New Company Policy To Boost Productivity Backfires

Mundanity Corp. is currently under fire for implementing a risqué ‘hump-day’ policy.

WEST DEPTFORD, N.J. — In response to plummeting employee morale over the bizarre kidnapping of one of their own, Owlie McOwlerson, back in January, head honchos of Mundanity Corporation issued a racy new stress-releasing policy this month. Under the new rule, every Wednesday employees are now required to have sexual relations with at least one of their coworkers.

Hump-day was originally conceived as a term to describe the point in the week which marks the passing of the midway point, as in “over the hump and all downhill now”; however, the ‘hump’ in hump-day can also be used to describe a pelvic thrust, as performed during sex. Synonyms for this ‘hump’ include porking, ramming, riding, railing, running-her-through, banging, slamming and pounding.

Repercussions for disobeying the new policy consist of disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

However, company officers did not foresee the blowback that thereafter arose.

Reports of herpes, crabs, Chlamydia, Syphilis and Gonorrhea have risen exponentially, and the spike is projected to incur a substantial strain on the company’s health insurance benefit system.

Employee pregnancies have also spiked, which, for a company consisting primarily of women, will translate into a debilitating lack of manpower in approximately 9 months.

Also since the policy’s implementation, the company has suffered from an epidemic of divorces, child custody hearings and post-break-up depression as employees’ personal lives began and continue to deteriorate. An explosion of office drama in the form of love triangles, love squares, love pentagons and one love Star of David has also handicapped employee productivity.

The company’s profit margins are slipping under the cost of providing “inciting media material”, lubricants, an on-call cleaning and sterilization crew and crates upon crates of condoms, which continues to be the number on company expenditure despite an off-the-books deal with Trojan Inc. and Ron Jeremy Films.

On a positive note, job applications to the company have skyrocketed to more than seven times the monthly average. Experts hypothesize that this influx is due to the recently created and mysterious positions of Pleasure Manager and Lay Specialist.

Company representatives declined to comment on the positions’ job details, but did mention that the interview process had been “modified” to accommodate the specialized nature of the job, and now requires several additional rounds of interviews.

Follow this story from the beginning:

Birds Involved In Human Kidnapping Suffer Fowl Play

Man Kidnapped By Squadron Of Egrets

New Lead In Egret Kidnapping Case: Victim Spotted In Europe

New Tabloid To Spill The Beans On Other Tabloids

NGE photographers capturing the paparazzi.

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — A new tabloid, The National Gossipers Enquirer, will soon be launching with the intent of exploiting the secret lives of existing tabloids and their staffs, according to a random press release.

Promising to “give the scoop on those giving the scoop,” The National Gossipers Enquirer (NGE) stands poised as a first-of-its-kind publication. Editor-in-chief and founder, Jean Luc Arteta, says his magazine’s sole purpose is to “uncover the dirt on those digging up the dirt.”

“The National Gossip Enquirer was created to show that those who pester celebrities are real people too, and do real people things, such as washing valium down with vodka and passing out in a puddle of their own urine,” Mr. Arteta said in his tiny office off Sunset Boulevard. “We’ll have paparazzi stalking paparazzi stalking celebrities, and we’ll have paparazzi stalking paparazzi on their downtime.”

Mr. Arteta describes this brand of news as “mustard journalism.”

“It’s not quite yellow journalism,” he told McOwlerson reporters, “but it’s damn close. I also happen to think mustard is delicious and a great color. Actually, it really doesn’t have that much to do with the type of reporting we’ll be doing, now that I think about it. Maybe we’ll change the name to ScuttleBums and the Case of the Dirty Laundry. That’s going to be our first book name, anyway. Hmm, I guess I should let my team know we’re doing a book.”

Like its rumor-mongering counterparts, Star and The Sun, NGE will have a full-feature website, to which it will post pictures and video clips of other shutterbugs and writers not only at their places of employment, but also (primarily) off the job, on the streets, presumably in various states of undress or intoxication.

“Basically, we aim to provide baseless speculation on all card-carrying members of paparazzi, as it relates to their extramarital affairs, drug usage and vacation spots, as well as any alleged illegitimate offspring. It’s gonna be as libelous and defamatory as we can manage it, and that’ll be killer,” Mr. Arteta said.

Mr. Arteta got the idea for NGE quite by accident, he said.

“I was in line at Kroger, and this lady behind me, she said, ‘Maybe they should do a magazine about people who produce magazines!’ I hope she doesn’t read this and realize she lost out on what could end up being a billion dollar a year venture.”

