Wednesday, November 26, 2008

But It's Our Night

“I’m getting sick of him coming in here on Wednesdays,” Rich said.

Mary looked down toward the loud end of the bar where Mick stood, entertaining all of the other after-work drunks. He was one of those neighborhood Brooklyn types: loud, talked with that pseudo-thug accent, had probably never been to Manhattan, and his voice was a high-pitched whine making the elongation of vowels and consonants a painful endeavor for all around. He had to be the center of attention no matter what was going on that night. He had to be the big, tough guy, the king with a cast of cronies hanging on his every word. The only adjective and adverb that Mick knew was “fucking,” as in “I’m here at the fucking bar. Yeah I had to fucking run down here from work.”

“I wonder why he started coming this night?” Mary asked.

“Probably because he got kicked out of wherever he usually went.”

Mary looked at Mick again. He wore the same kind of clothes, usually some tight sweater with no shirt underneath, tight jeans, and these boots that clicked when he walked around the bar shouting and yelling. Mick was a fit guy. You could see the muscle tone under his sweater. But he wasn’t attractive by any stretch. You could have the body. Add that voice, that obnoxious tone, and Mick was as ugly as anyone else. Plus he had these piercing bug eyes that could rip through you.

“I just hate him.” Rich paused to take a quick look at the end of the bar, and then went back to his beer. “He’s the type with that fake tan, and that fucking low-grade mafia, slicked back comb job.”

“I wonder why he started coming this night?” Mary asked again.

Rich shrugged, finished his beer. Mary finished her beer too. They always seemed to finish a draft at the same time. The bartender appreciated this. He joked with them that they should go into business as synchronized drinkers. It was the same joke every Wednesday night, until last week, when Mick started showing up. Then the jokes stopped. And tonight the bartender just filled the drafts for Rich and Mary with little more than a cursory hello, then went down to the other end of the bar where Mick was holding court with a conversation about his woman
“I mean the bitch is out of her mind,” he said, to end the story. Everyone laughed. “Marone!”

“I swear it’s the same goddamned story every week,” Rich said.

Mary touched his arm. “I know. Look, why don’t we forget about him? We got a night planned, right? Our Wednesday usual, right? A few beers at the bar, some pizza and wine at home; I was thinking tonight might be a good night to watch that know the one,” Mary snapped her fingers trying to get the title right, “uh, that one with Wells.”

“Citizen Kane?”

“Yeah. We bought that like how many years ago? And we haven’t even watched it.”

“You wanna watch Citizen Kane?”

Mary shrugged. “Sure. Anything’s good tonight.”

“You got the wine?”

“Right under my seat.”

Rich nodded and took a fresh pull on his beer. “Okay. Anyway so how was work?”

“You don’t want to know,” Mary began. “The bosses came in today. It was just a routine check of the storage room, right? But then Darren has to shoot off his mouth about us not having enough help and blah, blah, blah, and the next thing I know I’m in this fucking all-day meeting with my bosses and their bosses, and everyone telling us how much of a lousy job where doing over there.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Didn’t you read my email?”

“I read it,” Rich said, “I must not have been paying attention.”

“Something wrong?”

“No, not really. Well, you remember James?” Mary nodded. “James and I came up together at the job. I don’t know. Today I get this email about this new buildings committee, and so I read the thing thinking whatever, until I get to the bottom and see that James is co-chairing the committee with Bob Braxton. Bob “fucking” Braxton.”

“So?” Mary took a pull on her beer.

“So, James and I came up together. We’ve been to the same meetings. We’ve done the same goddamned jobs. So how in the hell does James end up co-chairing a committee with Bob Braxton?”

“He probably asked to co-chair the committee.”

“Get out. Things don’t work like that.”

“Sometimes they do.”


“Who’s Bob Braxton again?”

