My co-worker told me to eat a bag of dicks. I should have been appalled or pissed or offended, but instead I started imagining these boxes filled with like, mini, snack-sized dick bags. All these assorted flavors of dicks started running through my head. Cheddar dicks, sour cream and onion dicks, spicy barbecue dicks, the works. I even imagined the hypothetical Bag-o-Dicks company having one of those competitions where customers come up with a new combination of seasonings that taste like weird shit.
“Liz, do you even care that you just cost our team the Jefferson account?” The co-worker, Samantha Somebody, was still standing in the doorway of my doorless cubicle.
“Buffalo and blue cheese dicks,” I murmured, lost in thought.
“Huh? Oh, nothing. Yes, Jefferson account, totally my fault. Definitely dropped the ball. It won’t ever happen again. Most likely. It most likely won’t ever-- you know what, it will probably not happen again. Like percentages and stuff say that it would be pretty unlucky if A) the same thing happened and, B) it was also my fault, so.”
“Do you even care about this job?” The way she asked the question made it seem like I was thirteen again and everyone had gotten their period but me.
“This job? Like the current job that I’m in now?”
“Yes.” Her eyes rolled around like the little marbles in that board game where the hippos are so hungry they have to say it twice. She blinked at me, and I imagined her eyelids were chomping down on her pupils. Nomnomnom.
“Oh, then no, hell no, not at all, not even a little bit.”
I’ve had a lot of time to find myself and what not, since being let go, or laid off, or downsized, or terminated, or whatever else you can say to not say fired. I feel like I want to be my own boss, but I’m not entirely sure how my skill set translates into the business world. For instance, the dick bags thing would never work. I mean, there may be a market for it, I hear some pretty fucked up stuff goes on out there in the world. But the problem you’d run into would be at the production stage, i.e. where would you get all those dicks? So, needless to say, that idea is shelved for now.
“Liz, honey, have you found a new job yet?”
“Wait, what? I didn’t tell you about my new job?”
“I didn’t tell you about how the CEO of, like, the entire corporation took me up on his private helicopter to offer me the position?”
“Oh my goodness, no, no you didn’t!”
“Then no, I haven’t found a new job yet. Thanks for checking, Mom.”
I wouldn’t say that I’m “better” at yoga than the other girls in my Evening Chill Session, but it just kind of seems like my poses are a little more natural, or authentic even, if that makes sense. Yogi Trevor thinks I have a strong energy, and honestly, I completely agree with him. But, he also stares at my tits a lot, so grain of salt and all that.
I thought about doing the whole spiritual, mindfulness thing. Who wouldn’t want to find their inner peace? Go up on a mountain and stay at a resort with no walls or some shit. But apparently discovering your zen is pretty pricey, so I just let Yogi Trevor finger-fuck me instead. I haven’t been back to a session in a couple of weeks, and now he won’t stop calling. I guess it’s my strong energy.
“Oh my God, Liz? Liz Gabbert?”
“Yea, hi….” I said to this random stranger approaching me at Applebee’s when I just wanted to get my drink on.
“It’s me, Christin--”
“Right, yea, Christine,” I tried to fake it.
“Christina,” she corrected me.
“Of course, Christina, from…” I have no idea.
“High school, that’s it, sure, how are you Christina from high school?”
“I’m good. Actually, I’m better than good. I’m great,” she said. She was overweight, but trying to show other people, or probably just herself, that she was still in control of her body by cutting her hair short and wearing atrocious earrings.
“Great? Holy shit, that is better than good. What did you just get engaged or something?” I said, wondering which one of us was deader inside. Deader? Is that a word? Maybe it’s more dead.
“Oh gosh, no, I’ve been married to Todd Molina for five years now,” she cackled like someone just turned on the ‘laughter’ light at a sitcom taping. “We’ve got three precious little ones. We’re so blessed.”
“No fucking way. You married Todd ‘The Nod’ Molina? He was always doing that ‘what up’ head nod and pointing at people in the hall, and the parking lot, and the cafeteria, and well, pretty much everywhere.”
“So, yes, yes I married Todd, and like I said, we’re very happy,” she pulled on a ‘so offended’ mask, covering up the ‘just one more xanax’ costume she had been wearing.
“That’s wild, dude, I think I gave him a hand job in the maintenance shack one time. But it could have been Ben Baker. Shit, actually, you know what?