The press release, which went viral prior to the official announcement of the publication, was found on Paparazziruuuuuuuuulez.net and gathered some 4 million hits in the 36 hours following its appearance in a trolling comment on the tech website Gizmodo.com.

The first edition of NGE is set to hit newsstands next month and can be ignored accordingly.  —by Alex Schelldorf

Birds Involved in Human Kidnapping Suffer Fowl Play

Egrets had their captive stolen from them in a double-cross, the FBI said.

One of the suspected S.W.A.R.M. members on his way to get coffee at the Nectar Ecstasy Café in South Tangerang, Java, Indonesia. |Image via Wikipedia|

HONK KONG — Owlie McOwlerson, who was kidnapped from a courtyard outside of where he worked in New Jersey and smuggled into Europe, earlier this week found himself captive to an entirely different species of fowl, according to the FBI.

“On Tuesday, January 31st, the Egrets met with a S.W.A.R.M. organization of hummingbirds with the intent of trading McOwlerson for a cargo ship’s worth of trout,” FBI agent Holden MacGroyn reported at a news conference held earlier this week. It was only after the exchange, MacGroyn explained, that the Egrets learned the cargo ship was full of Pokémon trading cards, not trout. By then, the hummingbirds were leagues away.

“We tracked the S.W.A.R.M. group to Indonesia where we believe Mr. McOwlerson again changed hands,” said MacGroyn. “The identity of the new captors is at this point unknown. All we do know is that the hummingbirds received over a thousand barrels of sweet tropical nectar in payment.”

Usually restricted to North and South America, the FBI is trying to ascertain why the hummingbirds have suddenly appeared in Southeast Asia, and why they are dabbling in human trafficking.

“It’s sad,” said McOwlerson’s Mundanity Corp. coworker, Jim Clark. “Or genius. All Owlie needs is an expert on all things fowl. Was it a coincidence that they took the guy who knew the most about them? I think not. If you ask me, Owlie’s the only one that can save Owlie.”

More than six weeks after McOwlerson’s abduction, employee morale at Mundanity continues to fall, according to Clark.

Agent MacGroyn concluded the teleconference by saying, “We are utilizing every resource we have at our disposal to track Mr. McOwlerson. This is no joke, people. The communists are out there. Be afraid. And Owlie, if you’re watching this, listen up. Don’t drink the water, always choose the blue pill, never trust a squirrel, don’t pee into the wind, a penny saved is a penny earned and stay thirsty, my friend, we’re coming for you.”

Follow this story from the beginning:

Man Kidnapped By Squadron Of Egrets

New Lead In Egret Kidnapping Case: Victim Spotted In Europe

Hysteria Over Imagined Iranian Invasion Strikes NC Beach

Hallucinogens and a New Jersey vacationer were implicit in causing a small riot which resulted in over $3 million in property damage, township officials said.

EMERALD ISLE, N.C. — New Jersey local, Gary Fineburg, 26, last night caused a mass panic in the streets of this sleepy little shore town when he proposed to a stranger he had met while strolling the beach a scenario in which thousands of battleships were appearing on the horizon.

Unfortunately for him, and the town, the stranger happened to be under the influence of Psilocybin mushrooms and mistook Mr. Fineburg’s marijuana-induced hypothetical for the here-and-now truth. The man, last seen in a local CVS purchasing several Nyquil bottles and a bag of Skittles, immediately jumped up from his seat on the deck of Mr. Fineburg’s vacation rental home and ran all the way to the mainland raising the alarm in what several witnesses described as feverish panic.

Hugo Martin, 32, one of the first to hear the dire warnings, said, “Somebody screams ‘We’re under attack!  It’s the Iranians! We’re being invaded! Iran is storming the beach!’ like he did and, what, you’re not going to listen to him?”

Along with a small group of other passersby, upon hearing the warnings Martin threw his car in reverse, made a sloppy K-turn and floored it for home.

Soon after, a mob attacked the local Food Lion, ransacking shelves and smashing windows. Despite the apparent reckless abandon evident in the destruction, authorities found half a dozen apology notes scrawled on sheets ripped from stolen paper towel rolls.

“I’m really sorry about this. I meant no harm, but everyone else was doing it. I don’t know what came over me,” one note said. The other notes more or less echoed this sentiment.

Several other isolated incidents of looting were reported at local stores and residences on the island including one in which someone broke into the local Petsmart and stole all the puppies.

