James the Fly at the Water Cooler

January 8, 2011
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Ed chortled. “Well, Raymond, that there was a funny story.”

Raymond smiled. “I try.”

Ed and Raymond always chatted by the office’s five-gallon water cooler. After all, what is a break without a buddy? Life can be so drab sometimes, working at a dress-shirt-requiring tie-necessitating black pants-commanding job every weekday.

Ed and Raymond were friends since high school. At the time of this tale, Ed was married and had a toddler daughter, and Raymond was about to settle down with his boyfriend. If you look up “friends” in a dictionary, below the definition that mentions an old, dull sitcom, it will say, “Ed Potter and Raymond Vellum.”

“So,” said Ed, “how’s Jake?”

“Good,” replied Raymond, “He’s good. He has a bit of a cold, but he’ll be fine. How’s little Becky?”

“Oh, she’s growing up so fast.”

“That picture of her in the sink was so cute!”

“I thought you’d like it.”

Suddenly, an odor. Ed and Ray took a sniff of the air and smelled manure. And they both knew what that meant.

“Hey guys,” they heard. The duo looked behind their backs to see a towering, black figure. James the Fly, that giant fly, was standing behind them. Yes, there he was, with his stupid green shirt. James was rather indescribable; he was a big fly with six limbs and the need to vomit on his food before eating it. Ray and Ed hated James the Fly.

In that typical manner that best friends have, Ed signaled to Ray without words, “Oh my God… it’s James.” Ray acknowledged the body language and silently came back with, “Just relax, Ed. Maybe he’ll go away.”

“What were you guys talking about?” asked James the Fly.

“Oh, you know…” answered Ray. James’s compound eyes had a frighteningly hollow look. “No, I don’t,” he garbled with the enthusiasm of a dolphin on endorphin injections.

Ray and Ed looked to each other, puzzled. James kept on grinning.

“Well, uh,” Ray began.

“Don’t freakin’ bother,” muttered Ed, his face beginning to grow red with frustration.

“So did you guys have breakfast?” James inquired.

“No,” they shouted simultaneously. They were lying, but last time they talked about food with James, Ed got sick.

“Oh. I had some hair for breakfast, a side of trash, and a bit of poopy.”

“Y-”

“Did you just say you ate ‘poopy?’” Ed barked, cutting off Ray.

“Yes,” James said calmly.

“Oh my God, James, that’s so d*** repulsive!” Ed yelled.

“Ed, calm down,” counseled Ray.

“No, Ray, I won’t.” he roared. “That was so godd*** gross! Just gross! James, don’t ever talk to us about food! Ever!”

“Alright, Ed, relax,” suggested Ray.

Ed began to say something, but he stopped. His face, which had gotten bright red, turned slightly more flesh-colored. “Fine,” he said. “Sorry James. Please refrain from talking about food near me.”

“Ok,” replied James. “Sorry.”

Silence.

Then awkward silence.

James got a paper cup, placed it under the water cooler, and filled it with liquid.

Ed and Ray once again spoke to each other through body language.

“He’s going to do it,” signaled Ed. “Don’t let him.”

“Ed, chill, it’ll be ok,” responded Ray, noiselessly.

“No, it won’t!”

James looked at his water, smiled a little, and then he brought the cup up to his mouth, ever so slowly. Suddenly, a tumultuous gurgle arose, and Ed’s pupils shrunk. Ray closed his eyes, grimaced, and turned away. James abruptly and copiously projectile-vomited into the cup for the next seven seconds. Bits of puke got everywhere, on Ed and Ray’s bodies, their clothes, the ties, the black pants, the floor, the walls, the cooler, everywhere.

Ray sighed and wished he were somewhere else. Ed, however, detonated with rage.

“What the f-”

“Ed,” Ray interjected. “You know flies vomit on their food before eating it.”

“Godd***it, Ray, I don’t give a flying…” and then Ed said a cuss word. “He doesn’t need to throw up on everything before he eats it, and if he does, he doesn’t have to do it on me! Have him do it in the bathroom or something! This is going to take, like, five godd*** washes to get out!” Ed swore again.

James looked over at Ed.

“Actually,” he began, as he started to drool into his cup.

“What?” Ed screeched. “What on Earth could you possibly say right now?”

“Actually… we flies don’t actually vomit on our food before we eat it… we just salivate all over it.” Ed observed that James was copiously slobbering into the water and vomit concoction. “I think I only puked because I felt sick to my stomach today. That vomiting in the food thing is a myth.” With that, he profusely regurgitated again. “Maybe I should have stayed home today,” he uttered as he was spraying everything with chunks of bile.

Ray buried his head in his hands, and Ed’s face got bright red. He screamed, “You idiot! What is your problem? I’m literally going to explode, Ray, I am literally going to explode!”

“I, uh, I doubt that,” James murmured nonchalantly.

Ed’s tomato-colored countenance spun towards James. “What in the name of God and all that is holy do you mean by that?” he hollered.

“Well,” started James, “if you really were ‘literally going to explode,’ you would physically blow up. When you said, ‘explode,’ you meant it in a figurative sense, not literally.”

Ed began to shake, let out a high-pitched whine, and passed out.
*

Ed awoke on a bed in a clean, white room. His wife, Dawn, and his daughter Becky were next to him. “What?” he asked. “Where am- oh, ouch! I’m sore all over.”

Dawn smiled. “Oh honey!” and she began kissing his face. “You had a massive heart attack at work. The doctor told me that you have to relax for a while and try to maintain your stress.”

Ray walked in with Jake. “Hey, buddy! You’re awake!”

“What happened?” asked Ed.

“Well…” Ray started. “Er… James… James got you a little… worked up.”

Ed shook his head as the nurse walked in.

“Ed, you have another visitor.”

“Send him in,” Ed replied.

In walked James.

“Hi everyone,” he said. “Hi Ed.”

Ed frowned. “Hey, everyone,” he said, “please leave. Except you, James, I want to talk to you.”

Ray got an uncomfortable look on his face as he escorted everyone out.

“Sorry about giving you a heart attack,” said James when everyone had exited.

“It’s… whatever. It’s fine,” Ed muttered.

“Hey, you know your daughter?” James asked.

“What about her?”

“She’s really cute… Could I, like, have a picture of her or something to put in my wallet so that I can, you know, show her off at parties and say she’s my daughter or something?”

“What?” Ed inquired incredulously.

“I’ve always wanted a daughter.”

The door swung open and Ray ran in. “Ok!” he shouted with a forced giggle, “James, nice to see you, but I think you should leave now,” and he pushed James out of the room. The other guests re-entered and Ray hastily shut the entrance.

“Sorry I was eavesdropping, Ed, but I expected something bad to happen. That was really, really creepy. You ok?”

Ed nodded. “Yeah, I’ll be fine.”

The smell of manure lingered on.





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