The trouble with having a secret is that every routine interaction that takes place in the course of a normal workday becomes a potential hazard. For the rest of society, these casual moments of carefree conversations add a degree of levity to an otherwise monotonous day; but for Thompson, these moments were a collection of stress filled seconds, as he wait to see if this was the moment that his charade of normalcy had come to an end.
A simple “Hey Thompson” heard in the break room caused panic to course through his body, as a quick scan of his co-workers face would try to detect any sign of knowing, any sign of judgment or any hint that blackmail was on the horizon. The secret had evolved into a carefully orchestrated 12-hour recital, established to ensure a satisfactory completion of all of Thompson’s assigned duties, maintaining his current level of autonomy in the workplace, so that he could maximize the amount of time that he could slip off to the spend object of his fantasies, the lovely Miss Cheri.
This type of emotionally driven behavior was out of character for Thompson, who had always had a reputation as a logical individual, with a strong work ethic and a respect for the governing rules of the community. He rationalized that this new found relationship with Cheri was the subconscious brain’s way of dealing with the work time stresses brought on by the Christmas season. Even though his feelings compounded each day, he assumed this affair would run its course and dissipate along with the layers of snow and ice outside.
And who knows, that plan might have worked, had it not been for a phone call early on Tuesday morning. The caller ID simply said “The office of C.C”. Thompson’s stomach filled with adrenaline fussed acid, as his first reaction was to not answer and let the let it go to voicemail. He instantly knew that something was wrong, since he wasn’t on the immediate radar of the Executive office. His orders and objectives were filtered down though a layers of middle management and being off the radar was one of his primary goals.
“Shit, shit, shit,” Thompson mumbled to himself, “He knows, he knows. Ok, think.” Pounding his closed fists into his forehead failed to produce any meaningful results, although by some stroke of luck, the phone did stop ringing. With a hint of shock, Thompson turned his attention to the phone and quickly wondered if he had somehow adverted a crisis—this question was quickly answered as the red message waiting light illuminated.
“Mr. Thompson, please report immediately to Chief Executive’s Office,” the voice on the message calmly stated.
“I’m dead, I’m dead,” Thompson recited as he began the short walk up to the main workshop. “How did I get myself into this mess?”
But Thompson knew exactly how this all began. He replayed the last few weeks’ events in his head like a movie on a continuous replay. He’d first seen Cheri while crossing the courtyard on a break. For Thompson, the moment their eyes met he felt an instant connection. He later discovered from his obsessive research that she was in the transportation trainee program and new to the area. Thompson soon spent every free moment peering out windows or walking through the yard with the hope of catching a glimpse of his new found soul mate.
As he climbed the final flight of steps, he settled on the moment when he knew everything began to spin out of control. It was one of those damn jewelry commercials he saw late one night, where the couple wakes up on Christmas morning together and expresses their love with a wonderful new diamond bracelet. Thompson knew their work schedule would prevent this from taking place, but he felt an overwhelming desire to show his true love the extent of his affection in some manner.
“You can go in,” the admin said as Thompson entered the waiting room, “He’s expecting you”.
Thompson sensed a smirk on the corner of her mouth as she said this. He tentatively tapped on the slightly ajar heavy oak door with his knuckles.
“Mr. Cringle, its Thompson.” He said as he stepped onto the plush red and white carpet.
“Have a seat son.” Santa said with a deep and caring tone of his baritone voice.
Thompson did as instructed, jumping up into the high-back velvet green chair. His eyes quickly scanned the room at all the personal mementos that the Big Man kept in his office. Around the room were 100’s of framed letters from grateful children thanking him for their various presents, pictures of Santa with former Presidents and various Heads of State, along with his numerous gold medals from his participation in the Summer Olympic Games.
“Do you know why I’ve called you here?” Santa asked with a don’t bullshit me demeanor.
“I’m guessing it has to do with Cheri” Thompson stated.
“Damn right it has to do with Cheri,” Santa interrupted, as he lit and took a long drag off the one-hitter pipe resting in the corner of his mouth. “Haven’t I been very clear about the policies regarding North Pole relationships?”
“Yes sir.” Thompson relied in a hushed tone.
“So where in the hell do you get off trying to play meet me under the mistletoe with a trainee?” Santa asked.
“Sir, I didn’t mean for this to happen. You don't choose love; love chooses you.” Thompson explained in a manner that he thought his boss would understand.
“LOVE CHOSES YOU?” Santa screamed. “You think the cosmos of love decided it was a good idea for one of my elves to fall in love with one of my god damn reindeer? You think the cosmos decided an interspecies union is just what we all needed for the New Year?”
“But sir, it’s a matter of the heart,” Thompson interjected.
