The Burning Bed
I vividly remember the day I presented one of my greatest creations to my co-workers at Globes and Maps Inc. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out quite the way I had anticipated. It had been some time since I had been “Employee of the Month” and the idea that Mr. Chang had received the award for two months running simply for making a list of all the new countries (33) that had formed in the past twenty years had spurred me into action.
I had asked my co-workers to gather in the break room and when I arrived everyone was already there except for Ms. Snickety. I placed the large white comforter I had brought with me onto the bed, which Mr. Karl used for his after lunch cat naps.
Someone’s scribbled on it, Ms. Graben remarked. It’s not scribble, I replied, it’s a map of Africa. That Ms. Graben couldn’t recognize a map despite the fact that she had worked for Globes and Maps for twenty years explained why Globes and Maps was in the trouble it was. Are we sending beds to Africa? Mr. Chang asked. No, we’re not. I said, trying to maintain a cheerful demeanor. Shall I wait for Ms. Snickety? I asked Mr. Karl. No, he said. Hurry up, I’ve got things to do.
I plugged the electric comforter into the socket. Oh, I love those, they’re so snuggly, Ms. Graben shrieked. May I have a volunteer? I asked. Me! Me! said Mr. Chang. All right, Mr. Chang, please get under the comforter. He took off his shoes revealing two large pink toes protruding through his white socks, and got under the comforter.
What we have here, I continued, appears to be an ordinary electric blanket. But as you’ve all noticed there is a map of Africa on it. Now will someone please tell me the hottest part of Africa? Don’t you know? asked Ms. Gupta. Of course I know, I replied. I want — The Sahara desert! Mr. Karl snapped. Correct, I said. And so when someone turns the electric blanket on, – here I pressed the button – the Sahara desert turns red! I finished off triumphantly. All the nights I had spent designing and redesigning were finally paying off as that section of the comforter began to glow a deep, sensual fiery throbbing red.
Or they would have paid off had Ms. Snickety not chosen to enter the break room at that moment. Seeing Mr. Chang lying beneath what appeared to her to be a burning blanket, she threw her hot coffee onto the blanket before anyone could stop her. The ensuing sparks, smoke, and sputterings not only sent everyone scurrying from the room, but also set off the sprinklers which in turn alerted the fire department.
The rest of the day was shot – as was my presentation. I was willing to forget the incident but others were not so forgiving. Ms. Snickety refused to apologize for her actions, Mr. Karl blamed me for being unable to take his customary cat nap, and Mr. Chang pinned a photo of his scorched toes on the bulletin board to remind everyone how he had “taken one for the team.”
I left early and was greatly relieved to find Jonesy waiting for me when I got home.
As always, Jonesy wants to chime in…
Mr. V was so upset when he came home from work today that he left the front door open. That made me super stoked because I finally got to see what was going on outside. I had only been looking out the screen door for a minute when the most ginormous cat I had ever seen came over the top of the stairs and swaggered right up to me.
I hadn’t seen another cat since the shelter and I got so excited I stood on my hind legs and smacked the door just to say hi. Was that ever a mistake! His eyes narrowed to dark cold slits, his back arched up, and he growled, Do that again and I’ll rip your gonads out. I was so startled I forgot to tell him I didn’t have any. As it was I lost my balance and fell down. By the time I got up again he was gone. I must admit he scared me, but I was more lonely than scared, and I was afraid he wouldn’t come back.
But he did. The next day! I was sitting behind the screen door dying to go outside when he appeared again. This time I just sat there. He came right up to me and said, You owe me! You don’t know how lucky you are to be here. If it weren’t for me Mr. V wouldn’t have taken a cat in the first place. I didn’t know what he was talking about so I didn’t say anything. He looked into my eyes and said, Are you stupid? I didn’t know what to answer. He slapped the door with his paw and gave a low growl that made my hair stand on end. But at the same time I was excited. Then Mr. V came running in and shooed Prince away. But that wasn’t the end of Prince by a long shot.
(To find out what Prince was talking about see the blog “Beginnings“)
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