Mary Shoppins


Once upon a time, there were two children named Pain and Smile.

Pain and Smile were terrible children. They misbehaved themselves and disobeyed their parents regularly. Although, in their defense, their father was very strict and had unrealistic expectations. Furthermore, their mother was rarely around as she was often out protesting high ice cream prices– a worthy cause, true, but not an excuse to neglect her children.

As a result, the children’s father, Mr. Stinks, decided to place an ad for a nanny for the children. While the children thought it might be a good idea to lend their ideas for qualifications, they knew their father, well, STANK.

So, while Mr. Stinks placed his ad for a nanny in the newspaper, the children whispered their ad in the ear of a carrier pigeon because they were savvy enough to know that print media is dead anyway.

The next day, an array of very boring nannies showed up to the Stink household, but even Mr. Stink knew that these nannies would not be able to handle his children’s antics. He nearly gave up all hope, until he opened the door to see her: Mary Shoppins.

Mary Shoppins was wearing a bright red pencil skirt and blazer, ruffled shirt, and tasteful brimmed hat with a large feather sticking out of the top. Her black patent leather pumps clicked on wood floor as she made her way into the house.

“Well, Mr. Stinks,” she said matter-of-factly, “This will do. This will do just fine.”

“But you haven’t be hired yet Mrs.?–”

“Shoppins, sir.”

He should’ve guessed. She was very fashionable and held in her hand an oversized Saks Fifth Avenue bag.

“I’m qualified based on your advertisement Mr. Stinks. You said you wanted someone with whimsy, creativity, and a fashion sense.” Mrs. Shoppins handed Mr. Stinks a scrap of paper with notes transcribed on it.

Mr. Stinks took the paper and exclaimed, “This is not the ad I sent out! My ad said I was looking for a nanny who was stingy, with aggressivity, and common sense.”

But it looked as if Mr. Stinks had no choice. He was sick of interviews and figured this woman would quit her job soon enough.

Mary Shoppins went upstairs to meet Pain and Smile. They were both making a mess of their rooms and throwing things out the windows because they were looking for their parents’ love and affection.

Mary Shoppins knew this wouldn’t do. She set her shopping bag on the floor and dug through it to find… A roomba! This would certainly help clean up the mess. She continued to look through the bag and also pulled out a broom, a dustpan, and two hazmat suits. This was a magical shopping bag indeed.

The new nanny told the children that they must clean the entirety of the upstairs. They protested until she told them her secret: To eat a spoonful of sugar every time they cleaned up an item.

The time passed quickly and soon, the children went out to run errands with Mary. Mary Shoppins introduced the children to her longtime friend, Spurt. Spurt was so called because he went through a growth spurt every few years, which would force him to regularly change careers. He had started out as a stock car racer, changed to being a basketball star, and then changed to being a chimney sweep because he was basically half the size of a chimney anyway.

Spurt and Mary took the children to a museum and, maybe it was magic (or the fact that Pain and Smile ate at least 4 cups of sugar apiece), but the group JUMPED INTO A PAINTING of a carnival. They spent the entire day there– playing games, eating more junk food, and buying tons of stuffed animals. At the end of the day, they jumped out of the picture, exhausted and ready for bed.

The children had many adventures and, in most of these experiences, they ate junk food and shopped. But one day, Mary Shoppins spoke with Mr. Stinks:

“Sir, I’ve been taking care of your children and bribing them into good behavior with sugar and shopping– a method proven effective by millions of experts– but I think it’s time you looked after your children for a day.”

Mr. Stinks didn’t want to do this, but he knew that Mary Shoppins wouldn’t leave him alone until he took his children to work at the garbage plant. Yes, Mr. Stinks worked at a garbage plant. Surprising?

The next day, Pain and Smiles went to work with their father. It was a good thing they already had hazmat suits.

Unfortunately, as children often do, Pain and Smiles decided it would be more fun to make fun crafts out of the garbage at the plant than to sort it. For this, Mr. Stinks’ boss called him into his office.

“Stinks,” the boss grumbled, “You’ve been with the plant for as long as I can remember, but you’ve never brought your children into work. Unfortunately, I wish you had never brought your children to work with you. That is far too progressive, so I’m firing you. Children are annoying nuisances that deserve to be left with nannies only.”

And that’s when Mr. Stinks realized: He loved his children far more than he loved his job. Hey, his job stank.

Mr. Stinks ran out of the boss’ office and yelled to his children: “Come, youngsters! You and I are going to grab a bite!”

And so, the three met with their mother at the local ice cream parlor and grabbed a bite. From then on, the family stayed together and never needed a nanny again.

As for Mary Shoppins, she finally married Spurt already and still, to this day, nannies children whose parents neglect them and whose fashion needs a boost.

And they all lived happily ever after.



The IKEA Book


Once upon a time, there was a boy named Googly.

Unfortunately, Googly had first-time parents who didn’t know how to raise a child, so one day, while they were visiting IKEA, they left Googly there by accident. The worst part was they didn’t even realize that they left him there until it was too late. Once they realized, they knew there was no point of even trying to find him because he was lost in IKEA for goodness sakes.

And so, Googly was left to fend for himself alone as a baby in the jungle– er, I mean, IKEA.

Soon, a store employee found Googly and decided to raise him as a resident of the store, for it is a well known truth that all employees of IKEA just live there and sleep there and eat there. And so, for most of his childhood, Googly was raised in the Sofa section of the store. The Sofa employees treated Googly as one of their own. Googly grew to be just as kind and as soft and as compassionate as any Sofa or employee in the Sofa section ever had been.

However, one day, one of the top-ranked employees at IKEA visited the Sofa section. He typically worked in the shipping department of the store and was so terrifying he had earned himself the name “Sheer Brawn.” Sheer Brawn had himself grown up in an IKEA with his family and had worked in every section of the store. He only now worked in the shipping department because he could lift an entire refrigerator with just his left arm.

