It took three mojitos a day for a week, a treetop view, and the avid attentions of the best masseurs in Garden City before Harold felt ready to return to work. His ‘mental health break’ could have lasted well into next month, but the boss called and so did duty. So here he was, Monday morning, entering the office with two nerve-bolstering coffees under his belt, ready to face whatever the day threw at him—as long as it wasn’t another damn fish—and what did he find but a giant, colourful banner strewn over his cubicle saying, ‘Welcome Gnome’. Below it, tacked to his computer screen, a pink note read ‘There’s gnome news like your news’ with an extraordinarily accurate drawing of his face… apart from the smile. Which he didn’t have.
Harold ripped off the note and called Marisol’s office at the end of the row. His face was redder than his hat.
“This is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about!” he exclaimed as soon as she answered.
The boss peeked through her door at him, phone in one webbed hand, morning edition in the other. “Harold? You’ve not been back for ten minutes.”
“Exactly.” He glowered. Marisol raised an amphibious eye ridge. He shook the note at her. “No one takes me seriously. I don’t want any more gnome puns! I’m a reporter, not an object of ridicule.” The fishmonger had been the last straw. How could he interview witnesses who insisted he pose with their produce? He’d wanted to come back to some normality, some recognition…
Marisol shook her head and blinked. “They’re imps and fairies, Harold, what do you expect? This is them missing you.”
He glanced at his suspiciously-busy colleagues, then back at his boss. He sighed. “I need a mojito.”
A little fun for your midweek.
This story originally appeared in response to a constrained writing challenge on Reddit/WritingPrompts (300 words, a gnome and a cubicle). Thanks for reading! 🙂