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Story Notes:
As initially described in Real Friends, this prank actually took place well before the cameras arrived, and was successful. But as it turns out, *I* wrote Real Friends, and if I don’t want to pay attention to continuity, no one’s going to stop me. ::Dwight laugh::

Thematically speaking, you could also probably slot this into Allies Against The World. Which there will be another chapter of before Christmas at the latest. Maybe New Year’s. Valentine’s Day? Michael’s birthday. Definitely Michael’s birthday.

DISCLAIMER: I gotta erase a lot of stuff. A lot. Of stuff. I mean… I’ve posted fanfiction that doesn’t acknowledge that all publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners and I’m in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise and no copyright infringement is intended.

We open in the BULLPEN, with JIM, DWIGHT and PAM at their usual spots and PHYLLIS and STANLEY in the background. PAM is lying in wait, hands balled in fists.

MICHAEL comes out of his office clutching a few loose sheets of paper – eagle-eyed viewers will be able to see they are printed webpages featuring various styles of shoes.

PAM (a little clipped, definitely already irritated):
What did you think, Michael? Do we have a winner?

MICHAEL (dismissively, waving a hand at her):
No. Nononono. Not even close, Pam. I mean, come on. Hip. And youthful. That’s what we’re going for here.

As MICHAEL speaks, JIM looks to the camera and mouths the words ‘hip and youthful’ along with him.

MICHAEL tosses the papers at PAM’s desk, with one of them sliding into her lap. She clenches her teeth, restraining herself.

MICHAEL (condescendingly):
Pamster, I reeeeeally need you to step it up. I know it’s not your style or anything, but if you can’t find me hip and youthful when I need it, what am I even paying you for?

PAM is a volcano about to erupt, and anyone with even the slightest social sense would be seeking to appease her right about now.

MICHAEL (not someone with even the slightest social sense):
I want to see another choice by lunch, okay?

He returns to his office, shutting the door behind him.

DWIGHT (looks to reception and shakes his head):
Get it together, Pam.

He returns to work. PAM meets JIM’s eyes, pulls a pen off her desk and mimes stabbing someone with it.

JIM (quietly, to her):
No jury in the world.

We cut to the CONFERENCE ROOM for a talking head with PAM.

PAM (a little calmer, but still not a happy camper):
For the last three days, Michael’s been having me research online to help him pick out a new pair of shoes. (She imitates Michael’s rhythms when he’s on the defensive.) Work shoes, meant for the office, so it’s okay to assign this to me.

We shift to a series of shots in the BULLPEN.

PAM (in voiceover):
I’ve printed out a bunch of options for him, all of which he’s rejected as not “hip and youthful” enough. Michael hasn’t been able to explain exactly what he means by that, but he says he’ll “know it when he sees it.”

We see a repeated sequence of Michael exiting his office with similar fistfuls of loose sheets of paper.

First, he crosses to RECEPTION and shoves a paper about an inch from PAM’s face and rips it in half before her eyes. We see DWIGHT giving an approving fist-pump in the background.

Second, we see MICHAEL ball up one of the pieces of paper and toss it towards PAM from his office doorway. It lands in her apparently full mug of tea, splashing PAM and her desk. MICHAEL cheers and mouths “did you see that?!?!?” to the cameras, DWIGHT laughs and holds up his hand to MICHAEL for a high-five. MICHAEL ignores him.

Third, we see PAM finishing up collating and neatly stacking paperwork. MICHAEL crosses to reception and shoves the stacks onto the floor so that he can sit on her desk and discuss the problem with the latest option. PAM looks furious, and pushes back her chair to start picking up the paperwork. MICHAEL leans over so that he can remain in her face and nearly knocks her computer monitor off the desk, and has to scramble to save it as PAM watches in horror.

PAM (after a beat, still in voiceover): Michael also hasn’t been able to explain why he can’t spend his own workday doing this.

As she speaks, we see MICHAEL returning to his office. Through the blinds we watch him sit down, blow a raspberry, and spin around in his chair.

We cut to the bullpen. MICHAEL exits his office.

MICHAEL:
Could I get everyone’s attention? I will be out of the office for the next hour, picking up my new shoes, which Pam has finally found for me.

PAM shoots the camera an angry look.

MICHAEL:
So why am I telling you this? To make a point about fiscal sense! Thanks to my clever maneuvering, I’m getting some very hip, very youthful shoes worth $350 for just 225 bucks! (turns direct to camera) And THAT is the example I want to set for this branch.

PAM’s jaw drops a little as aghast takes the lead over apoplectic – is MICHAEL really claiming he’s the one who found these shoes on sale?

MICHAEL:
I want to see alllllllll of you following in my footsteps. While I am gone, I want each of you to think of ways you can save this branch money, the way I am saving money with my shoes. (He shoots another look to the camera. Nailed it.) So… get to work on that, and I’ll be back soon!

