My girlfriend always seemed to enjoy seeing how much she could get away with doing some form of bondage stuff in public. She does this partly because she finds it fun, mostly because she knows it drives me out of my tree. Usually, I's able to fast-talk my way out of potentially embarrassing situations with Mundanes, but yesterday she very nearly got me fired.

Yesterday afternoon we had lunch together. Afterward, she accompanied me back to work. I thought this slightly unusual, since she had never before expressed in interest in my work (electronic engineering), but it didn't occur to me that she had something planned.

We arrived at my workbench, where I currently trying to figure why the $&#%@^$ board on which I am working is not performing the way it is designed.

"Is this where you work?" she asked.

"At the moment," I replied.

I reached over to turn on the scope, thereby completely failing to notice the huge black studded collar she had produced from her purse. Before I could blink (it's amazing the speed at which she can do this), she had locked the collar snugly around my neck, and locked the end of the 6 foot jack chain to the center of the bench (where there just happened to be a mounting hole, dammit). I turned to her in utter disbelief, mouth agape.

"I'll be back for you at five," she said.

"HAVE YOU GONE COMPLETELY WACKO!??!?!" I yelled in a hushed voice. "How the hell am I going to explain this!?!?!"

"You'll think of something", she said, dropping the keys into her cleavage, "you always do".

"But suppose I have to go to the bathroom," I countered.

"Don't give me that," she hissed, "I've seen you go a whole day without visiting the bathroom."

"But...." I tried to say.

"SHHH! The subject is closed. I'll be back at five. Bye."

She turned around and left, against my hushed protests. I sat in panic and tried to think out my situation. I tried to think of who might visit. Most of my co-workers were friends who knew that my girlfriend and I were a bit odd, so this shouldn't surprise them. But I had *no* idea what I was going to do if one of my bosses came in. I checked my watch to see how long I would have to endure this ignominy. 13:30 (I'm a military time weenie). "Three and a half hours," I thought. I heaved a heavy sigh, and got to work, such as I could.

As it happened, three of my co-workers visited for what-not. All of them immediately noticed the collar (it would be hard not to) and asked if it was my girlfriend's idea. I said yes. They asked what I would do if my supervisor saw it. I told them I hadn't the faintest idea.

One of the aforementioned colleagues took the bench next to me, and after a few remarks (and a question as to where he could get such a collar), settled down to work in silence.

After some time, I checked my watch. 16:40. "Gee, I just might make it through this after all," I thought. I was even beginning to get a handle on the problem with the $#%&&$# board on which I was working. Murphy must have been standing right behind me, reading my thoughts, for not two minutes later one of my bosses entered the room. And not just any boss. Noooooooo. This was Mr. Narrowminded himself. This was the guy who took Lifespring *and* became a born-again funda mentalist. How he came to have the power of hire- and-fire over us is one of the Great Mysteries of The Universe. We avoided this guy at all costs.

His eyes fell upon me immediately. A few picoseconds later, he saw the collar around my neck in all its splendor. "My life is over," I thought. I still hadn't thought of a plausible explanation for this. Mr Solderbrain (the name we called him behind his back; a corruption of his real name) started to walk slowly and deliberately over to me, his eyes fixed on the collar. Fifteen agonizing seconds later, he was standing next to me. I thought the guy sitting next to me was going to have seizures stifling all his giggles. I continued to work, acting as though there were nothing the least bit unusual about my predicament.

Finally, he spoke.

"What. the. HELL! is. THAT!?!?!" he said.

I don't know how I thought of what I said. In fact, I'm pretty sure I didn't know what I was going to say until I was saying it. I'm even more amazed that Solderbrain actually bought it and didn't fire me on the spot.

I turned to face him calmly, with total nonchalance, exuding complete confidence in what I was about to say, even though I didn't know what it was yet. I didn't even miss a beat.

"Grounding strap," I said, and returned to work.

The guy next to me fell off his chair and nearly died laughing.