A Silly Game: Work Excuses That Require More Explanation

So here’s the game.

Pretend you have to explain why you aren’t coming in to work, class, home, or another essential destination, and pretend that (for whatever reason) your boss, spouse, professor—whoever has the right to the full tale—is absolutely, positively going to find out some portion of the truth.

You don’t have the time, the desire, or perhaps police permission to go into the whole explanation, so you hone it down to thirty or fewer words. But the excuse you come up with HAS to keep your phone call recipient awake until he or she gets the full explanation.

“I can’t come in today because…” is a given. “Gotta go now!” is a given. You don’t have to count those words.

Just come up with three amazing excuses that will require some major explanation later. And keep them PG 13 clean. 😀

Here are my three examples:

I CAN’T COME IN TO WORK TODAY BECAUSE:

  • I’m on my way to the ER because I caught my nipple in a chain-link fence.
  • The National Guard has cordoned off the space ship and my house is inside the perimeter.
  • The other tiger is still loose.

GOTTA GO NOW!

(Once you’ve played, go here for the REAL story behind this game…)

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

402 comments… add one
  • Cathy C. Hall Jun 1, 2013 @ 13:55

    Can’t come in to work today because:

    …apparently, what happens in Vegas doesn’t always *stay* in Vegas.

    …ostriches are WAY faster than they look.

    …the Pope is calling me back.

    Gotta go!

    • anna-marie Jun 13, 2013 @ 16:53

      I can’t come to work now because I got the keep the fire goingto prevent freezing. Got to go now.

      I can’t come to work now because i have to fill in the lottery ticket befor it expires. got to go now.
      O can’t come to work now because I’m stuck to the toilet with superglue.

    • janice Nov 8, 2013 @ 5:46

      Sorry you’re stuck

  • Adi Jun 1, 2013 @ 13:51

    I CAN’T COME IN TO WORK TODAY BECAUSE:

    – I have to explain to Animal Control what happened to the giraffe in my backyard.
    – I have to dig my husband out from the Cheerios before he suffocates.
    – I confused letch and litch, and now I have a steaming phylactery on my hands.

    GOTTA GO NOW!

    • Amazingrace Jun 4, 2013 @ 6:35

      How did you overheat a lychee on a phylactery? Hadf to resort to my trusty Oxford dictionary forthis one!
      Gotta Know!

  • Dave Hawkyns Jun 1, 2013 @ 13:45

    I CAN’T COME IN TO WORK TODAY BECAUSE:

    •All I can tell you now is if you go to sleep before I tell you, you will never see your kids again.
    •I’m calling in rich. I won the lottery and I’m counting out your allotment. The longer I’m gone, the more you get
    •There could be a bomb in the building. If I come back before they get what they want, SPLAT. They’ll be calling you with a list.

    GOTTA GO NOW!

    Bonus Excuse: Hi. I won’t be in because…wait for it…

    • Dave Hawkyns Jun 1, 2013 @ 14:44

      I thought my first ones were a little too violent so I posted replacements. Even thought they would
      “keep your phone call recipient awake”

  • Me Jun 1, 2013 @ 13:24

    I’m driving myself to the ER. I’m in too much pain to see straight…
    sad thing is, that actually happened. I really wonder what my boss thought, about it since I ended hospitalized for two weeks.

    Good ones:

    I can’t come into work yet because I’m not finished painting the nude model and I’m not going to be able to get her in this position again…

    I’m calling in dead…

    I can’t come into work because I was playing mumblety-peg with a bunch of drunken pirates and managed to cut off several fingers…

    I can’t come into work because the FBI is holding me while they look into personal firearm collection…

    I can’t come into work because the fire department called the CDC while looking into why house burned down…

  • Misty Jun 1, 2013 @ 12:56

    What a fun game! 🙂 I love the answers so far…

    As for me, /I/ can come in to work because:

    I rolled out of tree this morning and said “good night” to my hat, only to discover I have apple.

    I think my car is coming down with Alzheimer’s.

    My psychic said I’m going to meet my one true love today, and no offense to you guys, but…

    • Misty Jun 1, 2013 @ 12:57

      Um. Can’t. Can not. Absolutely can’t.

      Though that typo goes perfectly with my first answer. ;p

  • Tony Jun 1, 2013 @ 12:50

    I’ve turned into Gregor Samsa

  • Alex Jun 1, 2013 @ 12:48

    Apparently I’m allergic to zombie bites… now he’s figuring what werewolf blood would do to me… uh-oh… he said something about testing… GOTTA GO NOW!
    I’ve turned into a media and fear controlled American… now I gotta get weapons and run amok. GOTTA GO NOW!
    Buffalo buffalo that Buffalo buffalo buffalo, buffalo Buffalo buffalo and me with weird seemingly nonsensical sentences like “Wouldn’t the sentence ‘I want to put a hyphen between the words Fish and And and And and Chips in my Fish-And-Chips sign’ have been clearer if quotation marks had been placed before Fish, and between Fish and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and Chips, as well as after Chips?”. GOTTA GO NOW!

