Apparently we forgot to leave some food out.

Or perhaps someone made a snide remark about brown clothing, the lack of spiders or forgot to turn the lights off at night.

Whatever the case, we here at the Leader-News are beginning to see the first signs of a mildly ticked off building, or at least those little folk that a thousand or so years of folklore tell us dwell in the shadows.

It all started with the clock.

A nice, bland piece of office equipment, it hung by the front door for at least a couple of decades merrily munching one AA battery at a time as it ticked off the seconds, minutes and hours of each work day. You could count on that clock, and many an employee did.

But that changed two to three weeks ago when it just flat refused to tick one more tick regardless of ministrations.

No one mourned. Our trusty office manager simply ordered another, popped in a battery after it arrived and hung it where the other one had been.

The building, however, apparently refused to accept this new equipment employee and made sure it ticked its last as soon as the lights went out that night.

So after repeated attempts at wiggling batteries and trying different ones, Ms. Nancy shrugged, pulled the offending object from the wall and went and got a replacement.

Nice try, the building said.

And the next one?

Nope.

I believe we are on clock five now and I truly must give our office manager kudos for trying. She’s tried an assortment of batteries in black clocks, brown clocks, white clocks and, in the latest effort, a decidedly odd bright shade of blue, all in multiple locations.

Not one has made it through a day.

Today one of the computers threw a temper tantrum refusing to let anyone have access to a program that was working fine just a few hours before, without anyone so much as touching the machine during the interval.

Next, the copy machine refused to acknowledge it had paper in it.

Taking no chances, this afternoon I brought chocolates, the modern day equivalent of the traditionally-offered porridge and cream one gives to house spirits or brownies (If you’re not up on your European folklore just grab any semi-small child for an explanation. I’m told they are featured in at least one of the Harry Potter movies/books, although oddly Potter World ones seem to have a thing about clothing).

And ... bonus ... the staff likes candy too.

A bummed-out brownie is no laughing matter and can cause mischief large and small, according to traditional lore and the recounted oddities of numerous families who may not even be aware of what they are facing.

Just miraculously find those car keys on the counter you checked three times already? Say thank you.

Have something mysteriously unplug itself? Offer an apology now – and a sweet treat.

It’s just safer that way.

Santa sees you when you are sleeping and knows when you’re awake in addition to whether you’ve been naughty or nice. But your house spirits? Buddy, those little guys and gals will determine whether you’re going to get to work on time, stub your toe on the stair, knock the glass off the coffee table or if your toast has a chance in heck of coming out golden brown rather than blackened and charred. And that’s just the beginning.

Be nice to them.

I’ve apparently got a few to apologize to right now.

Chocolate anyone?

– Shannon Crabtree is editor & publisher of the El Campo Leader-News.

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