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Tova Gabrielle

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bizarre happenings in the working world of a small new england town

He looked at my breasts and nodded goodbye, grunting: "Tell us what ya need, or better yet, get it yerselfand give us a bill. It’s all yours." Slammed and jangled outside. Then he returned —bursting in the room: "Well, what are ya waiting for—someone to do it for ya?" He barfed up laughter, chewed on his cigar and sized up the lower portion of my body pensively, spit into my empty coffee cup, coughed and stormed out.

That was when I decided to become a smoker. I went across the street and bought my first pack of Salems.

I returned to my office and pulled out the first
yellowed scrolled up town map , got down on the carpet and opened it out. It rolled back up immediately.
The next day I brought in an iron and ironed out the maps flat on the floor.
In six weeks I tore through those damn maps, while chain smoking, swearing to myself, and changing the radio stations incessantly. One time pot belly police chief boss burst in again , this time yelling,"You been sleepin on the
radiator covers!"
"I got proof! Look at em—they’re bent! I catch you sleeping agin your fired."
I couldn’t suppress my laughter.
HE barely could conceal a smile himself although he tried like hell to act like he believed what he was saying.

I had been hired to work as the town secretary. Besides the superintendent of schools, they'd the never had one in this tiny, rural, New England town. I met the superintendent of schools in the school cafeteria next door, where all the town employees ate for free. The foul mouthed man was either unaware of women or he was passive-aggressive. He sat down by me at the long table and started telling, Ed, the superintendent of streets, about a parent who’d come in to the office. "What a set of knockers, and an ass to match! I was gettin hard..."

"Excuse me--This isn’t a locker room."
The big boys looked up, stopped chewing.
" You guys aredisgusting. I feel like I’m back in Junior High—only the kids weren’t as perverted as you horney old bastards!"
Apparently they like being called names. Mr.School Superintendent was so taken with me that pot belly told me the next day, he’d gotten rid of his secretary to have me come work for him.

One day when I was typing in his office, a student came in in tears. "Pull yerself together, young man!" he barked, and sent him back to class, without even asking what was wrong.
"Why are you so mean?" I asked incredulously.
Super ignored me. A small time crook, he was sent to jail not long after I left the next year. He'd embezzled the milk money and paid the janitor to work on his house during school hours. It was in the newspaper. He'd molested his secretary.
If it's not already obvious, let me assure you, reader, that I hated working for him. I was always late. He warned me, "I’m gonna have to fire ya if yer late one more time. I came in late the next day. He was all smiles. I had his vulnerability in mind, however, anything personal: I said to him, "You wouldn’t beleive where I’ve been for the last half-hour."
"Where?" he asked suspiciously.
"The bathroom. Have you ever gotten stuck on the toilet? You think you’re done but your not?"
Bathroom talk—his language. But he didn’t know how to respond, comming form a female. He sent me over to work for the superintendent of streets, another sleez-bag.
One day my new boss came in to the dirty garage office where I worked among grease, dirty coffee cups and cigarette buts, and said to me, "You aren’t wearing a bra are you? Let me check." Before I could speak had his hand down my top.
I shoved his hand aside and glared into his eyes and said icyly: "If you ever touch me again or make one insinuating sound, not only is your wife going to know about this, but it is going to be in the newspapers as well."
I stormed in to my car and tore out of there, burning rubber, with him following me, spewing incoherent excuses and explanations. In tears, I raced straight to the home of the one gentelman in town: the selectman office, of Mr. Bardell, the man who had hired me, office in tears.
I breathlessly told him my story—his face darkened: "I can rememdy the situation but he’ll loose his retirement."
I told him I’d think about it. I didn’t want to ruin the man—he was already a wreck. That I just wanted to scare the shit out of him.
The next day I came in to work warily and Mr. Streets Superintendent was as gentelmanly as could be. Not only that, but he said to me, "You know, you’ve done such a great job that you can take the rest of the week off and come
pick up your check on Friday.
The following weeks were the same. For at least a month I only had to come in on Fridays to pick up my check, with him being as nice as possible.
The last week of my job I was in his grubby office filling out some form, when the superintendent of my town, Montague, came in to chew the fat with him and the
chief of police. "So how’s it going in Montague?" someone asked him.
"O.K. except for them damn hippies at the commune—they’re like a fungus—they’re everywhere!
Anyone ever seen them around these parts?"
My job was almost over and I was highly amused.
"NO.." I offered. "how can you tell if you see one?"
"Oh, it’s easy." the Montague selectman answered..."By the smell..."
I couldn’t resist: "Oh really!... Do I smell?"
There was shocked silence in the room.
" I thought you were from Hampshire County!" someone
"I was staying there for awhile, but I’m back in now," I answered.
" must be the exception to the rule." the super of streets answered.
"NO, actually, I started the place," I lied.
Then I took my paycheck off of the desk and left.
Nobody said a word.
The job ended shortly after that, following an icy chill.
As I drove out of the garage for the last time, I didn’t look back: I knew I wouldn’t miss them or feel hurt. Then I thought of poor Mr. Bardell, a gem amongst the rubble.

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Reviewed by Cles Wilson 7/25/2005
The picture blocks out the first paragraph of the story which is very good. Well written, catches the readers eye. What rural town in New England were you referring to? Just wondering.

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