“Christ.” Rich rubbed his forehead and leaned in. It was going to be a lecture, Mary could tell. “I told you this already. There’s like a chain of command at work. Me and James and some other guys are the newer ones, the lackies. We work under guys like Braxton, you know, helping them with whatever projects they set up. We do the grunt work and they get the payoff. But, see, guys like Braxton notice the hard work. They keep an eye out. And a good way to advance in the place is to get in good with guys like Braxton and....”

“Marone!” Came the shout from the other end of the bar. Everyone laughed. Glasses clinked. Rich stopped his story and looked down the end of the bar where Mick was standing there, erect, looking like a proud duck.

“I hate that fucking guy.”

Mary turned Rich’s face toward her. “Forget him. Why don’t you finish the story.”
“It’s not important. But, Christ, that guy’s nothing but a fucking distraction. ‘Marone,’ ‘Marone.’ What does that even mean?”

“I think it’s Italian.”

“Yeah? Well it stays in my head for hours after we leave here. I think I hear it in my sleep.”

“You get too hung up and worried about everyone else all of the time.”

“But this is our night.”

“What do you want me to say? It’s a free country,” Mary said. She had more of her beer while Rich let his sit. “People can come and go as they please.”

“I don’t want you to say anything.”

“Here.” She took a dollar from the pile and handed it to him. “Why don’t you go and play us something on the jukebox.”

“What do you want to hear?”

“I don’t know. Something good.”

Rich got up and went over to the digital jukebox that hung on the wall next to a hunting video game. There were a couple of guys at the game drinking Jack and Cokes. They were both lanky with shaved heads, leather coats, earrings, and these well-sculpted goatees. They were laughing and slapping each other while they shot at the video ducks. They’d come in with Mick, and were just as loud as he was. Mary turned to watch them while Rich put in the dollar and started selecting songs. Then she turned back toward Mick, watching him as he upturned a fresh bottle of beer and drank it down in nearly a gulp. He put the empty bottle down and stared directly at Mary with those bug eyes. They were frozen for a second like that, but then Rich came back to the bar. Soon, the sound of a pedal steel filled the place.

“Good choice,” she said.

“Ryan Adams,” Rich said. He took a pull on his beer, and she finished hers.

The bartender came over and grabbed her glass. He gave it an odd look. “You guys off tonight, or something?”

“Rich was just playing songs,” Mary said. “You know he’s a lightweight anyway.”

The bartender laughed and went to fill her pint. “Wait,” Rich said. He stopped and waited while Rich upturned his pint and drank the rest of the beer. He leaned over the bar and handed his glass to the bartender. “Wouldn’t want to disappoint.”

“You never do,” the bartender said, filling the first of the pints.

“We drink because we care.” Rich said. The three of them laughed.

Then Mick shouted from the other end of the bar. “What is this shit?”

“What, Mick?” The bartender said.

“This fucking music! I mean, hey, come on? Who fucking played this shit?”

Rich made a move, but Mary held him still.

“Hey Guys!” Mick called down to his two buddies at the video game machine. “You guys fucking play this?”

Both turned up toward the bar and shook their heads.

“Marone!” Mick walked from his spot in the corner of the bar, and came down toward the jukebox with his boots clicking. He stood in front of the illuminated blue light and searched through his wallet. Then he came over to the bar and stood right next to Mary. “Kenny, come on.” He threw a five on the bar. “Gimme some ones or somethin’.”

The bartender, Kenny, took Mick’s five and gave him five ones out of Mary’s pile of money. He laid the five where the ones had been.

“Thanks,” Mick said, looking at Mary. He went back over to the jukebox and began selecting songs. When Rich’s choice ended the bar was filled with the sound of bass and hip-hop loops.

“God, I hate that fucking guy,” Rich said, after Mick walked by.

“I know you do,” Mary answered. She took a good pull on her beer, finishing nearly half the pint. Then she took her cell phone out of her pocket and got off her stool.”

“Where are you going?”

“Outside. I’m going to call for our pizza so we can go home and have a night.”

