After being accused of stealing the 3-hole punch, getting hammered, and receiving a wild, inexplicable beating from our building technician, I lay unconscious in the alleyway, along with the garbage.
A VOICE: Eric? Eric, who did this to you?
I opened my eyes.
I looked up. Charisse, from my office, was kneeling over me.
CHARISSE: What happened?
ME: I had a talk with Dino.
CHARISSE: Stay away from him. He's a serial killer.
I sat up, painfully. I was bruised all over.
ME: That's hearsay. He's a good man.
CHARISSE: What were you doing, talking to him?
ME: What do you care? You think I stole the 3-hole punch. Everybody does.
I glanced down at my watch.
ME: It's four-thirty. I have half an hour to find the punch before Sheila goes home for the day, or I'm going to lose my job tomorrow.
CHARISSE: Oh, it's much worse than that. Sheila had the police over.
ME: What? Ouch, my ribs. My back...
CHARISSE: They're looking for you. Everyone is scared you're going to come after them with Mace.
ME: I would but I ran out. Why aren't you scared of me? I already sprayed you once today.
CHARISSE: I know you didn't steal the 3-hole punch.
ME: Because you did?
CHARISSE: No. Because if you had your own 3-hole punch, you'd be jubilant, like you finally had everything you've ever wanted. You wouldn't be pepper-spraying everybody in the office.
ME: I would if I didn't want to leave behind any witnesses.
CHARISSE: You can't kill someone with Mace.
ME: You can if you have enough cans and you stand close enough. Just keep spraying and spraying.
CHARISSE: I know you're upset. I'm upset too. I lost a 3-hole punch too, you know.
ME: I know.
We both cried then. And hugged. And reminisced about our 3-hole punches. And cried again, and hugged, and reminisced about our 3-hole punches. We did this for at least ten minutes. This now gave me only 17 minutes to recover the 3-hole punch, save my job and possibly keep myself out of jail.