Maude snapped her fingers and called me into her office with a quick motion of her fingertips. I looked around to make sure she meant me. Since nobody else was anywhere to be seen, I knew it was. Rolling my shoulders, I plastered a smile on my face. It was never good being called into the director's office. And since the tea on her desk was only half full I knew she was angry. She never let her tea cool when she was in a good mood.
My mood had shifted instantly, which wasn't fun since I had just had a successful meeting with ten of the newest sales reps in our company. The men and women were young and ready to go get their feet wet in the field. I was still glowing happy from the good communication and laughs we had during the discussions afterwards, and I was headed out for lunch since I was absolutely starving. I hadn't eaten more than a mini-muffin with my vitamins for 'breakfast' and was still pondering where to go. A nice Caesar salad with some chicken on top was calling me.
Unprepared, I walked into a jigsaw blade whirling. I was blown away and watched the pieces fly around the room. Okay, not quite -- but it sure felt that way. Maude was tapping her pencil on her desk and looking at a spread sheet.
"I need to ask you something," she said while looking over her reading glasses. Not a smile to be seen.
"Sure, what's up?"
"Did you tell Darby that she could take the Northwest Territory?"
My face flushed and I was stunned. "No," I gasped out and shut her door. The idea I would actually promise a sale rep a region was insane. That was like giving away gold. The great regions of Canada were a prize that weren't just handed off. How the hell did Darby come up with that?
I fell into the hard-backed chair and said, "You've got to be kidding me. She actually said that?"
"Are you sure you didn't say anything she could have misunderstood like that?" My boss was trying to be positive. Her mouth was tight and her eyes flashing anger and disgust. As one of the newest vice presidents in the company she was a strong candidate for the division split off and had been carefully crafting her move. I watched the politics from my desk and kept out of the line of fire. Or at least I thought I had.
Darby was a young stunning blonde who was hired on the strength of her resume. Or so I was told. But since the human resource man was in the middle of a messy divorce and prone to stupidity, I wondered ... Darby was great in a linen suit and four inch come-and-get-me pumps; she rarely showed up before ten and usually left for lunch at eleven; two hour lunches and then calling her best friend for an hour or so after lunch to discuss all the lovely people she met or watched while out and then went home ... I had yet to see her do a lick of work. But since she wasn't even in my department, I didn't care.
I shook my head and said, "I don't think I have ever even talked about Canada while talking to Darby. Does she even know where Canada is? I mean come on why would she say that I said that?"
Maude looked mildly amused at the idea of Darby looking for Canada on a map. Since the only map in her office was of the United States, we both naturally glanced over and couldn't see a trace of Canada. The heavy lines sketched out the various regions and Canada wasn't one of the options. The only open territory was the Midwest. Not someplace large but smack dab in the middle of the country.
From there the discussion was the usual: me trying not to throw up since that type of accusation could result in lawsuits of promises and contract violations, and her trying to keep me calm. She said she would fix everything and told me not to be angry but feel sorry for Darby. The delusional woman was to be pitied not harmed.
I assured her I wasn't mad and certainly felt bad for her. The rest of the afternoon went by in a blur of stunned disbelief and churning emotions. I forgot to head out for lunch and let my anger fuel me. After all, I was fairly nice to Darby. Besides before Maude had called me on the carpet I had one of the new sales reps tell me that I had the best session of anyone she had met so far in the company. Since the gal was in sales I took the compliment for the fluff they usually spun but had felt good nevertheless. I drove home and went into my lab.
Certainly I could have used the lab at work. But I had found over the years that my work tended to go deep into the night and if I was suddenly filled with some sort of inspiration, getting dressed and driving back in to work to check my results had gotten tiresome. The company didn't care since anything I developed was naturally sucked into their corporation and I never objected. I was paid well for my talents and didn't have the time to pursue sponsors or market shares. It was a lovely arrangement and quarterly I had a nice little check to add to the bank account.
One of the nice things about having a lab was there was such a feeling of accomplishment when mixing up various concoctions and developing new exotic mixtures. I quickly got to work on a special dessert. Usually I was working on something to stop itching or create supple skin and diminish lines or wrinkles. I was driven to push my talents as far as possible. The burning inside my stomach was motivating me to think carefully and make sure I knew the right formula.
I looked through some of my books and began to figure out what was needed. The right ingredients are hard to come by but I have friends in all the wrong places. I had to make a few phone calls but my buddies came through and I soon was on my way. The final incantation, and I dropped in the strands of hair from Darby's brush into the pot. A trickle of blue smoke came out of the batter and I finished up the recipe.
Soon dawn approached and I snuck the cake into the kitchen at work. Naturally everyone would know I had made it, but I didn't want to do the last part in front of anyone. I spoke the final phrase and saw diamonds of energy crackle over the frosting. It was fixed. No turning back now. For everyone else the sweet was a sweet. Not for Darby. The back-to-the-truth-again spell would prove to be more than she ever knew once she nibbled, which she would given her sugar cravings. For the rest of her life Darby couldn't be able to utter an untruth. And given her career as a sales rep that was going to create some major problems because lying wasn't something salesmen or women ever admitted to doing, but realistically it was how they were successful.
Smiling, I went to my desk and saw the pile of work. Just another normal day in paradise.
The Piker Press moderates all comments.
Click here for the commenting policy.