“It’s strange that this could have happened,” said Art Schools, Mayor of Emerald Isle. “It’s such a ridiculous thing to go psycho over — why would you automatically believe someone running around and screaming like a lunatic? And it’s the middle of winter; we don’t get many renters this time of year. There couldn’t be more than 400 people around. How was this much damage caused? Fuckin’ Jersey people…”

Mr. Fineburg expressed very little regret over the incident, citing that it was his vacation and that he was in too much of a good mood to care about what he had allegedly started. Instead, he lounged with McOwlerson reporters on the deck of the house his family had rented for the week, cozy in a heavy jacket and blanket, and gestured out at the blackness of the night ocean with a bemused, carefree air about him.

“Seriously, though, man. What would you do?” he said between drags on his hand-rolled joint. “It’s a fuckload of battleships coming right at you, like D-day at Normandy, and they’re all about ready to unload on the area. What do you do? Run? No! You bang your girl, pop open another beer and wish you wouldn’t have dicked around so much in your life…because that many battleships, man…you can’t escape that — it’s like a tsunami; by the time you see it coming, you’re fucked.”

The unidentified man who ran maniacally through the streets is currently sought for disturbing the peace, and township officials urge anyone with relevant information to contact local law enforcement.

New Year Gimmick Goes Awry For Local Apple Store

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

CHERRY HILL, N.J. — A local Apple store here were forced to close early yesterday when Apple Inc.’s new advertising campaign, Apples to Apples, resulted in an event that racked up more than $600,000 in damages, according to company sources.

The Apples to Apples campaign for the new year was devised to play on the literality of the company’s name by placing bushels of fresh apples at various points throughout the store, thereby allowing the customers to have a healthy snack while perusing the product offering. Also offered to customers were various apple themed attractions, such as water-bobbing, caramel apple stands and a William Tell impersonator.

At approximately 2:45 p.m., amidst an argument between two college aged men and a customer service associate, one of the college aged men reportedly yelled, “Fuck this store! You Mac people are hoity-toity snobs!”

This outburst was met with the splatter of a Fuji apple against the wall next to him. Furious, the man grabbed a granny smith from a nearby bushel and returned fire. Unfortunately, according to witnesses, this shot missed the original perpetrator and struck an innocent bystander, who, suddenly disgruntled, heaved a honey crisp back, which, in turn, hit another innocent bystander, who also suddenly became disgruntled.

At this point, someone screamed out “Food fight!” and the store descended into chaos.

“It was fun for a minute,” said Apple employee Kyle Bernard as he swept up pieces of what looked like a McIntosh. “It got serious when I saw the first iPad get hit. Apple took it right off the display. I saw it get stepped on twice. Not cool. Then I got hit. Apples aren’t dodgeballs. They fuckin’ hurt.”

There were no serious injuries in the apple fight, though one woman drowned while water-bobbing and one man was shot in the face by the William Tell impersonator with a crossbow.

Apple is currently looking into why the actor was given a real crossbow.

New Lead in Egret Kidnapping Case: Victim Spotted in Europe

Authorities are stumped over how the birds managed to carry a whole human being across the Atlantic.

One of the perpetrators outside of Marseille. Egrets are known as water waders and are normally very docile creatures. There is no record of any previous Egret-Human kidnapping cases.

STUTTGART, Ger. — A man matching the description Owlie McOwlerson, the victim of a bizarre animal kidnapping last month, was this week glimpsed at a biergarten in Germany. This is the first sign of McOwlerson since he was taken from Mundanity Corporation grounds where he works in New Jersey last month.

At around 9:00 PM local standard time yesterday, frequenters of Biergarten Brunnenstüble in Stuttgart were puzzled to see a dirty, unshaven man walk through the door and approach the bar in stocking feet where he ordered, in English, a Dos Equis beer, which isn’t sold in Germany.

Lars Kristopherssen, the bartender, remarked that McOwlerson sat at the bar, smiled, began telling Kristopherssen that he didn’t always drink beer, but when he did, he preferred Dos Equis. When Kristopherssen explained that they did not sell Dos Equis, McOwlerson responded by saying in German, “This is my friend. My name is Owlie. And this is my friend.”

Which was curious, Kristopherssen said, because he was alone and appeared to have been mugged.

Gretta von Strudel, a regular at Biergarten Brunnenstüble who understood a bit of English, said that McOwlerson then proceeded to ask each of the patrons about their hobbies.

“I not have guessed he was in trouble,” von Strudel conceded when asked about the state of McOwlerson. “His spirits were very high. He smile and joke and snap his fingers, snap! snap! snap! like so. And he wink and click tongue at me.”

McOwlerson’s visit did not last long, however. According to von Strudel, approximately ten minutes after his arrival, a score of big white birds burst into the room and swarmed the at-one-time-well-dressed American, dragging him out by the shoulders of his clubbing shirt. Onlookers could only look on. McOwlerson did not seem to resist, but rather could be heard saying, “Stay thirsty, my friends!” over the vigorously flapping wings.

