Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Short Fiction: Mr. Nailson

He looked down at his watch and then flicked an invisible bit of lint off of the cuff of his wool suit. The call center was a hive of busy activity, but the tall, lean redheaded man seemed to take no notice of it. His clothes were perfect for the setting, just the right mix of severity and casual to make him blend in with anyone at any level in the company, with the exception of the janitorial staff. The only thing that seemed a bit off was the set of scars running down the middle of each lip. The scars were fainter on his upper lip, but the discoloration was still pronounced enough that it caught the eye.

As he waited for his meeting, he watched the people about him. Some of them seemed to stand out as brilliant lights of personality. Others just seemed to be bland copies of each other. He wasn't sure if he pitied the ones who lacked originality or if he was disgusted by them. This question, and curiosity as to what there was to see, kept his eyes moving over the people about him. A balding heavy set man made his way out of a cubicle at the head of the line immediately before the waiting man.

As he walked up to his two fifteen appointment, he glanced down at the folder in his hand. The resume was impressive. It was clear that the neatly dressed man was overqualified for a phone jockey job, but the economy was hard. The balding man reached up and adjusted his tie minutely, realizing that he was at least two inches shorter then the man before him with a measure of discomfort. Pushing aside the unease roiling in the pit of his stomach, he reached forward and took the other man's hand.

Pumping the hand of the man before him up and down in an almost mechanical gesture as he affected an air of bored disinterest, the man in the suit found himself disgusted by the wretch before him. He had heard talk about this Mr. Smythe. Apparently, he had acquired a reputation for something of a bully. It was part of the reason why the red haired man was there. Tired of having a sobbing woman on the phone, he took the matter into his own hands. It took a bit of information manipulation and a few well placed deceptions, but it was shockingly easy to maneuver himself so that he was interviewing with his friend's harasser.

Smythe considered if the man who followed him down the corridor was a potential threat to his position. Recalling the long lapse between positions that he noted on the resume, Smythe was fairly certain that the tall man would bend to his will. After all, when a man with those kinds of qualifications is applying for a bottom feeder job, he has to be desperate for work. Smythe opened the door of the conference room and gestured the man in the black suit into the room. He thought about the scars on the other man's face, wondering if the red haired man was trouble. Smythe considered the other man's lean build and decided that it had to be some childhood mishap or something equally mundane to have caused the other's distinctive features. A toothpick thin man can't be much of a threat to anyone, right?

The tall man sat down in the chair at the right of the head of the table. Smythe took the chair at the head of the table, unable to suppress the quick thrill. He wanted to be head of the department. If he pulled it off, this would be his regular seat rather then down at the other end between a wet behind the ears college kid and a woman that he dubbed an ice queen. Smythe was pretty sure that she had to be some kind of militant feminist or something because she wouldn't even give him the time of day. Caught up in his brief fantasy of putting that ice queen into a position where she had to acknowledge his superiority, Smythe handed the tall man one of the bubble questionnaires that was in the folder.

The red haired man looked down at the form and restrained the urge to yawn. He was bored of paperwork. The entire project had been far too much paper pushing so far and he was ready to move onto the next phase. Deciding that his mark was sufficiently duped, the red haired man folded hands on the table before himself. Smythe looked at him in askance.

"Mr. Nailson, do you need a pen?" he asked. Nailson resisted the urge to smile, it was too easy. Smythe pulled a pen out of his pocket and reached across the table to hand it to Nailson. The moment the two hands met, Smythe gasped. Suddenly, the world seemed to have changed. Smythe sat up abruptly with a gasp, finding himself back in his cubicle. Nailson leaned against the outside wall of the cubicle, looking down at him.

"Mr. Smythe," said Nailson in an almost pleasant sounding tone, "I trust that your nap was sufficient?" Smythe looked about himself with a sense of dread, alarmed and deeply troubled by the change of events. Smythe opened his mouth to speak when Nailson lifted a finger on the hand resting on the top of the cubicle wall. "They can't see me. They can't hear me. As far as everyone else here is concerned, I don't exist," Nailson said.

Smythe reached to pick up the phone and call security when Nailson reached over and put a hand down on the receiver. Smythe stood up and called out, "Security!" Nailson's smug smirk was infuriating. Smythe move to push Nailson aside but, Nailson moved and Smythe fell out of his chair. As he sprawled on the floor, a few heads poked out of their respective cubicles and looked at him in confusion and mild alarm. Smythe's face darkened as he spluttered, "Security!"

