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Patricia Gomes

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Office Politics
By Patricia Gomes
Monday, May 19, 2003



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~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Gilda Hyde is the office plant lady.  Every office has one - the designated worker, inevitably female, who fusses over the leggy philodendron that is meant only for show as it spreads sluggishly atop the lateral file cabinets.


 


Each December, everyone prays to draw Gilda's name for Secret Santa.  Shopping for her requires no strain of cluttered gray matter.  You can pick up an English ivy bedecked with glittery mini-ornaments, a sparkly bow, and wrapped in red cellophane while you attend to your weekly groceries.  One stop shopping.  Plunk it on her desk December twenty-fourth and you're good to go until her birthday rolls around.


 


If you desire to score extra Brownie points with Gilda, (and you do — she is the official Orderer of Office Supplies — just try going a week without your yellow posties, friend.)  a cutting from one of your very own houseplants will do the trick.  A snippet of snake plant, a flowering stem from the spider plant your mother gave you two anniversaries ago will get a tear eeking from Gilda's myopic eye.


 


No one wonders what happens to these bribes of greenery, no one thinks to ask after the health of these leafy extensions of their end tables and hall windows where vines grow unchecked between the slats of mini-blinds.


 


No one remembers the plants, in fact, none of them even remember Gilda—until their printers run dry or #10 envelopes are in dangerously short supply.


 


You'd think they would; Gilda isn't easy on the eyes and that alone should make her memorable.  Her age is undeterminable.  She could be forty, she could be fifty-five.  She is short—stunted—only inches spare her from assorted Lollipop Guild references.  Her hair is sparse, though long, and the glasses she wears could easily start a goodly fire if applied to dry grass during the sun's noonday climb.


 


She is plump, though not pleasingly so, and Lycra leggings in MardiGras hues are her standard workday wear.  The imbedded greasy stain on the right thigh stares at you like a misplaced third eye, daring you to guess what Gilda had for lunch last Thursday. 


 


Unforgettable.  But they always forget…and Gilda always remembers.


 


She remembers birthdays, anniversaries and promotions, shopping a week in advance for the appropriate whimsical greeting card "from all of us" and takes the card all through the building collecting signatures from well wishers who haven't the slightest clue who the recipient of this latest salutatory message will be. 


 


They don't particularly care.  They sign without looking.


 


Gilda remembers deadlines, cut-off dates, the names of her co-worker's children and pets, and she remembers every malicious comment whispered behind a hand as her ample backside waddles away from the lithe snickerers who think her as deaf as she is blind.


 


These insults are hoarded, stored away and taken out later in the dark to be replayed over and over.


 


"Ewww... it's the Troll patrol."


 


"Can't she do something with that hair?  All three of them!"


 


"Hey, Bill – how'd ya like to see that, naked and ready?"


 


And the reply: "Not with your eyes, dude!"


 


Each comment is tagged with the owner's name and filed for future reference. And the files grow thicker each passing day. 


 


*     *     *     *     *


 


"Do you think you should say something to her?"  Anna asked, with a casual flip of her blonde hair.


 


"Why me?" Lisa frowned.


 


"I dunno…you're better at diplomacy?  Come on, Lisa, the entire board will be at this dinner.  We can't let her embarrass the department!"


 


"What the hell am I supposed to say — don't come unless you clear your outfit with us first?"


 


"Well, not like that, but couldn't you like hint around or something?"


 


Lisa shook her head, tapping a pen against her perfectly straight teeth.  "I don't know how to bring it up without hurting her feelings."


 


"You'll think of something," Anna said.  She stood up, smoothing unseen wrinkles from her short dark skirt.  "You always do."


 


Lisa watched Anna sashay back to her own cubicle.  She hated her, really.  Secretly.  There wasn't one female in the whole damn department she actually trusted, but God knows they all stuck together to form a united front against their over-paid male counterparts.  Men against women in a race up the corporate ladder.


