It was the end of the quarter at Frank’s Furniture Wholesale and the company had gathered together for a town hall with the CEO, Muhammad Billan, also known as Frank. A key part of the FFW culture is never letting up on the gas pedal and selling as many damn office chairs as possible to other businesses in the Fresno area. When it came time for the announcement of the winner of this quarter’s Billan Trophy, the award given to the person who most exemplifies the stick-to-it-iveness of the company’s culture, everyone held their breath hoping it was their name that would be read.
Even local sales rep, Humphrey Franklin, thought he might have a chance at the award. Even Humphrey, who had only moved 25 chairs last month and somehow found a way to be incredibly average in every other metric. Even Humphrey, who had been given several written warnings about his portable fish tank that he kept precariously close to the copier. Even Humphrey, who travelled almost aggressively in the company co-ed basketball league. Even Humphrey, that piece of trash.
Mr. Billan hushed the chants of “Frank’s Bones are the Best, They are Strong” as he took the stage, something that had come about organically in the office, but was undeniably true, and tapped the microphone. “Is this thing on?” He asked to the technician in the back. Waves of laughter swept the office and it took another six full minutes of Muhammad asking for silence before order was restored. “I have up here the results for this quarter’s Billan Trophy winner. Before I begin, I want to tell you about this winner and why we have chosen them as this quarter’s recipient of this beautiful trophy and gift card to Angie’s Cleaning Service; the Best in the Business™.”
“This person has been with us for quite a while,” Frank began, “Almost four years I believe.” Humphrey knew that Frank always liked to begin his speeches with a little joke, and was sure he was doing it again since he himself had only been with the company 18 months.
Mr. Billan continued, “This person has never backed down from a challenge and always rallies their team to do better than they did the month before.” Again, Humphrey figured Frank was referring to the time he took a bet that he couldn’t drink an entire bottle of Ketchup as ‘never having backed down from a challenged’ and that when he said ‘rallies their team to do better’ he was talking about his hilarious Monday Memeblast that he sent to the entire office.
“This person also has a special place in our hearts for her wonderful baking abilities, and I’m sure we all remember the cake she made for us on Columbus Day of last year,” Frank chuckled. Humphrey prided himself on being a Male Rights Activist and didn’t believe in gender, so the pronoun thing didn’t throw him. However, even he couldn’t understand Mr. Billan confusing the time he brought in a half-eaten bag of jelly beans for Arbor day as having made a cake for Columbus day, but he was willing to let it slide. After all, he is the boss.
At this point, Muhammad “Frank” Billan was clearly making eye contact with Humphrey and shaking his head “No.” Everyone in the room had already figured out from the obvious clues that Julie in accounting was the winner, but Humphrey still, at this point, had 100% certainty that he was a shoe in for the award.
“Our 3rd quarter winner of the Billan Award is…” Frank paused here, not for dramatic effect, but to mouth ‘you didn’t win Humphrey, stop smiling like a gob’ before continuing “Julie Sheen!” The rest of the company erupted in applause as everyone’s favorite accountant rushed the stage to give Frank a hug and give a quick speech about discipline. However, this talk was lost on Humprey who had suddenly stopped moving and had grown eerily quiet. It wasn’t until the festivities had slowed down and normal work began again that anyone noticed he was still there, standing, barely breathing.
Being the good sport that she is, Julie from accounting went up to Humphrey and tried to shake his hand. He still wasn’t moving. She tried one of her classic Julie zingers to get him out of the comatose state, but he still wouldn’t flinch. Finally, in an act of desperation she lifted the award towards Humphrey and said “Do you want to hold it for a minute?”
Eye witness reports are conflicting on what happened next, but the tale goes that Humphrey unhinged his jaw like a python and swallowed Julie from accounting whole. He then picked up the trophy and shoved it down Mr. Billan’s throat before yelling “The wrath of God will be swift against yee, Frank’s Furniture Wholesale!” before disappearing in a puff of smoke. No one ever saw Humphrey or Julie from accounting ever again, but legend has it that the Billan trophy is still in Frank’s lower intestine and he uses it as an anecdote in his stand-up comedy now that his company is bankrupt. Catch him this Thursday night at the Lizard Lounge where he is debuting his new comedy show, “True Terror.”
This article was written by Nathan Ellwood. For more, follow him on Twitter @NPEllwood