  • Tony Jun 1, 2013 @ 12:42

    evirra I erofeb evael ot evah lliw I

    • Sandra S. Richardson Jun 3, 2013 @ 7:20

      I love this! Perfect to have it written backwards. 🙂

      Do you remember the old Dunkin’ Donuts adds that had the guy with the big mustache? He walks to his front door – “Time to make the donuts.” Opens the door and he’s standing right on the other side heading into the house, saying, “I made the donuts.”

      This reminded me of that ad. So funny I’ve never forgotten it. 🙂

  • Dorothy Kielty Jun 1, 2013 @ 12:40

    I can’t come in to work today because

    well, you know my husband who I buried last year? well, he’s at the door…

    gotta go now

  • Margaret Fieland Jun 1, 2013 @ 12:34

    This poem was written by me in response to a prompt by Brian Klems

    Excuses, Excuses

    I’m sorry, boss, I’m late to work
    It couldn’t be avoided.
    My waking license was revoked
    and now it’s null and voided.

    I found my son’s new game device
    and soon became addicted
    to a game called Wordament.
    It couldn’t be predicted.

    On Wednesday night, I played a lot
    at last began improving.
    Last night I started up again
    and found it rather soothing.

    But then my eyelids wandered shut.
    My score were in the cellar.
    I had to play a few more times
    until results were stellar.

    But by the time my game improved
    the morning sun was rising.
    My eyes began to close again,
    which wasn’t so surprising.

    To make a long, long story short,
    I lay down for a second
    I really meant to stay awake.
    Alas, sweet dream-land beckoned.

    I promise not to play again
    although I quite enjoyed it.
    My wife complained of gross neglect,
    found the device, destroyed it.

    So that, dear boss, is my excuse.
    I hope to be forgiven.
    And even though I’d like to sleep,
    I promise not to give in.

    Margaret Fieland

    • Geraldine Ketchum Jun 2, 2013 @ 6:54

      Love it!

    • Karen Barr Sep 23, 2016 @ 18:55

      Nice one Maggie!

  • Emma Jun 1, 2013 @ 12:23

    “I can’t come in today because…

    There’s a six foot snow drift behind our front door, no I can’t break out, since I don’t own the place, and since I’m on the second floor I’m not jumping out either”

    “I can’t come in today because…

    My Burmese python broke out of her vivarium last night, and I’m still looking for a 13ft Albino Burmese Python in the flat, so gotta go and oops I hear a crash in the kitchen..

  • kenbar Jun 1, 2013 @ 12:05

    Honey, I can’t make it home tonight because:

    I can’t get out of the elevator shaft.
    The horse threw a shoe.
    Remember that story about the succubus? Well…

    Oh, oh, gotta go!

  • Tami Jun 1, 2013 @ 12:02

    I can’t come in today because I just found out that my mother is actually my aunt, my husband is my uncle, my aunt is my grandmother, my sister is my mother, my brother is my grandfather, my grandfather is really a mafia Godfather and right now, I don’t know who I am…

    • Jean Jun 3, 2013 @ 7:40

      This sounds like my maternal grandfather’s family tree.

  • Eryn Jun 1, 2013 @ 11:47

    Hey boss, I’m not gonna be in today, the movers delivered my stuff this weekend. I worked at a scientific research facility before coming here, and a few of the experiments hatched. Gotta run!

    • Eileen Jun 4, 2013 @ 11:56

      I worked at a scientific research facility before coming here, and a few of the experiments hatched.
      Love it.

  • Patty Jun 1, 2013 @ 11:40

    I can’t come into class today because

    -I crashed my car and lost all function of my dog
    -I’m being held hostage by headhunters in my attic
    -I’ve been bitten by someone and now I’m suddenly allergic to sunlight and I’ve got fangs.

    Gotta go!

  • Jim Traylor Jun 1, 2013 @ 11:39

    I can’t come in to work today because:

    The janitor put it in the dumpster.

    I can’t get my key ring untangled from my nose ring

    The garden hose is only 50′ long and it’s really, really stuck.

    • Holly Jun 3, 2013 @ 6:02

      That last one stopped me like a brick wall.

