Behind a cubicle wall of vertical carpet, one outwardly normal employee of Smith Enterprises watched as a woman in a smart business jacket walked by, her hair held up in a bun with chopsticks (not to say anyone thought she knew their proper use, or should, because eating with sticks was not normal). Froo'nono-kolo'ma-nini, or Kolo as his bosses managed to call him (for they couldn't abide his real name), leaned back in his black-upholstered chair, his empty coffee cup resting on his white, laminate desk. He could only wait like everyone else in Smith Enterprises for the day to end, but unlike the rest of the employees, he couldn't stop his nose from ticking in the rhythm of the clock on his desk. His nose was uncontrollable. It seemed like to have its own will. It quivered and trembled and shook always at the least opportune moment. Still, Kolo liked to think that he was just like everyone else. Just a plain (if you forgot his odd name and interesting nose) employee hidden inside a cubicle clone.
Finally the clock read 5:00 and Kolo quickly shut of his computer, shoving various papers into his black briefcase as he watched the woman who so recently had passed by gracefully do the same. Kolo rubbed his bulbous nose with the cuff of his sleeve, and quickly walked passed the line of works slowly leaving the building, pretending not to notice their frowns as he cut in front. He jumped into the elevator, muttering apologies as his black suit mixed among their equally colorless, and then his eyes noticed something.
Hopping off of someone's foot as he dashed back out, Kolo did not bother to apologize as he jostled those forming a line for the next elevator. His gray eyes were pinned on the bulletin corkboard across the hall, where white sheets of paper were pinned up like a photosensitive checkerboard—except for one small slip of orange paper that no one seemed to notice. In a few seconds, he was close enough to read it:
Kolo felt sweat bead on his nose as he looked around, hoping no one else saw him reading the strange, orange note. He quickly turned his back on the slip of paper, though the words kept running through his mind. Misfits Anonymous… But could they actually mean 8 milliseconds, 32 seconds and 15 minutes exactly past 5 (because that was hardly realistic, and quite odd anyways)? And in the basement? It must be a trick, he thought. There's no group called "Misfits Anonymous."
"Mr. Kolo!" A voice suddenly thundered.
"I-I'm not doing anything wrong!" he stammered as he turned around. A heavy-set man in a thick, white suit and shiny shoes walked towards him. Everyone moved out of his way as if they were magnetically repelled and quickly emptied the hall. "And even if I were—which I'm not—you can't prove anything—Not that I was doing anything wrong anyways." Kolo's nose trembled as he waited for Boss Tillich to tell him exactly what he had been doing, but to his amazement the Boss did not. Instead, all Tillich did was scrunch up his eyes and force through abnormally small teeth,
"I'm watching you Frono…kolo…nita…nini." He floundered at the end, and his face reddened with the attempt (but not in embarrassment).
"Yes, sir," Kolo replied, not looking the boss in the face (it embarrassed him when people used his real name). With a loud hmphBoss Tillich turned on his heel and strutted back through the hordes of black-attired employees.
Kolo's nose ceased its uncomfortable twitching as he silently boarded an elevator and descended to the ground floor. He felt eyes on his back all the way and was determined not to do anything to make himself stand out anymore than he already did. Smith Enterprises did not like unusual employees, and with a name like Froo'nono-kolo'ma-nini, Kolo couldn't afford to be any more unusual than he already was. He straightened his black tie, tucked his white shirt, tried to regain an air of normalcy, and stepped out of the elevator when the doors opened with a smart ding!
He stumbled as he saw it again—that slip of orange paper with the same odd words. But this time, they were everywhere. They covered the white marble floor, stuck to shoes and seemed glued to every surface. Kolo's nose began to tremble again, especially when he saw that no one else but himself seemed to notice.
"Psst," a soft voice called. "Psst!" Kolo looked to his right, barely catching a glimpse of some small creature as it scampered between oblivious employees. He heard a heavy, metal door close, knowing instinctively that it could only be the door to the basement, and that whoever had called to him wanted him to follow (but it was such an odd thing that Kolo couldn't move for almost a minute). Finally, as people walked past him, Kolo knew he had to go. Feeling as though every eye was drawn to him, he made his way through the throng, to the door, and finally, through it.