DWIGHT:
I’ll make you proud, Michael! I’m gonna save us a crap-ton!

MICHAEL ignores him and exits. We return to a close-up of PAM with a look on her face that should have MICHAEL shaking in his new shoes.

We then cut to a talking head with PAM. We’re zoomed in, but the attentive viewer will note she’s sitting in front of a background of dark wood that does not match anything in the office.

PAM:
(sighs) So during the search I got to thinking, what can we do with knowing the details of someone’s shoes? It turns out a lot! (beat) Which in hindsight, was too bad.

We return to the BULLPEN.

JIM (super casual):
Hey, Beesly, what brand are those shoes Michael’s getting?

PAM (even more casual):
Allen Edmonds. You in the market?

JIM (somehow even MORE casual, practically bored):
Ah, I was just reading about this incident at a shoe factory in Arizona. (DWIGHT perks up.) They accidentally used some toxin or something that can cause really painful sores if it comes in contact with your skin. It’s strong enough to seep right through your socks.

PAM (if you were to put a picture in a dictionary to illustrate casual, it would be PAM BEESLY in this moment):
Was it Allen Edmonds?

JIM (locks up the ’06 Most Casual Salesman Dundie):
Yeah. Weird coincidence, right?

PAM (literally too casual for words):
Hmm.

In the background, DWIGHT has been looking more and more worried with each sentence.

DWIGHT (starting off too loud and getting louder as he goes):
What… why are you two so calm about this? What if Michael’s shoes are tainted? He’s still recovering from his burn wounds! Who knows what kind of pain that could cause him???

Behind DWIGHT, PHYLLIS and STANLEY briefly turn their heads towards the commotion.

JIM (with a shrug):
What are the chances Michael’s shoes are from that exact factory? Besides, they’re saying it’s a simple process to neutralize it, the shoe stores are doing it themselves – they just need to be irradiated. Doesn’t take anything stronger than what you’d find in a standard microwave.

DWIGHT (mollified, but…):
Still, you should more concerned for our regional manager’s safety.

JIM:
Well, I don’t want to step on your toes, Dwight.

Jim looks to Pam during the last bit. She raises her eyebrows as if to say ‘really?’ but she can’t keep a straight face at the wordplay.

MICHAEL enters the OFFICE with a flourish.

MICHAEL:
I have returned! (He holds up the shoe box.) Anyone who wants to see me model these babies, follow me! (remembers) Also, anyone who’s got a cost savings idea they want to pitch!

DWIGHT, of course, rises and trails after MICHAEL into HIS OFFICE. EVERYONE ELSE, of course, remains seated and goes back to work.

DWIGHT (will not be a nominee for the ’06 Most Casual Salesman Dundie):
Heyyyyyyyyy, do you mind if I take a look at these real quick before you put them on?

MICHAEL (annoyed, removing his old shoes):
Why on Earth would I let you do that, Dwight?

DWIGHT (clearly off the top of his head… this is not his area):
Well, I… I want to get the full effect… you know… of the shoes… before I see you… in… the shoes. Make sure the shoes are… working for you and you’re not just making… lousy… shoes… look good. (here it is!) We need to confirm they’re hip and youthful enough even when you’re not wearing them.

MICHAEL (placated by this somehow):
Oh. I guess that’s all right. Don’t think you’d know hip and youthful any better than Pam would, though, not that she knows anything.

MICHAEL hands over the box. DWIGHT looks it over and finds the product information he’s searching for.

DWIGHT (the horror… the horror…):
Arizona… oh God.

DWIGHT bolts with the box.

MICHAEL:
Dwight, what the… give them back!

MICHAEL tries to chase after, but trips over his old shoes.

We go into full shaky-cam mode as we follow DWIGHT through the OFFICE. As we pass JIM and PAM we see them snickering at each other and rising to go see it all play out.

DWIGHT hurries into the KITCHEN, where STANLEY is about to heat up some very tasty looking pasta.

DWIGHT:
As security officer, I’m making an emergency requisition of this microwave!

DWIGHT shoves STANLEY out of the way, spilling a little of his lunch.

STANLEY (about to burst a blood vessel):
What in the hell…

DWIGHT (contemptuous):
Oh, like you need the extra carbs.

DWIGHT opens the microwave, and awkwardly tries to toss the shoes in by waving the bottom of the shoebox at it, in an attempt to avoid touching the “toxic” material. He succeeds just as MICHAEL, JIM and PAM arrive.

MICHAEL:
Dwight, what are you doing????

DWIGHT slams the microwave shut, punches a few buttons and starts it.

DWIGHT (solemnly, stoically, perhaps even… superheroically?)
Just my job, Michael. Just my job.

JIM and PAM are highly amused. MICHAEL and STANLEY, not so much. STANLEY shoots JIM and PAM a look they miss as they try desperately not to break.