“It better be just a matter of the heart, because I had to physically restrain my stable manager from dragging you from behind his sled this morning when he found one of his reindeer in lingerie.” Santa screamed as his face matched the color of his Carhartt work shirt.
“It was just a gift,” Thompson stammered, “The relationship has never been consummated”.
“Consummated! Son, if I ever hear you are within 200 yards of one of my reindeer, I’m selling your ass to those tree dwelling, assembly line cookie making, mother fucking elves! You got that lover boy?” Santa asked.
Thompson just nodded his head as he tried to stop the tears from sliding down his cheeks.
“Now get your hormone riddled ass back to your desk and channel that energy into making those Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Baby Dolls. We’ve got orders to fill, a schedule to meet and little girls to make happy.” Santa demanded.
Thompson quickly scrambled off the chair and made a quick exit towards the door.
“And one more thing,” Santa reminded “Have a Merry Christmas”.
This week’s IndieInk Challenge came from Lisa, who gave me this prompt: You choose love; Love Chooses you. I challenged Kurt with the prompt "You use the same wrapping paper for your bosses gift and a "Naughty" gift for your mate. As your boss is about to open the gift, you're not sure that you didn't mix up the packages.
You can do it-- just a few more feet. Just a few more feet over a distant tree line, the sun will melt into a sky of orange, and this day will be complete. Just a few more feet and MY day can begin.
The waning of the sun signals my retreat from society ushered in with the nocturnal ritual of “shutting it down”. My unspoken obligation to participate as a contributing member of society is complete. The rules, etiquette, and norms agreed to by the collective can now be replaced by the wishes of the limited. For these few hours, the wishes and wants of the individual can be explored and exploited without the disruptive requests of the outside multitudes. Inside the darkness exists an opportunity for autonomy.
The waning of the sun is a time for sharing. 10-12 hours of frenzied energy can be distilled into a few prominent points worthy of the attention of another. This sacred sharing of little lessons collected via the successes or failures of the day light hours, so that the journey doesn’t have to be made in isolation.
The waning of the sun provides a slice of consistency from home, as I step off this airplane and prepare to make my temporary home in whatever city I find myself today.
The waning of the sun signals the official transition point in the day from the US to the MINE. Slowly the shackles of work are powered down and the lists of household responsibilities are crossed off. The balance of a day is then focused on a form of self-southing, supplied inside a world provided by Mr. Woody Allen.
The waning of the sun signals a finish line of the day. The aspirations formulated with the rising of the sun are now either reflected on as accomplishments as a result of our focus or failures from our distractions. However the list is chronicled, the only remaining objective is to once again see the morning light and try it again…….
This week’s IndieInk Challenge came from Liz Culver, who gave me this prompt: The Waning Sun. I challenged Kelly Garriott Waite with the prompt "There better be a good reason for a half eaten cupcake, an orange sock and a torn paper with A37-2 to be in my car's glovebox
“There’s no way in hell!” Aimee said emphatically.
“You’re my sister; it’s your moral obligation to say yes.” Lucy answered.
“The only obligation that qualifies me for 3:30 AM participation involves a scenario where you are trapped in the trunk of a car after you’ve been abducted.” Aimee said.
“What if I was arrested and sitting in jail?” Lucy questioned.
“That one could wait until at least 7 AM.” Aimee replied.
“You would make me sit in a cold and dirty cinder block cell for three and a half hours, for the sake of an uninterrupted night of sleep?” Lucy pressed.
“Lucy, it’s not the 1920’s and the county no longer fashions jail cells out of cinder blocks.” Aimee reasoned.
“Secondly, letting you sit for a little while you consider you’ve done will build character and I don’t want to deprive you of this time of self-reflection at the expense of my final REM cycle. On the bright side, I would have one of those Pumpkin Lattes waiting for you in the car for the ride home.”
“What if I promise to wait until at least 7 AM for any future bail posting needs and you agree to go with me tomorrow morning?” Lucy negotiated.
“No.” Aimee replied.
“Come on, where is your sense of adventure?” Lucy said.
“My adventure has been suppressed by the cold and wet forecast. Why can’t you just shop online like normal well-adjusted employed members of society?” Aimee questioned.
“Because I’ve thought of the perfect gift for Jimmy, but I can’t really afford it without the 30% door buster gift cards they are handing out.” Lucy said.
“For Jimmy?” Aimee asked in a confused tone. “You’re dragging me into the belly of retail hell for a guy that you are planning to break up with after New Year’s Eve?”
“I said I might break up with him after New Year’s,” Lucy reminded “and this gift is so perfect for him.”
“I’m sure he already has the Call of Duty voice activated wireless headset.” She said.