 


And where did Gilda fit in?  She didn't "fit" in at all, but she was the Go-To girl, always willing to lend a hand or help you meet a deadline.  Gilda gladly gave up her lunch break if she could ease your workload and who even bothered to thank her anymore?


It was expected of the little beast, wasn't it?


 


These thoughts ran through Lisa's mind as one after another of her co-workers turned off their monitors and headed for the elevators.  She was as disgusted with herself as she was with the lot of them.  Unconsciously, Gilda had been reduced to a piece of office equipment, under-appreciated and abused.  Granted, they didn't kick her as they did the copier or the vending machines, but they may as well have for all the respect she was shown.


 


Lisa headed to the ladies's room, absently tossing goodnights to the quickly vanishing staff.  She twisted her ankle as she pushed open the door.


 


"Shit!" she muttered, bending down to inspect the damage.  "I hate friggin' heels!"  Hobbling to the sinks, Lisa heard a toilet flush in one of the stalls.


 


"Sorry," she said.  "Thought I was alone in here."


 


"That's okay.  Lisa, is that you?"


 


Lisa closed her eyes in resignation, recognizing the nasal pitch.  "Yes, Gilda…just me."


She heard Gilda puffing in the stall, struggling to pull the tight leggings over her wide hips. 


 


"I was just thinking about you."  Gilda hollered into the space between them.


 


"Were you?"  Lisa stared at her reflection in the mirrored wall above the sinks.  Her make-up was still flawless and not a single strand of auburn hair dared stray from its assigned place.  She rubbed her temples, reminding herself to make an appointment for a manicure, when Gilda's red-faced appearance upset the model-perfect setting in the glass.


 


"I was!"  Gilda smiled happily.  "You've been quiet all afternoon…I wondered if everything's alright?"


 


"Oh, it's nothing; everything's fine.  I just have a lot on my plate right now."  Lisa turned the cold-water tap on, wetting a paper towel.


 


"Anything I can help with?" 


 


Lisa looked at Gilda in the mirror.  Even with her shoes off, she was at least a full foot taller than the winded munchkin.  "No," she answered applying the makeshift compress to her swelling ankle.  "Nothing at all."


 


"You're sure?"


 


"Positive.  There is something I wanted to ask you about, though."  Lisa tossed the compress into the trash bin.  Here goes nothing!


 


"Must be important," Gilda tittered.  "You look so serious!"


 


Lisa inhaled deeply, readying herself; her hands gripped the edge on the counter.  She forced herself to smile.


 


"Not really," she said doing her best to sound casual.  "It's about the Directors's dinner…  I was wondering if you planned on going."


 


"Are you kidding?  I wouldn't miss it!"


 


Lisa stole a glance at Gilda in the mirror.  She was making an O with her thin lips as she applied a fresh coat of lipstick; the tiny gold tube looked ludicrous in Gilda's pudgy fingers. The florescent lighting presented Lisa with an unpleasant view of several dark hairs sprouting from the corners of Gilda's mouth.


 


For some reason, the scene insulted Lisa's femininity, as if Gilda had no right to be sharing the same sex with her.  It was the fuel she needed to continue the conversation.


 


"None of us would, dear.  Tell me, what are you going to wear?"


 


"I don't know; I hadn't really thought about it."


 


"You haven't!  Gilda, it's only a week away."  Lisa said, frowning.


 


"I know that.  I'll probably just pull something out of the closet.  I have lots of clothes."


 


The last sentence was uttered defensively, but Lisa chose not to notice the shift in Gilda's tone.


 


"Good — then I guess you'll be wearing a cocktail dress like the rest of us.  If you can't find anything in your closet, let me know — maybe we can skip lunch and go shopping."


 


Gilda nodded; she kept her head down as she busily washed her hands, avoiding Lisa's stare.


 


Lisa ogled the top of Gilda's head.  "Why don't I give you my stylist's card, or I can call her and see if she can squeeze you in…you were planning on getting your hair done, weren't you?"


