I wrote a version of this a long time ago but can’t find it. It was fun even the second time I wrote it. I’m thinking of writing ing more like it. Feedback very much welcomed.
The halls of the Conscience Control Center were very clean with white walls and tiles alternating black and white. The walls were decorated with various clients with their consciences posing with smiling faces and free from the burdens of guilt and shame. There were ficus trees in the corners of the waiting room like book ends for the plaid couches with firm cushions.
On this day one of the CCC’s (as it was known) employees, a Jiminey Cricket, was waiting for his first performance evaluation. He was a new conscience and therefor still in his probationary period. His first assignment was somewhat unique in that a fairy godmother appointed him to serve as a conscience for a wooden puppet who had been animated by the fairy. As most know, the puppet was named Pinocchio and at the end of an adventure, he was turned into a boy. It was a challenging situation to say the least and now a representative from Human Resources was prepared to let Jiminey know what the Center thought of his performance.
Jiminey shifted nervously, so small on the large couch, waiting for the secretary to give him word that it was his turn. He recalled all his time with Pinocchio and how proud he was of the boy. The cricket looked down to his chest and on it was the medal the Fairy Godmother gave him. He quickly polished it with his sleeve and smiled then chuckled to himself, confident that the performance evaluation would go well.
At last a woman slid open a window behind the receptionists desk and announced, “Jiminey Cricket, please report to room 407. Mr. Gecko will meet with you now.”
“Ok! He, he!” Jiminey chirped as he hopped off the couch and then down the hall looking for room 407. He found it easily enough and then knocked as loudly as he could. There was no answer. He knocked again hoping to be heard and yet again there was no answer. A third time. Still nothing. At last he merely crouched down, flattened himself against the cool tile floor and crawled under the door.
“Um, hi!” Jiminey callaed.
A large thick mad with his collar too tight around his neck and tie too short too cover his belly jumped in his seat and slid backwards. “What is that?” He called out while looking around.
“Oh, um, it’s just me sir,” Jiminey comforted in his high pitched cricket voice. “No need to be afraid.”
Mr. Gecko looked over his desk and onto he ground and at last spotted the cricket standing just inside the door holding his hat in his hand.
“I’m here for my performance evaluation, sir,” Jiminey explained.
Gecko leaned back and relaxed while straightening the papers he disturbed by his quick, startled movements. “Oh, yes, well, have a seat then and we’ll get started.”
The Human Resources staffer studied the papers in front of him while Jiminey climbed the chair and seated himself at the edge. Gecko looked up and couldn’t see the miniature sized conscience. He leaned over and when he spotted the insect smiled “Hold on one moment Mr. Cricket.”
Mr. Gecko stood, pulled his sagging trousers up higher underneath his round belly with the shirt half untucked and went over to a file cabinet. He opened it and found a large tome of a book and pulled it from the cabinet. He then walked over to the chair and politely asked Jiminey if he would move while he placed the book on the chair to give his client more hieght. Jiminey agreed and then sat on the end of the book, able to see over the desk.
“There, that’s much better isn’t it? Mr. Cricket,” Gecko asked.
“Um, sure it is sir. That certainly is a large book, he he,” Jiminey joked.
“Oh that isn’t a book there. It’s the CCC’s rules and regulations. You know it takes a lot to run a successful conscience operation. And important too, but you know that don’t you Mr. Cricket?”
“Oh, I sure do! I love being a conscience,” Jiminey beemed.
“Right! Well then let’s get started. I am Lars Gecko and I will be reviewing your performance evaluation with you today. We did a lot of interviews and made a lot of observations to complete this evaluation as we do for all our employees. But allow me to review some basic information with you first.”
“Sure! Whatever you need, he he,” laughed Jiminey.
“Splendid,” Gecko replied. “I see here you are the conscience for a boy named Pinocchio, is that correct?”
“Why yes, that’s correct.”
“And this is your first assignment, is that correct?”
“Yes, yes it is, he he.”
“I see and in fact Pinocchio wasn’t even a real boy when you began was he?”
“No, he was a wooden puppet, the fairy godmother made him into a real boy when he proved himself worthy you see.”
“Yes, yes I see, and you helped him achieve this did you?”
“I suppose I did, yes. I helped him from the moment the fairy godmother made him alive. She appointed me as his conscience.”
Mr. Gecko was following along and reading some notes in front of him as he did.
“Splendid,” Gecko interpreted. “I want to review some of the decisions you’ve made along the way. I read here,” he said looking over his notes to the diminutive cricket seated on an oversized manual of regulations, “That in his first day, Pinocchio did not end up going to school. Is that true?”
“Um well, yeah, he he, I suppose that’s what happened.”
“I mean, well, yeah, he he, he didn’t quite end up at school.”
“I see here that he was tricked by a fox who called himself,” he paused and looked at his notes to make sure he had the name correct, “Honest John? Is that correct?”
“Yeah, that sounds right, he he.”
“And it seems that this fox was able to convince Pinnochio to skip school. Is that accurate?”
“Yes, sir,” answered Jiminey looking at his feet which dangled over the edge of his seat.
“And what did you do to stop him from making the choice to skip school?”
“Well um, I mean, I tried to tell him it wasn’t a good idea, but,” Jiminey couldn’t finish the thought, it was a bit too painful and he hadn’t considered how that might effect his overall performance evaluation.
“But you failed? Is that what you are trying to say?”
“Well, I suppose that’s true.”
“Did he get to school that day?”
“Um, no, he didn’t, he he.”
“So you failed to keep him on the right path.” There was a long pause as Gecko scribbled some notes on a pad of paper in front of him with a pen. The evaluator looked up and added, “But I suppose it was your first challenge. What did you do when Pinnochio made the wrong decision and went with the fox rather than school? No doubt you stuck by him? Continued to encourage him to make the right decision?”
Jiminey turned even more green that he already was. He swallowed hard. Gecko just waited patiently for an answer.
“Well?” Gecko asked. “What did you do to try to help get Pinocchio back on track?”
“Um, well, I left,” mumbled the cricket conscience.
“What do you mean you left exactly?”
Jiminey paused for a very long time then began to answer so quietly couldn’t hear him well.
“Please speak up, Mr. Cricket. I need to understand what you mean when you say you left your client,” boomed Gecko.
“I mean, um, that I left. I decided I wasn’t up for the job and I quit.”
“I see,” the evaluator groaned as he scribbled more notes on his pad. “You quit you say?”
“That’s right, he he.”
“What happened to Pinocchio in that time?”
“Oh, ah, you don’t know?”
“I want to hear your version of events Mr. Cricket.”
Jiminey tugged at his collar and swallowed hard before he continued, “Well, it seemed that Pinocchio had joined a show and was an actor in a theater. He was really popular because he was a wooden puppet with no strings. People loved him. I thought he was doing really well.”
“But he wasn’t doing well was he?”
“Well no. Not exactly.”
“What happened to Pinocchio?”
“Well, uh, he was a slave it seemed. The puppet master, a man named Stromboli threw him in a cage.”