“He does, but this is much better. I found a Malachite and Amber medallion made out of Mother of Pearl in the shape of a Star.” She said.
“What is the poster boy for arrested development going to do with that?” Aimee wondered aloud.
“He told me all about the minerals healing powers.” Lucy explained.
“You’re fucking with me! What healing powers could a piece of mass produced Malachite provide? Are you seriously taking New Age healing advice from a guy with Justice League bed sheets?” Aimee said.
“Aimee, you’re not being fair and they weren’t Justice League bed sheets. You are thinking of his pair of red and blue house shoes with the Superman “S” on them.” Lucy reminded, as she tried to highlight the distinction.
“Yet, you still decided go on sleeping with him.” Aimee relied with a chuckle.
“They were kind of cute.” Lucy confessed.
“Cute in a freshman year crush kind of way or cute in a fixer up-I see potential kind of way?” Aimee asked.
“Even if this magical power stuff is bull shit, what can it hurt?” Lucy said in an effort to refocus the conversation. “Chalk it up to another talisman in the long line of self-healing items sold every day by everyone from the shady magnet bracelet guys at mall kiosks to the officially blessed gift shop items located at the Vatican.”
“However, in each of those cases, I don’t have to wake up early on my day off to act as an accessory in the continuation of their brand of psychosis. I prefer endorse bat shit crazy causes that operate during more civilized hours.” Aimee said.
“Enough fighting, you’re going.” Lucy declared.
“Sorry sis, it’s not going to happen.” Aimee replied in a tone to match her unwavering stance.
“Either I’m picking you up at 3:15 for a pre-dawn morning bonding adventure,” Lucy explained, “or I’m registering you as a Chapter Founder and member of The Guilty Remnant—along with a special request for a personal home visit to receive personalized guidance.”
“Oh…you suck!” Aimee responded with a hint of pride in her sister’s resourcefulness.
“See in you in a little bit, Sunshine. I’ll bring the lattés.” Lucy said.
“Bet your ass you will.” Aimee muttered as she hung up the phone with a grin.
This week’s IndieInk Challenge came from Grace O'Malley, who gave me this prompt: Malachite and amber, mother of pearl and stars. I challenged Lisa with the prompt Oh Shit…this is going to hurt.
ID: Clean? Because I didn’t include elevator based humping jokes?
ID: They say that I have to submit it under humor or human interest.
EGO: What’s the difference?
ID: Humor brings out the HA-HA. Human Emotion evokes an emotional response.
EGO: Well, what do you think?
ID: I think it contains an ideal balance of philosophical funny.
EGO: I wouldn’t do humor.
ID: You don’t think it’s funny do you?
EGO: I think it’s clever.
ID: Well did it evoke a deep emotion reaction.
EGO: In what way?
ID: Did it make you question your own existence or role in the universe?
EGO: I thought it was very clever.
ID: This would be a lot easier if they had a category for wise ass.
What is it-- WRITE IN 2010.
If anyone was around for the 2008 Resolution I decided to slim down my areas of focus. Well last year, reading and investing were turned up and writing went to the wayside. This year, I’m going to lessen the investing (gambling driven) focus and try to find a creative center. As a side note, I did dump 99% of the talk radio and went to NPR or books on tape. I will say that was a positive turn in my psyche.
Anyone want to take the over/under on April 1st? I’ve giving 3:2 odds.
Anyways, I made the mistake of reading their update before I attempted to go to bed for the night, but only accomplished a mixture of cursing my pillow and making lists in my head.
The thing about a new disease is that sports metaphors surface as an analogy for the treatment. These metaphors might be needed to help us wrap our minds around an invisible “them” that only surfaces in test results or reports.
Since I have no medical knowledge and limited magical ability (none of which is applicable in this situation), I do have a suggestion that make the Man vs. Cancer easier to conceptualize….The Cancer needs a characterization. In sports, there is always a THEM.
In this case, since my friend is an OSU fan, I suggest that we call this cancer MICHIGAN. (I would call my cancer "Phil Collins" and I bet his wife would call her cancer "driving the speed limit")
Let the doctors use their fancy medical terms, we can show our support by saying:
“Hope you kick Michigan’s ass this week”
“Remember, only John Cooper let’s Michigan get him down”
“Yeah, Michigan does suck”
Again, I got nothing here of tangible value, just suggestions to kick around while your sitting in the hospital going through treatment. If there is any good news, this is not a great time for the state of Michigan or their famed football program. I guess if you have to fight Michigan, this is the time to do it. There is something to be said for good timing.
Since this is the extent of my contributions, I will just say “Good luck against Michigan this week!!!!”