 


Gilda turned the tap off slowly, looking at Lisa in the mirror; her ever-present smile had disappeared. 


 


"Is there something wrong with my hair," she asked softly.


 


Lisa stammered.  She couldn't remember Gilda having made eye contact with her before.


 


"No, it's just that —"


 


"It's just that what, Lisa?"  Gilda's nostrils widened.


 


"It's just that we all want to look our best, don't we?  All the major stockholders will be there and none of us want to embarrass the department."


 


Gilda smiled slightly, but only with one side of her freshly painted mouth, her voice only slightly above a whisper.


 


"Did you ask Sara what she's wearing?  How about Joanie?  Did you offer Anna your hairdresser's card?" 


 


"Look, I'm just trying to be nice, if you can't take some friendly advice —" Lisa said, stepping towards the door.


 


"Is that what this is — friendly advice — and here I am thinking I'm being insulted."


 


"It wasn't an insult…God! That's what I get for trying to help out!"


 


Lisa pushed the door open widely.  It struck the wall with BANG!  She walked as quickly to the elevator as her throbbing ankle would allow.  She glanced over her shoulder to find the cleaning lady watching her angry departure.  Lisa couldn't recall ever running into the cleaning staff before.


 


"What are you looking at?" she snapped.


 


"No English, senora."  The cleaning lady offered her a three-toothed smile.


 


She shuddered, punching the down button, grateful when the door opened immediately.  She exhaled as soon as the doors slid closed, allowing her shoulders to finally relax. 


 


And she began to hate herself…for not hating herself.


 


 


*     *     *     *     *


 


Connie, the usually invisible cleaning lady, shook her head at the descending elevator and wheeled her cart to the Ladies's Room.  She pulled the door open and thrust her braided head in. 


 


"Meez Gilda!  Joo still here?" 


 


Gilda, her hand deep in the trash bin, looked up, startled.


 


"Connie…you're early tonight, aren't you?"


 


"Jess, but I will be going to my home earlier instead.  My Manny have baseball game tonight and I wanna go watch heem pitch."


 


"Oh," Gilda relied, sniffling.  "Wish him luck from me."


 


"I will.  Meez Gilda?  Are joo okay; are joo crying?"  Connie asked worriedly.  With six children of her own, the maternal switch was permanently stuck in the ON position.


 


"No — I'm fine," Gilda said, clenching a wet ball of paper towel in her hand.  "I think I'm getting a cold, that's all."  She wiped her eyes with her fat little fingers.


 


"Cuz joo work too much!  Go home now, put joo feet up and watch TV.  And eat!  Maybe some soup — someting hot — someting dat sticks to joo ribs!"  She laughed, rubbing her own wide belly, her heavy brown plaits swinging happily.


 


Gilda nodded and gave Connie a quick hug.


 


"You're always so nice to me," she whispered.


 


Connie hugged her back, more than a little surprised.  "Eh!  I'm not too nice, joo yust work wit too many nasty beetch!"


 


Gilda laughed half-heartedly.  "I think you're right.  Good night, Connie.  Tell Manny I'll be expecting a no-hitter."


 


Gilda went back to her desk to get her purse. As she waited for her computer to shut down, she stroked the thick leaves of a dwarf snake plant balanced on the top of her cubicle wall.  The plant was a healthy dark green; Lisa gave it to her on her last birthday.  It came with a happy-face Mylar mini-balloon: It's your birthday!  Make a wish!


 


Lisa hadn't bothered to remove the three dollar and ninety-nine cent price sticker blocking the pot's drainage hole.  Bitch! 


 


Joanie's birthday came two weeks later.  Gilda was walking by when Lisa handed the birthday girl a professionally wrapped present.  A Donna Karen purse…wasn't that nice?


