7:15am Monday morning. The alarm on my crackberry went off and I smacked it good, hoping that would solve the problem. It didn’t, but made me feel a little better, like it was my bitch, not the other way around as I know it to be. Before I flopped out of bed, I scrolled through the morning’s emails from the warmth of my covers. I picked up this habit when I still worked at The Firm. It’s a terrible habit – like I had to read these emails before I took my morning piss. Like I couldn’t even walk around my apartment for 10 minutes in the morning not knowing what’s been happening in the e-world since I went to bed. If I don’t check it immediately, I hear it’s phantom ring, taunting me from my nightstand.

If Poe was alive today, he would probably write “The Tell-Tale Blackberry.”

And the beautifully terrible thing is, now that I work for The Man, I rarely ever get work related emails before 8:30 or so. This is a good thing, to be sure. But it doesn’t change the fact that I can’t resist the urge to check.

Today was one of those rare days. I had three emails from the office. The first talked about unavoidable budget issues that persist because D.C. government never shut down. Yeah, yeah, yeah. The second called for volunteers to quit so that no one would have to get fired. Crap, that can’t be good. The third was from my boss, Jim Benton, to the rest of our office, stating that he wouldn’t be coming back. Shit, this is definitely bad.

Nothing good ever comes in an email sent before you wake up. Nothing. I’ve been with this office less than two months and now I’m probably going to get fired. The Federal Zombie Control Agency has pretty much taken over, and has done more in one day than my office has accomplished in, well, as long as I’ve known it existed.

I’m also out of milk for my Cinnamon Toast Crunch.



You always hear about pink slips in the movies and TV. They are not pink. That would be way too pleasant. They are just white pieces of paper mindlessly tossed into your office mailbox. They give you one answer, and leave you with a hundred questions.

The only question I had when I got to work and checked my mailbox: Why not me? Everyone got one except for me and Betsy the receptionist.

My soon to be former co-workers were glaring at me with razor blade eyes. Others just shook their heads as I walked back to my office.

As I turned the corner and walked down the hallway I could see that someone was already in my office. “Fuck. They’re firing me in person,” was all I could think.

I walked through my door and two men stood up to greet me. I dropped my bag and my jaw followed suit.

“Hello Mr. Dingle,” said Mayor Diggs. “It’s good to see you again. I think we have a bit to talk about this morning.” He held out his hand for me to shake, and my hand disappeared into his. He gripped my hand like a vice and he motioned to Dr. Cadore, standing next to him. “And I believe you already know the good Doctor?”  

“Have a seat Mr. Dingle,” said the Mayor, “please call Betsy and have her bring us some coffee.”

“Yessir,” I said, my voice trembling. What’s going on? Why are they here talking to me? I’m the new guy! I don’t know shit from shit.

“How do you feel about being named the Acting Director of the District Department of Undead Management?”

“Yes, I believe there has been an opening,” said Dr. Cadore, as he wrung his hands together. “We feel that you will be the right man for the job.”

I tried to ask them if this was a joke or something, but my vocal cords were temporarily out of service.  I just sat there staring back at them like a Dingle in headlights, speechless.

“We’ll, I’m glad we’re on the same page Dingle,” said the Mayor. “You start immediately.” The two men stood up and left my office.

Just then Betsy came in with three cups of Starbucks in a carrying tray. She looked back as they walked away, then picked up one of the coffees, sat down where the Mayor had been moments before and took a careful sip.

“Boy,” she said, “I don’t know what kind of goddamn fucked up donkey shit is going on here, but you owe me $7.68.”