At the scene, McOwlerson caught up with Holden MacGroyn, the FBI agent in charge of McOwlerson’s case, who arrived only hours after the incident.

“Similar sightings have occurred in Lisbon, Barcelona, Marseille, Milan and now, of course, Stuttgart,” MacGroyn said, adding that he believed that communists were behind the abduction and that McOwlerson’s political affiliations were currently under investigation.

“Those damn commies have no honor,” continued MacGroyn. “They have no marbles! Training birds for abduction missions? Crazy bastards. They’ll feel the crisp backhand of democratic Justice, or I am not Holden MacGroyn. You can quote me on that.”

MacGroyn also hinted at the possibility of a greater conspiracy involving a cat, a eunuch, an apostrophe, Ricky Martin and the Middle East, but declined to elaborate on their interconnectivity.

To follow this story from the beginning, see Man Kidnapped By Squadron Of Egrets.

Motive: The Compass For Your Character

I know from experience that creating a character from scratch can be like trying to put together that fancy new desk you ordered online: there are a million pieces, something called an Allen wrench, and as you peer deep into the darkness of the big and now empty cardboard box, you realize with a sinking feeling that they’ve forgotten to include the assembly instructions (or that the instructions might as well be in hieroglyphs, for all the sense they make). Your living room’s a mess, you have no idea where to begin, and you’re about five seconds away from adding a new window to your apartment before sitting down in front of your computer (which is on the floor because you don’t have a desk) to bang out your most bitingly scathing review of the item on the manufacturer’s website.

By all means, write the review — that is a travesty; but take a calming breath because the quagmire you’re knee deep in now is actually very manageable.

To put together a desk (character) that is both sturdy (believable) and aesthetically pleasing (interesting), you have to find the anchor (motive), which, with desks, is usually that big slab of plywood that is the desk top. Since the desk top is usually the biggest piece of a desk, all or most of the other pieces are attached to it in some way. So is this true with characters and motive. Motive gives characters focus; it is what drives a character to do what he does, which, at stage one of the creation process, is the most important part you can devise. Does motive equal character? No. A character’s motive is your writer’s compass. You can take winding turns in the creation of your character (and by extension, your story) but, as long as you have your motive, it will all be in the right direction.

Therefore, before considering a name for your character; before considering how tall you want him to be, or that his quirk should be that he picks at his beard when he wants to say something but is not sure how to; before even deciding his ethnicity or personality, clearly defining what your character wants most in relation to the story you want to tell should absolutely be step one of your process. Most of the rest is garnish.

When creating a character’s motive, be sure to be specific in what the character’s motive is. “Wants to be rich” may be true for a character, but it is not strong enough to drive a story. For the purposes of the story, you must choose something more specific. What does he choose as his plan to get rich? Does he rob banks? Does he con people? Does he start a business? Once you have a specific motive set, you can then move on to why he chooses to get rich that way, and I have a sneaky feeling, once you have this, that the rest of his character will fall into place.

A caveat here: it is easy to fall into the obvious, the cliché, and the boring once you move into the “why” part of the motive. Don’t forget to strive for an interesting and unique character. This usually means scrapping the first “why” you come up with. Probably the second and third, too, for those tend to be obvious, cliché, and boring.

To avoid the obvious, the cliché, and the boring, create some limitations for the character’s motive. How far will he go, what is he willing to commit to achieve his goals? If you decided that your character wants to get rich by robbing banks, is he willing to kill a teller? A guard?

If your character is bucking for that big promotion at work, is she willing to sleep with her boss? Is she willing to sabotage her competition? How far is she willing to go to do so?

Is that ballplayer willing to risk suspension by injecting himself with steroids in order to carry his team to the championship?

Putting limitations on characters’ motives can often produce very complicated and engaging personalities.

You may also avoid clichés by combining multiple motives; more effectively so if these motives are contradictory.

Remember, just like the anchor may not be the heaviest or most important part of a ship, motive is not the heaviest or most important part of a character; however, it is the most important first step. Along with seeing it as a compass, think of motive like a banister or railing, something you can hold on to for balance while traversing the wobbly, vertigo-inducing broken-down rope bridge of creating a rich and interesting character.

Joe Buck Discovered To Be Android

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

GREEN BAY, Wisc. — International handsome man and sports broadcaster extraordinaire, Joe Buck, was yesterday discovered to be a work of artifice when, while on his way down from the FOX broadcasting booth after Sunday’s NFL playoff game between the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers, he suffered a catastrophic programming malfunction and froze mid-stride.