“I think it was both of them.”
“Okay, so I’m gonna go now. It was nice to see you, I guess.”
“Yea, yea, totally nice to see you, Christina Mol-- oh wow, Christina Molina. That’s fucking gold.”
I hate running into people from high school. And college. And I guess some of the people I’ve met after college, too. I’m not a huge fan of meeting new people either. It works out pretty well most times though. I’ve managed to avoid most of those super-annoying gender reveal parties. You know the ones. Where it’s either a blue or pink cupcake, or there’s blue or pink confetti or some shit, so that everyone finds out the sex of the baby at the same time. I mean, Christ dude, there’s already a baby shower, then a birth, then a birthday for the next 18 years. And didn’t we just get through with your wedding, and your wedding shower, and your bridal tea, and your bachelorette party? Do I really need to buy another gift card?
I’ll be super-stoked about a gender reveal party when the world begins to run out of either gender. Like, if there are only a hundred men left on the entire planet, and somebody is about to bite into a cupcake that might be blue-- that’s drama. I’d for sure watch that. I’d want to see like a live feed from every gender reveal party happening across the globe at any given moment. I’d want a show, or no, a channel, dedicated to gender reveals. But until we get to that status, I’m finding it pretty hard to give a shit that Brad is hoping for a boy so he can call him Remington or Ryder or some other gun name.
“Sorry for your loss, Lizzy. Your grandfather was a great man.”
“You doing okay, sweetie? I know he meant a lot to you.”
“Aww, I haven’t seen you since you were so little.”
“Your mom tells me you’re between jobs?”
“You think you’ll ever move back here?”
“I used to date your grandfather, before he met Evelyn. That man had a fantastic ass. Sorry for your loss.”
My grandpa died last week. He was also a bigot at best, racist at worst, and a supremely devout Christian. The preacher at the funeral said a couple things about my grandfather-- how he was in the Air Force for a few years, and how he liked fishing-- then he spent the rest the hour telling everyone if they didn’t “know the Lord” they’d be burning in Hellfire for all of eternity. And one point he stood over the casket, opened the lid, pointed at my grandfather and screamed, “Ed Gabbert is not in this box!” At which point I thought maybe the funeral home had mixed up the bodies or something. But it turned out he just meant his soul was in Heaven.
“Okay, here’s the deal, somebody gets on the Apple website, they want to buy an iPhone or an iPad or an iWhateverthefuck. But they’re dumb, right? They’re dumb shits, they don’t what they want, or they can’t decide, or maybe they’re old and they don’t even know what any of it is. They’re buying it for their niece or some shit. Anyway, they need help, so they click on this little button and BOOM, they get to chat with you about whatever the fuck it is they want to know.”
“What are we supposed to say?” I asked. I was pretty stoned, so I didn’t want to mess it up too bad.
“Do you have your manual?” the little trainer dude with the intense eyebrows asked me.
“Uh, yea, manual, right here.”
“Okay, everything you need to know is in the manual. Any more ques-- actually, no, you know what, no more questions. You guys got it. Welcome to E-tech.”
“I have one more question, actually,” I raised my hand like it was kindergarten.
“Yes, you, girl who will likely last two days. What is it?”
“Will our paychecks say Apple on them?”
“What? No, this is E-tech… so your paychecks will say E-tech.”
“But we are working for Apple right?”
“No, Apple contracts us out, you work for us. Your check says E-tech. You work for E-tech. There is no employee discount. There is no ‘part of something bigger.’ There is nothing but your ass in that chair on that keyboard. Cool?”
So I got a sweet new gig at Apple. I’m basically like a personal shopper. I’m not my own boss, per se, but if the customer wants to speak to a supervisor or someone higher than me, I’m supposed to tell them no such person exists. So, I mean, technically, it’s even better than being my own boss.
It’s like I am the boss.
James Wade lives in Austin, Texas, where he writes fiction for his wife and two dogs. His wife is encouraging, but the dogs remain unimpressed. He is a winner of the 2016 Writers' League of Texas Manuscript Contest, and a finalist of the Tethered by Letters Flash Fiction Contest. His work is featured or forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, Jersey Devil Press, Bartleby Snopes, and many other publications. Visit him at JamesWadeWriter.com