Anthony David Mitchell
Sometimes its best to take what some say with a grain of salt. It was usually best to take what Gordon Fitch said with a shot of whiskey.
As Fitch approached his sole employee at his office, Ruth, she zoomed through the possibilities of what might come out of his mouth. For her nothing much these past few weeks, but seeing as how the other secretary had just quit the past week and a new pretty young thing sat on the chair before the front desk seeking to take her place, Fitch would certainly have some brash comment. Ruth considered the possibilities.
Hiya. Is there something you can do for me?
Is that a stain on your shirt or are my eyes stuck on something else? Eh?
I told all my ex-wives When you start being a bitch, you will stop being a Fitch.
If youre wondering why my zippers open, youre welcome to explore.
Sometimes I work hard at being humble. I think todays going to be a lazy day. What do you want to know?
A gentleman is a fine thing to be. Fine doesnt appeal to me much.
I normally like big women, but I might give you a break.
Ruth rolled her eyes at her rotund boss stepping inside the office. Dressed in a gray suit with his pink scarf, black gloves and gray fedora, the man giggled with each step. The smell of his cologne was a nice one if it wasnt so overpowering. He must have taken baths in the stuff before he came in and every time he left the office. His face looked squished and his gray mustache protruded out like a large wart. He rarely smiled with his mouth, but Ruth always thought his pupils were made of jesters who laughed at you the whole time you spoke to him. He turned, coughed and hung up the scarf, hat and coat. The pink scarf was the ultimate touch to his asinine demeanor. She knew from the very beginning when she got hired a year ago that only a jackass would wear that damned pink scarf.
He nodded to the young lady and then to Ruth.
Hi, Mr. Fitch. This is Vickie. Shes here about the secretary position.
He nodded without turning back around to Ruth and took Vickies resume while facing the new applicant.
Say? You want me to write you up a policy right quick?
The young girl looked frightened. Her large blue eyes suggested there was not much behind them.
I think you need a heartbreaker life plan the way youre looking.
As Ruth figured, the dumb blonde completely missed it. Fitch sat waiting for a laugh, but nothing came. Ruth chimed in with her own laugh to appease the jerk. Vickie broke into a smile and gave a silent laugh as well. She nodded and placing her hands together gave a point to Fitch.
Thats a good one.
Oh, please. Call me something.
Once again, the blue eyes went blank.
Sir. Mister Fitch. Boss. Master. Something.
Seeing that this was going nowhere, Ruth exercised her laugh again. Vickie nodded and thought the question over with that confused smile.
Um. Lets see. Mr. Fitch?
Fitch nodded and straightened his lapel.
We will work on that. Now lets see.
Ruth knew what was coming next.
As he poked through any resume, he always did this. He would read a little and then grunt. Read a little more and then grunt.
Ruth watched as Vickie continued with the game and started laughing. Fitch looked down at her and Ruth looked down at her paperwork. She knew she shouldnt have smiled to Vickie, but she could not help herself. Every time one of these dumbbells got hired, they screwed things up over and over and asked for days off and came in late and came in hung over and Fitch always followed them around hoping they would allow his bulging ugliness to take them to bed and the same result occurred. He would finally get the message and let Ruth tell them to hit the road. In a years time, three had already come and gone. Ruth wished he would just hire somebody to do the job and that be it, but the old jerk would not give up on his dream of coaxing one of these idiots to sleep with him. Midlife crisis maybe.
Well, now. Ms. Vickie. Why dont you step into my office?
She smiled. She did not look confused anymore. She must have thought this would be the next step in the hiring process. She walked timidly by Ruths desk and into Fitchs office straight back.
Any calls while I was out?
Ruth answered him but she could see he was not paying attention. This too was very common. He licked his lips. Smacked them even at the sight of sweet air-headed little Vickie. He slapped the desk twice in some confident high school I just banged the prom queen demeanor and walked his bulk back to his office triumphantly and shut the door.