      • Eileen Jun 4, 2013 @ 11:57

        Yeah, stuck where?

  • Marti Verlander Jun 1, 2013 @ 11:24

    I CAN’T COME INTO WORK TODAY BECAUSE . . .

    My son’s ferocious and highly trained Germany Shepherd Dog is holding me at bay in the bathroom and I don’t fit through the window to escape.

    Somebody must have drugged me, because I’m watching little pink cherubs with golden hair flying around my bedroom in a game of tag.

    Someone slipped me a very strange jelly bean and now my hair won’t stop growing.

  • chalan Jun 1, 2013 @ 11:20

    This is a really ironic post considering I wasalmost 3 hours late today because a stormed nocked out my power rendering my alarm clock useless.

  • Barbara cooper Jun 1, 2013 @ 11:14

    I’m sorry I can’t come in to work to day because I have to find someone who can get my pants of

    Honny I’m gonna be late getting home tonight, I have to catch all the gummy bears and get someone to un-animate them

    Momma I’m not gonna make the wedding, someone moved all the windows and doors to the roof, and the ladders are in the back yard

  • Jodie Jun 1, 2013 @ 11:13

    I can’t come into work today because:

    Aliens have declared me their new leader.

    I am turning into a block of cheese.

    My house has been over run by bears.

  • Sarah Hudson Jun 1, 2013 @ 11:11

    I can’t come in to work today, because …
    I have to smoke my mom out of the chimney!
    The doctor says it’s going to take AT LEAST 36 hours to reattach my nose.
    The dragon’s gone crazy! She’s smashed half the eggs, and — NO! BAD DRAGON! DO NOT FLAME AT — *line goes dead*

  • Bryden Yeo Jun 1, 2013 @ 11:10

    I can’t come into work today because . . .

    I’m hiding from the Reaper who has taken a sudden interest in me, don’t think he knows I can see him yet. Wish me luck.

    The children have taken me hostage and ductaped me into a corner, until I am sorry for what I have done. 😛

    I’ve fallen into a bottomless pit and I can’t get up. 😀

  • Leonard Kienzle Jun 1, 2013 @ 11:08

    I can’t come to work today because I’m actually outside of your house. I warned you …

    …. apparently Zoe told another kid I could beat up her dad. The kid has two dads – I’m being charged with a hate…

    …. remember I told you my uncle the priest said Nephilim are still here. He was right! One killed him! Gave me the proof, now they’re after me!

    • Geraldine Ketchum Jun 2, 2013 @ 6:57

      Oh wow. Good ones.

      • Leonard Kienzle Jun 3, 2013 @ 9:58

        Thank you Geraldine!

  • Calvin Jun 1, 2013 @ 11:06

    It turns out my second wife is alive and my fourth wife and her lawyer want an explanation.

  • Yog-Sothoth Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:51

    The UV lights in this public toilet are the only things keeping the vampires from coming in to get me.

    The floor is made of lava.

    Some guy named Schrodinger made my cat dead and alive at the same time.

    [Off-topic: the least plausible excuse I have ever heard used for not coming in to work is “I have Ebola virus”. ]

  • Jen Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:49

    I can’t come into work today because:

    I’ve been chosen to fight in the final battle for the earth.

    I’ve just been bitten by a zombie.

    Phase three of my master plan to take over the world starts today.

    Gotta go now!

    • Jenn Sep 17, 2013 @ 17:03

      Love the first and third ones!

  • Sylvia Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:47

    .I can’t come home now because the building is dark and the doors are blocked. Gotta go now, the dirt is over my shoes.
    .this person told me to hit Speed Dial 1 on my phone and ask whoever answered what’s my name. Gotta go now, we’re moving.
    .I’m crammed in this closet at the mall with strange people. Gotta go now, the little girl is crying for her mommy.

  • Thea van Diepen Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:44

    A possessed sword started talking to me and now I can’t get rid of it.

    I think I’m on another planet. No, really.

    Wild gerbils ate my home.

    The other world is the real one.

    • Thea van Diepen Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:45

      Oh, ack. Three. Pretend that gerbil one never happened.

      • Sallie Jun 14, 2013 @ 15:44

        actually, i kinda like the gerbils … laughing and dodging plot bunnies

  • Mary Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:41

    I am a dope, need two more reasons for not turning up…

    The Rapture! Oh yes, Lord, can you say Hallelujah? I am rising above this tired world to be made anew. The project files are on the shared drive.

    The raptor… I could hear his claws clicking on the wooden floor downstairs but now it’s all quiet. The stairs are carpet…

  • Laura Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:39

    Oh how fun!

    Hi, Boss, I can’t come in to work today because…

    I’m in labor. No, I wasn’t pregnant yesterday.

