Once upon a time (last week), in a land, far, far away (just down E. Coast Highway), there was a Writer (a lazy one). Since writing wasn’t really working out (just yet), she took a part time job working with a tradesman. She didn’t mind the hard work; it was fun and it gave her opportunities to observe all sorts of strange people to cast as characters in her stories.
One day, the tradesman and the Writer were summoned by a corporate representative to work at a location in the little town of Snob Hill. Upon arriving, the Writer began unloading the tradesman’s tools while they waited for the corporate representative. Suddenly, the front doors of the community center burst open, and a woman came rushing out.
“What are you doing? Why are you putting your tools all over the place? You can’t park there. This is private property!” she shouted, glaring disdainfully at the Writer’s work clothes. The tradesman produced his card, and explained politely that he was here by corporate request. The woman seemed to deflate, and a sugary smile wrapped itself painfully around her face.
“Oh! Corporate! Well, nobody told us you were coming! I’m the executive director here. Someone should have told me.” The woman spun on her heel and hurried back inside. The Writer continued to unload the tradesman’s tools as the corporate representative arrived and took the tradesman to tour the areas that needed work. The tradesman instructed the Writer to find a safe place to store the tools until they were needed, and followed the representative.
The Writer propped the door open and turned back to the truck to gather some tools. When she had her arms full, she started towards the building only to see the executive director standing in the doorway watching. The woman made eye contact, and pushed the weight that held the door open until it moved aside, and the door swung shut.
As she struggled to open the door with her arms full, the Writer suddenly envisioned a blank page, and a pen above it. The pen began to write.
She was attractive, really. It was evident she took care in what she ate, and she probably had a gay personal trainer that she grossly overpaid so he was obligated to tell her how young she looked. Her hair was done well - the dye job wasn’t as obvious as some. One could appreciate her attention to attire. She dressed to suit her figure, which was nice, and elongated her slightly thick calves with a pair of heels that no doubt made her pay for their service at the end of the day.
Once she had managed to wrangle the door ajar long enough to get inside, the Writer smiled politely at the woman (from here on to be known as EDIE*) and asked where she could store the tradesman’s tools for the short time they would be working. Edie glared and flipped her manicured hand dismissively, saying, “Just put them on the floor here in the lobby.” The Writer stopped her eyebrow mid-raise, and with that pained expression replied, “I’m afraid that would create a tripping hazard, ma’am. Is there any place else I could place it that would be out of the way?” Edie rolled her eyes and walked away. The pen began to write again.
It was obvious she was angry. Angry that she’d been passed up for a corporate office, left instead at this dingy center as a director. Angry that the air conditioning wasn’t cold enough to prevent her Ice Queen persona from being mussed by the tell-tale sweat spots under her arms. Angry that nature had smitten her with a beautiful face graced by a perfect blight of a Halloween nose. If a person believed in past lives, that nose had to be the work of Karma.
After a moment of indecision, the Writer began arranging the tools in the corner farthest from the area with the most foot traffic. It took her several trips to assemble all of the gear, and all the while Edie stood inside her office, watching the Writer through the large glass window that overlooked the lobby.
The tradesman returned and gave instructions to the Writer regarding the work that needed to be done. The Writer gathered the equipment needed and followed the tradesman. They worked in peace for awhile, until Edie suddenly appeared with her assistant, Addy*.
While Edie simpered and talked shop with the corporate representative and the tradesman, Addy made a point of complaining loudly about the Writer’s placement of tools, where extension cords were run, and how furniture was moved. When the Writer had her back turned, she unplugged the cords, causing the electrical equipment to fail. The tradesman became frustrated with the Writer, assuming she was being negligent. Edie and Addy smirked. The Writer smiled, and the pen began to write.
Miserable people are like birds of a feather, but only when they have an assumed common enemy. The Witch’s counterpart arrived with all the brassy glory a bottle of blonde could buy a person. She was obviously losing the battle against her age, as evidenced by the poor attempt at wrinkle reversal known as Botox. Her Avril Lavigne inspired makeup, which, as we all know, suits nobody but Avril Lavigne, caused a twinge of pity. Had nobody told her makeup like that is for very, very low light, and only in a certain District code named Red?
