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From the Desk of Dan Turgler

To Whom It May Concern,

This letter concerns Chris Bucholz, whom I've had the pleasure of working with for the past four years. Chris is a hard worker, an excellent team player, and extremely professional.

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Chris cannot be photographed, so fast a worker is he.

He regularly delivers projects both ahead of schedule and unasked for. He's got so, so much initiative. Too much initiative, perhaps. Scientists regularly come to our office to study him, to better understand initiative at a quantum level. Chris is constantly doing things that no one else would even dare, as he has no apparent fear of failure, understanding of his personal limitations, or respect for natural law.

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His creations are also excellent team players, regularly volunteering to carry unconscious female staff members about the building.

He's right there in front of you, isn't he? He likes delivering his letters of reference this way, so that he can watch interviewers read them and study their reactions. I remember it well myself from when he applied for his current position. It sounds creepy, but no. No, he's just ... just a hard worker, working so hard to work hard.

So hard.

I can't do this any more.

Please stay calm. He's got a gun. Or a briefcase full of snakes. Definitely a weapon, though. Probably a weird one.

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He brought an ancient sea mine to his interview with me.

No, don't call security. Don't politely thank him and end the interview. He'll know. No one's ever polite to him. Keep smiling. Think calm thoughts. Meadows. Picnics. Bears frolicking.

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He can never take your happy place from you.

Here's the deal: He's making me write this letter. He's threatened me. He's threatened my family. He's threatened things that I don't even care about -- things that might not even exist. He's threatened the lives of every dirtbird that flies in the ground beneath our feet.

And the thing of it is, I want to write the letter. To finally be rid of him, to no longer live in fear of seeing his face slowly rise up in my rear view mirror, grinning insanely.

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He says that we save more gas if it's a surprise.

But I won't inflict him on you. I won't let anyone else suffer what I have. But now we must be careful. If he finds out that I have betrayed him, there's no telling what he'll do.

Well, actually there is. I've done some reading on this, trying to understand the hell that is my working life. Criminologists believe that people like him display certain patterns in their actions; that predictable trends can be found in his seemingly random acts. I can't say I've put a bunch of push-pins into a map here, or that I have a crazy bulletin board covered in newspaper clippings and colored yarn. But I do have a pretty good sense of what he'd do if he found out that we were communicating like this. He'd make a creepily precise doll of you, and then put it into a doll's bed with a creepily precise doll of me, and then set fire to it.

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Incidentally, never enter his workspace without announcing yourself from a distance. It's why everyone in our office wears a bell around their neck.

Here's the good news: I think we can stop him. Now that he's applying for a new job, he's vulnerable. This is our time to strike.

First, we need to distract him. Tell him he's a genius the likes of which the world hasn't seen in many ages. He loves that. Then, ask him to tell a story about a time he delivered a project on time and under budget. I'm pretty sure I know what story he'll tell. See if you can detect the subtle hints that his project was on time because he set fire to all the calendars, and that it was under budget because he took everyone else's money. And then set them on fire. And it was "delivered" by setting the entire office on fire -- kind of in the same sense that one might be "delivered" from sin.

He genuinely is a good worker, I suppose. It's just that I'm not sure who he's working for. Someone not from this realm, that's for sure. A demon visible only to him, perhaps.

Anyway, when he's done with that story, here's what you have to do next: You need to offer him the job. That sounds insane, but it's the only way you're leaving this room alive, which is going to be necessary for some of the later steps.

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Like breathing. Eating. Basically all of them.

Don't try to dance around this point. You can't just say that you have other candidates to interview, or that you need to think about it, or anything like that. You might get out of the room alive then, but this will mainly just result in him stalking you -- ripping back your shower curtain to thank you for your interview, or rising up in your rear view mirror to see if you've made a decision, or interrupting breakfast by pulling your loved ones' skin from his head (which he placed there as a disguise), etc ...

So congratulate him. Shake his hand. Make eye contact, but not too much eye contact. Smile. Think of those frolicking bears.

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Good, good.

He's vulnerable now, so quickly distract him again and ask him where he sees himself in five years. Even though the interview's over, it's still a genuinely good question. Does he even perceive time like we do?

Now, while he's talking, take off your security badge and put it in your desk. Write down your computer password as well, and put it in there too. Do it now, before you finish reading this letter. WHILE YOU STILL HAVE TIME. Lock the desk. Good. You did it!

Is he still talking about where he sees himself in five years? Does he see himself in your job? That scamp. It's kind of a cliched response, isn't it? The arrogance of it, seeing himself sitting in your chair. Doing your job, living in your house, raising your children.

Using your letterhead.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh shit.


Anyway, make whatever peace you can with your time remaining on this earth. Oh, and when the time comes (you'll know it when it happens), try to relax your face muscles so that the skin will detach easier.

And don't hesitate to call if you have any questions.

Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and is standing behind you right now. His first novel, Severance, is incredible and available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apex Books. Join him on Facebook or Twitter.

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