    I can’t find the door. I’m just amazed I got a cell phone signal through.

    There’s this little problem with the bridge between here and work. Yes, that one. Don’t watch the news, they’re getting it all wrong.

    I’m calling from Saudi Arabia. No, I don’t know where in Saudi Arabia, but at least I still have my cell phone. For now.

    • Leonard Kienzle Jun 1, 2013 @ 11:10

      Excellent!

    • Jenn Sep 17, 2013 @ 17:04

      Those are awesome!

  • Lizzie Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:27

    *My Portuguese Water Dog started speaking–in Portuguese. We’re waiting for the interpreter.

    *We’re waiting for my mother-in-law to succumb. I hope to make it in after lunch.

    *It’s taking me a little longer than I expected to remove my appendix for first aid certification. [Leonid Rogozov actually performed a self appendectomy at an Anarctic polar base in 1961.]

    • K.C. Wise Jun 1, 2013 @ 16:36

      The MIL comment made me LOL. Is that wrong? Probably a little…

    • Debra Jun 14, 2013 @ 16:47

      Love all of these….#1 is my favorite!

  • Jess Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:24

    1. My grandad escaped from the basement.
    2. I woke up in a canoe again
    3. My llama won’t let me leave the yard.

    • Haze Jun 4, 2013 @ 5:48

      Excellent, just excellent. I’m so using all three of these. >:)

  • Cassie Witt Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:19

    I CAN’T COME IN TO WORK TODAY BECAUSE:

    There’s a tribe of savages outside my house that claim I stole their idol and every time I open the door, they throw javelins at me.

    I got into a fight with a minotaur last night and now I’m in the hospital recovering.

    I got dared to eat the hottest pepper in the world last night and now every time I fart, fire comes out.

  • Bermuda Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:14

    I can’t come to work today, because I’m being baptised. I would have told you sooner, but I only found out late last night.

    • Bermuda Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:27

      I can’t come to work, because I can’t fined the exit and I’ve lost my torch.

      I can’t come to work today, because the tarantula ate my uniform.

  • Katie Luttmer Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:12

    I can’t come in to work today; I’m afraid Mrs. Landry is going to show up with her five sons and force me into that orgy she’s always wanted.

    I can’t come in today, there’s three wild turkeys named George outside. Every time I try to leave, they attack. They won’t let the paramedic in, either, and my husband’s unconscious next to the pentagram.

    I can’t come in to work today, a dark lord has possessed me and I have to shave my hair off so he can grow out the back of my skull. Oh, and find a plus-size turban.

    Gotta go!

  • K.C. Wise Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:08

    1) The white ooze from the sewers has made it to my street and has started coming out of the faucets.

    2) The man with the suitcase was seen in our neighborhood. Police told us to shelter in place.

    3) The hourglass floating over the town has just about run our of sand.

  • Wyatt Stafford Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:08

    I was extracting an earwig when I nicked an artery with the chisle.

    Martians have partially possessed my spine.

    I’m on the verge of identifying the strange attractor function for the Texas Lotto, but I’ll share.

  • Tom Vetter Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:06

    * My car has a squirrel infection – when mamma kicked them out they nested on my engine and ate the wiring. [actually happened to my neighbor].

    * My wife, the clumsy vampire princess, tripped in the yard last night and fell on the picket fence; now she’s dead … again.

    * I accidentally stuffed the submersible under a gas pipeline, and it’s gonna take awhile to surface [actually happened to me – good thing my boss had already done it too].

  • Robert Chang Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:00

    I CAN’T COME IN TO WORK TODAY BECAUSE:

    – The cat is levitating again. It can’t reach the food or water or the litter box.

    – There’s a pentagram painted in blood on my living room wall. It’s still dripping wet.

    – My car has grown thick, furry legs. It runs just fine, but I’m pretty sure I’ll get pulled over.

    GOTTA GO NOW!

  • Erin Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:00

    I can’t come into work today because:

    I am clinically dead and speaking to you from the great beyond.
    A dragon slammed into my house…and we’re still cleaning up the blood, guts, and dragon parts.
    My 24 hours in 2013 are almost up. I’m actually from–

    GOTTA GO NOW!

  • Ann Jun 1, 2013 @ 9:59

    I CAN’T COME INTO WORK TODAY BECAUSE:

    My DNA test results came in and I’m allergic to my clothes.
    I applied to Mars One and there’s this funny looking alien here telling me I’ve been accepted.
    No puedo recordar cómo hablar en inglés.

    GOTTA GO!