"It's about time! I'd just about given up on you!" A deep voice gargled in the darkness, laughing at Kolo's jump.
"Who is it? Who's there!?" Kolo demanded.
"Oh, jolly good! It speaks! And here I thought you were so normal you wouldn't fit in. No, no—no questions. Not yet." There was a sudden sound of liquid splattering on floor, "Ah, that's better. Bad throat you know. Must smarnatch daily—Blarney's orders."
"I said no questions. You're here for the meeting, right? Of course you are. You wouldn't be here if you weren't. How utterly fublacious of me. This way, this way, don't want to be late now, do you?"
"But—" He felt something soft and furry wrap around his wrist, dragging him deeper into the darkness.
"Here it is, right here, between the knickerfrickle and potatopickle." A door opened and white light sheared the darkness, revealing the shape of Kolo's guide. Too shocked to yell, he was pushed inside the room, and his guide (whatever it was) vanished.
"What—what was th—"
"I said, you're late." He finally turned around, seeing a small, triangular room with purple carpeting. Ten folding chairs were arranged in a circle with just more than half occupied. Large pipes ran through the walls, but it didn't look as though they really went anywhere, and a fake Christmas tree hung from the ceiling upside-down.
"Oh, please, Andrew," a woman snorted, "as if anyone could have been on time! Don't worry, love." Kolo turned around and blanched. A very large woman with six tentacles instead of arms and legs was standing—squirming?—right beside him. This is not normal, Kolo decided as one large tentacle's sucker went pop on his forehead in greeting. "Welcome to the 151st meeting of Misfits Anonymous, hon. My name's Eliza. I work in accounting."
"The key part of that was 'anonymous,' Eliza," another man grumbled who sat far apart from everyone else in the room. "Now sit down whatever-your-name-is and let's get this started. Bingo-chess is on in an hour." Everyone began to find a seat, and Kolo was left gaping as strange people, un-normal people, surrounded him.
"I shouldn't be here," he blurted. "I'm normal!"
"Chipmunk heads!" A small man Kolo didn't recognize suddenly shouted.
"Don't mind him either, Kolo. Blarney shouts out things from time to time. We think it's unrecognizable profanity, but we're not sure yet."
"Toilet paper bubbles!" Blarney grumbled, supplementing it with, "A square turtle in the horse's paddock! Gargle, I say! Gargle!"
"That's his favorite: gargle," Eliza informed Kolo as he wondered whether to make a run for the door. What would happen if Boss Tillich caught him there?
"Will you sit down!?" The small man who wanted to go and watch Bingo-chess yelled. Kolo went towards the empty chairs on either side of him, but stopped at the collective gasp.
"He's allergic to people, you twit," Andrew stated. "If he even smells you, you could kill him." Kolo quickly backed away (and he was so confused he didn't know what to do. Everyone was just too weird!).
"Goldfish patricide! Possums baby feet!" Another pop! made him spin around and he saw a tentacle gesturing at the empty chair that so recently had been suckered. As his knees gave out, Kolo sat down next to Eliza, cringing as he felt that same tentacle slide down his shoe. Suddenly, the pipes in the room started to vibrate and shake horribly, and dust fell from the high ceiling. A large slug slurped from the largest pipe, leaving a thick tendril of yellowed mucous in its wake. "Save the shrimp! Save the shrimp!" Blarney yelled at the top of his lungs. "Gargle! We must gargle!" The slug oozed onto the carpet, and took a seat next to the Bingo-chess man, who didn't seem to mind the non-human company at all. Andrew cleared his throat and spoke while Kolo struggled to keep his mouth closed (though oddly his nose had stopped twitching),
"Good, now that Bob's here we can finally get down to business: I call this meeting to order." Andrew stood to address everyone, "We are the Misfits Anonymous, and our goal is to…" He trailed off (wanting the others to finish for him).
"Throw paperweights at the Bosses?"
"Skunk fart! Skunk fart!"
"Slurberburblesnortsnort?"As the giant slug burbled, Kolo had a sudden urge to hysterically laugh—and cry—at the same time. This wasn't fair. He was going to lose his job.
"And the new gentleman has it right! Shame! Shame on you all! We're here to create a place to fit, thereby making us all hypocrites for calling this meeting Misfits Anonymous! Laugh and be happy! Three cheers for hypocrisy, everyone!" The room rumbled with the cries of Down with Normalcy! Death to the Establishment! Gargle! "And now, it's time for our new member to introduce himself!"