MICHAEL (overlapping with DWIGHT):
I just dropped $225 on these shoes I could have used for windshield wipers that actually work, what possible reason could you have to cook them? Those are supposed to be my hip and youthful shoes, Dwight!

DWIGHT (overlapping with MICHAEL):
There is a very serious threat to your physical health which I did not have time to explain to you, and I am confident that when I do you will recognize that this was the only course of action I could have taken.

As they argue, first PAM and then JIM notice something… odd happening in the microwave.

PAM (trying to get his attention as he and MICHAEL continue to bicker):
Uh, Dwight?

JIM (also trying to talk over DWIGHT and MICHAEL):
Dwight, buddy.

PAM (uh oh):
Dwight, I think you should stop it!

JIM (not panicking, not panicking at all):
Dwight, look what’s happening!

MICHAEL notices it too.

MICHAEL:
MY SHOES!!!

MICHAEL tries to dive past DWIGHT to stop the microwave. DWIGHT blockades him with his body and spreads his arms wide to get in the way of JIM, who is trying the same. MICHAEL is shouting, DWIGHT is shouting, JIM is shouting, PAM is shouting, STANLEY is shouting. It’s chaos. And we cut to…

…PAM and JIM sitting at a table in a quiet mid-scale restaurant, which we quickly realize is where PAM was doing her last talking head. The walls are decorated with antique street lamp-style lanterns and sepia photos of Old World city scenes. The chairs are a matching cherry wood, and the tablecloths are long and white. †One can see into a busy-looking, well-lit kitchen behind them, and as they talk to the cameras waiters come and go from the counter where the cooks are sliding them food.

JIM (direct to camera):
So it turns out microwave oven radiation does shrink the leather in a shoe, as we planned. But it will also cause any rubber in the soles to bubble and melt after… really not that much exposure. (pause, chagrined look) Whoops.

PAM (starts direct to camera, quick switch to voiceover):
Fortunately, all that happened is it ruined the shoes and the microwave, both of which Michael is blaming Dwight for.

While she speaks, we see DWIGHT retrieving the now steaming, dripping, misshapen shoes with tongs. Judging from MICHAEL, JIM, PAM and STANLEY’s reactions when he pops the microwave door open, they smell like CREED’S mung beans gone rotten.

We then return to the restaurant.

JIM (direct to camera):
Unfortunately, some of our co-workers were verrrrrry attached to that microwave.

PAM (direct to camera):
And it turns out maybe pay more attention to their surroundings then you’d think.

She shrugs and sucks a breath between her teeth.

JIM:
People are mad.

PAM:
Stanley. Stanley is mad.

JIM nods along with her line. We then cut to STANLEY in the conference room. He is staring into the camera. He looks very unhappy. And he’s dangerously quiet.

We cut back to JIM and PAM in the restaurant.

PAM:
So we’re going to be eating out of the office for a bit. We bring Stanley back some takeout for his lunch every day, some chicken parm, some linguine alle vongole, and, you know, stay out of his way until he calms down. It’s fine, it’s been way too long since we’ve gotten our Cugino’s on.

While she speaks, a waiter in dark pants, a white button-down shirt and a black tie approaches the table. JIM quietly places their order.

PAM:
Look, clearly we didn’t think this one all the way through. But for the record, I say this falls on the guy who actually put shoes in a microwave. (sighs) Whatever. They can’t all be winners. (She notices the waiter.) Oh, could I get…

WAITER:
Chicken vesuvio, sweet peas, Diet Coke? You’re all set.

The waiter exits, PAM gives JIM a look.

JIM:
I know what the hip and youthful order is, Beesly.

PAM smiles. JIM smiles back. This prank might not be a winner, but they’re sure not feeling like losers right now.

And we… cut to the intro.

NETWORK NOTES: REJECTED. I appreciate what you’re trying to do here, but I feel like this passes from “not all of Jim and Pam’s pranks work out” to “Jim and Pam make Kevin roll his eyes and say he has no patience for stupidity.” I mean… they didn’t think that putting shoes in the microwave might be bad for the microwave? Maybe more importantly, you know these are supposed to be 30-60 seconds, right?

Chapter End Notes:
H/t to WanderingWatchtower for suggesting I turn this into a cold open. Hope you liked it, and if you didn’t, please remember that I warned you I wouldn’t be able to do it justice.

Also please note my research for this piece did indicate that as a general point, microwaving your shoes is typically not great for the shoes or the microwave, but the primary risk seems to be sparking from metal brackets for the laces leading to a fire. And as we all know, Jim and Pam are not the ones who started the fire.


darjeelingandcoke is the author of 11 other stories.

This story is part of the series, Rejected Cold Opens. The previous story in the series is Earth Out of Balance. The next story in the series is You Canít Handle The Tooth.

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