The economy entered further turmoil this morning when career civil servant John Smith turned up to work, sat down at his desk, reached for his pen and discovered it wasn’t there. John looked for the missing pen for a while before having a cup of tea. Refreshed, he had another look, but still no luck.
‘I soon realised we needed more manpower for the search,’ said John, ‘so I asked Steve and Karen to help. Many hands make light work, and they increase the chance of finding pens. Steve and Karen had some reports to finish, but they could see the gravity of the situation and wasted no time in putting the public helpline onto answerphone.’
An exhaustive search commenced, but after 30 minutes it became apparent the pen was not on, in, or under John’s desk. Realising they needed to expand the search area, Karen used string to divide the office into an eight-by-eight grid. Steve suggested using the grid to have a game of chess, but John pointed out that they didn’t have any pieces, or a pen, and Karen said she didn’t know how to play chess anyway.
A meticulous search followed immediately after morning tea. ‘We found eight staples (used), Malcolm’s desk, five Pringles, and an engagement ring that Julie from accounts lost last Thursday, the day before she was dumped by her fiancée. She will be pleased,’ said John as he ate the five Pringles. ‘I wonder where my pen is?’
After lunch the workers launched a public appeal for the missing pen on Facebook. ‘We needed a photo of a similar pen so people knew what to be on the lookout for,’ said John. ‘Luckily I had seven pens in my desk drawer identical to the missing one, so we just photographed one of them.’ Within 60 minutes the appeal had generated seven ‘Likes’ and three comments, with Dave writing ‘Fingers crossed you find your pen’, Julie saying ‘Sorry for your loss’ and Malcolm suggesting ‘Have you checked your pocket, and btw has anyone seen my desk?’
‘Silly me!’ laughed John as he retrieved the pen from his pocket. ‘Oh, and it appears to have run out.’
On his way back to his desk to begin work just before 5pm, Steve glanced at the newspaper. ‘I see Cameron’s making more cuts to the public sector. We’ll probably have to go on strike,’ he said, before adding, ‘Has anyone seen my stapler?’
Yikes (hat-tip to RickH)