Sheer Brawn walked into the Sofa section and sent a shudder throughout the entire floor as he snarled,

“So I hear you have a little apprentice here in the Sofa section?” Sheer Brawn growled, “When were you going to introduce him to me?”

The manager of the Sofas spoke up, “Sheer Brawn, I know that you mean harm to Googly, but he is one of us now. At this rate, he has all of the makings of the next IKEA CEO!”

“Nonsense!” Sheer Brawn yelled, “Googly doesn’t belong here. He is not one of us! He is just a man. And, when he’s grown, he will surely find that he is unable to compete with the likes of me.”

And with that threat looming in the air, Sheer Brawn took his lunch break.

Googly was scared and the Sofa employees didn’t know what to do. However, another employee– a Bagger– had been listening nearby.

Bagger was a loner. All he did was bag peoples’ belongings all day and, because he worked with customers most closely and frequently, he was perhaps the toughest of all of the IKEA employees.

Bagger stepped forward, “Sofa employees!” he said, “I will take the boy under my wing and teach him all there is to know about this store. I know all of the products inside and out. He can no longer relax in this cushy department of yours. He needs to learn how to fend for himself. And then, when he is ready, he can go back into the real world– with people.”

And so, Bagger taught Googly everything he knew about IKEA– product numbers, how to use the label machine, where to locate every measuring cup and teaspoon. It was grueling, but rewarding work.

But, one day, Googly met a friend– Igloo. Igloo worked at the IKEA slushy  stand and knew all about the fun places in the store. He and Googly would build blanket forts, eat all of the pretzels their hearts desired, and even have elevator races– all behind Bagger’s back. Igloo taught Googly all of the fun things about IKEA so that Googly never wanted to leave.

Bagger eventually found out about these escapades and reprimanded Googly,

“Googly! You are no longer allowed to spend so much time with Igloo and I’ve decided that you need to go  back where you belong immediately. You need to be with normal people.”

Googly did not like the idea of this and decided to run away one night and work at the slushy stand with Igloo permanently. However, after Googly used cherry syrup for a customer’s order instead of raspberry syrup, even Igloo realized that Googly didn’t belong in IKEA. When Igloo told Googly this, Googly became upset and ran far away– deep into the depths of the gardening department.

After escaping nearly being strangled by a garden hose, Googly decided that he was going to make his own way. He could totally fend for himself in IKEA. He didn’t need the help of Bagger or Igloo.

Just as he was hyping himself up, Googly heard a noise. It was the laughter of Funky– the manager of the ’70s furniture section.

Funky had always wanted to live amongst normal people, but couldn’t because normal people scoffed at the fact that he lived in the past. His decision to choose IKEA over people was a tortured one– so much so that he often acted crazy and people called him King Screwy. Then again, maybe his weird behavior was just the effects of living through the ’70s.

In any case, King Screwy found Googly and said to him, “Teach me how to be more like you and you can live here with me forever, man!”

This is not what Googly wanted. Besides, what did Googly know about being a normal person? He had never even seen the outside world!

King Screwy was about to get Googly his own ’70s inspired outfit as both Bagger and Igloo stumbled into the ’70s furniture section. They had come to save Googly!

They distracted King Screwy with a ’70s inspired shag carpet they snatched from the vintage section of the store, took Googly, and ran.

But little did the three know that they were running right into the shipping department where Sheer Brawn was lurking.

The shipping department was dark and cold and Googly got the willies just walking through it. Soon, he couldn’t see his own hand in front of his face– nor could he tell if he was still with Bagger and Igloo.

Then, he heard a loud THUD and a snarl behind him:

“Hello, Googly,” Sheer Brawn whispered, “You are all alone now. There’s no way you can make it out of the shipping department, back into the rest of the store. I’ll ship you to Timbuktu, where no IKEAs exist and no one will ever be able to find you!”

Googly yelled and began to run. Because he was so small and Sheer Brawn had terrible eyesight from working in the dark all the time, Googly was able to elude Sheer Brawn at the last second.

But Sheer Brawn bounded after Googly.

Bagger yelled through the darkness, “Run Googly! Run to the lighting department!”

Googly didn’t know why he had to run to this department, but Bagger had never steered him wrong before, so Googly leaped up three flights of stairs, through the kitchen section, over mattresses and bedframes, and down the window treatment aisles to the lighting section– Sheer Brawn trailing him all along.

The closer the two got to the lighting section, the brighter it got. Lights of all kinds shone brighter and brighter with each step– floor lamps, sconces, and lanterns pierced through even the natural illumination that poured in through the skylights.

It was too much for Sheer Brawn:

“Ah!!! My eyes!” he yelled, “They burn! How can you stand it?!”

And, in pain and agony, Sheer Brawn retreated back to the shipping department– crying all the while. Turns out, years of working in the darkness hadn’t turned his eyes into sheer brawn.

Bagger and Igloo were not far behind Googly. The three embraced. And, for the first time, Googly realized that he didn’t belong in IKEA, at least not in the way that Bagger, or Igloo, or even Sheer Brawn did. He belonged with normal people.

Bagger and Igloo walked Googly to the entrance of the store.

“Now, you make sure that you bring your family here to visit us one day,” Bagger said, with a tear in his eye.

“Yeah! You be sure to bring ’em right to the slushy stand! I’ll be sure to give them a discount,” Igloo laughed.

This was really it. Googly was leaving the place he had called home for nearly ten years– a big wide world of excitement and sales and furniture–  and he was stepping into the unknown.

And, so, Googly stepped out of IKEA, the automatic doors closing behind him, and  lived happily ever after.