Friday, July 7, 2017

The Little Hand Man

THE LITTLE HAND MAN

The Little Hand Man
swings a golf club too big for his tiny little hands
He stands on a scorched, blackened golf course
THE BALL IS ON THE TEE

SWING! He misses the ball
SWING!!! He misses the ball again
Little beads of sweat line the top of his blanched pink lips

The hair on the back of his head
flies to the front, makes a shape like an old Injun's canoe
His sturdy frame twists like a rusty turnstile

SWING! He misses the ball
SWING!!! He hits the ball...finally
The Little Hand Man curses
As the blanched pink men clap their little, pink, wrinkled hands

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Gridlock

Tourists, tourists, tourists. I'm making a drop-off up in the Hollywood Hills and I'm really flustered getting the gown out of my car and all, my ass is hanging out of my pants and my clipboard is falling down, and I turn around and there's this TMZ tour bus with these apple knockers with their fucking cameras and mobile phones taking pics of me pulling out a gown with my dick falling out my pants and I got THIS close to screaming, "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?"

But I didn’t.

I threw my back out towards the rubberneckers and kept it there until the tour bus finally trotted off, disappointed that I wasn’t about to march over to some celebrity’s doorstep with their clothes.

Truth be told, the delivery wasn’t even famous. Just a barely known film producer’s wife getting her gown for the night’s festivities. People make a big fuss about nothing, even my pants sliding down my hips. Tourists are funny; so many of them behave like boobs who paid their money see a freak show at the carnival.

Sometimes I feel bad about my job and how it looks to “normal” people, and other times I tell myself “this is where I belong” and believe it. I’ve been holding down this gig for about a year and a half already but it felt much, much longer than that.

It wasn’t hard work, it was pretty easy, but it was very exhausting running around and picking things up and then sitting in traffic all day getting to the delivery and dropping it off, repeating the cycle for ten hours straight without breaks. The repetition of it all is what killed you.

When I think back on my first day on the job it all seems pretty ironic. I was heartbroken at the prospect of finally succumbing to become a delivery person. I always thought it was the last resort for dysfunctional idiots who couldn’t do anything else. I was totally broke, flat busted. I didn’t have enough money to buy a loaf of bread and Karol was getting tired of it. She still lived with me.

Whoever tells you money can’t buy you love doesn’t know what they’re talking about. The money was gone and so was her love for me. Every day she yelled at me more and more. Sick and tired of being broke, I finally caved in and answered an ad for a delivery company. I sank to the bottom of the labor food chain. I wanted to crawl in a hole and die.

Karol didn’t really appreciate my effort taken in relieving my sad financial state. She simply told her friends, “My boyfriend’s a delivery boy”.

Without looking like I was moping too hard I went to the office of Style Runners and filled out all the paperwork. I showed my driver’s license, proof of auto insurance and my DMV driving record of the past five years, all necessary to qualify for the job. After doing so I was told to sit and wait.

I sat there in the waiting room feeling like a total loser, hating my miserable life and the shitty hand Fate had dealt me. My eyes burning a hole down at the carpet feeling shame, it was interrupted by the manager walking up to me with a very large black man in a Style Runners uniform.

“Okay, Tracy, everything seems to be in order. This is Cabernet, one of our best drivers. He’s going to show you the ropes and give you orientation of what we do here. So, off you go and good luck!”

Cabernet shook my hand as I got up. “How you doin’, man?”
“Fine”, I lied.
“You ever driven before?”
“Yeah, I did some drug store deliveries years ago. I kind of have an idea of what I need to do”.
“Good, this shouldn’t take too long, then. Let’s bounce”.

We got in a small car and he immediately radioed in. “Driver 124, standing by in West Los Angeles”, he turned to me and said, “That’s how you tell the dispatchers you’re sitting around waiting for something to do. You never say ‘give me stuff to pick up’, you say ‘Standing by and you give them your location’”.

The dispatcher radioed back in three minutes and he quietly wrote down several locations for pickups. He put the car in gear and began driving west. I thought we were headed to a dumpy area and pick up a bunch of crummy Italian food.