 


She looked around, making certain that Connie was still at work in the bathrooms.  Taking a plastic shopping bag from the bottom drawer of her desk,  (Gilda always kept a few plastic bags there — you never know when someone might need one.) she slipped the plant in carefully.  With a last glance toward the bathrooms, Gilda shut the drawer and headed to the elevator.


 


*     *     *     *     *


 


Gilda turned her key in the lock, pushing open the front hall door of the family-owned three-floor walk-up.   Fortune was on her side; no one was in the hallway.  If her luck held out, she might make it up to her attic apartment undetected.  She took off her shoes, tucking them under her arm; she held the plastic bag tightly, afraid someone might hear its swishy crinkle.


 


One step at a time; looking up, she could see her own door as she cleared the second floor landing.  She nearly made it.


 


"GILDA!  Is that you?" Her mother bellowed up from the ground floor.


 


She dropped her shoes, setting off a fresh round of tears.


 


"Yeah, Ma, it's me."


 


"You're late.  Come have tea with me…Jeopardy's on."


 


"No, not now.  Maybe in a little while."


 


"I'll make grilled cheese; you like grilled cheese."


 


"I don't want any right now, Ma.  I'm not hungry."


 


Behind her, Gilda heard Aunt Fran open her door.  Franny filled the doorway.  One fat pink curler held the thin, gray bangs off her smiling moon face.  She hollered down to Gilda's mother.


 


"Who's not hungry?  I'm hungry; I'll have some!"


 


"Oh, shut up, Franny…you're always hungry!"  Mrs. Hyde yelled up.


 


"Hey — you offered!


 


"I was talkin' to Gilda, not you."


 


"Well, Gilda says she ain't hungry and I am!" 


 


Smiling, Franny winked at Gilda.  Her smile fade when she saw her niece's tears.


 


"Oh, fudge!  JAN!  Get up here…Gilda's crying!" 


 


Shit!  Ma was the last thing she needed right now.  Gilda pushed past Fran, making a beeline for her aunt's bathroom.  She heard her mother thumping heavily up the stairs.


 


"WHAT?  Gilda — are you crying?  Why are you crying?  Fran, for Christ sake, will ya get outta the way!"  Mrs. Hyde gave her sister a quick shove, knocking Aunt Fran's glasses sideways.


 


"She's in the bathroom!  Come out, Gilda-honey — tell us what's wrong."  Fran jiggled the doorknob.


 


"Is it locked?" Mrs. Hyde asked in disbelief.  "Did you lock the door, Gilda?" 


 


Gilda heard them murmuring on the other side of the door.  I'm not going out there; they can't make me!   She sank to the floor; the coolness of the tile startled her and she pulled Franny's heavy chenille bathrobe from its hook on the back of the door, wrapping herself in its warmth and familiar smell.


 


I'll sit here for a few more minutes.  Everything will be just fine; I can explain everything and everything will be explained and everything will be just fine.


 


Gilda repeated the mantra over and over again as she rocked back and forth.  Her mother and aunt whispered outside the door.   She heard the crinkle of the plastic shopping bag…


and the appreciative groans its contents yielded.


 


They groaned and mumbled; they whispered some more.  Gilda could just see them out there in the dining room – their round faces in rapture as they stroked the fat green leaves of the plant; the light from the harsh overhead fixture would bounce off their thick glasses as they crooned and swayed on their puffy little feet — carbon copies of Gilda …just a bit older, just a bit wider.


 


There was a tap on the bathroom door.


 


"Gilda?  It's okay, honey," said her mother.  Mrs. Hyde's voice was no longer shrill and nasally, it had deepened a good three octaves.


 


"Yes, it's okay sweetness," said her aunt.  "Come out now and we'll make it right." 


 


Franny's voice had also dropped.  Gilda shrugged off the robe, its warmth suddenly stifling and uncomfortable.


 


"No," Gilda whispered.  "I don't want to."


 


"You have to…that's all there is to it.  You've started things, Gilda, Auntie and I will help you finish."


