4:05 p.m. - In the middle of rifling blindly through employee records to blindly pick next month's Disgruntled Employee of the Month, my computer turned off and my lights went out. I waited a few moments to see if they'd return. They didn't. I looked in the hallway and saw the power was off all over the building.
4:10 p.m. - Using a flashlight, I found my way to Mr. White's office and suggested that since the day was nearly over anyway and we didn't know how long the power would be out, we might as well let everyone go home. Not surprisingly, Mr. White disagreed.
4:30 p.m. - Dolly Saunders has a radio with a battery, and we began to hear reports that power was not just out locally but from Michigan all the way to New York, going into parts of Canada and down into Ohio. The cause was unknown.
4:35 p.m. - On the way back to Mr. White's office, I encountered Mr. Brockie running toward me. He was wearing only his underwear and shrieking about it being the end of the world. I grabbed him and told him to calm down, that it was only a temporary power outage.
"Oh, the power's out too?" he asked before continuing to run, flailing, down the hall.
4:38 p.m. - Back in Mr. White's office. I gave him the update on the situation and suggested that, since it meant local traffic lights would be out, we might want to let our employees go before rush hour. Again, Mr. White disagreed. "A full day's work for a full day's wage," was his only explanation.
4:45 p.m. - While wandering around the building, waiting for 5:00, I passed the commissary. Inside, I saw Hairy Knavel gorging himself on food he's dragged out of the kitchen. I asked him what the hell he was doing.
"Are you kidding?" he asked me. "I can't just let all this food go bad!"
I explained to him that the power had only been out for 40 minutes and that it might come back at any time.
"I can't take that chance!" shouted Hairy through a mouthful of cookie-dough ice cream. "Must eat it all!"
I backed out of the commissary slowly, making no sudden moves.
5:00 p.m. - I walked to the main doors to head home for the day. There was already a crowd gathering. Mr. White was standing on top of something, I couldn't see what, and he began to address the crowd.
"Attention Amalgamated Humor employees. As I'm sure you are all aware I have a strict 'full day's work for a full day's wage' policy. Since the power went out at 4:05, you all still owe your company 55 minutes of work. No one is to leave the premises until that 55 minutes is completed."
Gordy Schwartz was the first to speak up. "Actually, I had some candles down in the mailroom and kept sorting mail the whole time. See you all tomorrow."
"Nice try, Schwartz, but it wouldn't be fair to the others. EVERYONE stays."
"Very well, just dock me the remaining 55 minutes you tightwad poop-machine," shouted Zonar.
Mr. White only repeated. "EVERYONE stays."
At this point Mr. Brockie, now fully clothed again and apparently back in his own head, entered the hall and opened the doors.
"Well, goodnight everyone," he called as he walked out. "Can't keep Miss Zellwegger waiting!"
Mr. White shut the doors behind his co-president and locked them.
"OK, everyone ELSE stays."