He made a few turns while interjecting a few boring pleasantries.
“Got any kids? Got a girl? My Lakers are letting me down…”

The scenery changed and it changed radically. We moved into Beverly Hills and went up Rodeo Drive. What gives? I thought. Is this a joke?

“Okay, first we’re going to Burberry and then we’re heading over to Cartier to pick up a delivery”. My face lit up and forgot about my self-pity.
He pulled into the Rodeo Drive alley and swung the car into the Burberry parking lot.

We walked down a clean, well-lit staircase to the basement where an attendant stood by a bank of closed circuit cameras and a few rails of garment bags all bearing the Burberry symbol.
“Cabernet!”
“Marcel, picking up a bag and training this new guy here”. Marcel appraised me as if I were some new species let loose upon the world.
“Ah, good luck, my friend”.
“Grab the bag, dude”, Cabernet instructed. I picked it up aggressively.

We got back in the car and Cabernet told me, “Okay, now record the time you picked up the bag on your trip sheet. That’s it, now let’s head over to Cartier”.
We went over to Cartier, where we had to show ID and sign a few papers. Security was pretty tight there and after a few more hoops jumped through we were finally given the bag with the jewels.

“We’ll have to drop off the jewels first”, Cabernet said once we got back to the car.
“Get your belt on, here we go”. We headed over to Coldwater Canyon and pulled up to a high walled estate. Cabernet got out of the car and walked up to the intercom by the tall gate.

“Style Runners delivering the Cartier”, he spoke into the little talk box. A moment later the gate slid open a few feet and a big man in a suit, dark glasses and an earpiece stepped out and took the bag. He quickly jotted his initials on the trip sheet and Cabernet returned to the car.

“Okay, that’s done. Now we gotta go to Jimmy Choo’s”. On and on it went like that all day, my mood elevating from despair to elation at the romantic delivery jobs assigned to us all day in Beverly Hills.

Burberry, Cartier, Jimmy Choo continued on to Hermes, Neiman Marcus and Yves St. Laurent, picking up from glamorous designers and dropping them off at homes in Bel Air, Malibu and Benedict Canyon. Delivery work, yes, but pretty lofty delivery.

When I got home that night I tried to tell Karol about my new job, but she just goofed around on her cell phone talking to her friends. It was strange; we got along fine for years but overnight she hated me and treated me terribly. There was no explanation or reason why she decided to turn on me; she simply decided she hated me now.

I was happy that the delivery job turned out to be pretty good, but she seriously didn’t give a damn. She was non-plussed by everything I told her and communicating with her became impossible. I truly felt alone. One month later she left ne and moved back to her mother in Canada.

I continued to drive on weekends after that and it turned out pretty well. I made the rent every month and ate alright, so the poverty scene was forestalled again. Delivering cool fashion prevented me from feeling any shame at being a delivery person. I never did shame very well, anyway. I always liked myself in spite of the hate coming out of other people. It never really affected me.

I got the radio call to go to The Montclair Group, a modeling agency near the Laurel Canyon area. They were doing business out of a mid-century modern house in the rustic hills. My GPS compassed me to the house, the upper floor stuck out above a cluster of bushes. I pulled over to the side of the driveway and walked up to the entrance, hit the buzzer and identified myself.

“Come in. I have a few bags for you to deliver to a client in Laguna Beach”, a strikingly beautiful girl with big red hair in skin tight black pants ran around the room, all business, no smiles, nothing.

As I followed her to the studio I saw a dozen thin, stunning girls all dashing about every which way, buzzing around like fireflies. Some of the girls were blond, some were brunette, some black, some Asian, and they were all gorgeous. Thin. Ravishing. Like my hostess they were all very serious and stressed.

“Casey, what time is the photographer coming by with the proofs?”
“Excuse me! Are you delivering the Continental breakfast we ordered 45 minutes ago?”
Severe eyebrows pointed at me.

“No, I’m here to pick up some bags”.
“Tch!!”
“Bailey, did you call Armando?”
“No, Ashley, was I supposed to?”
“Call Armando. Like now. You were supposed to call him like a million years ago”.

As I stood around waiting for the bags more beautiful girls ran in and out of the room, making me feel like I was in a Room of Mirrors at the Fun House with ravishing women all around me. There were no men present at all.