The Writer continued working, now alert to the Devious Duo’s mischief. Discovering that they could not do anything more than waste the Writer’s time by hiding tools and unplugging cords, which the Writer patiently found and replaced, they resorted to having within-earshot conversations, a la Mean Girls.
“I’m shocked her boss lets her dress so unprofessionally. No wonder this is the only work she can get.”
“I wonder if he minds working with a fat girl.”
“Maybe he does it so he’s not tempted to cheat on his wife. Or maybe he does it so his wife doesn’t worry, and he can cheat under the radar.”
“She’s probably a lesbian. No straight woman would carry around tools like a plumber.”
“Wouldn’t you hate being that ugly?”
The Writer heard every word, just as she was intended to, and carefully cataloged the comments for later use. The pen shook itself, like it was encouraging the ink to run, and applied itself to the paper again.
Blondie further disgraced her increasingly porcine figure by stuffing an enormous pair of Casaba melons into her bra, and an unsightly black lace thong peeked with a horrifying plea for mercy through her white slacks. In reality, once you put all of the pieces together, the effect was less than flirtatious. In fact, one might have the same reaction to a clown. It strikes one as amusing that there are generally two reactions to a person dressed ridiculously and wearing face paint: laughter, or tears. Either would suit.
The Writer began packing up the tradesman’s tools. Edie and Addy were suddenly distracted by the corporate representative, who, being an attractive male authority figure, was evidently the most exciting thing to appear all week. The Writer watched in amusement as Edie fawned over the representative, bobbing and simpering and tittering, reaching over to smooth his collar and lapel. Addy leaned over the counter in a manner meant to pass as conversational while her bolt-on breasts strained resignedly against her Lane Bryant blouse.
While joined in a determined quest to censure everyone deemed unworthy, the unified front of the Witch and the Blonde was undone at any appearance of an opportunity of advancement. The Witch wanted a corner office, Blondie wanted the Witch’s office. ‘I’m older and more experienced, anyway. Well, not that much older.’ Blondie thought. ‘I deserve a corporate position. Why should I be here, dealing with an assistant director who looks like an aging hooker?’ the Witch thought.
The representative received these attentions stiffly, as though he were being forced to smell the contents of a gym bag full of sweaty jock straps. He turned away momentarily to retrieve some papers from his briefcase, and Edie and Addy took the split second break to glare daggers at each other. The Writer nearly laughed aloud.
Finally, the tools were loaded neatly into the truck, and all the equipment was stored. Edie and Addy followed the corporate representative as he came outside to speak with the tradesman. The men shook hands, and the representative turned to the Writer.
“It was very nice meeting you. Before you go, I’d like to give you one of my cards. We are opening a new location in Beach Town, and I know you already have this job, but we are looking for personnel to staff the new place and I’ve just spent all day being impressed by your work ethic. If you are at all interested in trying a new line of work I would be more than happy to give you a corporate reference.”
Behind the representative, the Writer watched Edie and Addy’s complexions turn a variety of remarkable shades. Edie’s face finally settled on purple, and she looked like either spontaneous combustion or system failure were imminent. Addy put her hand over her heart, presumably to check the oncoming cardiac arrest, and glared daggers, nails, shards of glass, and harpoons at the Writer, who barely repressed giggling.
The shock might have been too much for Blondie. She was getting on in years, after all. But for all the silent raging and whining and simpering, the Witch and the Blonde would stay stuck in their own hell, and spend the rest of their days - well, presumably - making each other miserable.
Probably until Blondie died.
The Writer took the representative’s card and shook his hand before climbing into the truck with the tradesman and settling into the seat with a smile of satisfaction.
*Edie and Addy are names conjured from the letters E.D. and A.D. (Executive Director, Assistant Director). Yes, yes, I’m very clever.