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Tuesday, only with sneezing


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Tim was insistent on his own story, so here’s a one shot.  


Tim had come home from work yesterday, sneezed 16 times and immediately left again to go buy a box of Kleenex.   He’d gone to bed that night with a vaguely sore throat and a stuffy, tickly, nose.   Something that hadn’t changed when he woke up this morning.   


Huhhyehhshoo, ehhhshoo.”  As soon as he’d opened his eyes, he’d sneezed.   He’d grabbed some cold medicine and swallowed that down with coffee and oatmeal.   He was not looking forward to work.   Colds were always an issue in their shared space.   First, Alex was in and out, and no one wanted to get the boss sick, especially if it might screw up the show.   Ella was always nagging at Freddie or whoever not to get her sick…again.  Freddie was always so obviously sick, at least on the first day, and everyone, himself included, gave Freddie so much crap about it, that he didn’t want that.   And Sam and her damn bleach wipes.   Yeah, announcing he had a cold might not be the best idea.    


HayyahhshooahhShoo.”   He blew his nose again, groaning as he locked the door.  He certainly wasn’t going to be able to hide it.  His sneezes ran on the quieter side of loud, always in pairs and were as such, certainly noticeable.   He couldn’t stifle a sneeze or fight one back if his life depended on it.    And Freddie, Freddie always seemed to *know* when Tim had a cold.  Besides, he was known to go days without sneezing…and now to be suddenly sneezing like this?  Yeah, he couldn’t hide it either.  


‘Maybe,’ he mused, getting into the car, ‘maybe the best thing to do, was nothing.’  Just go to work and act like it was any other Tuesday, only with extra sneezing.  He drove to work, hoping it was just him, being aware that he was sick, being aware of how much he was sniffling.   He found a spot in the lot and parked.   He stuffed a pocket with tissues, tossed the box into his backpack, and headed in.  


He was met at the elevator by Sam and Ella.   “Hey.”  He greeted them, wondering if they noticed the congestion in his voice.   The engaged him in conversation about the previous day’s show and what each had done last night without seeming to.   “Freddie will be late.” He said, glancing at his phone, as they entered the office.   


“So, business as usual.” Sam stated, sitting down and turning on her computer.  At this point, no one knew why Freddie texted Tim that he’d be late almost every single morning, other than that Tim was usually the first one in the office by at least 5 minutes.   Well, everyday, except today.   Today he’d been right on time with Sam and Ella.    


He powered on his laptop, clearing his throat.   “Brainstorm for an hour and then circle up like usual?”  He took a sip of his coffee and, of course, swallowed wrong.   He wrapped his arm over his face and turned towards the wall, coughing harshly.   The coughing fit that resulted was probably about 40% the result of aspiration on the coffee and more 60% his cold and took a minute to run its course.   When he turned back to the room, the girls, and now Freddie were pretending they hadn’t been staring at him.  He held up his coffee mug.  “Swallowed wrong.” He explained, sheepishly.


Freddie nodded as Sam and Ella got back to work on their computers.   He could feel Freddie’s glance on him for a moment, but that soon faded.  They fell quickly into their review of current events and easy chatter filled the room, each writer making notes for when they huddled up.


It was when they were on their way to the table in the center of the room that Tim sneezed for the first time since coming to work.  AhshooHayyahhshoo.”     


“Bless you.”  Freddie said, and again, Tim could feel him scrutinizing him.   


“Thanks,” Tim sniffled, pulling a tissue out of his pocket and blowing his nose as softly as possible.   Still sniffly, he sat down at the table.   He noticed how runny his nose was, and didn’t want to draw attention to himself by excessively sniffling or by giving his nose the blowing his cold was demanding.  “Before we start, I’m gonna run to the restroom quick.” He excused himself.  


He leaned against the wall in the small room and gave his nose several strong blows, then washed his hands.  Returning to the writers’ office, he cheerily said “let’s get to work.”


As they progressed in topics, he was painfully aware of how often he was sniffling.  He was clearing his throat practically every time he spoke.   He just prayed no one noticed.   


It was another hour before he sneezed again.  Hehhshooo, Heyehhshoo, ehhyehhshoo, ehhhshoo.”


“Bl-“ Ella started.


He held up his hand to stop her, arm still wrapped around his face.  “More comi- ihhshoo, ihhhihhshoo, Hihhschoo, Heyehhshoo!”   He straightened up and noticed Freddie offering tissues, which he gratefully accepted.


“Bless you.” Ella ventured again.


“You’re getting a pretty solid cold there.” Freddie commented.   


Tim looked at him.  “How’d you know?”


“You’re pale. You look tired.  You’re sniffling.  You’re congested.  You’re hoarse.  You clear your throat every time you speak.  When you came back from the bathroom, your nose was red.   And it’s certainly not like you to sneeze 10 times in less than 3 hours.” 


Tim sniffed.  “Yeah.  I’ve got a cold.”  He saw Sam start to get up for her desk where she kept her bleach wipes and groaned.  “Please, no.”


She stopped.  “They make you sneeze.” She sighed.




“And then I’ll have to use them more.”


“And then I’ll sneeze more.” He pointed out.  “Can we work something out on their use?”


