Thunder Pear Publishing Haunted Hayride Memo

                Good Morning, Grant. Congratulations on making it back through your first red door! I heard medical had patched you up, and you even walked out with a ring that cools beer cans with a touch. That type of trinket comes in handy during summer parties once we’ve drained the cold kegs. I hope that now, as a true employee and no longer an intern, you’ve finally learned enough to do your job properly. Please review and make alterations to the below document, then send it back to me for revision. As usual, I’ll fill you in on any needed context to make sure you understand the subject matter.

                Hello Everyone! I know we’re all excited for this weekend’s Haunted Hayride down at Doctor HorseFeathers Abandoned Animal Asylum, but as this is an occasion where we are venturing out into public, there will need to be some guidelines for the safety of both ourselves, and the public at large. Let us learn from last year’s Haunted House being shut down simultaneously by the police, CDC, and raging fire that engulfed the rented building. A small amount of discretion will allow antics to continue for far longer. Additionally, Mr. Hayes has declared that any who cause the experience to be cut short will have to “face the pumpkin.” Grant, the pumpkin is where the most potent of beverages are stored, some say Mr. Hayes ferments the very soul of alcohol inside. Do not face the pumpkin unless you have a designated driver and free week to struggle through a hangover.

                With that in mind, let’s all do our best to have a fun outing before utterly destroying ourselves at the company Halloween party. It will be smooth-sailing, so long as we all remember:


                1) Dr. Horsefeathers Abandoned Animal Asylum, hereafter referenced as HAAA, is a new attraction opening near the fringes of our town. We have been invited as guests to see it before the official opening, ostensibly due to Mr. Hayes and Dr. HorseFeathers being acquainted through former business dealings. We have heard your worries, both the concern that this is clearly a trap to kill us all and the theory that Dr. HorseFeathers is really Mr. Hayes wearing an old set of Groucho Marx nose-glasses.

                On the first point, rest assured that Thunder Pear Publishing will put you in no more danger than you put yourself. Also, do remember that between the break-room ghost, basement goblins, extra-planar beings, and even normal associates like Mr. Percival, the company technically qualifies as a supernatural militia. If it is indeed a death trap, please consult the “So we’re in a death trap” section of your employee handbook for guidance. Grant, you’re a newer employee, see if you can soften the edges of this a tad. After a certain amount of death traps, it’s hard to muster up the same fear and worry that I know the more recent hires are feeling.


                2) As usual, party buses will bring us from the company to our destination. Each bus will have an exotic Halloween-themed dancer, a fully stocked bar, and a chilled keg. These supplies, will, of course, be refreshed while we’re inside, since it is expected they’ll be drained within the trip over. Please note: one bus will feature a male dancer, one will feature a female, and one will be clad in an intricate robot costume rendering all physical identifying features hidden. Please let us know which bus you would prefer to ride on in advance so that seating may be doled out appropriately. Heads up, Grant, if you want on the robot bus then RSVP soon. That one is filling up so fast we may have to add another just to accommodate.


                3) The animals of HAAA are going to be live. Well, “mostly” live is how it’s been described, however that is alive enough to warrant this caution: please do not give the animals drugs. Dr. HorseFeathers menagerie is a unique one, and we’ve already seen what happens when some of the Thunder Pear Publishing “candy dish” gets distributed to wild creatures. True, it was awesome watching Sara’s parakeet lift a whole printer, even if it was for less than a second, but later that night it pecked through the bars of its cage and escaped. There are still persistent tales downtown of a mysterious winged creature making off with full-grown raccoons in its grip, so let’s not see what happens when we give the damn drugs to a several hundred-pound animal with teeth or claws.


                4) Costumes, as at any Thunder Pear Publishing Halloween event, are mandatory. However, since we will be in the general public, you do not need to put your actual costume on display. I know we each work hard on our outfit for the party, and there’s no reason to get it messed up traipsing around a farm on the edges of town. If anyone of you use costumes from previous years, please remember to cover all patches of unlawful nudity, as well as disarm any weapons systems not capable of firing on a “stun” setting. Originally, we were going to ban weapon-based costumes entirely, but… you know, potential death traps. See if you can make this a little more encouraging. We do want some weapons on hand, after all. That’s just general company policy.


                5) As we are still, somehow, a publishing company, a small thread of productivity has been added to the experience as well. If, at any time in the evening, you require assistance, from fending off hordes to getting another drink fetched, simply whistle loudly and then, when an assistant appears seconds later, present a reviewed manuscript, complete with your notes on whether to publish or pass. Please remember, the type of assistants who can appear at will, almost as if by magic, are part of a hive-mind, and that hive-mind has gotten burned out on sci-fi as of late. Present that genre at your own peril, or just wait and give it to someone else.


                6) While our newer employees would normally learn this at the Halloween Party, this year we’ll need to provide some advanced notice. At Thunder Pear Publishing, “The Monster Mash” occupies a special place of reverence. Whenever you hear it, you are to dance immediately. Failure to do so on actual Halloween can result in deceased employees over-taking your body, as their loyalty to the company proves to be greater. That’s how we lost Allen in accounting, but got Jeremy back. If you absolutely cannot bring yourself to indulge, then you can hide in the Floor 2 breakroom. That ghost is happy being dead and deeply territorial, so it’s relatively safe. On the hayride, odds of possession are likely smaller, however it is Thunder Pear Publishing policy to just dance a little and not risk possession.


7) In order to add some extra excitement to the evening’s outing, Mr. Hayes has hired five drifters to wander around, acting as masked slashers. Their weaponry will be obviously fake, however anyone “stabbed” by them is considered to be dead. Once the outing is ending, those still living will be entered in a lottery for year-long executive promotions to be drawn at the stroke of midnight. Any who manage to take a slashers’ weapon may claim one of those five promotions for themselves, skipping the lottery entirely. Play it safe and trust in luck, or be aggressive and trust in yourself. Mr. Hayes is eager to see the ways you all face this challenge. Grant, if you’re unaware, those executive promotions are worth the effort. Access to all executive facilities, pay bump, more power, and if you prove competent it might become a real job. About half the executives on staff got there through one of these, then stayed based on their merit. Needless to say, I’d like you to downplay this section as much as possible. The less competition, the better.


8) Finally, our emergency escape plan for this new location will be detailed in an attached document. Please pay special attention to both your exit point, rally location, and cover story if caught. For our new employees, “emergency escape” is what we call the mass company-wide fleeing of a crime scene, usually due to crimes we have committed.  If you are wondering why that comes up so often that we would need such a policy, then I hope you enjoy your brief time at Thunder Pear Publishing, as I fear you might not have the right mindset to remain here long. Some advice: keep a fake ID on hand and change up your hair. The police have started to recognize a few of us from various encounters, so it goes faster if they have no idea you’re connected to this place.


                That takes care of all the preliminary guidelines, expect more to come once we arrive on the scene. We want to enjoy ourselves while also leaving the door open for return trips in the future. Mr. Hayes can’t keep winning drinking contests to get us venues. He could, he has, he probably will continue to do so. Have to at least try, though. Of course, the most important guideline is also the same one that Mr. Hayes kept in mind during the forming of this company and the hiring of each employee.

                Have fun!


-From the desk of Carol Dempsy, Thunder Pear Publishing HR Coordinator and Halloween Liaison.