Rich looked at his watch. “It’s still early.”

“I don’t care,” Mary said. She flipped the phone open and turned it on. “I’ve had enough.”

“But it’s our night.”

“It’s still our night.”

She headed toward the end of the bar. Mick was there with a fresh new beer. The other drunks were talking to him but he stared at Mary the whole way, until she was outside. She stood in the cold a moment then looked back inside the bar. She looked at the back of Mick’s head. He had a bald spot beginning just at the crown. Then she scanned the joint for Rich. He was sitting in their spot with his head down almost to the top of his pint glass. Mary called the pizza shop.

“Ten minutes,” she said, when she sat back down.

“Marone!” Came Mick from the other end of the bar. Everyone laughed.

“Ten minutes?” Rich asked, finishing his beer. “Good. I can’t take another minute of this.”

Mary grabbed her pint glass. “Well, I still have beer left.”

“Oh.” She looked at his sad face then poured him half of what she had. “What’re you doing?”

“Come on,” she began, before downing her drink. Rich drank his beer too. “Let’s get out of here.”

They got up and put on their coats. Mary handed Rich the bottle of wine and the two of them headed toward the end of the bar, as the bad hip-hop music continued to blare from the digital juke and Mick’s two cronies got into a shoving match over the video game.

“Good night, Kenny,” they both said in unison to the bartender.

Kenny looked up from the bar. “Good night, guys. See you next time.”

“Yeah, yeah, good night,” Mick added. Rich just stared at him.

Outside the bar Rich buttoned his coat, and put an arm around Mary. She smiled at him and he smiled back, and the two of them began walking 4th Avenue toward the pizza shop. But it was at the next block that Rich tripped over the curb and hit the pavement, and went tumbling to the ground. He smacked his elbow and knee, but was fine. The wine bottle, however, smashed on the sidewalk sending a river of dark booze down to a gully in the pavement where it collected like a blood red lake.

“Rich!” Mary screamed.

“I’m fine,” he said. He sat up. “I’m fucking fine.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes...but the goddamned wine.”

She helped Rich up off the ground, and together they looked down at the mess. “It’s fine. Listen, you go and get the pizza. I’m going to walk down to the Stop and Go and get us a six pack of beer.”

“It won’t be the same,” Rich said. “Everything is a mess.”

“But it’s still our night,” Mary said, assuredly.

Then she turned and went the half block back to where the Stop and Go was located. Before she opened the door, Mary looked back to where Rich was standing, but he’d already gone off toward the pizza shop.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fix It

Gene had been sleeping soundly when he heard his wife’s voice. It came to him toward the tail end of something that he was feeling strongly about, but knew he wouldn’t remember once he opened the eyes and took in the big, sad, brown ones of his wife. A dream. Gene never remembered his dreams. His wife. Gene heard her thick accent again, Georgian, but simply “European” to make it easier on the people in the building whenever they complained to him about how they couldn’t understand a word she said. She has a thick “European” accent that we just couldn’t beat out of her, Gene would say, and then let it go and set about fixing whatever needed to be fixed, careful not to screw up and light a smoke inside of someone’s apartment. Gene had learned to hide the remnants of his accent under a thick mangling of New York syllables.

“Gene, you mus’ wake up,” Alyona said. “De people in 1R want deir light fix.”

“What?” Gene said. He raised his head and saw the shadow of his wife blocking the light in the hallway. No big, sad, brown eyes. Then Gene held the left side of his head. It still rang from where the pipe fell on it a day ago at the construction site in Park Slope. He missed most work because of it.


“I heard you.” He rose from the bed, swung his legs, and sat rubbing his eyes. Gene grabbed his pack of smokes of the nightstand and lit one. His mouth was dry and the first drag burned, but he liked feeling the smoke entering the lungs, engorging the nostrils. “What time they call?”

“She come over,” Alyona said, coming deeper into the room. Gene braced himself. The overhead light came on. It illuminated the room, hurt his eyes, and made the pain in his head pound even more.