“Are you from Geek Squad?” More severe eyebrows pointed at me. “I need to have my laptop defragged”.
“You don’t know how to defra-“
“Tch! He’s not from Geek Squad”, the Redhead heaved three bags at me. “Okay, here’s the bags. How soon can she get them?”
“Well, Laguna Beach is in Orange County so I’d say about an hour from now, at least, so-“
“GOOD ENOUGH! THANK YOOOOOUUU!”

She practically slammed the door behind me, but it was alright. As beautiful as the girls were, there was something demonically claustrophobic about being in that house. Besides, a beautiful girl that never smiles is as appealing as an ice cream cone with salt and pepper all over it.

“757, holding The Montclair order to Laguna Beach”, I radioed in.
“Ten-four, call clear, 757”, the dispatcher returned back.

I turned up the air conditioning and pulled out some gum and chewed away, slowly crawling up the ramp to the 405 Freeway. My mp3 player was playing the William Tell Overture by Wendy Carlos and I chuckled at the perky synthesizer music.

Traffic moved fairly smoothly up the 405, better than usual. As I went by I occasionally looked over at the shoulder on the freeway, noticing forgotten shirts and pants lying in a heap. A few miles later there was the torn off bumper, the decapitated fender, and the usual spray of broken glass.

As I drove further down I noticed deep, dark grooves burned into the asphalt by squealed tires, indicating sudden braking or wild last-minute swerves. At first I only noted one every few feet, but then there appeared to be more and more.

Traffic gradually slowed down more and more. The other side of the freeway was grooving at a pretty swift pace, but our side started creeping like a fly in molasses. It was hard to see what the cause of the slowdown was, but it didn’t feel right.

I heard a few sirens blasting behind me, faintly, then progressively louder and louder. Then an EMS truck ran down the shoulder I’d just stared at, followed by two police cars and a fire truck blasting its trombone horn to hell.

We crawled further and had to move two lanes to the left, but I got a good view. It was an accident, and it was a good one. There were four cars slammed into each other, radiator steam billowing out, as well as clouds of black smoke from burning oil. One had spun in the opposite direction, another had its front end completely crushed in, the third had the entire left side bashed in with a driver still stuck inside, and the fourth had its rear fender and bumper town off completely.

The fourth car’s owner was a fat, homely man sitting on the ground crying like a child over his car being destroyed. The car with the front end crushed in was a woman comforting her young daughter, a blanket thrown around the little girl’s shoulders. The man in the car spun around was unconscious behind the wheel. He may have been dead, but I didn’t care. I had a delivery to make.

We trudged further up the freeway through the smoke and steam and burned rubber odors. I hated to break it to The Beautiful Redhead, but I probably wasn’t going to deliver the fashion on time. There are times when Death trumps Beauty.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Punk Rock Retirement Home

This was a three-night engagement I played at The Whiskey A Go Go with my band Arthur J. and The Gold Cups, which was an all-star punk big band (I played saxophone), The band also featured the late Brendan Mullen on drums, Geza X on guitar, Paul Roessler on keyboards and a host of others.

Because it was a three night engagement we had a different band open the show each night, and as you can see X opened one night and The Alleycats opened another. The Avengers headlined and were absolutely amazing. I think Penelope Houston is the best punk rock singer I've ever heard, bar none.

Brendan designed the poster and organized the show.

In September of 1978 I was asked to play sax with The Screamers at The Whisky A Go Go. Pat Delaney from The Deadbeats and I joined them for their exciting encore of The Germs' Sex Boy, re-titled Sax Boy as a tribute to us.

Lead singer Tomata Du Plenty and synthesizer man Tommy Gear prowled the stage like a pair of wild leopards singing the Darby classic while Pat and I honked away. At one point I was given a short sax break and I tooted the riff to Punish Or Be Damned. Tommy winced painfully. Good times.

My friend Lisa Brenneis joined Richard Meltzer's new band Vom as the bass guitarist. Meltzer just moved to Los Angeles from New York, which was a big deal because he was one of the most idiosyncratically New York rock writers around that time. He put together a pretty interesting band, which besides Lisa also included Metal Mike Saunders and Gregg Turner. I may have missed one or two other guys; it was a long time ago.

