DYSFUNCTIONAL

Max stared at the wall. He threw the chewed paperclip into the plastic cup and picked up a fresh one.

‘How many is that?’ Darcy asked from across the cubicle divide.

‘Ten.’ Max answered, putting the new paperclip between his teeth.

‘You’re not functioning well today.’

‘A-ha!’ Max shouted and spat out the paperclip. Leaning forward he wrote on the crossword. ‘D-y-s-f-u-n-c-t-i-o-n-a-l. ‘An inability to work with hollowed-out dry and stiff ointment.”

He threw the newspaper down in triumph.

Darcy looked over at him. ‘Can we get on with actual work now?’

‘I’m all yours. Remind me to order more paperclips later.’


claire-sheldon
Copyright Claire Sheldon

Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

97 responses to “DYSFUNCTIONAL”

  1. Superb use of the prompt. Lian, i simply loved this story. The last line was just fab.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Neel, very kind. Glad you liked it 🙂

      Like

    1. Thank you Annie 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 I like to try and have a little chuckle at the end, glad you liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nice wee chuckle there x

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hahaha! Reminds me somewhat of a memo put out in the production offices of the original Star Trek. The associate producer mentioned in passing a guy (possibly a story editor) who he said will not be allowed into his office and not to “eat the leaves off of my philodendron. He will have to find emotional nourishment elsewhere.” Same with the paperclips guy, in a way. Good little yarn there. Very real and fun! Nice work, Iain. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, nice anecdote. Thank you, you are very kind.

      Like

  3. I have not used paperclips… but I do remember eating up my pencils… I miss it… haven’t found a way to chew the keyboard yet.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ha, I wonder if there are chewed laptops and tablets lying around offices somewhere!

      Like

  4. Such a cute post, I could imagine this happening

    Click Here to see what Mrs. Dash Says

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    1. Some things just have to be done before anything else 🙂

      Like

  5. such a fun read! wonderfully written.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great take on the prompt, Iain. I love a good cryptic crossword too. But not to the extent that I’d consume paper-clips.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I confess that I do this with paperclips when I’m working sometimes, though not while doing crosswords!

      Like

  7. Hahaha 🙂 Sounds like a real life story. hehehe 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sounds more like an attentional disorder, in this case, being hyperfocused on one task and unable to prioritize which is more important. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hysterical laughter, oops sorry about the paperclip spray. I just had few tucked in as I’m marking out pages… hehehehe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, thank you, glad it gave you a smile 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Exactly how I feel this morning 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you get the crossword finished! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, glad I managed to make you smile! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Well done Iain. This was good fun to read. Cheers, Varad

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thats a new use for paper clips, and more work for the dentist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Depends how difficult the crosswords are!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. The thought of chewing on paper clips makes my teeth hurt, not to mention all the cuts in my mouth it would make. Great story!

    Like

  14. His dentist is going to wish this habit were contagious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Depends how hard you chew them! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

  15. Work? Work is for squares and for people who like to eat apparently.
    Fun story,
    Tracey

    Liked by 1 person

  16. loved the simple vignette . paper clips seem to set the brains to ruminate.
    http://ideasolsi65.blogspot.in/2017/07/thank-you-claire-sheldon-for.html

    Like

  17. A little ADD behaviour… chew on the paperclip whilst the brain works on something else! Whatever works, I say… though metal on my teeth… blech!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Little bit of iron is good for you, right?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ummmm…😁

        Liked by 1 person

  18. like it 🙂 there staple by the way everyone I have taken out of anything since I started working where I am now….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like a great job 🙂

      Like

  19. Terribly fun! Although, I worked at a dental office for 23 years and the thought of what chewing paperclips would do to one’s teeth…..
    Thanks for a well-done story.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Dear Iain,

    The thought of chewing on paperclips makes my teeth hurt, but your story made me smile. Nicely done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rochelle, always happy to get a smile from you 🙂

      Like

  21. Hehe loved this! I had a little giggle at the end there. I’ve known a few Maxes in my career.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      Like

  22. if he learns to spit them into the plastic cup instead, he may make it to the America Got Talent contest. just thinking. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A better or worse use of his time? I’m not sure which 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Haha, great story Iain! Those crosswords can be tricky 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Oh that’s kind of gross but I guess the things we do to avoid work. I wonder if it hurts his teeth, scrapes of enamel or something. Great write 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I bet a lot of us have little habits that others would think gross but we think nothing of! And, yes, I have lots of ways to avoid doing actual work! Thanks Mandi 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  25. That’s a good reflection of office life. Bravo.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Did you work out that cryptic clue or did you read it somewhere? Still trying to work it out … Nicely doen there, Iain, with great dialogue

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I confess, I searched for it – a Sunday Times one I think it was. I’m useless at cryptic crosswords!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! Me too! My other half probably could have worked it out – he’s a bit of a whizz at these things. Might challenge him to answer this when he gets home 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  27. I bet “Paperclips R Us” loves tricky crosswords! Sounded very true to life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Even in today’s digital world, I wonder how many millions of paperclips are sold each day.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. What a fun story. Chewing on paper clips does sound painful though.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Good one!! Very clever. Tho i cant imagine chewing in paperclips is good for ones teeth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never done mine any harm 🙂

      Like

  30. You have thoroughly freaked out my teeth. That gave me the creepy crawlies. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I’ve heard of people biting 16 penny nails in two, but I guess paper clips work in a crunch. Great humor in this one, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I often wish I could order nails – fingernails 😉 Neatly done Iain 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  33. The question is, what will he chew on when he has demolished all his teeth, if he doesn’t choke to death first? I think he should give up crosswords before they kill him. I love the last two lines. It’s amazing how people can convince themselves that all sorts of things are work. Still, I’m sure that doing crosswords is better for the brain than keeping on checking Facebook during working hours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true, good for the brain.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Great stuff – loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I like your take on the photo prompt. Perhaps, he should try chewing on gum. It would be safer for his teeth. haha
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good thinking, thank you.

      Like

  36. Sometimes you just need a staple diet. I am impressed by the ability to slam dunk chewed paperclips. Nice one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha, good one 🙂

      Like

  37. That can not be good for his teeth. Interesting take on the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. It made my teeth hurt but it was a fun read!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Very well done. I personally can’t imagine chewing a paperclip (and ouch), but it’s a great take on the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. And I thought biting fingernails was bad. Paper clips would definitely lead to later dental bills. O_o — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Yikes for his teeth! Excellent story, funny and succinct.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. LOL. Love where you took this. I don’t get cryptic crosswords at all. But how do his teeth hold up with all that paperclip worrying?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sarah. I’m terrible at cryptic clues too.

      Liked by 1 person

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