According to a passing intern, the artificially manufactured man remained stiff and still in the hallway while tendrils of smoke twirled to the ceiling from his left nostril. Distressed at Buck’s smoking nostril and never-blinking eyes, the intern immediately dialed 911.

The responding paramedics reported further strangeness upon closer examination, including pants soaked with a black liquid later identified as battery acid, a gross weight of 350 lbs, despite the man’s smallish stature and lean build, and a faint clicking sound, at first thought to be his heartbeat, but later surmised to be the bass beat to FOX’s FOX Sports music theme. Buck’s nose continued to expel smoke well into the night, and the faint stink of burnt rubber was ever-present on Buck’s statuesque form, the paramedics said.

The machine formerly known as Joe Buck was expeditiously taken to St. Vincent Hospital under a heavy police escort and news of the incident was kept hush-hush due to the already heightened and widespread fear of a 2012 robot apocalypse.

“We’re going to dissect it to determine what kind of android we could be dealing with,” a police source said, speaking under anonymity. “Knowing whether it’s like Star Trek’s ‘Data,’ Aliens’ ‘Bishop,’ AI’s…Haley Joel Osment character, whatever his name was, or worse, Terminator’s Terminator — knowing what we’re dealing with could give us a big leg up on whatever might be coming.”

Questions concerning when the real Joe Buck was replaced, if there ever was a real Joe Buck, how an android could have kids, whether he was programmed by a New York sports fan and how an android could be so full of itself are currently being asked and have yet to be adequately answered.

Religious Community Anxious About God’s Latest Facebook Post

THE WORLD — Christians, Jews and Muslims this morning were shocked to read God the Almighty’s latest Facebook status, which reads as shown below:

Almost immediately, tens of thousands of comments poured in seeking clarification and begging Him not to go.

“Where are you going, Lord???” Phyllis Peterson wanted to know.

Her comment was followed by one from Vince Leroma, who wrote, “Don’t leave us! My family and I (as you know) are in hard times and we will be praying later. I pray you will hear us,” followed by one from Alison Pfeffer, who wrote, “Wait, you’re taking off? What if I, like, get into a car crash or something later? : ( ” and Carlos Deguzman, who wrote, “Yeah, boi! Get ya shit done, playa!”

These were followed by over two billion ensuing responses echoing a growing anxiety — in some cases panic — over the future of our eternal souls.

“This is the most troubling news we’ve seen on Facebook since that time ‘God is now single’ popped up in our news feeds,” Father Imus Saudomis, a local Philadelphia Roman Catholic priest, said in an interview with McOwlerson. “I wept openly when I saw that God was no longer in a relationship with the Pope. And now he’s skipping town? I tell my flock that it’s simply a test, something to strengthen our faith. I hope they don’t figure out that if God’s not around, there’s no point in keeping the faith. What will stop men from sinning then?”

God’s Facebook page has long been one of the most popular pages on the social media site, boasting around 3.6 billion online friends. To view God the Almighty’s page, go to http://www.facebook.com/godthealmighty/profile.php?id=5749omnipotence7776.

Angry Baby Throws Tantrum After New Hampshire Primary

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich playing Mouse Trap. (image via Wikipedia)

MANCHESTER, N.H. — When the New Hampshire primary results arrived at the Radisson Hotel, serving as Newt Gingrich’s headquarters, late last night, an inconsolable squalling overwhelmed the atmosphere there and an angry baby ran rampant through the ballroom red-faced, throwing things and punching people on the arm, according to reports.

With 95% of precincts reporting, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney stepped out of the contest with a convincing victory, winning 40% of the vote, followed by Texas Rep. Ron Paul with 23% and former Utah Gov. and U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman with 17%, leaving the former House Speaker with a disappointing fourth place finish and only 10% of the vote.

According to witnesses, the staff tried everything to calm the angry baby down, including attempts at feeding it, changing its diaper, giving it its blankie, jingling keys in front of its face and rocking it gently while singing soft, soothing lullabies. They also reportedly promised it ice cream and a brand new Harry Potter action figure. One desperate woman even offered it her teat, but achieved nothing more than a short pause and a double-take.

After nearly an hour of the tantrum, the staff finally seemed to mollify the baby with a game of Mouse Trap. According to one of the players, the baby giggled happily when it ruthlessly defeated him. Unfortunately, its success did not last, and when it was finally eliminated from the game, it degraded back into a squealing, howling rage and the staff resigned themselves to letting it cry itself to sleep.

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