Vom played their first show at the Whiskey A Go-Go and Lisa invited me. What I didn't count on was being recruited during sound check to act as their official "bodyguard". In order to distinguish me at this dubious job they gave me one of their custom made shirts (seen in the photo). This meant keeping the crowd from killing them, because Meltzer made a few disparaging remarks about Hollywood punks being phony and plastic. He wasn't being serious about it; in fact he was method acting like a locker room wrestler trying to rile the local kids up, and it worked. A little too well!

The club was filled with all the usual local punks ready to boo and heckle the band to death. The entire staff of Slash magazine was there heckling the band to death, as well. Vom went into all their killer numbers like I'm In Love With Your Mom, Electrocute Your Cock, and Broads Is Equal. Kids were picking up anything in sight and flinging it at the band, and it was my job to admonish these twerps from throwing things, like a stodgy old school teacher. Nobody listened to me. I hated it.

Meltzer even chided me from the stage. "Hey, do your job, Tall Guy in the Vom Shirt. You're supposed to be protecting us. By the way, the fat punk chick in the front, you look like a piece of shit with lipstick!" Try defending someone who talks like that.

Not content to merely piss off the audience, they now incurred the ire of the club itself, when they went into their intense rendition of The Doors' My Eyes Have Seen You, which featured Meltzer and Turner pulled out a pickled jar of cows' eyeballs and bursting them on stage and throwing them out into the dance floor at all the heckling punks. The floor was sticky and slippery from formaldehyde goo with crushed eyeballs all over the place.

Well, after this Vom-itous bit of show business the sound man, like the voice of Zeus, thundered over the PA, "OKAY, ASSHOLES, GET OFF MY STAGE! NOW!!!" Of course, this made all the punks cheer as if God himself stepped in and sent the band to Purgatory.

There's a happy ending to some of this, of course. Meltzer shortly after got a hot radio show on KPFK-FM where he invited every punk band he previously insulted and they all played phony kissy face with each other, and then my picture showed up in a crummy fake "New Wave" magazine. Of course, all the idiot Hollywood punks chastised for posing wearing a Vom shirt. Never mind that these were the same people that couldn't kiss Meltzer's ass hard enough to get on his show.

Come to think of it, Richard Meltzer was probably right the first time. Hollywood punks are a bunch of phony assholes, after all.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Proper Burial

I was tracing and cutting fabric in the workroom when Dovina came in and happily announced to me, "I'm back! And I've got some cool swag!"

She came back from the blacksmith's shop and he always packed her down with weird metal objects we sometimes could use and usually couldn't. The girl came back to her workroom with bags filled with metal bracelets, bizarre rings that could be used for notions, and everything else imaginable.

What caught my attention, though, was a tiny plastic shopping bag she pulled out of her handbag. A furry spotted paw stuck out of the shopping bag.
"What's that?"
"Oh, look at this. Timothy was going to throw this in the trash and I said, 'Don't you dare!', and he said, 'Do you really want this?' I figured he needed a home".

Smiling, she pulled out a pelt of a bobcat, all four paws, tail and head intact. The head exposed a snarling cat face without a lower jaw. Whatever face the cat made at the time of its death and subsequent skinning, it didn't look terribly happy, gold eyes blazing and face permanently twisted in a snarl of anger that was there for keeps.

"Now, let's see, I think I'll put it...over here!" She did an eenie-meenie-miney-moe spin around the room until she found a red plastic hook around the sewing machine to hang the pelt on.
"There!" she smiled. "What do you think?"
"Well, it'll definitely have something to look at. It already has a disapproving look on its face".

For the next few days I came in working to the spectacle of having dead bobcat with face giving me a Fuck You look all day. It wasn't a Jean Paul Gaultier moment but I simply shut up and dealt with it.

Before I go any further let me explain a thing about Dovina. The relatives on her mother's side practiced witchcraft and a few of the relatives on her father's side practiced voodoo. There was also the time someone came over with a toy voodoo doll and had a power outage the next day along with a few other technical malfunctions in the house. And then there was the time she gave me a $2 dollar bill. I got rid of it right away at the market. Needless to say, the apples I bought all had brown, rotten centers in the middle. Hmmm.

