Hunger Stalks the Halls

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Tick, tick, tick… That was the only sound in the entire building. Tick, tick, tick… All eyes were watching intently as the second hand slowly lurched itself forward. It read 11:59. Lunch was just a minute away. Bruno could taste his mountainous, mouth watering sandwich. Turkey, ham, chicken, beef, pork, salami, sausage, bologna, pastrami, five cheeses, lettuce, tomato, olives, peppers, spinach, pickles, onions, mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise—all the salient ingredients were there. It was 4 feet high and it could barely fit in his bag. Bzzt… he awoke from his fantasy. He had drooled on his own keyboard. His watch, PDA, and computer alarms all went off at the same time, creating a symphony of beeps, honks, and quacks. But they were all superfluous, because his stomach howled imploringly.

It was a good day for Mervyn. His lunch was filled with the things he loved, he had done a superb job, as his boss had cheerfully put it, for the last three weeks, his new job had many amenities, and he had made lots of new friends. Striding down the hall filled with rushing people, he realized that they were running for a reason. He glanced around irresolutely. “Fire drill?” He asked himself. “No. Tornado? Not in this area. What could it be to scare the wits out of all these people?” Due to his callowness, he found out too late for any helpful reaction.

Bruno scanned the halls for an unsuspecting person with a large lunch. His slovenly wife had forgotten to give him his lunch. He couldn’t eat the food here. He would rather starve! Anything outside of a 20 mile radius was closed for some bizarre holiday. So he had to resort to this. Stalking the halls for some poor sap who had better give him his lunch or lose his head and/or pants.

Mervyn felt a pair of eyes boring into the back of his head. Or was it his lunch… he couldn’t be so sure, but nevertheless, ignored it. Then there were the footsteps, slowly getting louder and faster. Then it grew silent.

An expert display of acrobatic flips and corkscrews through the air guided Bruno like a missile towards his target… the bag. Unfortunately, he encountered some slight turbulence, which guided him off his intended trajectory. His head hit Mervyn square on the rear, and Mervyn went flying.

Mervyn didn’t know what to say. Or even think, really. All he knew was that quite suddenly, the floor had come straight up to meet him. Winded, but not out of the battle for his food, Mervyn leaped back up and began to sprint the opposite direction, as if the ground were on fire. He finally realized what was going on. Mervyn had heard about the legend of the lunch-stealing, hall-stalking monster who robbed people of their afternoon meal every so often. Melvyn knew that his best course of action now would be to run for his life, or rather his lunch.

Dazed, Bruno regained consciousness, just in time to see the feet of his victim go around the corner. The first thing that popped into his head was fooooood… followed by I wonder how many days until my birthday… but he immediately realized that he needed something to eat. Coming back up, a bit dizzy, the voracious Bruno resumed his great chase. Running like a demon, he soon caught up to the slow nerd. He launched a second tackle with a sort of battle cry to start it off. This time, Mervyn’s bag flew into the air. But there was no more either of them could do.

The bag exploded, revealing a variety of fruit, vegetables, and beans. Mervyn appeared to be a lactose-intolerant vegetarian. Too jaded for anything less than the perfect sandwich, Bruno glared at the vegetables with repugnance. All of the hopes and dreams of Bruno eating something delicious had disappeared, along with his shoes, socks, and jacket that had apparently been flung off in the scramble for the lunch. Bruno collected all his things and returned to his office. It was later than he had thought. There was no time to happily enjoy someone else’s lunch.
As for Mervyn, he was confused more than anything. But he shrugged off the attack from the unidentified individual. He calmly walked to the refrigerator in the break room and took out something: A large sandwich. Lucky he’d been carrying the food for the office rabbit. As he took the first delightful bite, he could taste all the meats, cheeses, and veggies that deserved to be in a real sandwich.





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