“Work Is a Four-Letter Word” – Episode 75
Work is indeed a four-letter word if you work for Gneeecey. As an over-tired Nicki battles to fall asleep, she recalls her first day of work at the zany, exasperating canine-humanoid’s GAS Broadcast Network. Subtitle should be, “That’s fifteen cents this week!”
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Transcript /Work Is a Four-Letter Word – Episode 75, written by Vicki Solá.
All content © 2023 Perswayssick Radio: Unearthly Comedy.
Music/Intro: Hi there, I’m author and radio host Vicki Solá, welcoming you to Perswayssick Radio: Unearthly Comedy. I invite you to escape with me into the bizarre dimension of Perswayssick County, where wackiness rules! The laughs begin when I morph into my alter ego, radio DJ Nicki Rodriguez and clash with the zany, alien canine-humanoid Gneeecey! And now, I turn it over to my other self, Nicki, and the gang….
SFX: [Magic Spell]
SOOPERFLEA, AKA FLEA, AKA FLEAGLOSSITTY FLOPPINSPLODGE: Zig, thanks again for lettin’ me an’ Nicki come back to stay wit’cha here in your mansion. We really appreciate your, y’know, forgivin’ the two of us for accidentally recordin’ some of the most embarrassin’ moments of your whole life—
DIROCTOR BIZZIG “ZIG” GNEEECEY: Ya mean, accidentally on purpoopose, Fleaglossitty—
F: No, Zig. I mean accidentally recordin’ your most embarrassin’ moments by mistake an’ accidentally, not on purpose, transmittin’ them recordin’s. An’ them transmissions gettin’ hacked by someone who’s threatenin’ to blackmail ya now. An’ all ’cause as Grate Gizzygalumpaggis of Perswayssick County, ya cheaped out, as usual, an’ ordered inferior, second-rate electronical devices for us Superhero Academy graduates. An’ ya even admitted it.
G: Fleaglossitty Floppinsplodge, I, Bizzig “Zig” Gneeecey, resembooble that remark, an’ I’ll stinkin’—
NICKI RODRIGUEZ: Guys! Guys! Please—stop—
F: Y’know, Zig, I was jus’ talkin’ to my friend Sal, an’ he agreed that yooou did all them embarrassin’ things in the first place, so you’re really to blame—
SFX: [Blow on Table] [Bang] [Dish Ceramic]
G: Whaaat? Yooou were talkin’ to someone else ’bout meee?
F: I got other friends, an’ I can talk to them ’bout anything I want—
NICKI RODRIGUEZ: Guys! Guys! Please—c’mon! We’re all exhausted—
SFX: [Blow on Table] [Bang] [Dish Ceramic] [Glass Shatter]
F: We awready apologized. Don’t mean we gotta take orders from ya, too!
G: Oh yeah? Do you know who I stinkin’ am?
F: An’ that’s another thing—you’re always actin’ like you’re better than everyone else!
G: I jus’ stinkin’ might be! Better than yooou, at least—
F: I swear on my tail, I’m done kissin’ your mangy bimbus—
N: Will you two—
G: Stop interrupticatin’ our fight, ya lousy Earth human Ig!
N: The name would be Nicki. Now, will you two canine-humanoids stop already? Like I was trying to say, the three of us are exhausted after all we’ve been through. Our nerves are shot! Now, the three of us have made up and agreed that we’re family.
F: You’re right, Nicki.
G: Yeah, I guess ya are, Ig…. I mean, Icky.
SFX: [Cuckoo Clock]
N: Wow, guys, look what time it is! I’m going to bed. I suggest you two do as well. Now’s not the time to think of how we’re gonna handle this blackmail situation or any of our other problems. Our minds will work much better when we’re rested. It’s a new year. Time for a fresh start.
F: Yeah, Nicki. I agree. Bad night.
G: Bad night, Ig. An’ ya better sleep fast. We got lots to do.
