David was saying the other day that he couldn't think of anything to write and Jona told him "Why don't you write a story about a unicorn named Gary who works at Office Max. And also, he's suicidal." Suddenly David's writer's block was gone, I saw him bunker down and write this story, like, right away.
Gary The Unicorn
By David Drury
“Okay, people,” said Robert, scratching at the pleats in his khakis with a clipboard. He was the only one in the group of 15 not wearing a red Office Max vest.
“Let’s huddle up. I show 8 minutes to open. Are we all here?”
Outside, a few customers stood around checking their watches and peering inside at the employee gathering behind the checkout registers.
“Now, as we all know, Terry from regional…. Ashley, are you wearing anything under that vest other than cleavage? And is that glitter? This isn’t one of your rave concerts. Wash that stuff off.
“Terry from regional is going to be here this time tomorrow. We’ve all been on pins and needles for the last week here trying to get the store in order. We really need to wow ‘em on this one, gang. Regional is expecting to see marked improvement in our displays, and a clean, well-organized store as always. Now… wait. Who is missing? We’re missing somebody.”
From far down the mailing supplies aisle came the sound of air whooshing from a spray can before it clattered to the ground. Then there was an uneven clippety clop.
“Gary,” sighed Robert, shaking his head. The circle of red vests parted as Gary came around the corner.
“Sorry I’m late,” said Gary. “Traffic was crazy. I think there was an accident or something. Which is weird because I left extra early because I knew today was so important.”
“Were you huffing paint a minute ago?” asked Robert
“You’ve got silver paint around your mouth.”
“That’s part of my Halloween costume,” snorted Gary.
“Halloween was, like, a month ago,” said Ashley, licking her thumb and rubbing off the glitter.
“Traffic didn’t prevent you from stopping off at Starbucks along the way,” said Robin, rolling her eyes. “I had to shelve your shit for the last 45 minutes.”
“Well, no. I got this before the traffic jam. I needs me a pumpkin spice latte or I’m no good to anybody. Thanks for doing me a solid, Robin. We’re totally square now.”
Robert scowled and turned back to the group. “Alright folks. Jeremy, quit staring at Ashley’s glitter. You got the doors. Make sure you make eye contact and greet those people with a smile. Cashiers in your places. The rest of you know where you need to be. Gary, I want to see you in my office.”
Gary tossed his flowing white mane to one side and stamped his hoof. He followed Robert to the office.
Robert sunk into his leather office chair and swiveled nervously.
“Gary, do you remember what you were doing before I hired you to join our family here at Office Max?” Gary swished his tail and stared off into space.
“Filling out an application?”
“You were stocking shelves in a faux-hawk and studded white belt at Hot Topic. You had just gotten fired for smoking marijuana and playing Halo in the break room. I found you standing in the mall fountain crying your eyes out.”
“I gave you a chance.”
“Is this about being late?”
“It’s about everything, Gary. Lack of punctuality. Bad attitude. Your hygiene issues have been showing up in the suggestion box.”
“Is that all?” Gary snorted, pawing at a flea with his front hooves, smearing it into the carpet.
“We’ve had complaints about someone making multiple copies of their genitals on the photocopier and taping them up in the loading bay,” said Robert.
“That was so Mike,” said Gary.
“It was your genitals, Gary. You don’t wear pants. We know what your genitals look like. Let me ask this. Is everything okay at home? Robin and Ashley both have raised worries that you have been cutting again.
“Ashley is a whore. Robin would be a whore, but she’s too fat.”
“We know what you think. We all read your blog Gary. Which is another thing. You really are crossing a line with the personal remarks about your coworkers, the fictional sexual escapades, and the pictures of you posing with firearms.”
“Why do you hate me?”
“I don’t hate you, Gary.”
“Why do you treat me differently.”
“You are a unicorn, Gary.”
Gary flared his nostrils. He whinnied and raised up on his back legs. He drove his head down, and with crushing force his horn found a file cabinet and bore it straight through it. Gary raised the creaking file cabinet off the ground. Papers and file folders drained from the metal wound, covering the floor. He tossed his head from side to side until he managed to throw the cabinet off into the wall with a crash.
“What do you want to do with your life Gary?” asked Robert, leaning back in his chair and twiddling a pen. Gary raised up a hind foot and put it through the wall behind him.
“I want to sell office products at affordable prices.”
“What else, Gary?” Gary stirred as if he might bolt through a wall.
“I’m working on a screenplay.”
“Right. What was that called?”
“Well,” Gary began, backing his hindquarters into a chair which creaked and exploded beneath him, “there’s Unitard: A Parapalegic Unicorn Learns to Dance Again. That’s a feature length. I’m sort of stuck on that one. So, currently I’m drafting a made-for-TV sort of thing called CSI: Unicorn.”
“Are the unicorns the killers or the crime-solvers?”
“Little bit of both, I’m afraid.”
There was a long pause. Gary began sniffling. Robert reached into a desk drawer and pulled out a handful of sugar cubes and tossed them into the air. Gary snapped them up.
“Nobody loves me,” Gary cried, tears forming in his great big eyes. He whinnied and wailed and let the sugary saliva run down his mouth and fall to the floor in great big drops.
“What makes you say that?” Asked Robert.
“When I go out for a smoke break, everybody leaves the smoking area.”
“That’s because they are tired of having to hold the cigarettes to your mouth.”
“What’s so bad about that?”
“You demand no less than half a dozen cigarettes at once. You wheeze and cough with each puff. And no one wants to have to help a unicorn smoke cigarettes. It’s just wrong. It’s like putting a condom on a clown.”
“Everybody puts me down. They ask me to make them a rainbow or grant them three magical wishes. It’s bullshit. That’s prejudiced. That’s racism.”
“But you can make rainbows, Gary. Granting magical wishes is what you do.”
“Yes,” said Gary with a hopeful air.
“So get out there and grant magical wishes,” said Robert. “Wear that vest with pride. Make rainbows in the forest of dreams. Rainbows of post-it notes and printer toner.” Gary straightened up and took a deep breath.
“And watch that horn around Kathleen. She does not like that. She’s a feminist, and she will press charges.”