This was the final part of the routine. Ruth was never sure what went on during this period but she figured the old scumbag would drop some hints and test the waters. Just maybe Vickie might catch onto a hint although she had failed miserably so far. She wondered why Mr. Fitch couldnt be more like her own husband. There was a man who found love and appreciated it. He still wanted her and she wanted him and they werent looking for greener pastures. Yet so many times she saw where others desperately struggled for something they probably could not have at the total risk of losing the best person in their lives. Oh well. Mr. Fitch might have been a pig, but he was the boss and he didnt pay too badly. For those reasons, Ruth played along. It was all kind of interesting really. She found herself laughing about it often. Sometimes even when she was in bed with her husband. He would ask her what was funny but she always made up something else. This was her little private joke and she did not care to share it.
In no time at all, little Vickie was walking out of his office and on out the front door. Ruth thought she could see the girl smiling but she could not be sure. Fitch appeared shortly after. He strode confidently like a bantam rooster but this was nothing new. He did this after every interview.
So do we have a new secretary?
Fitch turned to her.
Can I sell a term life policy to a teenager?
I hope shes better than the last one.
Fitch nodded. His mind was still undressing Vickie.
Ill be in my office if you need me.
The door to his office shut quietly and discreetly. She always wondered if he was pleasing himself in there after these interviews. But she would never go in there to look. Some things are better off left to the imagination. Some images wont leave the mind once theyre seen but instead they haunt it like a nightmare. Ruth fixed herself one last cup of coffee. She took a few quick sips, finished up her day and left with Mr. Fitch still in his office.
Lord knows what he was doing in there.
Vickies first day proved a challenge. Ruth watched her answering the phone. She paid more attention to her pretty little pink nails than she did the customers. Her resume indicated she had worked for another insurance company for two years and a construction company for three. But how? The little dear could sit and look cute, but she did not know how to do anything. She spoke to the customers and clients as if they were a bother. She did not know how to file. Ruth wondered if she even knew the alphabet. She even burned the coffee. By the days end, she saw that this was going to be more of the same just like the last three. Mr. Fitch paid her well because she was doing two peoples job while this pretty young thing just sat there waiting for him to walk through so she could laugh at his stupid jokes. All the while, Ruth the old bag would take care of everything for him. When he returned from his day, he smiled to Vickie and asked Ruth a question but did not look at her.
How is our new secretary working out?
Ruth thought she could do it. Give it to him straight this time and tell him this damn bimbo knew nothing and had proven to be completely worthless and it was time to find a new girl. She opened her lips to drop the bomb.
A long beat fell upon the room. Ruth struggled for the right words.
She has done fine, sir.
Fitch turned his eyes toward her.
Ah. I knew she was a little go getter. Thats great!
Ruth could hit herself in the face. Why couldnt she just tell him?
He turned to her.
Ruth handed him a yellow sticky note that listed the three calls he had received in the last two hours.
He lumbered down the hallway to his office. He stepped inside but turned back before closing the door and looked straight at Vickie.
If anyone needs me, I will be in my office.
Ruth looked at Vickie who gave the old jerk a wink. He must have given her one first. Ridiculous. And it got worse.
After peering over at Ruth with a wicked stare, Vickie made her way back to Fitchs office with a grin. She tapped on the door, announced she had something to tell him, entered his office, closed the door and then locked it. This was different. The other girls always just took his bullshit and laughed at his jokes. They never entered his office of their own accord. Had he actually reeled one in? Ruth could not believe it.
When she left for the day, the door remained closed.
That night, Ruth and her husband made love. They lied awake for a while afterward as was their custom. She found herself laughing out loud at the antics at her office. Her husband asked what she was laughing at as usual, but once again she told him not to worry about it. She walked into the bathroom and took a good look at herself. For a woman of forty-eight who had given birth to two children, she looked pretty damn good. She made a little sexy move as if she was some stripper in one of those dark joints the men go to in order to live out some pathetic fantasy. She wondered if Fitch lived out his fantasy at the office today. Little Vickie may have been earning her pay. It was kind of funny really. Pathetic but funny. She returned to the bed and closed her eyes.