Dovina slammed down the phone after getting yelled at by Miss Prewett, one of her fussier clients.
"Oh, that bitch! I was up all night sewing that stupid dress for her and now she says it doesn't fit her and I don't know how to sew! That cunt".
Her cell phone rang a little perky jingle. "Hello? This is she! Hi, how are you. What? They told me it was good. Insufficient funds? Ughhhh..."

Another client wrote her a bounced check and now she had to get on the phone and get them to pay cash to cover the bad check. The next day she appraised my work. "No, No, NO! All wrong. Do it again!"
Dovina took the dress and threw it in my face.
"Don't throw shit in my face!"
"My clients demand a certain standard from me and you can't deliver", she snarled.
"Oh, like the way you delivered to Miss Prewett?"
"FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE!!! GET THE HELL OUT OF MY ROOM! NOW!"

We fought like crazy for the next few days, and ironically kissed and made up in the apartment we had next door.
One week later: "Hey, why don't you put away that pelt? It's freaking people out".
"I don't know", she moaned behind her sewing machine. "It's kind of cute. Puddy Tat's so lonesome".

"Please put it away. Seriously, Dovina. The customers aren't cool with it".
She finally broke down and put away the pelt.
"Well! You won't have to worry about him any more. He's gone for good".

The fighting gradually stopped, the checks were all good and the customers were a little more civilized (most of the time; you can't change that much). Things were relatively back to normal.

But then things got weird, really weird. She went back to telling me I couldn't sew or do anything useful. She began sewing with all the lights out. Nobody could work with her because the workroom was draped in darkness. She hired inexperienced women to assist her and would quietly complain about them behind their backs. And then she simply left town and abandoned me.

The workroom was gutted and a new tenant moved into the space. It was like the workroom ceased to exist. Dovina now lived abroad with her parents and had no desire to ever see me again.

Fast forward two years later and I'm in Dovina's room, going through her things, all left behind for me to sort out. There was fabric, notions, belts, sewing needles, all matter of implements. I opened up box after box, storage container after storage container.

I saw a tiny pink plastic shopping bag at the bottom of a storage container. I felt something soft in it. I pulled it out, a thin spotted tail followed by a pair of furry paws and then topped with a snarling cat face with pointy ears. The bobcat was still in the house, looking right at me, staring straight at me with nothing but hate on its face.

It was then that I decided to finally do the humanitarian thing for this poor creature. I marched it down in its pink plastic bag to the dumpster and threw it in. From there on in it would be picked up by the Los Angeles Sanitation Department, dumped in the Disposal Grounds and given a proper burial. And then maybe the sun will finally set down on the moon.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Ashtray

There was this guy at work. We called him The Ashtray, and although it wasn't funny it was a better name than The Doormat. He had this talent, a dubious talent, but one that gained him notoriety from the upper echelons of management to the lower depths of the clerical pool.

He was a highly skilled, well-adjusted man who could buffer the abuse of any and all tyrannical supervisors in the office. Whenever a difficult supervisor tore through subordinates to warrant their own circus cage they'd send The Ashtray in to work for them. Every term served was practically a Master's thesis in abnormal psychology.

 

The Ashtray had dark hair, dark eyes and kind of looked like a walking shadow. He was very quiet and seemed to slip in and out of every department he was sent to. And he did all the problem ones, from corporate to casual. Dressy to messy, he was sent there if there was a difficult, dysfunctional boss to defuse any problem situation.

He won awards, citations, got fancy silver badges, the works, but especially the drama. What amazed everyone was that after all the dust had settled, he managed to walk out of the office in one piece, looking younger and happier than the rest of his co-workers. It was 100% weird.

He first gained notoriety when he served as the assistant to Miss Felice, a manager who demanded that her computer be turned on before she arrived in the morning, the air conditioning turned up to her preferred temperature and her favorite music streaming playlist set at an acceptable volume.