“The little light,” he said, pointing.

“Sorry.” Alyona walked past him and turned on the little light on the nightstand. She went back over to the door and shut off the overhead light. “Yes, she come over about an hour ago.”

“Needs the light fixed?”

“Said you promise since August.”

“I didn’t promise anything,” Gene said. “I told them that as soon as the landlord gave me the part, I’d be over to fix it.”

Alyona stepped in closer again. “De part came. It came two weeks ago.”


“Two weeks ago.”

Gene looked up at his wife. He felt tired and disgusted. He got like that sometimes. It was hard not to, working a construction site, doing weekend landscaping and odd jobs, and then spending evenings acting as superintendent of this building. Goddamned place was falling apart. Rusty pipes making horrible noises in apartments. Leaky faucets and toilets, and puddles with no beginning in random places in the basement. The gas pipes never worked. People didn’t put their recyclables in the right place, if they hauled their garbage to the staging center at all. Elevator always needed service. Everyone on every floor always complaining over ever little thing, like light fixtures busting a circuit. Gene held his head, and had another deep pull on his smoke.

“Coffee,” he said. He made sure to say it “cauw-fee,” like a New Yorker would. Maybe Alyona would get the hint. “I need a cup of coffee.”

Gene sat there while Alyona went to fetch the coffee. He heard her rattling around in the kitchen, getting his cup out of the cupboard, fiddling with the pot, pouring, opening the fridge to get out the milk. Gene thought about his wife. In Georgia, in “Europe,” she’d been a trained economist. Alyona had a master’s degree. He had little education beyond classes comparable to high school. She had him beat 3 to 1 in the intelligence game, and he knew it. But Gene had a trade. He had a knack for building and fixing things, even if he hated doing that. America was about progress then. And when they came there Gene gave Alyona a choice. You go ahead with your master’s in economics, and your thick “European” accent from right off the goddamned boat, and you see who hires you. Or you stay home and raise the kids. Guys like me; they pick us up in morning trucks along with the Mexicans lining 5th Avenue. Guys like me can always make a good buck here.

Alyona listened to Gene because he knew better. She stayed home and raised the kids while he moved from job to job, and got them settled in this apartment building as its superintendent. She stayed home and raised kids and fetched packages for tenants, and took tenant complaints. She tried to do the light maintenance stuff that Gene had shown her, like getting the gas to power through in the basement washers and dryers when they went out, or sweeping away the leaves outside, or salting the pavement if there was snow or ice. Alyona had done this work; she’d lived this life of banal servitude for twenty years. Gene thought about this. He thought about his wife.

“Here’s coffee,” Alyona said, coming back in the room.

Gene took the cup from her hands, and put it to his mouth. It was warm not hot. It was the way he liked it, so that he could almost shoot it down. Alyona had perfected the art of a lukewarm cup of coffee. He took a sip. Then he had two good gulps, alternating them with the last of his cigarette, while she stood there watching him. He looked up at her. Her wide eyes were expectant, anticipatory, as if watching Gene prepare to fix a light fixture was the highlight of her day. Christ, was it? He shook his head and felt a dull pain. He had one more gulp on the coffee then set the mug down. Alyona came to fetch it while he stubbed out his smoke.

“1R you said?” he asked.

“Yes,” Alyona said. Then she left the bedroom.

Gene shook his head. 1R; they were okay tenants. They were a couple of intellectuals from Buffalo, playing at New Yorkers. Writers. Librarians somewhere. They had problems with the psycho up in 2R who thought the rusting, wailing pipes were them intentionally banging on them at five in the morning. Gene felt a little bit bad for 1R dealing with that guy. A sixty-five year old man with no one and nothing to do but cause problems for everyone else when the mood struck him. It really had been since August for their overhead light. 1R was okay, even if they complained about his cigarette smoking getting in their window from time to time in the summer.

