Jan 13, 2013

MISS LONELYHEARTS Chapter: ??

I was hoping to have more done by now, but a lot has happened to sideline the progress. Side effects of the new pills I'm taking and a recent family death, to name two. 

I'll be posting a lot more works in progress, because that's what this is about anyway. This one is more finished but still needs work.

Here we are, MISS LONELY HEARTS chapter: ??

“Greta!” She got the feeling, the feeling of paralyzing fear coupled with immediate self loathing upon realizing her paralyzing fear. It was just her boss. A silly man, a sometimes caring man, but nonetheless, an authoritative man. She turned to face him.

Her options were slim. Always two: sycophant or impassive, there was never any middle ground.

“Mr. Wildenblat!” Sycophant today, then. Her smile beamed bright like the bat-signal. The smile wilted as she heard herself, more like a grimace, a sputtering, flashing signal. Her face was plastered in uncomfortable cheer, her eyebrows creased, waiting for what seemed like eternity for Mr. Wildenblat to speak.

“You don’t look happy.” She did her best. What more did he want?

“I had a bad time on the metro. I left my purse alone and it was stolen.”

“That wasn’t very smart.”

“No, it wasn’t.”

“Only a few more days left until Valentine’s Day.” She nodded like a mute, the same uncomfortable smile still plastered. She thought she heard a few words escape from her mouth, but she wasn’t sure. She wondered what he must think of her, the awkward sycophant, the occasional jerk. Then she remembered she ought not care. But for some reason she cared too much. She wasn’t listening to him. “… I imagine you have plans for the big day, I won’t pry. That’s why we planned our party for the day before. You couldn’t make it last year. We had so much fun…”

She wasn’t listening again, already thinking of possible excuses. She had ditched the Christmas party. And the Halloween party. Not mandatory, instead it was frowned upon. Frowned upon was almost worse than mandatory. Frowned upon resonated in their minds when they did their yearly reviews. They couldn’t think of a reason why they didn’t like her, she did all the work, showed up every day, but something about her was off. Best to just get rid of her.

There it was again, that tightness in her chest. Not at being fired, some days she wished they would just fire her. She would be rid of the not mandatory but really more mandatory than mandatory parties, rid of the small talk, rid of caring about coworkers she was paid to care about but somehow actually cared about her and that made her feel so damn guilty, and rid of responsibility. A responsibility that she didn’t care about but still kept her up at night.

“… It’s optional but we’d still love it if you participated.” Participated in what? Damn. This is why one should listen.

“How many will be participating?”

“Oh, it’s so informal. I never do get a head count for the white elephant.” White elephant. Another boring activity designed to bring the coworkers together. As if everyone isn’t dangling on thin string. As if cheap gifts will allow everyone to forget the fact that the coworker to the left is overpaid and the coworker to the right is underpaid. As if a Micky Mouse wine stopper will erase everyone’s memory of the one who gave it: the boss, the man capable of throwing them in to destitution. It’s a farce. Everyone sits on a precipice and pretends it’s a couch.

“Well, count me in.” Greta smiled, wishing something horrible would happen so she wouldn’t have to go. Then she hated herself. Why was it so hard for her to go to a stupid party? Most people liked parties. Most people liked spending the night making small chat and spending their money on pointless things to get pointless things in return. Most people liked that. To her it felt like a death sentence.

“Wonderful! I’m so glad. The price limit is a maximum of ten dollars.” Except that no one ever listened to that. And if one did one was ruthlessly ridiculed. What, a book? What is this dross? Where is the expensive wine? The fancy candles from Italy? White elephant is another way to show difference by being the same.

Greta felt her pocket vibrate. Had her phone not been in her purse? She remembered she had grabbed it to threaten the hooligans… that’s a small mercy. Had she known that she would have reported her purse stolen, not spent time chit chatting.  It must be a sign, the day won’t be all bad.


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