N: Uh, bad night, Diroctor Gneeecey. Bad night, Flea.
SFX: [Blow on Table] [Bang] [Dish Ceramic] [Glass Shatter]
F: Zig, you better chill out now!
G: Oh yeah? Come over here an’ stinkin’ say that!
F: I am over here.
G: I’m gonna call Graaandma!
F: Go right ahead! I’ll call Doctor Idnas!
N: [sighs] The more things change, the more they stay the same…or something….
SFX: [Door Open]
N: And here I am, back in the little guestroom that Gneeecey assigned me when I first became stranded here in the dimension of Perswayssick County. My tiny, windowless utility closet of a room, painted no particular color. It reeked of chemicals…but I’d gotten used to that. And here on the floor is my thin, spring-popping mutant mattress…two-thirds the size of a standard adult bed. Well, I’m so freakin’ tired, I don’t think any of that’ll matter tonight….
SFX: [Tossing and Turning] [Clock Ticking]
N: Man, I can’t believe this. I’m dead tired, but I can’t sleep. My mind just won’t stop racing….
SFX: [Tossing and Turning]
N: And now these memories are floating through my head…my first day of work at Gneeecey’s GAS Broadcast Network…. Work…what a four-letter word that’s proven to be…. Like my friend Eddie’s dad back on Earth used to say, “Work is so bad that they have to pay you to do it.”
SFX: [Magic Spell]
N: My first day of work…at Gneeecey’s GAS Broadcast Network…. It had been a crummy morning. At breakfast, if you could call it that, Gneeecey and I had argued. He stated that everything in life was fifty-fifty. Either something would happen, or it wouldn’t. When I had argued back, “Surely, there’s less than a fifty-fifty chance that a five-hundred-pound purple pelican will fly out of the skies and try and sell me a life insurance policy, Gneeecey just answered, “Ya never know, Ig, ya never know.”
Our ride to work was lousy too. We made a couple of stops on Perswayssick City’s main drag, Murgatroyd Avenue, including one to Gus’s Sock Repair Shop, where Gneeecey brought his smelly but prized pair of lucky socks to be repaired but not cleaned. As we left, Gneeecey stuffed his sock repair ticket into one of the five-zillion pockets of the new, multi-zippered coat that Flea had kindly given me. The ticket, according to Gneeecey, was at least as valuable as gold. “No ticket, no socks” was crusty old shopkeeper Gus’s rule.
Here I was…an Earthling, stranded in a different dimension…penniless…. I was at Gneeecey’s mercy. My face had been scratched up and raw because as soon as we disembarked from the limo and stepped foot onto the pavement, a couple of teams of bumble bee-sized birds decided to play a game of championship mini-sparrow football on the bridge of my nose…and Gneeecey informed me that according to Perswayssick County ordinances, it was illegal to interfere in tournaments played by birds. Indeed, Gneeecey was prepared to make a citizen’s arrest if necessary….
SFX: [Car Engine]
Back on the road, Gneeecey suddenly shrieked, “That’s fifteen cents this week, Duck! Stop! And the limo, driven by a six-foot-tall albino tweed-wearing mallard named Culvert, screeched to a dead halt, slamming me to the floor.
SFX: [Screeching Brakes] [Car Horns]
Possibly mistaking me for Rapunzel, Gneeecey clutched fistfuls of my hair to pull himself upright and dashed out into the street. As profanities spewed from drivers’ mouths, he squatted down and snatched up a shiny object. “A dime!” he squealed, doing cartwheels all the way back to the car. “That’s fifteen cents this week!” Shooting him daggers, I massaged my sore scalp.
