Cone Full of Trouble

The saga of Hedger Corp, told in weekly installments. Catch up here

It was a long week, and things got worse before they got better.

As you recall, the employees had invented a product called the “Cone of Solitude.”

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When we last left off, they had discovered that this duct-tape “cone” was an ideal way to get rid of their problems. They wrapped Ted’s therapist in a cone. Then Ted. Then the investors. And they stored all these cones in Grandma Bernice’s cubicle.

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Such an easy way to deal with trouble. It was addicting.

At one point, Charles from HR showed up in the breakroom. The minute the employees saw him, they knew he would be going into a cone. They didn’t even need to hear what he had to say. And indeed, as they began to wrap him he asked, “Where are the performance reviews you promised to complete last week?”

Sure, Charles, we’ll get right on that. In the meantime, enjoy the cone…

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Then the  building security guard showed up, shouting about an emergency drill. “Everyone out to the parking lot!” he yelled.

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Blah, blah, blah… evacuate… blah, blah.

Cone.

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Ahh… it felt so good to just wrap their problems away. The employees looked around for other bothersome things. They decided to wrap the copy machine, since it was always out of order.

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A little later, Bob suggested they create eyes and a mouth for Sue, who had accidentally been wrapped up last week. The wrapping was very tight and they couldn’t get her out. Unfortunately, her face was covered by the tape, and it made her look kind of freaky.

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Bob drew eyes and a mouth then glued it to Sue’s taped-up face. Much better.

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Then the employees took stock of their situation. They had to admit that it wasn’t great. Ted, his therapist and the investors were all trapped in Cones of Solitude in Grandma Bernice’s cube.

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Meanwhile, Charles, the security guard, and the out-of-order copy machine were wrapped up in the breakroom.

All the problems were contained, yes… but was it a sustainable solution? Likely not. There was a good chance that everyone wanted OUT of their cones.

The employees knew what action they needed to take. It wouldn’t be easy, but it was the right thing to do.

They were going to have to wrap the entire building. A huge Cone of Solitude to contain all the other Cones of Solitude. They began to plan.

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Then they called Sue over to give input. She seemed very enthusiastic about the plan. Or very confused. Or very scared. They couldn’t tell.

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Just then, Brandon walked in.

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He took a long look around.

Then he smiled, but it wasn’t his normal smile. You could tell by looking at his eyes that this was his “I’m deeply disturbed” smile.

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He told the employees to gather around and listen up.

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Brandon had three messages for them:

1: Things were out of control.

2: The employees needed to free EVERYONE and EVERYTHING from the Cones of Solitude. Immediately!

3:  But FIRST they needed to take some duct tape and make him a belt. The best belt ever.

This last item sounded easy, so they did it first They fashioned a wide, drop-waist belt for Brandon. It looked incredible on him.

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In fact, Derek loved the belt so much, he attempted to make an identical one. Unfortunately he miscalculated the size of his waist, and his belt ended up looking more like a mini-skirt from the clothing store Forever 21.

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Brandon’s second instruction–to free everyone who was wrapped in tape–sounded way less fun than the belt thing.

The employees started with Sue and realized they would need to involve scissors and tweezers.

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Success!

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Then they looked around… how should they handle this de-coning process? They weren’t sure…

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They decided they liked the copy machine more than any of the people, so they freed it first. Then they cut Ted’s therapist out of her Cone of Solitude and started working on Ted.

It was VERY difficult to pull Ted off the tape. It almost seemed as if he was resisting.

Meanwhile, his therapist was whispering words of encouragement in his ear. Plus some reminders. “You can do this,” she whispered in her creepy voice. “Also, you owe me $450 for our appointment last week. Do you have your checkbook on you? Tap your foot once for yes.”

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Once Ted was finally free, it was time to work on the investors.

As they were squeezing an investor with tweezers, trying to rip him off the tape, the employees wondered if this whole situation might taint the way the investors thought of Hedger Corp. It was possible that it would.

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Once people were free from the Cones of Solitude, they were sent to the triage zone, where Brandon soothed them with healing words and light pats on the head.

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The employees decided NOT to free Charles from HR just yet. They needed a little more time to get those performance reviews done.

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The Cone of Solitude project had not been a slam-dunk success. But the staff hoped that maybe… just maybe… everyone would appreciate having been wrapped up in duct tape. Sure, it was against their will, but solitude had been achieved. You couldn’t argue with that.

Alas, no. The investors were especially livid.

Brandon called them over and struck his best “tell-me-all-your-concerns” pose.

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The investors told Brandon they wanted to press charges. Brandon said that if they reconsidered and DIDN’T call the police, he would make them duct-tape belts, just like his.

They eyed his belt. It was undeniably amazing.

After a moment of silence, they agreed to this. Brandon whipped up two fantastic belts in no time. Belts that looked nothing like Forever 21 mini-skirts. Derek watched from afar, jealousy tearing him up inside.

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The duct tape belts mollified the investors somewhat. But still, there was no way they were letting the employees off the hook for this whole “Cone of Solitude” debacle. No way.

Brandon struck his best “let’s-work-together-to-find-a-solution” pose.

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The employees didn’t know what sort of deal Brandon struck with the investors, but something had been worked out. Everyone was suddenly shaking hands.

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The investors stepped away and Brandon called the staff over. They noticed he was assuming his “I’m-bravely-delivering-tough-news” pose. Uh oh.

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Brandon told the employees about the investors’ demand: The staff would be forced to seek counseling. Each of them would have to complete a full week of intense, round-the-clock therapy. No exceptions.

The counselors would be assigned by Hedger Corp.

Or, if anyone wanted, they could go stand next to Ted, which would signal that they wanted to use Ted’s therapist instead.

No one moved.

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So it was decided: Counseling for everyone, with therapists assigned by Hedger Corp. What could possibly go wrong?

Next: Therapy begins. And things go wrong.

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