While other accountants kept reliable ferns on their desks, Potter kept a jug that he spat in while he cooked the books. Every few weeks, he would pull something alive from the mud in the jug. Often the prize would be a worm, in which case Potter would present it to the boss, a weekend fisherman, who would discreetly flush it down the toilet. Once, Potter pulled out a spider. He set it free at the base of his desk to catch mosquitoes. The spider ran off.
One Spring afternoon Potter spotted a pink pencil eraser poking out from the mud inside the jug. He moved the jug under his desk lamp for light. Soon, the eraser sprouted a dozen yellow hairs. Potter lifted it out with a straw and potted it in a brick-color planter. He watered and sunbathed it until it turned white, then green. In September, he stood up on his chair.
“I’m jacking the jug,” he announced. “To make room for Pokey.”
“Horray!” At last, they were rid of that jug.
When the cooked books hit the fan, the boss called Potter into his office and shut the door. “Your job will be waiting when you get out of the pokey,” the boss said. “Along with medical and dental.”
“He can wait for you here.”
Potter wrote letters during his first year in the pokey but Pokey didn’t write back. Ten years later, Potter returned to work on parole. On his first day back, he spotted Pokey perched on his old desk, surrounded by tiny pink erasers.
“Pokey, it’s me!”
Pokey’s prickly hairs vibrated as he snored.
“Wake up, Dad,” one of the erasers said. “Water delivery.”
BIO: A physicist by training, Kenton K. Yee adores irrealism, quantum mechanics, and orange sorbet. He has placed stories in journals such as Brain Harvest, Word Riot, and Bartleby Snopes. In October, Ken will read his flash fiction in San Francisco’s Litquake festival. His Facebook wall links to his recent work: http://www.facebook.com/scrambled.k.eggs?sk=wall