Finally, we arrived at Gneeecey’s GAS Broadcast Network headquarters—a surreal, sprawling office complex. Its centerpiece, a fantastic structure, wide as it was tall, appeared to be constructed mainly of glass, with lustrous strips of ebony tile separating oversized, dark-tinted windows. Silver art deco characters floated above the dozen-doored entrance, heralding our arrival at the Edgar Vompt Pavillion. Scores of satellite dishes and antennas sprouted from the glossy wonder’s flat roof. A patched-up purple-and-orange helicopter cowered on a grassy triangle below, sporting droopy rotors, one blade bent so as to render flight extremely perilous, if not impossible. Peeling white letters identified the flying machine as GAS-TV’s Chopper 3½.
“Whatchoo lookin’ at, Ig? Get out!” Gneeecey’s high tops squeaked across the expansive, marble-floored lobby. SFX: [Squeaking Sneakers] My gimpy dimension-burned legs barely kept up.
Mutilated newspaper wedged under his wet armpit, cigar clenched between his unbrushed teeth, Gneeecey grunted and nodded, spitting out the side of his mouth every several feet and muttering an occasional “Bad mornin’.” During our ear-popping, stomach-dropping ten-minute ride to the skyscraper’s top, we changed elevators five times as each packed car traveled fifty floors.
SFX: [Elevator Chimes]
“Two-hundred-fiftieth floor,” announced a robotic female voice as golden doors slid open, depositing us outside GAS Broadcast Network’s executive suites.
“Top four floors are mine,” he boasted. “You’ll be workin’ at AM, FM, plus TV—till ya drop!”
“But,” I replied, “I’ve never worked in television—I’ve only—”
“You’re late,” he bellowed, stomping through the scarlet-carpeted lobby, into his office. “Don’t look too good on ya first day, does it?”
SFX: [Door Slam]
He slammed his door in my face. Its mangled Venetian blinds swung from side to side, obstructing my view of what sounded like file cabinets being dragged about and smashed against walls. SFX: [Crash Metal]
Taking a deep breath, I leaned against the unmanned reception desk and waited.
“Okay, Ig—get in here!” My blood ran cold. “Now!” I turned the knob slowly SFX: [Door Open] and stumbled over the loose wooden threshold. Planes—those insects that had mutated to look like high-flying planes so nobody’d bother them—they could’ve flown right into my mouth. Gneeecey’s majestic mahogany desk sat in the middle of a garbage dump.
“Copy a squat, or whatever youse Earthlin’s say.”
“Over there, Ig, in that itsy-bitsy purple chair in fronta my desk. It’ll make ya feel even insignificanter than ya awready are.” Scowling, I sat. “Be right back, Ig—forgot somethin’.” After fidgeting for fifteen minutes, I hauled my bones out of the puny chair and tripped over an overturned GAS-TV mug bearing Gneeecey’s grinning image—one of dozens glued to the once-beige carpet. Framed documents and licenses hung haphazardly along the orange walls, including a degree from Saint Bogelthorpe’s University of Medicine and Dentistry—located on Planet Eccchs—and a diploma from PUNI, the Perswayssick University of new Ideas.
It conferred upon B.Z.Z. Gneeecey a doctorate in advanced gasometry. Across the room, ethereal scarlet digits morphed fluidly on yellowed green drapes—on the fabric’s very surface—displaying the time. They were actually window treatments with clocks in their stomachs. The stiff fiberglass panels weren’t synchronized. The curtain hanging to the left read nine-forty a.m., while its companion lagged behind by twenty-two minutes. Five dented file cabinets stood nearby, topped by an evenly distributed mound of future landfill. Cables, braided with miles of old-fashioned runaway audiotape, and videocassettes vomiting yards of tangled film, spilled into open drawers below. I tripped over a soldering iron that had melted into the rug’s synthetic fibers. One of my knees landed in a styrofoam container filled with stiff fries and the other in a wilted salad garnished with leaky batteries. As I staggered upright, I found myself gawking at a memorandum…the network’s sick-day policy. It stated that an employee must give two weeks’ notice prior to calling in sick, and in the event of one’s sudden death, a relative must contact the office beforehand.
