I do not own The Office: U.S. Version.
I've watched it enough though.
Free For Dinner
So Karen was gone.
As in completely.
Not even a speck of dust remained on her desk.
Even though somehow not everyone had quite gotten the memo.
"Hey, where's Karen? I was going to ask her about Point Sales account."
Dead silence around the office.
Finally, Toby attempted to answer.
"She left and put in for a transfer two days ago, Michael. I emailed you about it."
Their fearless leader rolled his eyes.
"Well, obviously, I didn't get that email, loser. Everything from you goes to the junk folder marked "Toby, Whom I Hate With the Fire of a Thousand Suns and Should Die a Painful and Excruciating Death'."
Toby's normally downtrodden expression drooped even further.
"So," Michael Scott, Esteemed Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company continued abruptly, looking randomly around the room at anyone but his arch nemesis. "Karen's gone? When did this happen? Where was I, Pam?"
Oh, not me. Please not me.
"Why was I cut out of the loop?"
Pamela cleared her throat.
"You had, uh, gone to your condo after Jan called to asked you to come home and open your package for her."
Michael seemed temporaraily baffled.
Before the dirty little clouds on his mind cleared.
"Oh, yes, well, I was indisposed then and that's what she . . ."
". . . said."
He returned to the present, huffing in derision and disappointment at the loss of a valued, hard-working employee.
"Well, that's a bummer. She was someone I enjoyed watching everyday. I guess I'll only watch her in my dreams now."
As that unsettling thought wandered through her brain, Pamela heard Michael continue, concern and pity colored all through his clueless tone.
"Jim, jeez, I can't imagine how you must feel. Did you have any idea she was going to do this?"
Jim seemed to keep his expression impassive.
"Okay, well, alright then. Pam, I guess you're back to being number one."
Pam took the hit unawares and found herself confused.
"Number one what?"
But he was gone.
Well, that was fun.
She looked to Jim, whose mildly sardonic expression was just as she expected.
It's so nice to not have to stare at the back of his neck anymore.
"Wait! Did Karen run off to New York with Ryan?! Jim, did she dump you because you bombed the corporate interview?!"
And here we go again.
It had begun.
Kevin's incessant giggling.
His pointed questions.
"How are you today, Pam?"
Her innocent answers.
"I'm fine, Kevin."
Followed up by his suggestive responses.
"Yeah, I bet you are."
"Hey, where's that albino Cambodian chick that was dating the tall guy?"
"You mean, Karen?"
"No, no, it stared with an 'Z', I think. Maybe a 'Q'."
"Are you feeling alright, Creed?"
"Yeah, sure, Susie, why?"
"N- . . . My name's P- . . . Never mind."
"Way to go, Jim. Running off the one female who would give you the time of day."
"Did you at least harvest her eggs and freeze them for future generations to repopulate once the planet goes sterile?"
"Uh, no, I don't think so."
"Well, it is now, Dwight. Jeez."
One thing she liked about Jim was . . .
"Don't feel too bad, Tuna. Not a thing you could have done."
. . . his neverending well of aplomb.
"Well, thanks, An-"
He never seemed to lose his composure.
"The sexual tension between us was just too much for her to continue on here."
Even in the face of the great and grand delusions of . . .
"Between . . ."
. . . Andrew Baines . . .
"Between me and Karen, Tuna. Ahhh, she just couldn't let her feelings for me go."
. . . Bernard.
Hearty clap on the shoulder.
"Don't beat yourself up too much about it though. Some of us just aren't meant for the grandeurs of passionate love."
Pam stifled a sudden onset of giggles as Jim seemed to refuse to look in her direction, keeping his mildly amused expression dutifully trained on the tweeded man in front of him.
"Right. Got it, Andy. Thanks."
"It's really for the best, I think."
"Why is that, Angela?"
"Really? Do I have to list the reasons why?"
Nope, not really.
But she had opened her mouth and spoken words.
So she supposed now she was stuck in it.
"She always wore her clothes too tight and revealing. So loud and brash. She flirted with Jim incessantly. We can't have more than one of you at a time, Pam. This is an office, not a love-in."
Just another day in the office.
Well, maybe not just another day in the office.
"So Halpert's back on the market, huh?"
Pam found herself blinking owlishly at Meredith Palmer before managing to find sufficient words.
"Yeah, guess so."
Meredith seemed to mull this over.
"He must be grieving. They dated awhile."
Pam did not respond this, only finding herself suddenly feeling somewhat protective and even more pranky toward her new secret companion.
"Maybe I'll offer him a ride home. And we can get, you know, The Graduate going on. Jakie's on the bench this season anyway. He can get a ride home from the coach."
As repulsed as Pam was on a number of levels, she reached way down inside and found a wayward nod of encouragement for the licentiously smiling redhead.
"Yeah, you should totally do that."
Yep, just another day in the office.
Only Stanley seemed unaffected by the change in staff.
"I really miss, Karen. Don't you, Stanley?"
Phyllis appeared slightly misty-eyed.
"She was so sweet and friendly and full of energy."
At the distantly dwindling memory of the silly little girl who had once accidentally insulted the pine perfume Bob Vance had give her.
"We got makeovers together once, you know. Really nailed the account."
Stanley seemed somewhat less interested and sentimental.
And then there was Oscar.
"Good morning, Oscar."
The most normal person in the office.
"You know, I've been meaning to ask you about Karen . . ."
Who was still acting . . .
". . . do you think she left any staples in her desk?"
. . . completely normal.
"Um, I really don't know. I think it's completely cleaned out but you can check if you want to."
Almost too normal.
But Pam . . .
. . . wasn't going to complain.
"Can you believe-"
"No. Can you believe that-"
There was a pause before Jim spoke again, face relaxing into a lopsided grin.
"Actually, you know what, they're all acting exactly like I'd expect them to act."
Pam shook her head in agreement,
"Yeah. They are."
"Where do you want to go for dinner?"
Tuesday night was art class.
So unfortunately, no Jim.
What did you say to Meredith?!
Why? What's going on?