All eyes turned to Kolo, studying him just as he had thought eyes were studying him in the elevator only a few minutes before. This can't be happening, Kolo told himself as he stood up at Eliza's prodding.
"Your name?" Andrew directed, no longer annoyed at him now that the meeting was in session.
"My n—my name…"
"…Kolo?" Kolo repeated, not sure.
"Come now! Don't lie to us!" Positive they would keep questioning him until they got they answer they wanted, for they all seemed very persistent, though very odd, folk (if one wanted to classify the slug, the tentacle woman and the man dreadfully allergic to other people as 'folk'), Kolo answered as a mumble,
"Froo'nono-kolo'ma-nini." Cheers sounded around the room, rocking it louder than the ones that had sounded for hypocrisy. He didn't know what to think. The only thing he had ever gotten for his name before had been frowns or glares (or anything in-between). He couldn't help the small smile that appeared on his face, and for that everyone cheered even louder. Kolo said his name again, this time stronger, with a little pride. "I work in customer service," he explained. "Twentieth floor." Their open smiles made him more confident, and Kolo continued, "I started working about—"
"Thank you, Kolo."
"A natural speaker!"
"Penguin snorkel! Gargle!" Andrew again took control (for this was his meeting, and who was in charge changed with every meeting)
"That was enlightening (but we don't want to know your life story)." Andrew stood up again, "It is now 8:22:58 and…oh bugger. Now it's 8:23:02… I mean… Oh, never mind. The five-minute Misfits Anonymous meeting is now adjourned. I hereby declare you spies in the normal world for the duration of the next week. Until we meet again!" Everyone got up to leave while Kolo stood confused in their midst.
"Wait a minute!" Kolo yelled. (It couldn't be over! )
"Slubbublub" The giant slug slurged as it squeejed by.
"I don't understand!" (Sklurglegurgle
"The meeting's over, hon," Eliza said as she wrapped a tentacle around his shoulders, mussing his black suit. "It wouldn't be a Misfit meeting if it lasted the length of a full meeting, now would it? (Besides, that would be boring)." Pop-pop-pop! "Oh, dear me! I'm sorry about that!" Kolo could tell she wasn't (but he was starting not to mind so much anymore.) He let himself be led from the triangular room, slipping only occasionally on the slime Bob left in his wake.
As they all entered the hallway (except for the Bingo-chess man because he was allergic to people), Kolo asked,
"How will I know when the next meeting is?" Andrew tartly replied, seeming as though he was only nice during meetings but not before or after,
"So now you want to meet with us, right? Are you sure you're not too normal?"
"Well, I—I have a right to be here, seeing as how these meetings are anonymous, and I'm an anonymous kind of guy, and the sign was up for everyone to see—though it was the first sign for this I'd ever seen before…but yes, yes I would like to come to the next meeting—I think." Andrew gave a great harrumph! and didn't bother to answer Kolo, but Eliza whispered in one ear while a tentacle tickled the other,
"Next time, look for pink. Normal people don't see color you know." The Misfits left him in the hallway in the basement, and Kolo almost didn't feel that same furry hand grab onto his wrist.
"This way, this way, Kolo. Past the kunterbunt and the venomous skerggyfort. This way, and don't let the Boss see Bob's slime on your shoes. He's watching for you, you know."
There is a Misfits Anonymous, and I fit, Kolo thought with a small smile as he made up an excuse to tell his Boss.
Truthfully A mixture of Lewis Carroll and C.S. Lewis because I couldn't stop them from interfering with one another. Both heavily use parentheses, while Lewis also uses a lot of em-dashes and shorter sentences. Both write more for children than adults, but Carroll likes more train-of-thought structure/run-ons, while Lewis (Geez, it's confusing getting these two right) prefers much simpler structure and generalizations for description. I borrowed from Carroll's tendency to create words and also his very uncomplicated, deceitfully-shallow characters, while keeping with Lewis' very simple sentence structure where things he finds amusing or only slightly necessary to general plot of the story are the parentheses. Basically, everything inside the parentheses should be able to be cut out without interfering, but they should add to the story rather than detract.