The following is a true story.

After a long day at work, I stepped into the elevator of the One City Center Parking Garage on my way home. Two women followed.

As the elevator doors closed, one of the women casually opened her bag and broke into a panic when she discovered something missing.

“Where’s my book?” she said, her probing fingers fast becoming a scramble of digits as they turned over items in the bag.

“What book?” her friend replied.

“My BOOK!”

Her friend looked puzzled and slightly bemused.

“What’s the big deal? Maybe you left it at work.”

The thought of this possibility made the blood drain from the woman’s face.

At that moment, the doors to the elevator opened. Both women exited.

As they walked away, I could hear the frantic one talking to a co-worker on her cellphone.

“Hi. Is there a book, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ on my desk? Can you put it in my desk drawer?”

Busted.

Since its 2011 release, the erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James has become a cultural phenomenon unseen since “The Da Vinci Code,” selling more than 65 million copies worldwide, spawning two best-selling sequels, a classical music album and an upcoming movie adaptation — and stirring up controversy with its themes of sexual bondage and sadomasochism.

Remember your mom’s old paperback romance novels, which were typically about pirates abducting frail waifs on the high seas and the swashbuckling sailors who rescued them? Imagine if the pirates had “The Gimp” from “Pulp Fiction” in the cargo hold, the waif dressed in leather lingerie, and the swashbuckling sailor tied her up after rescuing her and had his way with her. And the waif liked it.

Of course, whenever anything becomes such a huge hit, parody can’t be far behind. In today’s GO, you can read about a traveling musical, “Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody,” coming to the State Theatre on Tuesday.

If you want to try your own sweaty hand at erotic literature, New York Times best-selling author Steve Almond will teach two writing workshops and give a reading at Space Gallery dubbed “A Night of Hot Erotica.”

For immediate gratification, here are some Web parodies that give “Fifty Shades of Grey” a firm — but not too hard and a surprisingly pleasurable — spanking:

What do you give mom for mother’s day? The gift that keeps on giving, according to “Saturday Night Live”: tinyurl.com/snl50shadesparody

“Fifty Shades of Blue” — Selena Gomez falls for a house painter in this “Funny or Die” video. (Maybe that’s why she broke up with Justin Bieber?) tinyurl.com/fiftyshadesofblue

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried does a dramatic reading of the book (explicit language): tinyurl.com/50shadesofgottfried

Not to be outdone by Gottfried, “Star Trek” star George Takei responds to fans’ requests to give his own reading: tinyurl.com/fiftyshadesoftakei

Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or:

rharmon@pressherald.com

Twitter: RHarmonPPH