Along with the cartoons, we have saga of Hedger Corp, which is told in weekly installments. (More here.) Here’s the latest story…
Like her co-workers Bob and Derek, Ann was ordered to undergo a week of counseling. That’s what happens when you wrap a bunch of people up in duct tape and stash them in a cubicle. Bad decision, Ann.
Hedger Corp assigned her a therapist, and that therapist said he would come to Ann’s house. At first she thought this would be convenient, but then he plowed his car into her foyer.
Not so convenient.
The therapist flopped out of the car and remained still for a moment, recovering from the collision. Then he popped up.
“You are clearly in need of therapy!” he shouted by way of introduction. He extended his hand for a handshake.
Ann waited for the whole “Sorry-I-crashed-a-car-into-your-house” conversation, but no. It remained an elephant in the room.
Finally, the therapist said, “We need to get started.” He led Ann into the sitting room and told her he would be presenting a series of Rorschach tests.
He got the first one ready and Ann immediately saw something. The image was as clear as day.
But she hesitated. Should she answer honestly?
Because the honest answer was that she saw ponies.
Lots and lots of ponies.
In fact, lately she was seeing ponies pretty much everywhere she looked.
She didn’t want to admit it, but ponies had taken over her life.
It all began many years ago, when she purchased her house…
The real estate agent had been showing her around the property, pointing out all the wonderful features. The custom tile work in the bathroom…
The built-in shelves in the living room.
Ann was smitten. This seemed like the perfect house for her.
But why was the price so low?
Then the agent took her out back and explained that the house came with a dozen ponies.
Ann considered this. It was unusual, yes. But was it a deal breaker?
“They add such charm to the property,” the Realtor said. “All that frolicking and prancing! It’s so enchanting!”
Ann was deep in thought. A few ponies. How bad could it be? “I want to make an offer on this house,” she said.
The Realtor seemed overly relieved to hear this news. “THANK GOD!” she whispered.
A month later the deal was final. As Ann was moving in, the agent dropped by to give her a large handbook called “Caring for the Ponies.”
“You’ll need this right away,” she said, avoiding Ann’s eyes. Then she quickly strode out of the house. By the time she reached the driveway she was sprinting.
Ann opened the handbook and began to read. “Brush each pony 48 times per day, in concentric circles. Counter-clockwise only. Use a brush made of 100% gold,” the manual began.
Ann paused. This seemed bit inconvenient.
Unfortunately, things got worse from there.
As Ann learned in the manual, the ponies only ate glitter. Silver glitter. The expensive brand-name kind, not generic glitter.
They only drank ice-cold Miller Lite.
They did NOT drink Bud Light. Bud Light was upsetting to them, as Ann learned the hard way.
Each pony had to sleep on a 100% silk bed, with a fresh marshmallow as a pillow.
And before bed, they HAD to watch House Hunters International on HGTV.
This part was fine… at first. Ann liked House Hunters International. But after a while she and the ponies had seen every episode like five times. She became sick of it. “They’re going to pick house number three!” she would shout at the ponies. “We’ve SEEN THIS BEFORE! Don’t you REMEMBER??”
The ponies were too wrapped up in the program to hear her. When the couple indeed picked house #3, they seemed surprised and delighted.
Overall, the first few weeks with the ponies were okay. Ann was somewhat overwhelmed, but she thought the ponies were cute.
Unfortunately, cute turned to claustrophobic pretty quickly.
The ponies would not leave her alone. Sometimes Ann would hide behind the backyard shed, just to steal a moment of privacy.
The ponies would always find her.
Another problem was that they pretty much hated anyone who wasn’t Ann. At one point Ann tried to hire a pony caretaker.
She interviewed a lovely woman.
But when the ponies spotted her, they went berserk.
“Thank you for coming,” said Ann. “Would you like the job?”
“Not a chance in hell,” was the muffled reply.
Ann had struggled through many, many years with the ponies, and she was tired. During the past few months she had been seriously considering an exit strategy. She had to get out of her pony duties once and for all.
She wrote some ideas down in her journal, but then the journal disappeared. Later she found it out with the ponies.
Had they READ the journal? Ponies couldn’t read, could they? She was almost sure they couldn’t.
And yet… was it just her imagination, or were the ponies acting strange? What was with all the secret meetings and hush-hush discussions?
Ann was jolted back to the present when the therapist yelled, “What is this?!”
The ponies had begun to circle.
The therapist wasted no time evacuating Ann’s house. He scrambled into his car, backed out of her entry hall, and shot off across her lawn, the ponies in hot pursuit.
Ann watched him go.
Would he be able to out-run the ponies?
But probably not.
She was deeply disappointed that the therapy session had been cut short. She really needed some counseling. “The time has come,” thought Ann. “The pony situation needs to be resolved.”
But a solution would have to wait. Some of the ponies were back, and they wanted their ice-cold Miller Lite. “Yes,” said Ann. “We could all use some ice-cold Miller Lite. A lot of it.”
Next: What does Ann do about the ponies? That is a story for another day. Next week we’re back in the office, where business is interrupted by the paparazzi.
Ann’s therapist is Derek’s neighbor, Frank! Am I right?