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John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

Short story:The Grande Finale


     She was a bitch-with- wings who told him in the morning that she wanted to see him in her office at the end of the day. She was going to fire him and he really didn’t give a frig anymore.
They were completely different people in everyway imaginable. They lived on different ends of the food chain and in an earlier age he probably would have clubbed her and tossed her out of the tribe and left her for the Mostodons to eat, if, in fact Mostodons ate people.He wasn’t sure.
   God, how he detested her and everything about her from her thin bloodless lips to her skinny wrists….. and all that make up and her boney, muscular legs and those skirts...did the woman not own a pair of friggin pants?  
      He shook the image of her boney, muscular legs out of his minds eye but it came back accompanied by the horrible image of the time she bent over his desk to whisper to him....she was always whispering something to somebody, it was one of the many ways she manipulated people. That time her blouse opened and he looked because...because he’s a guy and that’s what guys do, he reasoned. It was instinctive, he told himself, like ….like….there must be an example…like a dog urinating on a fire hydrant. Maybe not that, but something like that.  Anyway, she caught him grabbing a peek and asked with a smirk  “Get an eyeful?”
     He wanted to answer yes and then give the example why he got an eye full, tell her about the dog urinating thing and …oh just forget it. Eight months after what he referred to as the unfortunate boob incident, he did think up a smashing come back answer to her smarmy question “Get an eyeful?”
     “No” he would have answered eight months later “there wasn’t an eyeful there to see.”
Ha! That would put her in her place, the miserable creton. The answer would have caused the entire sales department to fall all over their desks in fits of uncontrollable laughter. Humiliated, she dash out of the room crying and he, well he would rise and take a bow to acknowledge the rain of applause from his fellow co workers.  But that didn’t happen. They would have fired him for that. They had fired people for much less and now he was going to be fired for much less.
    At 4:30 he tapped on her office door.
    “Enter” she responded to which he was half tempted to reply “Do you want me to come in? Is that what you mean by enter?  Because in America, we seldom use the word “Enter” unless we’re stage director, playwright or a toll bridge.” But he didn’t say those things. Instead, he pulled a Mahatma Gandhi and refused to enter...or “go in” in his lexicon of standard American English. In fact, he tapped again, but only to be annoying. After all, what was she going to do about it? Fire him?
     He could hear her slip on her blue colored high heels and stump angrily across her carpeted office floor and he could feel the breeze when she swung the door open, her teeth gritted in anger, her head tilted to the right to balance the  phone between her ear and her emaciated shoulder.  She flashed him a frozen, pre-made smile and pointed her long index finger to a chair.
     “You want me to sit down?” he asked loudly as if he he were speaking to  a child.
     “Yes” she mouthed the words silently because she was on the phone. How much more rude could she be?
     “It’s just that I’m not a dog” he said matter of factly  “I don’t respond well to  finger commands” and ended the sentence by shrugging apologetically.   She flashed her scary frozen smile again and gave him the “Just a second” finger and sat in her chair. 
      He noticed that when she sat in her chair that there was room on the left and right sides for her to move her rear in to if she wanted too. When he sat in his chair parts of his rear end argued with other parts to move over that they were being crushed but ther was no room to spare.    
     After several “Ah Huh’s” and “Yes, yes, yes, of course’s” and cackles of laughter that were much to loud and exaggerated, she hung up the phone, looked at him and said  “My neighbor Emmons.”
    Knowing her, it made sense to him that her neighbor would be named something like Emmons and not Larry, Ralph or Jimmy. Her name was North. How in the hell does anybody end up with a name like North? Were her brothers and sisters the other directions?  Was she from a Naval family, or perhaps decedents of Eskimos....North....why in the hell would you name your child North?   Still, he doubted that there had actually been anyone on the other end of the line.  
      “He was in Dotcom’s when it mattered, but he was never in it for the money.” she continued
“Now he’s working as a consultant as a culture industry entrepreneur…but he’s not in it for the money. His real dream is to open a string of cappuccino stands….in Montana. His concept is to place one in every truck stop in the state and build each stand six feet high so the truckers don’t have to get out of their cabs. They could just reach their arm out, and get their espressos. We’re planning an extreme ski vacation in Red Dog Bay, Canada this winter it’s the most remote and farthest northern park of North America.”
     She stopped to give him ample time to be impressed. He wasn’t. Looking out her window down on the street he saw an Asian  man, a midget, walking down Broadway, his arm wrapped around the massive thighs of a large Black woman. That impressed him.    
     Her eyes fell to her Blackberry and she stared at a message intently and then responded in writing. Then she checked the computer screen and then glanced at her Blackberry again and turned her attention back to him after she felt that she had made him wait long enough.
      “Carl” she said leaning forward  and whispering  “You can't separate your social goals from your business goals. Karma is karma. Working jointly with our social and business responsibilities  is a means of achieving a new-age spirituality, in a way isn’t?”
     He didn’t understand her, but he was positive that if he did understand her, he would disagree.
     “Carl” she whispered “You should have placed an Enya sound track in the water piece we ran for the client last week” and then she looked at her Blackberry again “What I’ve been trying to tell you Carl, is that the people who thrive at his time in history are the ones who can turn ideas and emotions into products. Hold on, would you?” and then she typed something and turned her attention back to him  “Anyway, Carl, what you don’t get is that the marketing strategies we develop are aimed at people who disdain marketing strategies because in the new age of advertising, imitation is suicide. We are creative visionaries, not wage slaves.” she took a deep breath and said sadly “What you need to learn is this …If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure…” She crossed her arms and said “Carl,  bottom line, we’re ...............”
     “Screw you” he said
      “I beg your pardon” she said.
      “Oh you heard me, you miserable bag of bones” he said as he stood from the chair and walked towards the door “Screw you”