Michelle was so nice. She was the only person in the office who ever brought in goodies.
Some people, like Joe, always thought about bringing in goodies, but never did for the fear that any food item would undoubtedly be objectionable to someone. These days even something as simple as a brownie was daunting. Go for the delicious chocolatey sugar-bomb brownie but tick off the people who resented the temptation of sweets. Or make the brownies nutty and risk someone’s throat closing up. Or leave the gluten in and give someone insufferable gas the remainder of the day.
Other people, like Tammy, never considered bringing goodies in because Michelle was always doing it. Those people were always thinking, “Nah, no need to bring something in this week. I’m sure Michelle will come through.”
And come through she did. It was a sleepy Monday morning when Ted strolled in and caught sight of the large bag of pistachios in the break room. He walked over to look at the bag and noticed it hadn’t been opened. Ted started to sweat a little. He really wanted to tear open the bag but he knew the second he did someone would walk in and catch him opening the bag of pistachios and think, “Of course fat Teddy is divin’ into those nuts early. He simply can’t contain himself.” So Ted thought all that and risked it anyway, and opened the bag just as Craig walked in and smirked, which made Ted sweat a little more from self-consciousness. But it wasn’t enough to stop him from grabbing a handful and nervously adding “Gotta love pistachios.”
The pistachios were a hit. By early afternoon the half-eaten bag had found its way to the conference room, just in time for the weekly team meeting. Many had gathered around the nuts, except Ted who was wiping himself off in the corner.
Edward took the bag and emptied a small number of nuts onto a napkin.
Craig snickered. “You eat like a rabbit.”
Edward glared back. “Well Craig, how would you have handled the pistachios bag?”
“I wouldn’t have sprinkled eight nuts out onto a napkin.”
“Oh no? Would you have stuffed your dirty hand in the bag so no one else would want any? Would you dump a pile into your mouth like a damn animal?”
“I’m just saying it would be normal to pour out a double digit number of pistachios, like this—” Craig poured out what he thought to be a normal number of pistachios.
“Normal, huh?” Edward rolled his eyes. “Well I had no idea people make judgments on pistachio intake. Next time I’ll make sure no one is looking or I just won’t have any at all.”
“See, I’d expect you to have none at all because you are as skinny as a beanpole,” Craig remarked, a bit awkwardly while chewing.
“Craig, you don’t even know what the hell a beanpole is. And I think you are envious of my skinniness.”
“Are you saying I’m fat?” Craig asked, inadvertently spitting pistachio particles like shrapnel.
“I’m not saying you’re fat. But compared to me, perhaps you are fat. Perhaps you should sprinkle your pistachios instead of horsin’ ’em down like you’ve never tried food.”
Meanwhile, Phil walked in and grabbed the pistachio bag. “Hey fellas.”
“What’s up Phil?” everyone said.
“Craig, you should give some of your pistachios to Edward.”
“Are ru sayin’ I vat?” Craig asked with a muffled mouthful.
“You are fat. But no, I’m saying Edward is obviously emaciated and it is cruel to deprive malnourished men of sustenance.”
Edward shook his head. “Thanks Phil, I’m so touched you too are concerned about my nut consumption. Would anyone else like to comment so I can shove my shells up your nostrils?”
“Oh don’t waste the shells,” said Phil. “Craig eats those too.”
The attention shifted to their boss, Glenn, who was pacing quickly into the room. “All right everybody, let’s get started.”
“First off, thanks Michelle for bringing in the pistachio bag. It’s been a pleasant surprise for an otherwise mundane Monday. And secondly…uh Craig? Everything all right?”
Everyone turned to Craig, who was holding his throat and sputtering pistachio shells.
“Oh no! He’s choking!” someone shouted.
Immediately Ted sprang from his chair and positioned himself behind Craig, grabbing him like he was hugging a refrigerator. Ted clasped his hands and gave a forceful thrust to Craig’s chest. A few more shells spewed from Craig’s face but he continued to choke.
Ted kept thrusting, Craig kept choking. Ted was now sweating so much that with his proximity to Craig it looked like Craig was sweating. Ted continued to aggressively thrust Craig’s chest. The more he did, the more he sweat. Everyone stood in panicked shock, bracing for Craig’s shells to dislodge while equally witnessing the greatest display of sweat profusion ever. Craig was turning blue and Ted appeared to be melting like a popsicle in a microwave.
Several people dialed 911 while others offered to help Ted. But Ted appeared to be in such an odd, unrelenting zone that it seemed impossible to even talk to him. In fact, now that Craig had been choking for about 20 seconds, Ted looked in worse shape. As the waterfall of sweat cascaded down his face, it appeared to be taking Ted’s hair with it. Craig was still choking. Ted was losing bodily fluids and balding.
The next thirty seconds was insane. Craig’s eyes had closed and he slumped over in Ted’s bear hug like a rag doll. Ted was still thrusting and panting, nearly bald. His clothes were soaked and sagging, and appeared to no longer fit him. His eyes were no longer open either, while his agape mouth served as a reservoir for his dripping, ghost-white face. It was hard to tell if he was aware of his toil or permanently engaged in some out-of-body exercise he no longer controlled. Beneath the pair of men a not-so-small pool of sweat had formed on the oak floor. And in a moment so singular that it is difficult to articulate, Ted’s feet slipped and shot forward from under him, suspending both himself and his patient in mid-air, long enough for the entire office to gasp in fright. In a second Ted crashed backward upon the floor, still clutching Craig for dear life. At the moment of impact with the floor, two things happened simultaneously that were unlikely to ever be witnessed again in human history: Craig’s now rag doll of a body jolted, and from him heaved an impossible amount of pistachio nuts and shells. And Ted. It’s hard to say. It looked like between Craig and the floor a water cooler exploded, creating a splash of Sea World proportions.
Phil and Edward quickly bent down to assist the two men. Craig was coughing and sucking in air, and the color was returning to his face. Phil pulled Craig off of Ted and sat him down. Edward took a look at Ted and nearly fainted. If the human body was 60% water, Edward suspected Ted was closer to 100%, or at least used to be. Edward rapped at Ted’s now moribund face until his eyes finally opened. He sat up and muttered something about home and a shower, then staggered out of the room.
Everyone’s attention quickly turned to the middle of the room and the sound of a bag rustling. Michelle blushed and held out her pistachios, giggling nervously. “Still a few left. Anyone?”
Michelle was so nice.