 


"No…not again!  We can stop right now — we can stop and everything will be fine!"  Gilda whined.


 


Gilda heard a SNORT from the other side of the door; the ugly sound was followed by Franny's deeper growl.


 


"Gilda – it has begun already.  Come out now or we're going in!"  Franny's voice echoed; it bounced off the walls of the apartment. 


 


Gilda started to shake.  She reached into her jacket pocket.


 


"GILDA," her mother roared. "YOU'D BETTER not be doing what I think you're doing!"


 


"Is she … is she praying in there?  There's no praying in my bathroom!"  Fran howled.  "Put that fucking rosary down now, young lady!"


 


Gilda stood up; she clutched the tiny wooden beads in her hand.  This has to stop!  Going to the door, Gilda leaned her head against it.  For once she was glad there weren't any mirrors in the room, she couldn't bear to witness her own submission.


 


"Okay.  I'll come out," she began.  "I'll come out and we can have tea or something.  We can watch a little television.  Maybe we can play Monopoly.  I promise I'll go out there if you two get away from this door, okay?"


 


Gilda waited for a response; none came.


 


"Listen.  Ma?  I just want to be good, I want to be normal… like everybody else."


 


A howling duet came from the next room causing the windows to rattle.  Beads of sweat formed on Gilda's upper lip.


 


"Good?  Like everybody else?  WE ARE NOT LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE!"  


 


Her mother howled out the last part inches from the door.  The tiny window above the bathtub blew out sending shards of glass to the street below.


 


"Ohhhh!" Gilda quivered.  Her hand shook as she turned the knob.


 


They waited for her just outside the door, naked.   They'd shed their clothes in anticipation of the transformation and Gilda felt her face pinking at the sight of their pasty, puckery flesh. 


Their pallid rolls were beginning to blush a pale green, bits of a spongy brownish moss peeked from their armpits, their legs; Gilda willed her eyes to look no further.


 


"Ohhhh," she moaned again.


 


"Light the candles, Gilda.  And come to the table."  Her mother said, as she turned to walk to the dining room.  Her tone was grating, harsh.  It was the whining growl of ten alley cats preparing for battle in the dead of night.


 


Gilda went to the sideboard where the candles were already in place; Aunt Fran flicked the wall switch.


 


"Now, Gilda," she said as the room went black.  "Light the damn things!"


 


With shaking hands, she lit the five white tapers.  Placing them on a silver tray, she carried them to the table.  A large terra-cotta planter, three-quarters filled with potting soil, stood in the center of the table.  The tiny snake plant was next to it.


 


"Take off your clothes, girl."  Mrs. Hyde snarled.  Her eyes had gone a flat yellow.


 


"No…please!" Gilda whispered.


 


Aunt Fran's fingers dug into Gilda's wrist.  "It's time, Gilda; don't you feel it?"


 


Gilda felt fear, disgust, but there was something else — something that tugged deep inside.  She felt the flesh crawl along her shoulder blades and a chill shook her from head to toe.  A grunt—a small one, but a grunt still—escaped her throat and her mother smiled appreciatively.


 


"That's it, that's our girl!  Just like us—didn't I always say that, Fran—she is just like us."


 


Aunt Fran nodded, loosening her grip on Gilda's wrist.  Her yellowed talons  (for that is what her nails had become) had cut into Gilda's skin.  Droplets of blood splattered the table.  Fran wiped one with the tip of her index finger.  She stared at the drop thoughtfully…and then licked it off with a flick of her thick forked tongue.  She nodded satisfactorily as if she'd drank a fine wine.


 


"You tell us now, Gilda," she said reaching for the zipper of her niece's jacket.  "Whose plant is it?"


 


"Lisa's," Gilda answered, shoving Fran's hand away.  "Don't touch me!  I can do it myself; I want to…need to."