But that wasn’t what made her difficult; it was her disbelief in anything she was told. Her mind processed everything people said as a lie, so if someone explained a problem to her she would ask them to tell her again, and then of course again. She would then dissect what they just said and pointed out the inconsistencies in what they explained in each version. It drove her previous assistants mad, many running out crying and calling in sick too times too many.

They sent The Ashtray to her. She liked his looks; she was single and blonde and its’ been said that blondes like dark men and dark women like blonde men. Once she got over her attraction to him she went to work on cracking his marble veneer.

When he answered her questions she made sure to interrupt his answers to unnerve him. Every reply to her stern questioning would be brought down by her outraged interruptions.

One Friday afternoon The Ashtray had his nose buried in a report he had to complete by 4 pm and many co-workers had left early for the weekend. Of course the boss made him stop drafting his report to explain to her why everyone was gone. She made him explain one more time, and then again…his responses were so flat and indifferent he killed all the fun out of her sadism. Disappointed, she chastised him for not being done with his report.

But all good things must come to an end, as Del transferred to another section to find a less micro-managing boss. The next one hew as assigned to was a different kind of strange.

Mr. Boswick was an odd man. He'd report to work two hours later than Del and ignore him for most of the morning as he worked. Occasionally Del walked by Mr. Boswick's cubicle and would see him: 1) meticulously trimming his fingernails, 2) arguing on the phone with his wife, who always hung up on him, only to get him to phone her back and argue more; and, oddly 3) he would be prone to sitting in front of his desk simply staring off into space.

He trimmed his fingernails every day even if there was hardly anything left to cut. They were done so loudly you could hear the incessant snipping down the hall. Not so loud were his arguments on the phone with his wife, which were always delivered in a hissing stage whisper.

"Abby? Abby? ABBY? ABIGAIL!!!"

Mr. Boswick would fortunately gain his second wind by 3 pm in the afternoon and suddenly assault Del with an insurmountable pile of work for him to tackle, apathetically oblivious to the fact that quitting time was in two hours. It dove Del The Ashtray mad.

Co-workers would join him for a smoke on his break and the same question would arise.
"Boswick's an asshole, Del. How do you put up with his bullshit?"
"It's just part of the job, I guess".
"No, this guy goes over the line. I'd report him to the Internal Affairs Committee".
"I'll think about it. I got to go".
"Yeah! He's probably timing you with his watch! Later!"

Occasionally Mr. Boswick and Del would attend meetings and sit together at the conference table. Whenever Del got up from his seat to give handouts to the attendees he had to rise up slowly. It was peculiar, but the reason arose from an episode at previous meeting.

"Del", Mr. Boswick chastised him, "I need to speak to you about your attitude".
"Why? What's wrong?"
"The way you got up from your chair. You looked so angry, everybody stared at me. Your chair spun around a few times! That makes us look bad, Del. If that ever happens again I'll write you up for discipline".

After being admonished about the "spinning chair" incident Del did a peculiar rise from the chair to prevent it from spinning around, which only made the attendants stare at him even more. The rise was not unlike a cobra rising from its wicker basket, a sort of vertical unfolding. Mr. Boswick still looked disgusted, anyway.

The Ashtray was taken away from Mr. Boswick and handed over to a new supervisor, a Mr. Schubert. How Mr. Schubert scaled the heights of supervisory status was never known because his spelling and grammar were a modest grammar school D grade level.

The Ashtray would occasionally correct Mr. Schubert, raising his ire.
"The memo will go out AS IS!"
After the Division Chief was copied on the email, she would call Schubert into her office and ask why would he send out a message with so many errors. Schubert called Del into the room and blame him for typing up his poorly written memo.

He was then made to apologize for arguing with Mr. Schubert. The Ashtray complied, feeling bitter resentment.

Things came to a head with them when the Ashtray planned a vacation a month in advance and Mr. Schubert decided the week before to take that very week off, too.

"Coverage, Del, coverage! Someone in our section needs to be here. You can't take off when I'm going on vacation. You're already on probation for sending out those poorly written memos. I'd watch my Ps and Qs if I were you. Just a friendly word of advice".

After that admonition he'd step out for an angry smoke and run into Miss Felice, smiling at him for the first time he'd known her.
"Oh, Del, things just aren't the same without you. I feel lost without my favorite assistant".

