Keeping Up

“So, Jones,” said the boss as he seated himself behind his desk. “What do you do for fun when you’re alone?”

“Well, sir, I enjoy fishing…”

“No Jones, I mean when you’re alone.”

“Um… well, I sometimes go down into my basement…”

“Yes,” the boss said eagerly.

“…and work on my train set. It’s a 1:160 scale…”

“Jones?” the boss interrupted.

“Yes, sir?”

The boss leaned across the desk, close enough so Jones could see the pores in the man’s nose. They were deep and dark.

“What I want to know,” he wiped his brow, “is what you do for fun when you’re really alone. I mean, completely and utterly alone. Can you share that with me, Jones?”

“Well sir,” Jones blushed, “it’s rather personal. That’s why I do it when I’m alone.”

The boss sat back in his chair, clasped his hands across the expanse of his belly, and twiddled his thumbs. He smiled like a man satisfied that he was about to receive precisely what he wanted.

“I, um…” Jones swallowed. “I like to, um… dress up in my wife’s clothes, sir.”

A grin spread across the boss’s face, lifting his jowls and creasing his eyes. It wasn’t a malicious smile, nor was it meant to mock. It was merely a smile.

Jones relaxed a little.

“Jones, I have something for you.”

“You do?”

The boss reached under his desk and Jones expected him to come out with a gift bag, perhaps with a nice pair of heels or a frilly dress. Instead, a small device rested in the palm of the boss’s hand that looked like a tiny silver doughnut.

Jones leaned forward to have a closer look. “What’s this, sir?”

“It’s a listening device.”

“And what would you like me to do with it?”

“I would like you to break into Kramer’s house and plant it in his bedroom.”

Jones studied the boss’s face. He didn’t look like he was joking.

“Why should I do that, sir?”

“Well you see, Jones,” the boss placed the item on the desk and sat back again, “this is the very listening device we retrieved from your house this morning. I need it put into the next employee’s house to help us determine what he is doing when he is alone. The next one on the list, alphabetically is Kramer.”

“But… why?”

The boss leaned his elbows on his desk and regarded Jones seriously. “We’ve heard rumours, Jones.” He lowered his voice. “I can’t have you telling anyone this. Can I trust you, Jones?”

“Of course, sir.”

“All right. We have reports that say someone in the organization,” he whispered, “has been masturbating.”

Jones’s bottom jaw dropped. “You’re joking!”

The boss shook his head, as grim as night.

“I don’t need to tell you what that means for our company, do I Jones?”

“Of course not, sir!

“Harry Palmer Sterile Products would never be seen the same again!”

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