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EGG!

I have personally assisted in the discombobulation of an entire team meeting, and I'm so very proud of myself.

Our supervisor called us off the phones early for the team meeting, and sat us down in the conference room. I'd been plotting just such a thing for at least a week, and had cunningly brought in an egg.

This was no ordinary egg. No. This is a cunning toy, fashioned by those who know exactly how the mind of a small boy works, and are hell-bent on exploiting that knowledge for personal profit.

The toy consists of:
1) A transparent outer sac, shaped roughly like the shell of an egg, and consisting of a few millimeters' worth of that sticky, elastic gel that diverse other toys are made from. It's generally fashioned into long, violently-colored, hand-shaped slapping devices, or sticky things that resemble yo-yos, or the tongues of frogs. It picks up lint with ease, but comes mostly clean after being gently washed. (Don't try to dry it.)
2) Transparent liquid inside the sac, to all appearances either water or albumin.
3) A firm, but not hard, sphere, afloat (or a-sink) in the liquid inside, colored a violent yellow.

When cradled, it retains the shape of an egg. When thrown, it deforms from the force of the hurling, and lies in a splatter-shape ("yolk" merrily protruding) on its target for some short time before regaining its original integrity.

It's perfect.

I palmed it on my way to the team meeting. Not wishing to appear the fool, I did a "dry run" of my plot before our supervisor came in: I hurled the "egg" at the whiteboard he would be standing in front of. As advertised, SPLAT! it made a perfect impact on the board. I snickered and plotted. I had scored a seat next to the Pagan Dude. The remainder of the team filed in, including our supervisor. I bided my time. The meeting started out with our supervisor perched on the sideboard. I waited until he went up front to begin the main business before I struck.

My timing was perfect. My aim was not: instead of splatting nicely on the whiteboard, my shot went high, and it hit the wall above the whiteboard, catching sideways and not making the perfect broken-egg splatter, instead tumbling down in a graceless lump. Our stunned supervisor nevertheless grabbed the thing, examined it, and tossed it back: not at any one of us, but at the window by the door. It worked right for him, at least. Smoking Lingerie Chick snagged it before it would have dropped into the wastepaper basket and played with it. The meeting continued. Bored at last, she passed it along to Pagan Dude.

I am not so vain of my own perceptive powers as to say that I saw this one coming. Pagan Dude delighted in the egg. He poked it, prodded, it, squished it, squeezed it, squashed it, poked it some more. I did, however, begin to have slight misgivings. At length, he poked the "yolk" into a little pouch of the sac, and SQUEEEEZED...!

As with any other elastic material put under unbearable strain, the toy exploded, splurting the water inside all over Pagan Dude, his sweatshirt, the conference table, and my sleeve.

The meeting ground to a dead halt as everyone, supervisor included, stared, then burst out into uncontrollable laughter. Pagan Dude's eyes were as round and wide as fried eggs. He, clearly, hadn't seen this one coming. It took a full five minutes before order, and dry, had been restored.

After the meeting let out, Pagan Dude continued playing with the shell of the toy. It was still sticky and somehow more grotesque, with just a small hole to show for its injury. We proceeded out of the conference room into the call center proper, with its high ceiling. Pagan Dude tossed the egg high into the air ... only to not catch it as it didn't fall down. It had smacked into the tile of the suspended ceiling and stuck fast there.

The Egg of Damocles now lurks over one of the cubes. We have no idea when it's coming down.

[Edit 4/22/2008: video of the second instance of the toy.]

Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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