She continued for another minute telling him that she couldn't hold on to anyone as long she did with him. He wasn't surprised but just kept smiling that strange smile of his. Funny, the smile seemed believable but you could almost detect a few cracks beneath the surface of that smile.

Standing in front of the building, having his smoke, a co-worker sidled up.
"Schubert fucked with your vacation, you know? You should look into getting a lawyer, I'm telling you".
"What's that going to do?"
"You have to document every time you get disciplined, like keep a diary for every time he gives you shit and keep copies of every time he writes you up or threatens to write you up and maybe you should go to a psychiatrist and take time off for stress time taken off and then have the psych write you a report and..."

Schubert didn't last, either. The Ashtray was reassigned to a new supervisor, Mrs. Ganigher, a divorced mother who always demanded he sit next to her while she instructed him on how to type up a report. He had over ten years experience in drafting reports, but she needed him to sit right next to her while she tediously typed away, speaking to him as if he were her child. It was maddening.

"Now this is the way we title the report and format it", she would speak slowly as if he were simple. Co-workers would walk by the cubicle and look at him, then at her and roll their eyes.

Once Del was home sick and she called him, hysterical about not being able to find a file. He was doped up on flu medication and she screamed at him.
"How could you pick an important day like today to call in sick? I need to find that file. I know you know where it is! Tell me! Are you sure you don't know??? Sure you're sure?"

 

Mrs. Ganigher rarely bathed, so when it was time to attend a meeting she'd pull out a bottle of Evening Musk and spray herself like lice spray at the local jail. She also had a bad habit of pulling at the straps of her bra while talking to people, which always put them off from her and made them prefer to speak with him, which always made her insanely jealous.

 

Even an ashtray cracks and breaks and that day finally came. Mrs. Ganigher gave him three reports to draft and loaned him out to two more supervisors to transcribe their meetings. All of this work was due by the end of the day.

While he was processing all these reports Mrs. Ganigher kept interrupting him with important questions and a few stories of her porn-addicted teenage son. Finally it was nearing the final hour of the day and he only managed to draft two out of the five reports.

"WHY? WHY NOT??"
"I'll need more time", The Ashtray patiently explained.
"NO YOU DON'T. YOU TOLD ME YOU WOULD BE DONE BY THE END OF THE DAY AND YOU'RE NOT! DEL!!!"

"I'm going to need more time to complete this work".
"I've had enough of this bad attitude from you. We're going to see Ms. Adams about your sloppy output. I'm getting really fed up with it!"

The Ashtray's eyes got real big and he said, "No we're not. I'm not putting up with this anymore. You finish this fucking work!"
The Ashtray grabbed his jacket and walked out of the building, never to return.

He didn't take anything with him and that was pretty smart. If he had the company could have nailed him for stealing, but if he walked out without taking anything they couldn't put up anything against him.

This didn't go well with his wife, of course. When The Ashtray's wife found out he quit his job there went the medical benefits and the expensive vacations and the job security.

"HOW COULD YOU DO SUCH A STUPID THING? HOW COLD YOU JUST WALK OFF A JOB???"
"I had enough", he said, stammering a little bit. "You just don't understand".
"WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO? YOU'RE AN IDIOT!"
"No, I'm not, we'll be fine. I have some money saved up".
'SO WHAT?? I WANT YOU TO APOLOGIZE TO ME RIGHT NOW FOR QUITTING YOUR JOB! I DON'T GIVE A DAMN WHETHER YOU'RE HAPPY OR NOT!"

"Look,. I've supported you all this time. Now it's your turn to support me, I mean-"
"OH, FUCK YOU, DEL!"
She stormed out of the apartment, going to a Mexican restaurant where she'd meet up with some man she was seeing behind Del's back.

Del mumbled mutely to himself and looked around the empty apartment. He wanted to cry and he wanted to laugh, but he just mused on the futility of making unhappy people happy.

Instead, he picked up the phone, dialed a number and said, "Hi, this is Del Carver. I have twenty years clerical experience and have awards and citations. Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Creative Cloud and difficult supervisors a specialty. Please keep me in mind"....