One of Smythe's coworkers picked up their phone and punched a few numbers. Nailson pointed towards the commotion down the corridor as two burly security guards bustled towards them. Relief was palpable in Smythe's face as he scrambled to his feet. "Security, get this man out of here," Smythe demanded, pointing towards Nailson. The security guards gave Smythe an odd look. Smythe looked over his shoulder towards Nailson but the tall red headed man had moved.

He had walked over by where a small group was gathering. Confusion and concern was painted over their faces as Smythe glared at him. "Get him out of here, call the police," Smythe demanded. His coworkers looked between themselves and moving back as he stepped forward. Nailson didn't move, rather his smirk turned into a grin. Smythe's blood seemed to be set afire as the mysterious Nailson grinned at him.

Smythe remembered a grin similar to that. He was seventeen and a girl had laughed off his advances. He was going to put her in her place when she grinned at him and said two words, the same two that Nailson said as Smythe opened and closed his hands at his side: Do it. Fury that had boiled beneath the surface at the cool looks and the icy civility of his coworkers mingled with the anger that Smythe felt at Nailson's presence. "You're as bad as that bitch," Smythe spat, closing his right hand into a ham sized fist.

He swung and Nailson moved away. Failing to meet his target, Smythe was over balanced by his swing and stumbled forward. Squawks of alarm and demands that security do something came from the people who scrambled back away from Smythe. Nailson grinned at Smythe, standing in front of security. One of them stared at Smythe utterly in shock. The older of the two, a barrel chested man with a squint in his right eye and a name badge of Boorson looked Smythe over with an expression of disgust.

"Get this smirking son of a bitch out of here," Smythe demanded, glaring at Boorson.

Nailson made a rude gesture at Smythe, who lost what shreds of his composure he had regained to swing again. Boorson brushed past Nailson and tackled Smythe. He pinned the big, roly poly man to the floor as Smythe started to shout vulgarities. All of the rage that Smythe had nursed and conserved over the years came boiling out of him. Boorson restrained Smythe as his compatriot ran for the EMS personnel that were arriving. After a brief struggle, Smythe was wrestled onto a gurney. Nailson walked along side of the gurney along with Boorson as Smythe screamed death threats at him.

Boorson and Nailson walked out of the building. They watched as the EMS personnel loaded Smythe into the ambulance. Police walked between the two men and into the building. Boorson looked over at Nailson and shook his head. "Subtle, he said," the older man said. Nailson shrugged as he pulled out a cigarette and lit it. The pair walked across the blacktop as a pair of ravens pecked the ground.

How life killed my garden this year...

At the beginning of the month, I wound up going into the hospital due to complications with my disabilities. While I was in there, Beloved did his best to make sure that my prized plants survived the spate of ridiculously hot weather that we had. Unfortunately, he didn't realize that I had vegetable plants and a few herbs growing out on the back deck. Between the heat and the wonky weather earlier in the year, my hopes of getting a few tomatoes and some other veggies were dashed.

I got home and took one look at the back deck. Lots of dead plants. Hubby was able to keep my plants out front alive and well. I was thrilled to see how wonderfully my rose bushes are doing. I think I'd have cried if I lost yet another rose bush. I think that all the rest of my plants out side could have died and I wouldn't have cared if my roses were fine. I have a minor problem with Japanese Rose Beetles, but nothing compared to last year.

I still want to do a bit of canning this year and a few other food preserving projects. While the farmer's market is still going on, I think I'll be going over there and buying what I need. Because I'm going to be doing small batch canning, so I won't be putting up huge amounts of produce. Some of what I want to make, I can use frozen fruit for. (The difference between the strawberry freezer jam made with fresh vs frozen berries seems to be the frozen is a touch sweeter.)

I am thinking about what to do with the soil and how to store the pots for next season. I am seriously considering using the big plastic tote to store the soil. I'm torn between that or making something of a pile on the edge of the lawn near the trees. I have decided that I will be making compost but I'm unsure on the logistics of making this work. I think, however, that I'm just going to use the opportunity I have now to plan for next year.

After all, having a smaller workload with my plants means that I have more time to do the other stuff that needs done around here to get ready for autumn.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Mostly clean house, not bad for a monday.

The boys have been busy today. Snuggle Bug went off to preschool for the first day of summer session. He came home with what appears to be chocolate stains on the front of his outfit. I'm guessing this means that they had chocolate milk at lunch time, but I'm not sure. Cuddle Bear and I went for a walk to check out the Summer Program at Vitale Park. When we got there, however, we discovered that today was the day that the Summer Rec. kids had a program and it wasn't open to the public. We were assured, however, that tomorrow is open to the general public.

