Empire on Ice #35: Passive-Aggressive Man
The Adventures of Passive-Aggressive Man!
And His Sidekick, Aggressive-Aggressive Boy
"When you need help, it's time to ask: How can I make this harder for myself?"
[In a large, well-stocked library, Galavar walks up to the resources desk and is greeted by librarian, Passive-Aggressive Man, who looks on disapprovingly. "Of Foreign Lands and People" is playing in the background the whole time.]
Passive-Aggressive Man: Sure.
Galavar: I was wondering if you tell me where I can find…
Passive-Aggressive Man: …Yes?
Galavar: Oh, darn. I forgot the word. I was wondering if you could help me find the…rats!
Passive-Aggressive Man: We don't have rats.
Galavar: I'm just absolutely blanking on this. What's the word?
Passive-Aggressive Man: Perhaps a library isn't the best building for you.
Galavar: Dammit! What's it called?! You know…the…the…?
Passive-Aggressive Man: The exit?
Galavar: Come on, they're small, full of words on pages, and the library is full of them!
Passive-Aggressive Man: You mean the credit card application kiosks?
Galavar: What? No. Why would anyone ever come to a library just to apply for a credit card?
Passive-Aggressive Man: If I could just get you to stop berating other people for their choices for one moment sir, and tell me what you're looking for, then perhaps I could help you find it.
Galavar: [Finally remembering.] BOOKS! I'm looking for a book.
Passive-Aggressive Man: Why would you want to read?
Passive-Aggressive Man: [Obnoxious weary sigh.] What book?
Galavar: A magazine, actually.
Passive-Aggressive Man: That makes more sense.
Passive-Aggressive Man: Do you want Maxim or Sports Illustrated?
Galavar: Electronics Monthly, actually.
Passive-Aggressive Man: Well, nothing's stopping you from going over and getting it.
Galavar: I was hoping you could tell me where it is.
Passive-Aggressive Man: Oh, I don't know. Maybe on the magazine racks? We do have a coupe of those around here.
Galavar: You have a lot of racks! Won't you tell me which particular one it's on?
Passive-Aggressive Man: 591-B.
Galavar: Will you tell me where that particular magazine rack is?
Passive-Aggressive Man: [Obnoxious weary sigh.] Let me call my assistant to take you there.
[He strikes the small bell on the counter. His assistant, Aggressive-Aggressive Boy, shows up with his usual surly, impatient, disdainful attitude.]
Aggressive-Aggressive Boy: What now?
Passive-Aggressive Man: This guy wants some help.
Aggressive-Aggressive Boy: [Looking at Galavar.] This guy needs some help.
Aggressive-Aggressive Boy: [To Passive-Aggressive Man.] Why don't you tell me what he wants?
Passive-Aggressive Man: Why don't you ask him yourself?
Aggressive-Aggressive Boy: [To Galavar.] What do you want?
Galavar: The latest copy of Electronics Monthly Magazine, please.
Aggressive-Aggressive Boy: It's right over there. [He points a finger casually at the magazine section of the library, encompassing dozens of racks.]
Galavar: Would you take me to the specific rack, please?
Aggressive-Aggressive Boy: Seriously? It's right there. [To Passive-Aggressive Man.] Is this more of your bullshit busywork for me?
Passive-Aggressive Man: How am I supposed to know what parts of your job description you consider beneath your noble stature?
Aggressive-Aggressive Boy: It's not like I don't already have enough to do back there. "Aggressive-Aggressive Boy! Go check for the third time that the printer is in low-power mode." "Aggressive-Aggressive Boy! Go download another copy of the library rules and regulations and figure out what you did wrong." "Aggressive-Aggressive Boy! Go re-sort all the books in the library for no damn reason." Now you've pulled some drug addict off the streets off the streets—
Galavar: Wait a min—
Aggressive-Aggressive Boy: —and you want me to take him to fucking Shangri La for nerds so that he can read about computers or whatever?
Passive-Aggressive Man: [To Aggressive-Aggressive Boy.] If you don't want your paycheck, he probably needs it. [To Galavar.] Not that I'm implying anything untoward about your education or employability, sir. I'm sure you're very smart.
Galavar: Look, would one of you just show me where it is?
Passive-Aggressive Man: Why don't I draw you a nice map so that you don't get lost?
[He begins to draw.]
Galavar: [To Aggressive-Aggressive Boy.] And supposing I asked you to take me there?
Aggressive-Aggressive Boy: Fuck you! I'm not your slave.
Passive-Aggressive Man: Remind me why I hired you, again?
Aggressive-Aggressive Boy: Old man, I get results!
Passive-Aggressive Man: If by "results" you mean "gleeful miscarriages against our profession."
[They descend into incoherent bickering.]
Galavar: Right, then.
[Galavar walks down the counter a few paces, where the next librarian—Silence—is on duty. She is grinning uncontrollably and has a very guilty look about her.]
Galavar: And what's your schtick?
Silence: I'll take you to your magazine, Gally.
Silence: But for me to know that you're truly worthy of my help…
[She heaves a 50-pound sack of flour onto the counter.]
Silence: …first you have to defeat me in a croissant-making contest! ^_^
[With her eyes on Galavar the whole time, Silence runs her hand across the flour sack suggestively, and then smacks it.]
Silence: Can you step to this?
Galavar: I think I'll take my chances with Passive-Aggressive Man.
[The music switches to something soaring and vaguely patriotic.]
NARRATOR: Yes, he'll take his chances with Passive-Aggressive Man! As is emblazoned on Passive-Aggressive Man's official superhero business card, "Because in this world sometimes I'm the best you can do, and we both know it." And so our tale closes with another triumph for cynicism and pointless interpersonal hostility. But take heart, Gentle Reader, for whenever your problems close in around you, there'll always be something to make them even worse than they already are, but not as bad as they theoretically could be. There'll always be…Passive-Aggressive Man!
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!