Sidestepping an upside-down box labeled “speshul Ffuzes— store upright,” I bumped Gneeecey’s desk. SFX: [Table Pound] [Rustling Papers] An avalanche of paper and other assorted items tumbled down, including the solid brass dollar sign paperweight that fell on my left foot. As stars and birdies orbited my skull, I read the memo that floated before my purple face. Entitled, “Regarding malicious gossip,” Gneeecey warned, “if you must say anything about co-workers, you must say it close enough to my office that I can hear it too. Of course, gossip about me is grounds for immediate dismissal, whether I overhear it or hear it through the grapevine.”
After I unknotted the insulated spaghetti twisted around my ankles and heaped all the debris back onto Gneeecey’s desk, things looked pretty much the same as before. As my eyes settled on a coffee-stained engineering log, I reached into my pocket for Gneeecey’s precious sock repair claim ticket. SFX: [Music Accent/Terror Tension] It wasn’t there. SFX: [Suspense] Heart pounding like a jackhammer, I rummaged through the dozens of inner and outer pouches and secret compartments—some disguised as seams—hidden throughout the body and sleeves of my reversible jacket. The little piece of cardboard was nowhere to be found. I tore the coat off and slid my fingers into every visible opening. Still nothing.
Nothing but a little slip of paper informing me that my new article of lifetime-guaranteed apparel had been rigorously tested and approved by Inspector #3. For ten more gut-wrenching minutes, I searched. and came up empty. Empty, that is, until I did find something—a hole in the bottom of a front pocket. SFX: [Music Accent/Terror Tension] I’d have to spend my lunch hour looking for the ticket. SFX: [Suspense] Head throbbing, I studied Gneeecey’s dinosaur of a desktop computer. The freaking monitor was so big, he could probably read his e-mails from Mars—or Planet Eccchs. Its printer beeped continuously, flashing an “out of paper” warning. Nearby, a laptop rode a tsunami of rubble. The gash on its screen created the illusion of a sad, down-turned mouth. Two telephones—landlines—sat on the desk’s northwest end. One, a chunky gray model—labeled “news,” with a backward S—appeared to have been run over. Its healthier, more streamlined red neighbor was tagged “Hotline.” That one began screaming like a fire alarm. SFX: [Fire Alarm] Fifty lights flashed under its keypad. Acid flooded my already upset stomach.
SFX: [Door Open] “Don’t touch it!” ordered Gneeecey as he barreled through the door, waving a copy of the Perswayssick Pooper-Scooper newspaper. “Jus’ let it ring, Ig! An’ we gotta show ya how to make out outvoices—we must have five zillion sittin’ here! Ya can get lunch from the vendin’ machine downstairs an’ eat while ya work!”
I was doomed. “Work through lunch?”
“Ya think I’m payin’ ya to eat?” “And what,” I asked, “are outvoices?” “Opooposite of invoices. We got all these bills we delay payin’—we —contesterate ’em.
Things went further downhill after my working lunch….
“Whatsamatter, Ig? Ya look like ya jus’ been chased by a three-headed gazoonga.”
“Stop holdin’ on to the wall, perspiratin’ like that—you’ll scrungle our new paint job. green-an’-three-quarters is extra igspensive—gotta be specially mixed wit’ rare sclogg pigmentations.”
“I—I went to p-personnel SFX: Spilling Papers] like—like you asked me to—n-nobody was there, so I w-was j-just g-gonna leave—and suddenly, this— this—”
“Spit it out, Ig!”
“This huge purple pelican—it—it must’ve been five hundred pounds—it tried to sell me this life insurance policy it was carrying in its—its beak!”
“That’s jus’ Cleopatrick, our human resources director,” explained Gneeecey, shooting me a smug “told you so” look. “Sells insurance on the side. We take a cut.”
I followed him back into his office.
