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Evil Jim

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12:00 am: The first new Stock-Man story in five years
(in its original blue)

I had just finished placing the last discount cinder block up on the high-wall shelves when I heard the page: "Stock-Man to the front. Stock-Man to the front." The tingle on the back of my neck never fails me.

With my eyes half-closed to prevent asbestos dust from blowing into them in the lukewarm breeze from the air conditioning vent I began my 40 foot decent from atop the rickety high wall ladder, carefully avoiding the bent and broken rungs. I could request a new ladder from management but this one still functioned for its primary purpose and a replacement would just be taking money away from my generous employer.

I reached the main floor swiftly and quickly made my way along Action Alley two (or "A-2" as I like to call it) toward the front of the store. As the caller didn't specify at which part of the "front" I was needed I decided to head to the service desk and hope that I could pinpoint who needed my services from there without delay. However, some yards ahead I saw a gigantic backside of someone bent over a shopping cart and blocking the entire aisle. My inner compass instantly planned a new route and in less than a second I was on a new course to the front. But two lightning-quick 90 degree turns later caught me dead in my tracks!

I had made a wrong turn. The worst wrong turn I could have taken in this situation and yet I made the further mistake of glancing about me. I was paralyzed! The horror of horrors, I was now trapped in (store's name omitted's) stationary department!

Stationary, aside from referring to paper, envelopes and address labels also means motionless. That is to say anchored, immobile, inert, moored, and etcetera. And due to the generally uninteresting nature of said office supplies and their tendency to reduce mental activity by inducing boredom, I was trapped! I couldn't move a single muscle, blink or breathe. It was a wonder that the department manager accomplished anything at all here.

I stood there in mid-stride and mild surprise and found myself staring at a display of thumb tacks, Post-It!™ notes and glue sticks. Not the best source of inspiration for escape. My mind whirled to form a plan but the very nature of the aisle kept pulling me to become entirely inanimate. Time was running out! If, indeed, time even existed within the stationary department. I was fading fast. It was almost the end when suddenly...

I found myself briskly striding down A-1 to the front doors of the store. Blessed Freedom had found me! She had called to me by name in the form of a page, "Stock-Man to the front for a cart round-up. Stock-Man to the front." My savior had come.

I brought in every last shopping cart in record time, returning them to the indoor coral where customers could again take them to wherever they wished. Rounding up carts is so vital to customer service and so essential to the store's operation that I am frequently called out to collect them, sometimes several times an hour. Having done this so often in my years of tireless service it was only natural for answering these pages to come second nature to me. These fine-tuned senses are so honed that I had broken Stationary's deadly hold before I knew it. A super power? No. A heroic escape? No. Just another day in the life of STOCK-MAN!


©2004 Evil Jim

- E V I L O U T -

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