Her husband remained sitting up and asked Is there something you want to tell me?
But Ruth fell right into sleep without answering. When she woke the next day she could swear that he asked her the question in her dream and that it hadnt really happened. But a look on his face at breakfast indicated otherwise. He ate his eggs and biscuits but then turned to her wearing an unusual expression. Before he could mutter a word, she kissed him on the lips and was out the door for work.
The slut had been on for two weeks. Only an eighth of the time the others had been on and already she had received a raise. Mr. Fitch did not announce this, but she knew he had done it. And they had gone back to his office every single afternoon and stayed there until she left. Ruth actually stayed one day and watched. They got off at five and Vickie did not leave that office until six-thirty! She shook her head while parked across the street at the Dairy Queen, shifted her Toyota Camry into the drive position and tore away for home.
On the fourth Friday, Ruth felt awful. She was tired from being overworked and the stress was adding wrinkles to her older ones. She had not made love to her husband for a week. He was talking to her less every day. And Fitch had grown bolder, allowing Vickie to leave early for the day at least three days out of the week. The time approached three oclock and Ruth just knew that she was getting ready to leave early with the fat jerk of a boss once again. As he walked in, Vickie started to speak to him, but Ruth cut her off. She rose from her desk and got in his face.
Mr. Fitch. I need to see you in your office right away.
Fitch gave her a scowl. He turned back to Vickie, grinned and then nodded toward his office door. Ruth entered his office first and turned to him while leaning back on his desk.
How can I help you, Ruth?
Sir. Ah hell. Gordon. Listen. She has not done a thing right since shes been here. I have been pulling her weight the whole time. Now I am worn out here. I think she has to go.
Fitch moved closer to her.
What are you doing?
He moved closer. She could smell the wintergreen mint on his breath. She leaned back on the desk.
Mr. Fitch. Please back away.
Now he was on top of her. There was not enough room for a feather between their bodies. She leaned away from him but his face drew nearer and nearer. On top of this mess over the last month, now this was happening?
Mr. Fitch. You need to-
He placed his ape hand on the back of her neck.
Mr. Fitch? Why so formal? You know my names Gordon.
Mr. Fitch, I-
He pressed his lips to hers. She shoved against his beefy frame with her hands, but she was not strong enough. He held her close and moved down to her neck. She found herself breathing more heavily.
This one really must have gotten to you, Ruthie. Its only been a month. Now you know I like them young, but you are the only one for me.
She shook her head.
I dont believe you.
I know. But you want to. Dont you?
She looked away from him.
Dont you, Ruthie? Huh, Ruthie?
He laughed. She had not seen him laugh since the last one left. He stroked her cheek. She loved it when he did that. He was nothing to look at but his touches felt so much better than the only other man she had been with. Her husband just could not cut it anymore. That could have as much to do with the laughing in bed as anything else. But no. She really liked Gordon. He lived in her dreams. Not the sight of him so much as the touch. He knew what he was doing and he let her know it. Such confidence and such strength. Her husband was a simple mechanic. He had never exhibited great confidence. Just a fairly handsome face and a good work ethic. Thank God he had been there to raise their worthless children. She could never take an interest, but they looked pretty in the pictures on her desk.
He drew her back into his lips. She felt her heart leap with excitement. This whole long month she had not felt it. She looked into his eyes.
Are we working over tonight?
Ah, Ruthie. I dont know.
Oh please. I know she makes you feel good, but I can make you feel better. I promise, Gordon. Look at these lines in my face. I cannot live without you.
She could see he didnt want to, but he would. He turned and gave in to her with another long kiss. She hugged him tightly.
I will call and reserve the room.
Of course you will, Ruthie.
