Thursday, 19 April 2012

Fiction Installment #17. Chapter 6, pt. 3: Jake

   At the studio’s main gate tipped Pat tipped her hat and leaned into Jake’s cabin. “Howdy, hoss. You’re like clockwork.”
    “Hi Pat, it’s the All Bran.” They bantered easily. “Any problems at the corral?”
    “As far as I can tell everything’s running smooth as silk.”
    “That’s what I like to hear.”
    “She’s a beaut. New?” Pat slid a hand along the hood and returned to the side mirror. She’d been a teamster before taking the semi-retirement guard job and took an interest in all things automotive.
    “The finest in German engineering, I’m told. The dealer’s a buddy and let me have it for a week’s trial run.”
   “Sweet.” She whistled. “Maybe you’ll let me take her out for a spin later? I’ll give you my professional opinion.”
   “For sure, Pat. Come by the office on a break or after your shift or something and I’ll give you the keys. Just promise: not a scratch.”
   “You got it, boss, not even a bug smear.”
   “See you later, then.”
   “Welcome to the compound,” she said, waving Jake through. 

    Lora greeted Jake with a hug and a short stack of messages on pink paper. “Nothing’s in crisis so far, Boss Man,” she said. “Good morning to you.”
    “To you too, my dear.”
    Lora called their close working relationship plant-fungi mutualism. A biology major back in the day with a still breathing, if typically highball-authored, ambition to hunt down life-saving greenery hidden deep within the Amazon Basin, Lora willed selective blindness to stiff mortgage payments and an absolute intolerance of all winged insects. She relied on Jake’s talent for latching on to new shows; and Jake, who preferred the flower and bee picture of their symbiosis, never took the awesome organizational capabilities of his right-hand assistant for granted.
    “Where’s Chaz? I need him to make a run. No major fires to put out later?”
   “It’s pretty much business as usual, but remember that Dr. Spëk will be here for lunch at one.”
   “Doctor who?”
   “You remember, ‘Professor Gasbag’ from ‘that sunset industry.’” Lora’s fondness for finger quotation had not abated in the years she’d worked at Jake’s side. “Chaz will be back in 5, I expect.”
   “Oh right. Jesus, that’s today?” He foresaw the specimen: as rigid and unsmiling as a budget department bigwig. Jake knew the type.
    “That’s why those clever gods in Cupertino invented the organizer calendar on your phone, Jakob, all pretty and highlighted in purple by yours truly.”
    “Jeez Lora, I should kick my own ass. I’ll be ready.”
    “Yeah, I’ll get Chaz to pick it up. Same for you?”
    “You know it!”
   Inside his office, Jake typed the password of the laptop. He scanned email, relieved to see a trickle instead of the usual Monday deluge. Pleasure before pain, he figured, and clicked on a new blast from Exconfessio.

   Ex A.W. (Toronto, ON)—
   1. I often smoke pot or have a couple of shots of whiskey (rarer) before I go to work in the morning. I’m a middle manager in a corporate environment—suits, ties and everything—and I get off on being bombed at 8:30 a.m. while everybody is slaving around me.
   2. I have recorded with my camera phone the hot secretary in my office who insists on wearing tight skirts walking down the hall. I can’t beat off when she’s in front of me, but I can when I’m at home later.
   3. I’ve never cheated on any girlfriend...but I’ve never been offered the opportunity.
   4. I once fucked a woman twice my age who I met over a chat line. I wasn’t attracted to her in the least, and I almost couldn’t go though with it, but I did. I came on her face.
   5. I minored in Women’s Studies in university.
   6. Sometimes I eat my snot, but I’m cutting down on that activity lately.
   7. Sometimes I smile at gay guys on the street, just for the attention.

    "What a douche," Jake said, smiling at the global village of human piggishness the website exposed, and thankful again for his gut’s aversion to suit-and-tie strangulation and middle management drudgery. Exconfessio’s honesty was as exhilarating as the sheer inventive profanity. As one of those villagers, he thought he should participate too and had even compiled two lists of seven. He’d send them eventually. Maybe: the thought of having them become part of the visible world, even anonymously, made him feel exposed.
    Time to check in with L.A, he thought.

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