 


A howl tore from her mother's throat at the mention of the name.   She sat across from Gilda; her head was thrown back and her eyes had rolled up into their sockets.   Gilda stared, a thin line of drool hung from her bottom lip.  She turned to her aunt.


 


"It's Lisa's plant," she said again as she took off the jacket.  She tossed it to the floor along with the rest of her clothes.  Her rosary spilled out of the pocket and slid under the sideboard.  It lay impotently among Franny's unswept dust bunnies.


 


"INNASTAH, INNASTAHRAM."  Her mother chanted, spittle flying from her lips.


 


"Ma?"  Gilda whispered.


 


"Never mind," said Fran, patting her hand gently.   "Tell us all about it, girl.  Tell us what she did to you!" 


 


And Gilda talked. 


 


She talked and talked while her mother chanted the nonsensical words she'd heard many a time before.  Words that punished, words that healed, words that changed the world.  And when Gilda's telling was finally done, she handed her aunt the wet ball of  paper toweling she'd been clutching since she retrieved it from the trash bin at work.  Franny snatched it greedily…and tossed it in the planter.


 


"INNASTAH!  NEV SHENNAH TAKIN, INNASTAHRAM."  Aunt Fran joined in the chant.


 


A paring knife was on the table just out of Gilda's reach.  She saw her aunt grab for it. 


 


"No," Mrs. Hyde growled.  "I want to go first this time!"


 


Yanking the knife away from her sister, she plunged it into the palm of first one hand, then the other.  Blood poured from the slashes as she held them over the dirt-filled planter.  "INNASTAH," she cried, handing the blade back to Fran.


 


"Well, girl?  Would you like to be next?"  Fran asked, smiling.  The smile chilled whatever vestige remained of Gilda Hyde, Ordinary Office Worker.   Moss had begun to spout along Fran's slimy gums.  "We can make her pay, Gilda.  We will make her pay.  That prissy bitch has humiliated you for the very last time."


 


"Yes."  Gilda answered shakily.  "Yes, she has."  There would be no turning back now.   Gilda took her glasses off and wiped the tears from her face.  Her vision always improved when her eyes yellowed up.  She rammed the knife into her palm all the way to the hilt…and screamed.


 


"Over the pot, girl…over the pot!"  Her mother pulled her arm to the planter and jerked the knife from Gilda's open hand.   Their eyes locked and Gilda saw centuries unfold.  Curses heaped upon curses, deformities, disfigurements, and burnings.   She screamed again.


 


"Stop it," her mother hissed.  "Just stop it!  This is what we do—they must be humbled, brought to their knees!"


 


"INNASTAHRAM!"  Fran cried out as her bleeding hands joined the pot.


 


"NOW!" Mrs. Hyde screamed, plunging her bloody hands deep into the soil. 


 


Fran followed suit and they shrieked in unison.  Gilda heard her aunt's precious collection of ceramic frogs crumble to dust in the china closet behind her.  From the kitchen, came the sounds of the toaster and the microwave turning themselves on and off.  Closing her eyes, she too shoved her hands in the pot.  She gasped as fresh pain coursed through her.  Ground glass had been mixed with the soil.  Gilda's arms were sliced open in dozens of places and her blood flowed freely into the mixture.  She wrenched her arms from the soil and stared at the dirt-clotted cuts.  Under the blood, under the dirt, Gilda detected a tinge of green skin.  Her transformation was complete.


 


And the ancient ones churned the soil, drooling and chanting, drooling and chanting, a trio of antediluvian Earth Goddesses engaged in their Life's work.  They laughed.  They cried.  Their re-potting ceremony continued through the night.  It went on long past Jeopardy, long past Touched by an Angel.  They stirred and they tossed.   They blended the soil with their blood, tears, slobber and prayers until all five of the white candles had burnt themselves out.


 


 


*     *     *     *     *


 


Anna had her look-at-me smile already in place as the elevator door opened.  She loved making an entrance, especially when wearing a brand new outfit, and this one was a killer.  The tailoring had cost nearly as much as the suit, and Anna knew she looked simply amazing in black — black being the perfect foil for her blonde mane and blue-green eyes. 