  • Elljay Jun 1, 2013 @ 9:55

    Can’t come in today as:
    • I got my fingers stuck in the toaster
    • my uncles, sisters, friends, nephews, brothers turtle is in a coma
    • my nans cat stole my automobile

    • Mick Jun 3, 2013 @ 7:39

      Turtle coma, that’s a good one! Might use that lol.

  • Vanessa Wells Jun 1, 2013 @ 9:51

    “I can’t come in today: I’m glued to my television….literally. My crazy husband is working on a solvent that won’t dissolve the Plasma screen…or me. Gotta go, he’s muttering something about testing.”

    “Hi. I won’t be in to work today. No, I’m not sick…I’m in Borneo…and I have no clue how I got here. Gotta go, the locals keep saying something about a volcano. At least I think that’s a volcano…”

    “I won’t be in. They’re giving me a transfusion as we speak…I didn’t realize that you could lose that much blood from paper-cuts. Gotta go, they need to add more bandages.”

  • Pam Jun 1, 2013 @ 9:50

    I can’t come in to work today because:

    *She’s sitting in my car and I think she’s—Oh my God, she is!

    *The EPA said they’d be here shortly.

    *I can’t let the blood soak in.

    Bye! Gotta go!

    (None of these are as good as the tiger. That one made me LOL.)

  • Peg Fisher Jun 1, 2013 @ 9:45

    Scanty Dancers from a parallel universe are holding Fernival in my living room.

    I have to incubate a Retrosaurus egg.

    The Time Portal expires in five, four, thre- *plip*

  • Lorraine Jun 1, 2013 @ 9:40

    The chickens are still frozen to the driveway and I can’t drive over them. (this actually happened)

    Fire fighters are trying to get a python out of my engine block.

    They just announced on the news that we’re supposed to stay inside and tape plastic over all the doors and windows.

    • Yog-Sothoth Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:29

      The chicken one made me laugh out loud.

      • Lena Loneson Jun 1, 2013 @ 11:03

        Yes! I seriously need to know the true story behind this.

        • Lorraine Jun 4, 2013 @ 14:21

          It rains a lot around here and in the winter gets below freezing overnight.

          The chickens woke up early, just before sunrise like usual. At some point after they woke up we had a freezing rain shower, and they must have been standing in the gravel driveway when it happened. At the same time, the ground must have been just cold enough to freeze their feet in place because when I went out and got into the car, it was very obvious that the chickens couldn’t move out of the way.

          Luckily my teacher thought it was funny.

          • Sallie Jun 14, 2013 @ 15:48

            pity you didn’t film it for youtube … sounds like something that would go viral … I think i hurt myself laughing

    • Alan Mills Jun 3, 2013 @ 15:54

      The python thing actually happened to the sister of a girl I worked with. She and her husband (boyfriend? I forget) went into a store for a moment to get something. When they got back into the car and started to drive, it started going faster and faster by itself. She had to run off the road to get it to stop. The cop who showed up was sure he had a drunk driver until they convinced him to look under the hood. There was a python that was apparently trying to constrict the engine. Every time it tightened its coils, it opened the throttle a little more. The girl I worked with still has the newspaper article that says “It wasn’t a tiger in the tank. . .”

      BTW the python had escaped from a trucker’s rig while he was taking a nap nearby.

      • Lorraine Jun 4, 2013 @ 18:20

        buahaha! Awesome. I’d heard of that happening in Florida where some have naturalized, but never outside of TV or a news article.

  • Tuff Gartin Jun 1, 2013 @ 9:40

    I CAN’T COME IN TO WORK TODAY BECAUSE:
    •I woke up this morning and my ears were laying beside me in bed.
    •All of the doors and windows in my house have vanished.
    •A tree keeps hitting me every time I go outside.

    GOTTA GO NOW!

  • Anne Andersen Jun 1, 2013 @ 9:38

    13 dwarves showed up at my house last night and now I have to figure out how to rent 14 ponies and trail food for a little trip.

  • Mary Jun 1, 2013 @ 9:35

    We’re in the safe room but I think he’s still there. Shush, Micky, we don’t want him to…

  • Elizabeth Jun 1, 2013 @ 9:35

    I’ve suddenly started lactating.
    My cat peed on all my clean underwear.
    My oldest son just declared he was a cannibal and is chasing his sister around the back yard.

    • sallie Jun 2, 2013 @ 0:25

      my landlord actually had to reschedule a dentist appt, i think it was dental, because the cat hit the cushion in his chair and he didn’t notice before he sat down, wearing his last pair of clean trousers … poor guy.

    • Debra Jun 14, 2013 @ 16:49

      Oh dear….number #2 caused me to spray tea all over my keyboard.

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