“Here’s you shirt,” Alyona said, coming back in the room. She went to hand Gene the white Dickies shirt that he always wore for the superintendent job. He looked at the shirt a second then took it.

He stood up and put the shirt on as she waited. “This shouldn’t be more than fifteen minutes, a half-hour tops.” Alyona nodded. “Foyer needs to be swept.”

“I’ll do.”

“No, I can when I get back,” he said.

“But you head?”

“Head’s fine.” Gene smiled at his wife. “You think that’s the only knock I’ve taken.”

She laughed.

He left with the light fixture package. He took the elevator down to the basement to get his ladder. While down there he noticed that someone had left their trash in the wrong place again. Building management put up a sign threatening a $150 fine for the next person doing that, but what was the point, Gene thought. You can’t fine people if you don’t know who’s doing it in the first place. Ugh. Something else to think about, and something else to do before the night was over. Gene stared at the garbage then grabbed his ladder. He took the elevator back up.

He rang the buzzer at 1R then waited. He could hear muffled voices. Then the deadbolt clicked, and the regular lock clicked.

“Hey Gene,” John said, opening the door.

“Johnny,” Gene stepped inside. He liked John. He seemed down to earth enough. “I got the light fixture.” He held it up for John to see.

“Cool. Here, let me put a light on for you.”

Gene waved to Alyssa, the wife, and then followed John down the hall. He liked the look of 1R. The apartment had large pointed archways. The floors were decent. John and Alyssa had decorated the place with photos of cities that Gene assumed they’d been to, and pictures of musicians and writers. In the bedroom, John had a large collection of photographs that were tapped above his desk. Inspiration, he said, the one time Gene was in their bedroom to install the air conditioner.

John turned on two nightstand lights. “Hope that’s enough light.”

“Yeah,” Gene said. “Can’t really do much more light. My eyes. I got bumped.”


“On the head. A pipe. At the job.”

John winced. “Christ.”

“Yeah, so my head. My head don’t feel so good.”

“Put some ice on it.” Gene looked at John. John looked like he had better things to be doing.

“Yeah, well, anyway, this shouldn’t take more than fifteen minutes, half hour tops.”

“Great.” Then John left the room.

Gene got to work. He put the light fixture package on the bed then set up the ladder. He grabbed the package and climbed. When he got to the top he realized he was still a few inches too far from the overhead light. It was right over the bed. So Gene stepped down the ladder and moved the bed to the right about two feet. He could hear John and Alyssa murmur in the living room after he did this. Gene looked down. On the floor where the bed had been, it was littered with dust. The dust was in mounds. There were also old pieces of tissue, and lost socks. He noticed a little bit of old cat vomit. He nodded at the mess. Then he moved the ladder and climbed back up.

The job took about twenty minutes, but when Gene was done the tenants had a new overhead light fixture, and two 100-watt bulbs to go with it. As he packed up the ladder, he heard the rattling of old pipes above and the hiss of the heating system as it worked its way through the apartment’s walls. They were the same old noises he’d heard in this building for twenty years.

“Johnny, it’s done,” Gene called down the hall.

More murmuring, but then John appeared. “Looks great,” he said, staring up at the light fixture. Then he looked down at the mess of dust and other sundries on the floor where the bed had been.

Gene looked at John. “Sorry, I, uh, had to move the bed a little.”

“No big deal. Actually I’m sorry you had to look at all of that shit.”

Gene shrugged. “Hey, no big deal. My apartment would look the exact same way, except I have Alyona there all the time, you know.”

John nodded but he didn’t know. He started walked Gene to the door, but something made Gene stop. “You know I messed up real bad,” he said.

“How’s that?” John asked.

“My wife, Alyona, she’s got all the brains, you know. She’s got a masters degree in economics...from Europe. But we come here and I tell her, no, you gotta raise the kids because that’s your job. I’ll go to work. And here I am twenty years later, doing three jobs like an idiot. We could’ve had something, you know, like a house or something.”