 


She sauntered seductively to her desk.  Not a single head turned to follow her; no one had watched her swaying hips and Anna found this unsettling. 


 


The department was quiet, uncharacteristically so for a Monday morning.  Hmph, she thought.  Maybe a little too much Weekend.


 


She turned on her computer.  She was just about to remove the lid from her coffee container when the wart hog slipped into her cubicle. 


 


"Anna?"


 


"What is it, Gilda," She sighed her irritation.  "Damn…I just walked in!"


 


"I know…I'm sorry, I just wanted you to sign this."


 


The little toad held out a card.  Anna didn't think it possible, but Gilda looked more beastly today than ever.


 


"Another one?   Who's it for this time?" she asked, taking the card and a pen from Gilda's bandaged hand.  "Ew!  What happened to you?"


 


"Nothing…a little gardening, just some minor scrapes.  Um, the card's for Lisa."


 


"Lisa?  What's wrong with Lisa?"


 


"You haven't heard?  Oh, my God!  Didn't you watch the news this weekend?"


 


"Ooo—sorry, no…I make my own news on the weekends."  Anna said, rolling her eyes.


 


"I thought you'd have heard already, being her friend and all," Gilda started.


 


"We're work friends, not real friends…God!  None of these witches are real friends—now tell me what happened."


 


"She's in the hospital.  There was a gas explosion in her building…Her apartment is what I heard—she turned on her stove Saturday morning and it just blew sky high!"


 


"Oh, God!  How bad is she?"  Anna paled.


 


Gilda thrust her thinly covered scalp forward confidentially and whispered.  "It's pretty bad.  They say she'll need extensive reconstructive surgery after the burns heal. And even then, the doctors aren't promising very much.  I heard that her entire nose is just gone!  The worse part is our health plan doesn't cover that kind of surgery…I have no idea how she'll cover all her medical expenses."


 


"Jesus Christ!  Just how many freak accidents does that make this year?  People in this department seem to have some shit luck."  Anna paused for a sip of her coffee.  "Well, you can organize a collection or something, can't you?"


 


"I don't want to overstep my bounds, Anna," Gilda said.  "I thought you would rather do that."


 


"Me?  I don't have time—besides, I told you—we're not that close."


 


"Mmmm," muttered Gilda.  "You could send flowers at least.  To cheer her up."


 


"Flowers…that I can do.  I'll call my florist now."  Anna picked up her phone.  "Speaking of flowers — whatever happened to that pretty little African violet I gave you?"


 


She smiled sweetly at Gilda.  With Lisa laid up, her workload would surely increase and Anna had no intention of taking on more responsibilities. 


 


"The pink one?" Gilda asked, turning to leave.  "I still have it; it's gorgeous.  Oh, Anna — what are you thinking?"  She smiled, shaking her head.  "I couldn't bear to part with a gift from you!"


 


 


© 2002


 


 


                                                                                                                                                                                   


 


 


 


 


 

       Web Site: In the Wee Hours

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Reviewed by Nickolaus Pacione 4/13/2005
I could see why you were on The House of Pain, you're damn good at what you do. I am also an allumni of the House of Pain. Office Politics is a horror story that really follows the Stephen King tradition of horror and carries a punch that is entirely its own. I wish I published this one in Tabloid Purposes I instead of "The Flamer." This rocks.
Reviewed by Adam Walsvik 6/22/2003
I guess Gilda's revenge is hard-won. I think that adds realism. Nothing for free and all that. I was enthralled throughout the experience of reading this.

Adam

P.S. I've got that smile in a special place.
Reviewed by Jacqueline VanZandbeek 5/20/2003
This was a truly enjoyable read. Don't we all wish we were Gilda at one time or another? I was thoroughly captivated while reading this story. Excellently written! Keep up the great work!

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