Scarfson started forward, but his nerve failed at the last moment, forcing him to withdraw in disgrace. The large, black, hulking object gazed at him with obtuse, unmoving speculation. It was not afraid, Scarfson knew, rather anticipating the inevitable, looking forward to the moment when Scarfson would have to face his deepest fears and approach the focus of his nightmares.
Just ten minutes earlier, Scarfson had hurried into work a few minutes late, swiped his card through the reader, and sprinted for his cubicle, hoping to be hard at work before The Boss noticed his tardiness. Charging around the corner of his cubicle, he had launched himself toward his office chair. It had disintegrated on impact, causing enough noise to attract the attention of all his immediate co-workers, not to mention The Boss.
“Late again, Barfson?” Two of The Boss’s chins had wobbled disapprovingly. They were never late and could afford to be smug.
Painfully aware of the many pairs of eyes watching the proceedings, Scarfson had ignored the intentional mispronunciation of his name and tried to crawl inside a wastebasket. The Boss had nudged the basket out of Scarfson’s reach, the exertion leaving the huge man breathless.
Too exhausted to speak, The Boss had pulled a notepad out of his pocket and scribbled a few words. He had handed the paper to Scarfson, who read it slowly, a look of horrified realization slowly spreading over his face.
“But, Boss! I don’t wanna use The Spare.”
“You must, Wormson. You have destroyed company property and we have no other office chairs. You shall use The Spare.” Then The Boss had turned and heaved himself down the corridor, the rough cloth of the cubicle walls causing rub-burns on his sides.
The audience of employees had watched in fascinated dismay as Scarfson trudged to the supplies closet, slowly opened the door, and was confronted with…The Spare! Now, he stood facing the office bane, dreading the moment when he would have to approach and, yea, even sit thereon.
The Spare was a large, ancient chair, having been used for many years by employees unfortunate or bulky enough to break their own, until the company got around to ordering a new piece of office furniture. This invariably took several eternities, making the fate of said employee that much worse.
It wouldn’t have been so bad to use The Spare, if it was simply a matter of discomfort and humiliation, but The Spare was not just any piece of office furniture. It was alive. And very, very evil. Possessed of a depraved nature equal only to that of Lucifer, The Spare lurked in the dark recesses of the supplies closet until once again released by the clumsiness of an anxious employee, rushing in late on a Monday morning. Sadly, that employee was Scarfson, who now stood gazing at The Spare in grief.
At last resigned to his fate, Scarfson wheeled The Spare out of the closet and into his cubicle. Making the sign of the cross, Scarfson lowered himself down onto The Spare, which sagged suddenly to one side, heaving him onto the floor with a fiendish chuckle.
Stunned, Scarfson lay there for a moment, staring at the fiendish chuckle, which was equally surprised, not to mentioned winded. At last, Scarfson summoned his strength and pushed off the floor. Once back on his feet, he surveyed The Spare with a determined set to his jaw.
He approached it and slowly sat back down, prepared for the abrupt sideways lurch. It never happened. After a minute, he relaxed a little and, deciding he had survived the worst the chair had to offer, grasped the edges of his desk and pulled back, propelling himself forward.
Just as he did so, however, The Spare somehow lost a wheel and one chair leg dug into the floor. The Spare came to a sudden halt, sending Scarfson (who had neglected to fasten his seatbelt) headfirst into his computer keyboard. Dazed, he looked up and brushed at his aching forehead. Several plastic keyboard pieces fell to the desk with a clatter.
Once he figured out what had happened, it was a simple matter to replace the errant wheel. Within minutes, Scarfson was back in The Spare and booting up his computer. While he waited, he inserted all the missing keys back into the keyboard and then spent the next twenty minutes blissfully reconciling invoices.
Gradually, however, Scarfson became aware of a tingling sensation in the back of his knee and realized he couldn’t feel anything below the area. He had forgotten about that particularly insidious strategy of The Spare. It lulled you into a false sense of security and then, whammo!, cut off circulation to the lower extremities.
Scarfson pushed himself out of The Spare and grasped the top of one cubicle wall for support. This was a bad one. Both legs completely numb. Movement, that was the ticket. He began moving slowly about the cubicle, holding onto various objects for support, trying to get the blood moving down into his legs. Unfortunately, the area was too small for much activity and his deadened limbs kept banging into things and knocking them over, such as the potted plant, wastebasket, and a disoriented, white-haired gnome.
Finally, in desperation, Scarfson wandered out into the hallway, hoping to loosen up on a straight stretch. He tried to ignore the curious, frightened glances of co-workers, as he half-stumbled, half-goose stepped his way down the hall.
“Swineson!” The Boss had heard the commotion and ventured out of his office to investigate. “Why have you left your cubicle?”
Scarfson indicated his wobbling limbs, which were now in tingly agony. “Legs…asleep,” he gasped.
“And I suppose you’re going to blame that on The Spare?” The Boss burped cynically. “I’ve had it with this juvenile fear of a harmless piece of office furniture,” he said, turning and lumbering toward Scarfson’s cubicle. “I shall demonstrate the inoffensive nature of this chair once and for all.”
Scarfson followed behind The Boss, almost bumping into him as the huge man came to a sudden halt just outside Scarfson’s cubicle.
“Boss, I want a new chair.”
“What have you done with The Spare?”
“It’s not here, Dweebson. What have you done with it?”
“Nothing, Boss, I…” Scarfson broke off in horrified realization. The Spare had escaped!
Over the next week, the entire staff of the office scoured the premises, looking for the renegade chair, but to no avail. Their search was fruitless and they were at last forced to return to their work. To this day, The Spare has not yet been found and may be lurking anywhere. In your building, in your office…perhaps you’re even sitting in The Spare. Don’t panic, no sudden moves…