Science fiction podcast: a modern Paul Bunyan story (funny!)

The latest story on the Escape Pod science fiction podcast is Larry Hammer's "Paul Bunyan and the Photocopier." It's a short, hilarious modern telling of a Paul Bunyan legend — the telling is spot-on for the character of the Paul Bunyan stories, but the content (Paul Bunyan's need to build a photocopier when his secretary goes on vacation) is so incongruous that it made me double over with laughter while listening to it today.

Well, the time came Paul Bunyan had a pretty successful thing going with his lumber business. Fact is, the first year his company went public, the stock price doubled, and it went up fifty percent each of the three years after that. Mind you, this made Paul a target for corporate raiders. Why, the battle he had with Bluebeard is a yarn and a half–but that's another tale. _This_ is the story of what happened when Paul Bunyan's secretary went on vacation.

Now, Maizy was a good secretary–a _fine_ secretary. She could copy three reports, fax a corporate org chart, schedule an executive meeting, and keep a board member on hold, all at the same time–and keep the board member from getting madder than a polecat on laundry day while she did it. And this was the problem, you see–she was too good for Paul. He hardly ever had to do anything for himself with Maizy around. So when she visited her aunt right when Paul was preparing the year-end stockholder report, something bad was bound to happen.

Paul doing a financial report was a sight to see. He lined up all the numbers at the bottom of the page, carefully aimed his great axe, then _wham!_, chopped 20% off for capital expenses. Worked like a charm. But then, when he had the final report ready–then he had to copy it.

Now just between you and me, there's nothing on this green earth that scared Paul the way that photocopier scared him. He could work his computer somewhat, at least as far as checking e-mail or making a slide show from someone else's template. But that big plastic box, all white and humming, with its ten thousand buttons and twenty thousand lights, the sole purpose of each one to tell him that he'd forgotten to select an output tray–that sent the cold blue heebies down to his feet, through the soles of his boots, and into the basement boiler room.