The Christmas Party from Hell.

Kevin cleared his throat.

“Guys, I would like to thank-”

“BRAAAAAAAAAAAACK!”

“Take another Tums, Charles,” Kevin said, mildly annoyed at the rude interruption. He knew Charles had chronic bad gas that required him to belch loudly every few minutes at the office where he worked as assistant manager but it was embarrassing for this to happen at the Blue Bottle Pub where all 7 employees of the Information Systems staff were having their annual Christmas party. In fact, other patrons were already staring at Charles as he took another Tums.

“Feeling better now, Charles?”

“Yes, much better.” Charles replied contently.

Kevin cleared his throat one more time and started his speech. “I would like to thank everyone for all their hard work during this past year. I know it’s been rough with all the problems we’ve been having with our network and servers, but we’ve demonstrated time and time again the true meaning of teamwork.”

“That’s what you said last year!” Charles shouted. “The only way to fix this is to upgrade the entire network at the hospital!”

“Then why don’t we do that?”

“WE CAN’T UPGRADE WITH THE UNSIGNED PURCHASE ORDERS STILL SITTING IN YOUR BOX!” Charles roared before letting out a thundering belch.

Again, all eyes in the pub were on Charles and Kevin let out a nervous laugh. “Take another Tums, Charles,” Kevin chuckled.

Then John’s beeper went off. John read the number and excused himself from the table to return the call. He was the one on call and the one taking the heat from the angry nurses and doctors for all the problems with the network.

“Poor John,” Kevin sighed, “That’s the fourth time his beeper’s gone off tonight.”

“I WONDER WHY!” Charles belched. He was so stressed that his gas levels increased exponentially and he had to belch repeatedly to bring the gas levels down to more comfortable levels. He had to stand up and pace the floor while clutching his stomach as he let out belch after thundering belch. “BRAAAAAACK! BRAAAAAAACK! BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKK!” Patrons were so offended by the noise that they ran outside, leaving the pub nearly vacant.

Then John re-entered the pub with a very somber look on his face. “The network just crashed,” he muttered, “Again.”

“WELL, BACK TO WORK WE GO!” Charles belched. “MAYBE WE SHOULD’VE HAD OUR PARTY AT THE OFFICE INSTEAD!”

The staff left the pub to return to the office to work on bringing the network back up, that is, everyone except Kevin, sitting there stone-faced and staring at the table of unopened presents intended for the gift swap. This was supposed to be a joyous party for a joyous occasion but apparently fate had other plans.

A loud belch suddenly pierced Kevin’s thoughts. “KEVIN!”

“Take another Tums, Charles,” Kevin sighed as he collected the presents and too left the pub, thus prematurely ending another holiday party for the beleaguered staff.

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