They said something about doing a feature on fish tomorrow. I'm pretty sure that Cuddle Bear will enjoy it. He is very interested in our betta fish, named Swimmers. The plan is that we go over there for their morning program, Cuddle Bear gets some socialization time with his peers, and then we head home to do some academic work.

Today, we focused on hand writing skills and fine motor skills. We then went out for another walk. The plan was to stop briefly at his best friend's house to visit before stopping for a pair of grilled cheese sandwiches at Minnehan's. It's funny, but the morning walk looked like rain so we brought an umbrella. The afternoon walk, however, looked like clear skies. So we left the umbrella home.

Shortly after we reached our friends' house, the skies opened up and it poured. Rather then walking the additional half mile, we just went home. We were drenched by the time we got home. So, we changed into dry clothes. Then I whipped together a lunch of snack foods. Cuddle Bear was especially pleased with the pretzels. Aldi has these honey-wheat twists that don't have a lot of salt. Pretty much the whole family loves them.

The last bucket of them that I got lasted us just over a week. After lunch, I started to wash up dishes when Cuddle Bear insisted that he had to help. As a result, he washed 90% of the dishes that needed done. He did a pretty good job, too. When it came to picking up the living room, however, he wasn't interested at all in helping with that. Once I finish this entry, I'm going to finish up the last little bit of work for that task. Then I'm going to give Cuddle Bear the electric sweeper and Snuggle Bug the duster. I will set them loose upon the room. As they're doing that, I'm going to water plants.

This evening, I'm going to try to get out and actually get a bit of serious exercise in. My approximate mile of walking was good for me, but I want to try to get a little running in. I've been thinking about it and giving up on the 5K really doesn't sound right to me. So, I am going to make time to run after Beloved gets home from work. If I run a bit everyday, that should have me up to running three miles by the end of September, right?

I am probably going to wind up wearing the pink shorts that I feel make my legs look awful. But, the focus is not how my legs look, but what I am doing with them, right? Mood wise, I'm in something of a mixed state. This has me not able to sit still for very long. (Hence why I've been working on catching up on my cleaning.) This is an improvement over the weekend and a few days before, where I was feeling somewhat depressed and anxious.

Dinner tonight is hamburgers. I'm also going to be giving the kids a bit of store made sauerkraut on the side with some chips. We'll see how they take to the sauerkraut with apples. They may like it, or they may turn their noses up at it.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Tour De Fleece status: bust.

I was hoping to do a lot of spinning for TdF this year. The humidity has been so horrid, however, that fiber is felting in my hands before I can do anything with it. I also have discovered that the bag of fleece that I thought I could just start spinning off of actually needs carded first. And it is a LOT of fleece. I think I'm going to have to resign myself to basically not participating in TdF this year. I'm pretty disappointed, but life happens.

Summer vacation, wheee!

So, the kids started their summer vacation approximately two weeks ago. It has been utter chaos around here. Between their being wired over the summer weather and a lack of previous routine and my developing a sinus infection due to my allergies, it was more then a little bit crazy here. Beloved is a wonderful, wonderful man who does amazing things to help me keep my head wrapped together properly.

I think the most fantastic thing is that as soon as he gets in the door, he takes over dealing with the kids. It was really distressing to realize earlier this week that I can't handle them when they're just going over the top crazy. I am still adjusting to the fact that my psychological issues have such a large impact on my life, but this was just like getting kicked in the teeth.

Then yesterday, Snuggle Bug decided to be an absolute hellion to his aunt (who was planning on watching them for a few days for us) so we had to go pick the kids up. I had really hoped that he was going to behave for her. It had been a case where he had decided that he was comfortable enough to start causing trouble. And then he didn't stop. I honestly have no idea what we're going to do with him.

Thankfully, summer session of preschool starts on Monday. I just have run out of ideas for what to do with him when he misbehaves. I'm going to ask the preschool what works for them, but I suspect that Snuggle Bug doesn't act up like this there. I try putting him in timeout, he screams and flails. If I am going to make him stay in timeout, I have to restrain him in my lap. Then he throws his head back and kicks, basically fighting like a wildcat. Spankings don't seem to have any effect on him, nor does yelling. Taking toys away doesn't phase him and sending him to bed just doesn't seem to have an effect either.

He's turning four this summer. I wish ... I wish I could figure out what makes this boy tick. This way we didn't have all the tears and screaming. This way he would listen more. As it stands, he has no real safety awareness and a huge dose of self willed motion. I find myself deeply concerned and uneasy.