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Chapter 1

“I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!” mumbled a frazzled young man.

“…mmm, dude, its 7:00am, what are you doing up?” said a sleepy, disheveled bump on the couch, under a thick layerof blankets.

“I’m late for work! God, where is my coat?”

“….chill man, you still got time…” said the bump, drearily.

“Mike! Get up, you have a restaurant to open in an hour,” screamed the young man.

“….mmm, 5 more minutes!” Mike whined, holding up five fingers up in the air.

“Darn it, where are my keys??” said the young man.

“Where they always are in the apartment,” Mike said pointing to a dirty, glass cup.

The young man heads towards a coffee table and lifts up a few, wet keys from inside the cup.

“Mike I beg of you, stop placing my keys in here, its disgusting,” he said wiping any excess liquid from the tinkling mesh of metals.

“Joe. Remember to pick up dinner on your way home, k? Bring back the cheddar, man,” said the lifeless mess.

“You’d think that since you work in a restaurant that has its own catering company, we wouldn’t be starving as much as we do,” said Joe, hitting Mike in the head to wake him up. “Wake UP!”

Carry a small side backpack, Joe heads towards the bus stop at the corner of his street and looks at his watch.

“7:17. Crud, I’m not gonna make it,” he says to himself, disappointed.

Suddenly he overhears a small yelping from behind him, making him furrow his eyes in confusion. He turns around only to see a small little puppy, with dirty-white, raggedy fur that covered its eyes.

“Oh no, not today pup,” he said shaking his head. The puppy just sits obediently wagging its small, furry tail and salivating all over the pavement.

“You know, you’re going to have to clean that up right? And all that stuff I know you’ll do later. I don’t have time for this. You think you own the place, don’t you just because you can lounge around the neighborhood looking all helpless and adorable, and what am I doing, I’m talking to a puppy!” said Joe, disorientated.

The puppy continued salivating until it unexpectedly lifts its paw up, waving at Joe.

“No, I can’t,” he says. The pup puts his paw down, and lifts his other paw up.

“I-I can’t do it today, I’m late,” he says again, but the pup continues to wave his paw.

“You think that just because you can wave your paws around me, I’ll stoop to your level?” he says annoyed.

This time the pup puts both paws up and hops on his hind legs, begging at Joe. Frowning at his lack of and self-respect and self-decency, Joe relinquishes his rough demeanor and obeys the endearingly cute puppy.

“OK, fine! But if I’m late I’m calling the pound!” he scolds the puppy

Joe kneels down to the puppy’s level and claps his hands once together, then puts his hand on the puppy’s paw. He claps his hands again, and then puts his other hand on the dog’s other paw. He does this while reciting a small poem:

Pattycake, Pattycake, baker’s man,
Bake me a cake as fast as you can;
Roll it, pat it, mark it with a B,
Put it in the oven for baby and me.

“Hey you’re getting better at this pup,” he said grinning as they finished off their little game.

Joe nestles the pup’s shaggy fur over its eyes and it barks twice as if to say “thanks, for the game.” It then runs off to a small house next to the Joe’s apartment complex.

“Yeah, run you spoiled runt!” said a tired Joe, lifting his body up from kneeling.

Braking, the bus halts in front of Joe’s feet and he steps in only to be crammed in the moving chicken coop till it stops in front of a large company. Joe inhales the fresh, city air and continues walking towards the building.

“Ah, my sanctuary…” he says to himself, just before he sees a barrage of people coming out of the building with papers flying everywhere. “What was that?” he said entering the elevator.

At the office, he finds panic and delirium running from one end of the room to the next. Trying to make sense of all this, he grabs a hold of his supervisor.

“Jack! What happened? Why is everyone rushing out of the building with papers, and why does it look like a bomb just went off in here?” he asks quickly.

“Haven’t you heard?” said the alarmed supervisor. “The CEO spent the whole company’s fortune after he went to Guam. Apparently he hooked up with a couple waitresses and blew all the money in a couple of weeks. We’re bankrupt.”

“That’s impossible! I checked the status of our account and nothing seems wrong” Joe says unable to grasp what has happened.

“Of course you couldn’t see what’s wrong because he labeled the fortune he took as miscellaneous expenses. Therefore you couldn’t possibly have known what he took it for,” Jack said defeated.

“What about our stocks?”

“They’re worthless without the fortune. Our stock values are depleting as we speak!”

“But we had billions into the company how can one person blow it all so quickly? It’s impossible!

“Joe, face it. The company cannot provide for all our employees anymore. I received my pink slip today. Everybody is fired.”

In utter shock, Joe lets go of Jack and stares at the floor unable to move. The company has fallen and now he was broke, and unemployed.


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