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The best thing about writing is molding life to characters you find interesting. The worst about it is having these characters crowd your head, unable to get out because you haven't written down the pages for them. Continue writing? Hell, yes. This blog is a way of letting these characters out for a gulp of air. I love creating them. They remind me that there's a nutjob in all of us. Some are in for a brief appearance via short stories. Others are in for the long haul, peppering a novel I have written. Enjoy these stories. After all, life is more fantastic than we imagine it to be.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Peanut Gallery

I had a ‘Wish I had the money to tell everybody to fuck off’ day at work yesterday. Here’s my version of reclaiming my center using a dartboard with the bosses’ pictures as targets. Of course, all characters are fictional. Any resemblance to a real person, living or dead, is merely a figment of your paranoia.


John waited for a few minutes before entering the room. Being an early bird this time made him uncomfortable. The others might think he was too eager. Besides, he should not be in this important meeting. He was only filling in for his boss.

“Darn, of all days for her car to be run over by a garbage truck. Her timing astounds me. Someday, I will use her excuses on her.”

He sat at the back, chose the seat closest to the door. A few people nodded at him. He gave a shy smile, minding not to look gleeful that at least somebody acknowledged him. The last thing he wanted to happen was to be asked why he was there.

In a couple of minutes, they were complete - the high-flying company vice-presidents who will battle it out this afternoon. And then there was him. And the note-taker.

“What the hell am I doing here? I should be happily enjoying my ignored existence in my cubicle,” he muttered between gritted teeth, taking out his pen and notebook. “The least I can do is to pretend I understand what is going on. Hhmmm.. everybody else seems to have touch-screen gadget to take notes on. Shit, even the note-taker.”

The complex dance began. The polite professional discussion mired with undercurrents of aggression, reminders of supremacy and subtle exchange of favors.

“This VP should know that outtalking everyone else does not make him sound any smarter than an annoying salesman.” John decided it was a waste of ink and the environment to note whatever this VP was saying.

“Oh, thank heavens. Somebody interjected.” John squinted in pain. “Oh, Lord help us all. This guy is a kiss-ass. Press button to eject.”

Another one raised a point. “At least that made sense. Wow, they seem to be really into what their doing. Do you guys have a life? I still watch television. And don’t bet you’ll all be here to watch the five-year corporate plan come to life. You might be dead tomorrow. Ask my boss. She almost got waffled by the jaws of a garbage truck.”

There were a couple who cleverly tooted their horns. A few ignored them. John nodded his head to signal he admired their announced accomplishments, whatever those were. As he did this, he noticed that one VP was not saying anything at all. No, not just one. There were two, three, four. About four of them had not said anything at all. Merely nodded their heads sagely to signify they were still part of the meeting. But nothing was really happening in that great beyond.

This was interesting, like watching a movie with less physically-gifted actors. “I could chomp on some junk food now.” The meeting dragged on after it took a few wrong turns when somebody muddled up the flow. He seemed to be lost in translation. “He’s American. And we’re…no, they’re speaking in English. How the hell can he not understand what’s going on?”

Then it came. “How can you explain the slump in sales this quarter, John?”

For a split second, a thought crossed his mind which he never thought was possible. Despite being much-derided and much-ridiculed, it offered the safest, closest haven at this moment. “I’d love to go to my cubicle.”

Of course, he did not utter that statement out loud. He still had rent to pay. “I have figures from our field team, which I can share with the group.”

Five minutes into his monologue, he got beaten up by the corporate gladiators in the room. After the bloody, dressing-down that he received in proxy for his boss, John retreated to the obscurity he enjoyed before the carnage.

“I need a drink. Fuck these idiots.”

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