“Wit’ the job you’ll be doin’, it might not be a bad idea to buy a suplooploomental policy.” Gneeecey took a flying leap into his oversized boss chair. “Now, don’t forget to pick up my beaudiful, precious lucky socks tonight. Make sure ya don’t lose that ticket! Gus won’t ever release socks—not even mine—wit’out a ticket.” Nauseated again, I flopped into my seat.
“Ya didn’t hapoopen to bring a resoosumay wit’cha, did’ja?”
“Do I look like I brought a resoosumay—ugh, I mean, resumé— with me?”
“Don’t get intelligent wit’ me, Ig. I’ll jus’ hafta judge ya by your aplooplication here, plus what I found out from schnooglin’ ya.”
“Schnooglin’s like your googlin’. Now, despite your obvious deficiencies, I can still utilizate ya.”
I bit my tongue.
“Like I said, you’ll do radio an’ TV!”
“I told you, I’ve never worked in television—”
“TV’s jus’ radio wit’ pictures.” He slapped at a tiny commuter jet bug as it zoomed past his honker.
“Y’know, Diroctor Gneeecey, I’m not interested in working for you—I just want my—”
He smirked. “Yooou ain’t goin’ nowheres for a while.”
I bolted upright, almost toppling my wimpy chair.
“Plus, y’ain’t got no mon-ney.” I groaned. I didn’t. “I’m givin’ ya a title,” he added. “I’m makin’ ya ‘vlam’.”
“Vlam,” I repeated, scratching a plane bite on my left wrist. “What’s vlam?”
“Very low assistant management. You’ll be workin’ lotsa extra hours, but’cha won’t get no overtime.”
“Then ya can look yourself in the mirror wit’ a empty conscience— ya won’t hafta lay awake nights worryin’ ’bout deprooprivatin’ the network of revenue.” A blood-spattered twin prop cruised past my nose. “Now,” continued Gneeecey, “so there’s no confusionism ’bout chained-up command, listen good! Ya report directly to meee at all times!”
“Huh?” Next thing I knew, a legal pad sliced through the air, nearly decapitating me.
“I’ll read off your duties. Write ’em all down.” He threw a dull, inch-long remnant of a pencil at me. “Every mornin’, you’ll run into the newsroom. We use the same one for AM, FM, an’ TV, even though they’re on difooferent floors, at difooferent ends of the buildin’.” I made a face. “Ya might wanna get yourself a pair of them motorized sneakers.”
“Pay Detention! You’ll run down all the news—from the Tims, the wire, blogs, an’ podcasts. But not the Perswayssick Pooper-Scooper! What a rag!”
He spat on the floor. “You’ll check my computer for satellite feeds from Planet Eccchs.” He smacked his ancient behemoth of a monitor. “Print out everythin’ from our bigger moon, Fishvendor Four. We don’t get nuthin’ useful from the smaller one. Cronon’s more for vacationin’—my folks sent me away there to Camp Bingaboonga every summer.”
“By the way, Diroctor Gneeecey,” I ventured, trying hard to imagine him as a child, “your printer’s out of paper—”
“Am I payin’ ya to tell me obvoovious junk I awready stinkin’ know? So put in some more! Now, this is real importootant. Put any stuff ’bout meeee, on my desk. I decide what airs.”
My fingers cramped as I scribbled away.
“Next, ya call the Perswayssick City Police Department—you’ll usually get Mark. Or Mark. Or even Mark or Mark.”
I knew these were the creepy aliens, all named Mark. “Diroctor, how many—”
“Have ’em check their blotters, then write down whatever they say.”
“Whatever they say? Shouldn’t I ask a few questions?”
“Dooo what I say! Never ask why!”
“Which phone should I use?”
“Don’t ever touch that Hotline! Only use these here gray phones. They’re all over this crummy place. Now, next ya gotta do background production research to execute potential stories—an’ ya gotta talk to our editor—that’s me.” My eyelid began twitching. “Then,” Gneeecey continued, hurling a prehistoric black walkie-talkie into my solar plexus, “use this here two-way devicicle to dispatch your engineering crews to cover junk. If I make up news, ya can skip that step.”