“I know,” John said, opening the front door. He didn’t know a thing, Gene thought. “Anyway thanks for getting that done. Alyssa and I have people staying with us this weekend...and....well, thanks. And take care of your head. Watch for falling pipes.”

“Yeah, I will,” Gene said, heading out into the hallway.

John shut the door. Gene listened for the regular lock first and then the deadbolt, before he made his way down the hall. Just when he turned the bend, Alyona came out of their apartment with a broom. She looked at him and smiled.

“What’re you doing?” he asked.

“You said we need sweep. I sweep,” she answered.

“No, no, no.” Gene put the ladder up against a wall then came over and took the broom from her. “It’s too damned cold outside for you to do that. I’ll sweep. You go inside and put on another pot of coffee.”

“But you need a hat. A coat.”

“It’ll only take me five minutes, ten tops.”

Alyona looked at Gene with concern. He stared at her until she smiled. Then he smiled back, and told her to get back into the house. She did as asked. Gene waited until she rounded the bend and he heard the door open and then close. Then he grabbed the broom tight, and went to the front door of the foyer. He opened it and could feel the cold air of the night seeping in. Then he went outside, lit a smoke, and began sweeping the old leaves away from the pavement in order to make room for the new ones that would be there tomorrow.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cold Pizza

When he came in the apartment smelt of the cat shit he’d forgotten to change all week. It was hot and stuffy in there, too. New York City was nothing like Buffalo in the winter. He didn’t even feel a chill. He took off his coat and set the pizza down on the kitchen table, flipped the light switch, but the super hadn’t been by to fix it yet.

“Great,” he said, searching around the dark place for the nearest switch. He could still smell the beer on his breath from the local joint he stopped at.

He found a light switch in the hallway then looked around the apartment. No trace of her. She hadn’t been home.

“Even better,” he said, heading toward the bedroom.

He turned the light on and changed out of his work clothes. He threw them on the bedroom floor. A pair of work dirtied jeans and a blue flannel shirt. He’d wear them tomorrow again for the same job. Then he found some sweats and an old Bills t-shirt, put them on, and went back into the darkened kitchen to grab a beer from the refrigerator. That’s when he found her note.

It was tact to the fridge door underneath a magnet they’d bought last summer in Boston. It was a picture of the Boston skyline, lit up, in front of a sky that was shading from orange to red to purple, and then into a rich midnight blue. He looked at the magnet a moment, grabbed the note, opened the fridge, and pulled out the last beer in there. Then he closed the fridge door, sat down at the kitchen table, opened the beer, and took a long pull. He put the note on top of the pizza box, and thought about what he’d have to do at work the next day to get the job done, while he drained half of the beer and his stomach growled.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Curtain

It hadn’t been that long since Earl had been without a woman, but it had been long enough. He couldn’t sleep that night, so he lay in bed and watched the curtains billow from the wind of the fan. It was nearly November and the nights were cold, but Earl kept his fans running all year long as a way to block out noise from the neighbors and the street. This process had all started simply because Earl was working nights. When he tried to sleep during the day he couldn’t because of neighbors moving around above and below him, because of their music and televisions playing, and because of one neighborhood dog that barked from the street into his bedroom window nearly all afternoon.

Earl hated that dog, a German Shepherd mix of some kind. And he got a strange satisfaction that President’s Day weekend as he stood enveloped in the curtain, drinking a Schlitz, watching as the neighbor’s Pit Bull clamped on to the dog’s neck and shook the very life out of it. Earl watched the carnage and drank with absolutely no emotion. He felt like it wasn’t really happening, at first.

“I guess you’re happy now,” was all that Beth said at the time, when he saw her in passing. She worked days as a secretary in a law firm in the city.

