Chew Toy bites.

My boss has taken to calling me “Chewy.” This is a shortened version of “Charleston Chew,” which he decided to start calling me because it sounds like my name and stuff. I don’t hate Chewy. In fact, I kind of like it. One or two of my other coworkers have taken to calling me Chewy and each time they do, I think to myself, “Yes. I am often hard to swallow.”

(That’s what SHE said.)

The other morning I was in the office kitchen, innocently scalding a ceramic otter with coffee, when my boss breezed in. “Hey there, Chew Toy.”

Caffeinated otter torture vanished from my priority list. I stared at my boss. CHEW TOY?

I tried to kill him with my eyes. It wasn’t working because he was already walking away from me and eye murder only works on faces. I decided to draw him back with something subtle.

“I am looking at you disapprovingly and shaking my head,” I called out to his disappearing back, “but you’re not appreciating it because you’re not looking.”

He came back into the kitchen. I am a master tactician.

“I said I’m looking at you disapprovingly.”
“Oh. You don’t like Chew Toy?”
“No. I like Chewy but Chew Toy, not so much.”

A nearby coworker, amused and confused by this exchange, looked back and forth between us. “Chewy?” My boss grinned a rakish grin. I focused on my eye murder.

“Yeah, you know. Charlotte, Charleston, Charleston Chew, Chewy. Chew Toy.” This delighted my coworker. I scowled.

“The more you fight it,” my boss said, “the more it’s going to stick.”

I followed him back to his desk, which is actually not that creepy because his desk is all of three feet away from mine. At that point my body was apparently taken over by the ghost of Larry David, which is especially impressive when you consider that Larry David is still alive.

“I draw the line at Chew Toy.”
“You can’t draw the line.”
“I can. I am drawing it. See this?” My foot drew an invisible line on the floor. “This is the line. Right here.”
“Nope. Your line-drawing privileges have been revoked.”
“Obviously they haven’t because the line has been drawn.”
“I’m taking your line-drawing pen. You can’t draw the line without a pen.”
I held up a pen. I’m a writer. I have a lot of pens. “This looks like a pen to me.”
“Your pen is useless.”
“This isn’t over.”

AND IT WASN’T. Hours passed. Lunch came and went. I knew all I had to do was bide my time, waiting for an opportunity to present itself.

Eventually I heard a sneeze from my boss’s desk, followed by a polite, “Excuse me.” SHOWTIME.

I glared at him and shook my head. His eyebrows raised.

“I’m not excused?”
“You’ll be excused when I get my pen back.”
“…your pen?”
“My line-drawing pen. To draw the line.”
“Oh!” He paused thoughtfully. “No. You don’t get the pen back.”
Then you are not excused.


And that’s the thoroughly riveting story of how I am more clever than my boss.*

*The story of how he completely ignored my retort and went back to doing way more important shit than whatever I was doing, and also the story of how all of my friends will probably call me Chew Toy from now until the day I am buried.**

**Unless I kill them all with eye murder first.



  1. Nah….Chew Toy is a friend of mine. She is nowhere near Cat in terms of life. You rule!

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