The Magic Pen

by Ted Stetson

Peter Dobson stared at the boss's door, working up the courage to ask for a raise. He'd been shortchanged on performance increases so many times; he didn't know what to do about it. Just before lunch he tried to ask, but as he was about to knock on the pebble glass, Charlie Johnson opened the door and rushed past saying, "Not today, Dobson." Then he ran to the elevator.

Standing in the elevator Johnson motioned Peter to close his office door. Peter turned to the open door; saw the yellow legal pad full of notes on the boss’s desk. He shut the door and turned to the elevator only to see the doors had closed.

When everyone went to lunch, Peter stayed in his cubicle rehearsing what to say. "Mr. Johnson, I really need this raise." Nope, it just didn't sound right. Nothing sounded right. He always thought of the right thing to say ten seconds after Johnson said no.

After lunch, Johnson hurried back into the office hiding something under his jacket. When Johnson turned around to see if anyone was watching, he saw Peter.

Peter started to speak and Johnson put his finger to his mouth to be quiet. Then he closed the door and set the lock. Setting the lock made a loud sound and usually meant either Johnson was watching something triple 'X' on his computer or was on the phone to corporate headquarters.

Peter waited till afternoon break then stepped to the door and knocked. No answer. "Mr. Johnson," he said quietly and knocked again. Nothing.

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