“Uh-huh.” He leaned back, put his feet up, and stuffed a cigar in his mouth. A squashed plane decorated his left sneaker sole. “You’ll run audio boards an’ master control switchin’. Every hour, you’ll check base current readings for AM an’ log FM’s total wattage outpoop.”
“Yes,” I replied, staring at a gumped-up bottle of Bend-a-Britch, a special product invented by Gneeecey to counteract itchy, tight underwear, or “executive squeeze,” as he called it.
“Then, you’re off to TV to clean heads an’ lenses, vacuum out equipment bays, an’ empty trash cans. Make sure my Merk Perk coffee’s always mercolatin’ on all four floors, an’ there’s always fresh Freak O’Nature snacks out front—”
I stopped writing. “What am I—a janitor and waitress?”
“Both! An’ ya gotta provide studio audiences for game shows, an’ derange for their transpooportation an’ refreshments.” I exhaled slowly. “Plus,” he boomed, chewing his cigar as he pointed to his laptop with the damaged screen, “you’ll check this here computer every hour for personal messages. If they ain’t personal, don’t bother wit’ ’em.
“But if they are, don’t read ’em, jus’ print ’em out. an’ leave ’em here on the floor.”
“If I have to decide what’s personal and what’s not, how can I not read them?” His eyes bulged with fury. Shuddering, I glanced down, barely able to decipher my notes. My stub of a pencil scratched more than it wrote.
“An’ you’ll get us outta make-goods to all them sponsors whose commercials we forget to run,” he added, swallowing his cigar.
Suddenly, he sat up straight, kicking a pile of papers to the floor. “An’ another thing, Ig—”
“When it snows, Ig, an’ it’s gonna, any day now—you’ll climb up on the roof an’ shovel out them satellite dishes.” I hated snow. “An’ check them programmin’ an’ engineerin’ logs daily—leave ’em on my desk here.”
“Uh, could I have another pencil?”
Flinging a chewed-up, eraserless yellow stick my way, he continued inventing my position. “Hmmm. . .lessee what else. . .an idle mind is Santa’s workshop...okay, once a week on, lessee, FriedEggs—why, that’s today—you’ll clean out the big goonafish aquarium in the lobby.”
“Before ya scrub out the tank, ya gotta fish ’em all out an’ put ’em in their little wadin’ pool. It’s filled wit’ distillerated, alkookaline water. It’s right nearby in the electrical closet— ya can’t miss it. Sign says ‘Danger! High voltage! Live wires!’” I flinched. “Feed the goonafish three times a day. There’s a coupla barrels of live gloortworms in the electrical closet. Ya can’t miss ’em—they’re green an’ slimy an’ smell like Limburger cheese. Plus, they light up, and sometimes they crawl outta the barrels.”
“How do these two-tailed goonafish eat, without, y’know, heads?”
“Good question for a Ig.”
“Don’t patronize me.”
“But it is a good question for a Ig. Their bodies are covered wit’ these itsy-bitsy ingesticules—that’s how they take in nutrition. Them little openin’s are what make ’em look phosphoosphorescent. Put in five gloortworms for each fish.” My eyes had glazed over. “An’ make sure ya change the hourly survooliance tapes—they’re in the electrical closet too. An’ don’t touch no wires when you’re standin’ in puddles. We got acardiac defribroobrillator, but’cha can’t always depend on it bein’ here—sometimes people from other offices borrow it. Close your mouth, Ig—planes will fly in. Now, you’ll assistipate me wit’ prerecordin’ news an’ weather—”
“How can I possibly—”
“Now for the stuff you’ll do on your own time—”
“My own time?!” I longed to dump my new boss into his goonafish tank, shove a fistful of gloortworms down his gullet, and toss him a plugged-in hair dryer.