She nodded.  “Every hour?” She proposed.


“Every two?” He shot her a pleading look.  “My nose is already irritated.”


It took her a second, but she nodded.  “Every two, starting now.” She said as Tim pulled a bottle of hand sanitizer from his pocket and set it on the table.  She wiped down the table, Tim’s desk and keyboard as well as all the other common surfaces.   


Freddie went over and snagged the box of tissues off his desk.  “You’ll probably want these.”


“There’s a box in my bag.” Tim told him.  “Grab that instead of yours.”  


Freddie pulled the tissues out of Tim’s backpack.  “You want cough drops?”  At Tim’s nod, he grabbed a bag out of his desk.  He set the tissues and cough drops next to Tim.  “Back to work?” He asked looking at the team.  


They settled back in as Alex arrived to go over what they’d worked on.  Alex wrinkled his nose at the smell of bleach and took stock of the tissues and cough drops next to Tim.  “Got a cold?”  He took his seat at the head of the table.


Tim coughed into his sleeve.  “Yeah.” He hoarsely admitted.


“Sucks, man.  Get to work?”


Ella requested a quick chance to grab coffee before starting and ducked out of the room, checking if anyone needed any.


Despite the assurances that everyone was fine, beverage-wise, she returned with two cups.  She slid one in front of Tim.  “Tea,” she explained at his quizzical look.  “With honey.  Your voice is starting to sound painful.”


He smiled.  “Thanks.”


“Ok, ready?” Alex asked.


“Hold on.” Tim gasped, turning away from the table.  Huhhhehhshoo, eckshoo.”


“Bless you.” Alex said, raising his eyebrows and tilting his head at Sam, who had not, per their agreement, reached for the bleach wipes.  


“Thanks.  I’m ready now.”  He blew his nose and cleaned his hands.


They reviewed jokes for the next hour and a half, focusing on Alex’s monologue before heading to rehearsal, Sam sanitizing the office before they left.   Tim made it through rehearsal, with only one double making it’s way out.  


Heading back to the writer’s room, Tim stopped, braced himself on the wall and let loose with four strong sneezes.  Huhhshoo, huhhyuhhshoo, huhhrahhashoo, ahshoo.”


“Bless you” Sam told him.  “I hope you can get some rest tonight.  You do look awfully tired.”


He nodded, sniffling as they walked back to the writer’s room.  “Yeah, couldn’t stay asleep last night.”

He snatched a tissue out of the box on Ella’s desk as they walked by and blew his nose again.


The five of them sat down and fine tuned the jokes for tonight before Alex headed in to taping.  They gave Tim headset duty, and he only deafened Alex once when a set of sneezes snuck up on him too quick to move the mic away; the other two times, he’d had enough warning to move it.  Sam, of course, wiped down the mic as soon as the show was over.


Post show, the four writers returned to their office to shut down for the night.  Tim noticed he had a text message from Alex – “stop in and see me before you go home 🙂


‘Great’ Tim thought.  “I’m gonna get crap for sneezing in his ear all show.’  The cold medicine had worn off without him realizing it just before showtime.  Ducking his head into his arm again, he muffled a powerful double into his elbow.  Heyyehhschuhh, Ehhschuhh.”


A chorus of bless yous met him as he raised his head and blew his nose yet again.   Sanitizing his hands, he thanked them and shut down his computer.


“Get some rest, man.” Freddie told him.


“Thanks.  Gotta see Alex before I go, but I’m heading out now.  Probably wants to give me hell for sneezing in his ear all show.”


Sam chuckled.  “Yeah…that was…you could have warned us.”


“No time.” Tim shrugged, zipping up his backpack and heading down the hall to Alex’s office.


“What’s up?” He asked, pulling a packet of cold medicine out of his pocket and picking at the foil.  Alex gestured he should come in.   Tim went in as Alex stood up and came over.  “Sorry for all the sneezing in your ear.” He apologized, holding up the cold medicine.  “Missed the time for this.”


Alex shrugged.  “The last two were the only ones that surprised me since you didn’t move the mic.  You get gaspy before you sneeze, so I had warning.   Not what I wanted to ask you about.”


“Oh?”  Tim swallowed the pills with a sip from his water bottle. 


“How’d you do it?”


“Do what?”


“Come in with a cold, and not have freakouts and bleach wipes everywhere.”  Alex knew the dynamics of the room when it came to colds.  His allergies often came under scrutiny.  “I know you didn’t announce it.  And I *know* you can’t hide it.”


Tim shrugged.  “I didn’t say anything.  Let them figure it out.  Decided to treat it as any other Tuesday, only, you know, with sneezing.”


Alex laughed as Tim turned and sneezed again, fishing a tissue out of his pocket.


Alex put a hand on his back, “Up for dinner or do you want to go home and rest?”


“I still need to eat.” Tim told him as they walked out together.

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Oh man, you’re killing me with this!!! This is perfect. I’m falling in love with Tim, too! The way he takes everything as it comes. And my favorite was the part at the end between Alex and Tim. 

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Tim is so laid back.  He’s kinda the office buffer between Freddie and his 10 colds a year and everyone else

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