He patted her ass and motioned for her to return to her desk. She did so and Vickie rose up. She walked to his office but he informed her he had some work to catch up on and that she could go on home early if she liked. The poor dear did not look happy, but she did as she was told. A whipped puppy dog expression on her dumb face. Ruth smiled as she searched through the phone book, found the name of the local Holiday Inn and dialed. Then she would call her husband and let him know it would be a long night and then her date night with Gordon would send her into a spiral of ecstasy once again.
Ruth rented a suite on the top floor. She spread rose petals on the bed after removing the coverlet. The maids never wash those. Maids. Vickie and the other three reminded her of house maids. Coming in to do the grimy work while she the queen enjoyed the king. She laughed to herself with the knowledge that powerful insurance king Gordon Fitch would soon be in her arms and giving her what her husband could never give. Vickie was just another second rate new girl, but the new had worn off and Gordon knew who the queen was. She stripped down and put on her cute little negligee she had purchased a week ago when she was down. She had kept it in the trunk of her Camry and wondered if it would fit her well. Gazing at herself in the mirror, it looked just great on her. Gordon would be groping her luscious curves and pleasing her soon. She giggled to herself.
Then came the knock at the door.
She strolled her way to the door with the same confidence her boss exuded every day. She opened it and allowed him in. He turned to her still dressed in his gray suit and looking dashing as ever. He pulled her tightly to his thick chest and planted kisses on her face and neck. She clasped her hands together behind his neck and embraced the kisses. She felt down and came upon something cold. She opened her eyes and saw a bottle of champagne in his arm.
Gordon. You bad boy.
I am what I am.
She gave his wrist a little slap. He was still wearing those black gloves. He knew she liked that. He placed two glasses down on the table and poured them each a glass. He handed her one over and toasted his glass into hers. He started to drink but she stopped him.
The new girls come and go, but long live your queen, sir.
He grinned to her.
Yes, my queen.
She gulped the champagne on down. Her husband and his common beer was always so boring. He had none of this great mans style and sophistication. She finished the glass off, kissed him and then poured another.
She winked to him and gave him another kiss before downing half the second glass.
You know it, my king.
His grin disappeared.
Ah. Damn it. I left my wallet down there. Ill be right back.
Oh. No problem, oh powerful king. You must have your king sized wallet!
He grinned to her.
Yes, my queen.
He pulled her in close and kissed her deeply on the mouth. Like the first time he ever kissed her. He pulled away and promised to be right back. She smiled and finished the second glass. Feeling a slight buzz, she leapt onto the king sized bed and wiggled around in anticipation. She closed her eyes and thought of the fantasy she was about to live out once again.
Vickie arrived on time the next week. She still could not believe the news, but there was nothing she could do about it. She had not found Ruth to be the warmest woman to work with. She had to have everything her way to the point to where she would not allow Vickie to touch anything or even talk to any of the customers. And Mr. Fitch had made his position clear that he wanted her to take over the office and that Mrs. Ruth would be leaving. But she did not think she would be leaving the world entirely. Her suicide on champagne and sleeping pills all by herself in that hotel room sent a shock through the tiny office. She just had to inform yet another client of the tragedy. She hung up the phone as Mr. Fitch entered the office.
Hello, there Vickie. Any calls?
She handed him a sticky note with the list of five calls he had received while he was out. He eyed the list and nodded.
Mr. Fitch. Are you okay?
He stopped and studied her.
What do you mean?
Well, about Mrs. Ruth. It is such a tragedy.
He nodded. She could see the hurt in his eyes.
Yes. It is a tragedy.
He placed his hand onto her shoulder. She rubbed the hand with her cheek. Caressed his hand with hers. Thoughts of those times in his office came back to her. He had the best touch to make a woman feel special.
Maybe we can move on somehow.
He leaned down and kissed her deeply.
We will have to try.
She patted his cheek. He walked back to his office, but turned before he shut the door.
Yes? Should I join you?
No. Schedule some interviews for tomorrow.
Oh. Sure. Of course.
We are going to need a new girl.