“If ya wanna get wha’chooo want, ya gotta play a little basefootball wit’ meee. Ya don’t got much choice, dooo ya?” I didn’t. Not until I found my portfolio with all my hard-earned cash that I was sure he’d taken. Until then, I had nothing. When I found that maroon pleather case I’d quit on the spot, and go rent a room somewhere—bide my time in peace until my dimension burn let up enough for me to attempt a perilous, possibly deadly return to Earth.
“Oh—every WetNooodlesday’s ‘upside-Down Radio Day.’ We stand on our heads an’ walk on our hands—then whatever we say comes out upside-down. Cuts up the dull drums of midweek.” “Count me out.”
“But if I’m on-air speakin’ upside-down an’ yooou engineer me right-side-up,” he whined, “everythin’ I say will come out sideways!”
My hands curled into fists. “I’ve heard enough. now I—”
“You’ll come to work wit’ me every mornin’, Mndistinks through FriedEggs. An’ ya better not make us late no more!” Visualizing my fingers tightened around his neck, I grinned. “Ya got nuthin’ to smile ’bout! You’ll work Snatturdays an’ Somedays too. Don’t worry—you’ll only work four or five weekends a month, an’ the good thing is, Mondistinks won’t even feel like Mondistinks. You’ll feel like you’re further along in the week.”
“You’ve gotta be—”
“I don’t do weekends—all work an’ no play splits soup chefs’ britches.” I pictured planting one of my mierk-splattered shoes in his motheaten keister. “Weekdays, ya won’t be leavin’ wit’ me unless it’s your night to help at the restaurant—”
“Don’t look so oogdimonious—I’m really not obloobligated to help ya.” I dug my fingernails into my palms. “Thirsty nights, you’ll put in a coupla hours as a volunteer at the shoppin’ cart orphanage, feedin’, oilin’, an’shinin’ the little guys. I’ve awready registered ya—” “
“An’ you’ll be takin’ official minutes at our county Quality of Life meetin’s. Reminds me—you’ll stuff envelopes today so I can mail out them ten-thousand pampoophlets Mark printed.” “But—”
“You’ll be doin’ it on compoopany time, but’cha can’t go home anyways till ya finish your work, so it’ll wind up bein’ on your time.”
“I hope your spit ain’t defective, like Cleve’s. Stu usually hasta relick his envelopes.”
“Ya get a twenny minute lunch hour an’ two ten-minute breaks. Durin’ Blirg, ya work doubooble-time—I’ll igsplain later. Now study this in your free time—catch!” He pitched a humongous hardcovered volume, Broadcast Engineering & Production for Iggleheimers, into my lap. “An’ Ig, I’ll need your signature here, sayin’ you’ll waive your company physical, so ya can get right to work.”
“I’m not signing anything—”
“Then I’ll hafta take the time to igzaminate’cha myself, an’ I’ll hafta dock ya for—”
“Give me that,” I snarled, snatching the form from his dirty mitts.
“That’sa good Ig—like they say on your plaaanet, put your John Shuttlecock right on that line there.”
“Is there a health plan?”
“Yeah. Plan not to get sick.” A tiny 747 zoomed past my spinning head.
“No personal calls in or out, an’ no fraternalizatin’. An’ water my plant here—twice an hour.” He shook his dying fern.
“Oh, what’s this here? Want a snack?” He threw a small, silica gel-filled bag at me.
“Uh, this says, ‘Do not ingest.’”
“Aaaah—don’t believe everythin’ ya read, Ig.”
“Uh, I’ll need some sort of cash advance to tide me—”
“Gimme a second,” he mumbled. “I’ll work it out on my calcoocoolator. Lemme figure out how much your first check will be. First, I gotta figure out your base salary.” He began crunching numbers. SFX: [Electronic Cash Register] Stomach acids began eating me alive. “Five buckerooneys should get’cha to payday next Wetnooodlesday—”
I leaped to my feet. “Five dollars?!”