But all Earl could remember was the blood. Blood was everywhere. It was on the Pit Bull. It was on the street. It was on the clothes of the German Shepherd’s owner, as he tried to beat the Pit Bull away with his cain. For two weeks when Earl left for work or to get his mail, he could see the dried spot of blood as it waited to be washed away by snow and cold rain. Earl felt bad, but he couldn’t help thinking that with the dog gone he’d finally get to sleep without the use of the fans. Funny thing was Earl had become addicted to the droning noise the fans made, and he couldn’t get rid of them no matter what. They were stuck together.

He kept watching the curtain billow, imagining it a shapely woman doing a dance just for him, like one of those belly dancers. Earl remembered that he was once in a restaurant in Atlantic City where they had fleets of belly dancers go around to tables and dance for people as they ate and drank. Then Earl turned over to his nightstand and grabbed his pack of cigarettes. He lit one, and took a final slug on the glass of scotch that was sitting next to his night-light. The ice had melted in the drink so it tasted watered down. For some reason this made Earl’s throat clamp tighter than if he’d made a strong one. He wanted a strong one.

So Earl got out of bed with his cigarette casting a dim light. He looked at the curtain as it continued to dance, but he felt no real sensuality for it. He needed a woman. Still, he went over to it. He pulled at the thick blue fabric for a second, held it, and then pushed it away to look outside. The street was dead. One car passed. Earl looked across the street toward where the German Shepherd mix had died, and then he closed the curtain and went and got his drink.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Symphony #1: Roger Castleman

