For your own mental health—and for the physical health of those within choking distance of your cubical—sometimes you just need to take a “sick” day. But even the boldest of fakers lives in fear of getting caught in her web of lies. The answer? When crying sick, stick to this script.

Preparation required.
Five good, strong solid minutes of clearing your throat so that you create a near lost voice situation. Go outside and scream loudly if you have to. Scream in the direction of your hostile neighbor’s window. It’s early and you might as well kill two birds with one stone!

Cast of characters.
Office Early Bird and You, also known as Big Fat Honkin’ Liar. (Note: If you can bring in another office mate and blame your mysterious illness on that person, that is fabulous. Even if someone sneezed at yesterday’s meeting, these kinds of details are what will set you apart from the rest of the liars and make your fake sick day seem real.)

Dial the number…

Early Bird: Hello, this is Early Bird and even though it’s 6:15 a.m., I am here at my desk, ready to work, enjoying the utter solitude of the office and being more productive in two short hours than my colleagues will be all week long. May I help you?

You: Early (cough cough) Bird? (said weakly)

Early Bird: Oh, Big Fat Honkin’ Liar, is that you?

You: Yes, Early Bird. It is. I’m very sick. I can’t make it in today.

Early Bird: Oh, no. Will you be all right?

You: I hope so. I think I caught whatever Office Sleazeball has. I’m going to (cough and make phlegm noises) force fluids and eat soup and stay in bed so I can hopefully kick this thing and make it back in by tomorrow.