, but he also does not want to offend her, so he walks over to her and leans down toward her finger. She sticks her finger into his mouth and leaves it in there for a very long time. Honey has never tasted this bad to Nerwin before.

After taking her finger out of Nerwin’s mouth, Olivia says: “So what brings you here today, Thad?”

“I want to talk to you about a crazy rumor that’s going around,” Nerwin says.

“I love rumors,” Olivia says. She licks her lips.

“The rumor is that you intend to terminate two employees from every floor today,” Nerwin says.

“Yes, that’s completely true,” Olivia says cheerfully.

“Why are you doing this?” Nerwin says.

“For fun,” Olivia says. “I enjoy terminating employees. It brings me great pleasure.”

“Can’t you… find pleasure elsewhere?” Nerwin says. “There must be other things you could do for fun instead of damaging your employees’ lives.”

“I suppose,” Olivia says.

“I would really, really appreciate it if you canceled your plan to terminate all those employees,” Nerwin says.

Olivia smiles sinisterly. “Okay, Thad,” she says. “I’ll do you that favor. I won’t terminate all those employees. But that favor doesn’t come without a price. I expect a favor from you in return. A favor I expect to receive from you right now. Close the door.”

Nerwin gulps, then closes the door of Olivia’s office.

Later, Nerwin is back in his cubicle on the 135th floor. He is toiling away on a boring project and trying very, very hard to forget his meeting with Olivia earlier today. Unfortunately for Nerwin, there are some incidents that can not be forgotten.

Thad stops by Nerwin’s cubicle. “Did you hear the latest rumor?” Thad says.

“No,” Nerwin says.

“The rumor is that I somehow convinced Olivia to cancel her plan to terminate all those employees today,” Thad says. “So many co-workers have been coming up to me and telling me how grateful they are to me. Rachel and Courtney invited me to meet them at Courtney’s apartment after work today. They said they want to reward me for my good deed. What a strange, wonderful turn of events! Well, I must get ready for my intimate encounter with Rachel and Courtney. See you later, buddy!”

Thad exits Nerwin’s cubicle.

Nerwin wants to cry.

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