It was Friday, and Roger Castleman was beginning his workday the way he always did, by jacking off in the third stall of the corporate bathroom. It was a pathetic habit, and Roger knew it. But he couldn’t help himself. It was that goddamned redheaded secretary. Every morning Roger said he wouldn’t jack it in the corporate bathroom anymore, but then he’d get up to his floor, see that redhead swiveling her quaking ass in that chair, and he was a goner. Roger would be down the hall and in the can, his pants down, that red rod in his hand, before he even had a cup of coffee. He was powerless to the female beast.
Anyway Roger sat in that stall and imagined the redhead leaning over her big, soft work chair, her ringed fingers tightly gripping the top of the seat. She had her skirt off and her panties down at the knees, and Roger was banging her away from behind, in a most glorious fashion. He even had a finger up the redhead’s rosy asshole. What reckless abandon! What a daydream on another drab Friday! That secretary never had it so good, Roger mused. He stroked away. He could almost feel the inside of the redhead’s cunt. It was tight and warm, like a double shot-glass full of bathwater. They were rocking back and forth, shaking the chair, and almost tipping the fucking thing over. Red sucked on Roger’s fingers and moaned, as he continued to hump her. He bent at the knees and plowed upward into that pussy. Roger was getting ready to come. He stroked his cock harder. He moved his fingers faster along the head and shaft. Roger’s cock was ready; it was about to explode. Then the goddamned bathroom door opened and a couple of assholes walked in, and Roger had to stop.
“How was your weekend, Todd?” It was Phil. Todd was the big boss, and Phil was his flunky.
“Not bad,” Todd answered. He unzipped his fly and started pissing. Phil did too. He did everything Todd did. “I didn’t do much. Some yard work. Watched the big game. I gave it to the wife a little, so she’d quit nagging me.” Todd and Phil laughed at this like a couple of little girls. “You?”
“About the same. I watched the big game too. I love football.”
“I do too. I live for Football.”
“Football is the best,” Phil added.
Todd coughed and flushed, and zipped his fly. Phil did too.
“So Todd what’s the whole deal with today, just so I know.”
“The deal is this,” Todd began. Roger watched them through a crack in the stall door. Todd stood before the bathroom mirror, looking at himself, and fixing his tie. He was a good-looking guy. Tall and blonde. A fucking Ken doll. The CEO loved Todd. “We have a meeting at one o’clock, after the whole team has gone to lunch. Skip will be there. So will our attorney and a psychiatric councilor, just in case anyone loses it. I’ll be the one to talk. I’ll tell the team that because of certain budgetary concerns we have to let half of them go.”
“Sounds simple,” Phil added.
“It’s not really. Letting people go is hard business, even if it’s ultimately good for the corporation. I don’t look forward to these things. But Skip trusts me, and I’d go to war for that man.”
“Me too,” Phil said. He sounded like a good little lap dog. Phil stepped into Roger’s view. He was an attractive guy, too: dark-haired and close cut with well-kept sideburns, and not a trace of stubble on his face. Roger often saw Phil with the redheaded secretary. They went to lunch sometimes, or he hung around her desk telling banal jokes. Roger hated Phil. He often daydreamed of strangling the prick. “So who’s getting the ax?”
Todd laughed. “Philly, now you know I can’t tell you that.”
“Come on, Todd. I won’t say. You can trust me. After all, we were frat brothers. Hell, you even got me this job. Now why would I go and jeopardize that?”
“I don’t know,” Todd continued.
“Come on.”
“Alright, you’ve broken me.” They laughed. Roger let go of his wilted cock, and listened in. “Williams is going. So is McCabe. Oh, and Darren Bachorski, the one who never goes to the corporate functions, he’s fucking gonzo too.”
“What about Charice Johnson?” Phil asked.
Todd laughed. “We can’t fire a woman, let alone a black one. The ACLU and the NAACP would be all over Skip’s ass. Nah, Charice gets to stay. We’re dumping off Roger Castleman instead.”
Phil laughed. “It’s about time. Christ how long has that fat fucker been with the company?”
“Seventeen years. According to Skip, seventeen long years. Roger is actually the one person I’m looking forward to getting rid of. He’s a blight on the company. He comes into work every day looking unwashed and unshaved, and most of the time he smells like a distillery. I hate the sight of him in my boardroom. I’ve had my eye on dumping Castleman ever since Skip gave me the job.” Todd laughed. “Remember when he was our boss? But the time has come, Phillyboy. Production is down and so is the stock. We have too many middle-management people cluttering up these halls. So Castleman is out the door. You can’t argue with the bottom line.”
“You sure can’t,” Phil said. Both of the goons laughed again, and continued to check themselves out in the mirror. “Christ, I’ve never sat in on a firing before.”
“A reorganization,” Todd said.
“We’re calling the firings a reorganization. Skip hates the word fire. He says it’s too negative. I agree.”
“Oh okay,” Phil said. “Well I’ve never been in on a reorganization.”
Todd nodded.
“But money is the bottom line,” Phil continued. “That’s why we got into this business.”
“You said it, Philly. So anyway,” Todd continued, “after we have that meeting, Skip is taking me out for dinner and a few drinks. He thinks it’ll calm my nerves.”
“Skip is an all right kinda guy,” Phil said.
“Yeah, well he understands how tough it is to be in my shoes. Hey you wanna come? I’m sure Skip won’t mind. The dinner and the drinks are on the corporate expense account. Plus it might be good for you to meet the old man, you know, away from today.”
“Really?” Phil said. The asshole sounded excited. “Hey Todd, I’m glad you’re making those cuts. They’ll really help the company out. At least you’re not getting rid of that redhead.”
“Are you kidding me?” Todd asked. “Do you honestly think I’d unload my favorite piece of ass candy?”
They laughed.
“You kill me, Todd,” Phil said. “Maybe next weekend we can get together and watch the big game?”
“Sure,” Todd answered. “But it’s gotta be the later game. I have a church function in the morning.”
“I understand.”
They left the bathroom. Roger sat on the can until his legs got numb. Then he grabbed his cock and began messaging it again. He worked himself up. The redhead was leaning over the chair, and Roger was behind her, sweating, giving it to her hard. He stroked his cock. In no time the juices were flowing. Roger stuck a finger in the redhead’s rosy ass, and she moaned. She sucked on his fingers, and looked back and smiled. This time Roger would have her the whole way. This time he’d get his.