“Ya get paid every other WetNooodlesday—”
I moaned. “Every two weeks?”
“That way, ya don’t get paid less more—ya get more less. Oh, an’ ya gotta fill out a second income tax form—you’ll hafta pay tax on any refund ya might be receiveratin’. . .fill out this here 1040-FU an’ bring it over to Cleopatrick.” I broke into a cold sweat. “Now, there’s what’cha owe for the river dredgin’—” “I never asked you to retrieve any of my possessions after that accident where all my stuff fell into your gross Perswayssick River—”
He looked up. “Ya don’t got much choice in all this, do ya?”
“I’m gonna make the choice to find my portfolio and leave!”
“Suit yourself. But don’t forget, you’re makin’ igsclooosive concessions here that won’t be offered to ya anywhere else.” The fur ball had that right. “There’s my finder’s fee, your fines for pollutin’ our river an’ damagin’ our bridge... an’ there’s my plaaastic Greek column ya busted in my restaurant...an’ there’s your rent, paid weekly—every WetNooodlesday—”
“Some months got more payin’-up days—y’know, more WetNooodlesdays. Ya wouldn’t wanna cheat me, would’ ya?”
I rose. “And how much is my—”
“I’ll give ya a printout later.” I collapsed back into my chair. “My washer an’ dryer are coin-opooperated. But there’s your projecticated use of water, gas, electricity, an’ oxygen. An’ your kitchen-usage fee. Plus, transpooportation—one extra person’s weight impactuates fuel inefficiency. Vehicles are very igspensive to run.”
“No—I had no idea.”
“Now, there’s my bathroom fee. . . . I’ll jus’ reset my sophistphoosticated Electronic Water Cyclone 3000 terlit an’ automatically decapitate a buncha dollars from each of your paychecks so ya don’t gotta drop Susan B. Anthonies in the slot every five seconds—”
“I mean, ya might need change at some real incornvenient times.”
“An’ there’s withholdin’ taxes. You’ll be glad you’re gettin’ paid less. The more ya make, the less ya end up wit’. . .Now, lessee. . .there’s unemployment tax—pays me if I fire yooou.” “What?!”
“An’ there’s our bare bones accidental insurance, so in case ya get hurt—or worse, heh, heh—weee don’t suffer.” Chills ran down my spine. “Almost forgot the mandatory county tax. Now, lessee, how much will your first paycheck be? Hmmmm. . . .”
My breathing had become rapid and shallow.
Gneeecey looked up, grinning from ear to ear. “Works out perfect—won’t even hafta cut’cha a check!”
“Keep in mind, ya get paid every other WetNooodlesday—the pay period always ends the FriedEgg before. This week’s check will be for what’cha earn today.”
“Okay. From my, uh, job description, I’ll be working pretty hard today. So, uh, what’s my total net then?” His wagging tail thumped loudly. “That’s fifteen cents this week!”
SFX: [Cartoon 1] [Fail Horn] [Magic Spell] [Door Pounding]
G: Ig! Ig! Stinkin’ get up—it’s mornin’ awready!
G: I told ya to sleep faaast! Now, c’mon! We need to get to the office—we got lots to do! It’s a new year!
SFX: [Fail Horn] [Magic Spell]
We hope you enjoyed this week’s episode! We thank Marysol Rodriguez, Sal Solá, Sandi Solá, Marcellina Ramirez, Rick “El Molestoso” Rivera, Diane L., Brunie Cariño, Toni Aponte, and Aileen Bean for being generous supporting members through BuyMeACoffee.com.
And thank you for tuning in to “Perswayssick Radio: Unearthly Comedy.” We hope you enjoyed traveling to this loopy dimension with us and that you’ll come along again! Our new episodes drop every Tuesday morning! Please make sure to tell a friend! And keep on laughing!
Frank: It’s a Gneeecey thing! [SFX: Door Slam] ###