“Did you deliver the package?” Reg asked as I squishily stomped into the office.
“Yes and no,” I answered sharply before plopping heavily into my chair, “These frickin’ freak rain storms.”
I caught a glimpse of myself in the computer monitor; looked like a drowned rat. I decided that I had to amend the self-appraisal – I looked worse than a drowned rat. The fur of a drowned rat, once dry, would at least fit the rat. My five hundred dollar suit on the other hand with the splotches and splatters of paint along the front had already decided that it wouldn’t wait to dry before shrinking; it must have dropped down two sizes in the thirty seconds I had been inside.
“Yes and no?” Reg asked, breaking out of my Pierre Cardin sulk.
With a sigh I told Reg that I had gotten half way to our boss’s, Mr. Henderson, house with his forty thousand dollar Neville Nubnibbler original painting anniversary present for his wife, Lori, when the rain had snuck up on me. It was bad enough knowing that a person who didn’t fully cover his mouth when they sneezed could release the little volume of liquid necessary to ruin my suit but my brand new Lexus coupe had decided that it wasn’t going to wait for me to do a deep cleaning of its interior and had taken up the cause by refusing to let the top, which I had down because I was silly enough to believe the weather channel’s assurances of a ‘clear and warm day” at par, roll back into position.
To make matters worse, halfway up their driveway the car got stuck in a deep trench that the flash flooding of the downpour had hidden from my sight and I had to grab the painting, whose protective cover had been breeched by my stickshift and run to the house. I had just rung the door bell when I noticed the giant gash in the paper. I really didn’t think of my actions before hand otherwise I wouldn’t have instinctively tried to dry the painting by patting it with my suit before the door opened. Dumb move on my part.
When Lori Henderson opened the door she wasn’t presented with Nubnibbler’s “Barrack Obama as Lady Godiva” but a three foot by two foot canvas with multicoloured splotches. I really hoped her thing was impressionism. A few moments of uncomfortable “It’s…uhm, er…lovely, thank you’s” ensued after presenting her with the over sized used ass wipe and I left to spend twenty minutes getting my car out of the watery trap before heading back to the office. I stopped talking and awaited Reg’s comments and ragging; I could tell it was building up I knew, it was just that he hadn’t gotten from his apex of muted laughter to an audible level. I was saved by his telephone beeping at him.
Reg answered the phone, trying desperately to deepen his giddy high pitched laugh induced tone while I grabbed a paper towel and tried to get some of the paint off at least the lapel of the suit. I heard a couple of ‘yes sir’s and one or two ‘uh-huh’s’ thrown in for good measure before he set the phone back down and looked at me.
Reg pointed to the closed door at the end of the hallway and said, “Henderson’s waiting for you to report in.”
I stood up, grabbed another paper towel to wipe some of the wetness from my face, heading towards the boss’s office.
“Hey,” Reg said. I stopped and turned around.
“You’ve got it all wrong,” he said with a smirk.
I was confused.
“It’s his dick you’re supposed to suck, not the other way around,” Reg completed saying as he pointed to my crotch.
Oh great, I thought, it wasn’t just the suit that had shrunk but my pants had gone on the water diet as well. They had shrunk to the point where the fly couldn’t hold the tightness and had burst open. I grabbed a safety pin from the first aid kit and secured it in the middle in hopes that Mr. Henderson wouldn’t notice the butterfly kiss the front of my pants would be making at him. I took a deep breath and walked like a prisoner on death row to the end office and knocked loudly. I heard a gruff, “enter” and opened the door.
I walked into Mr. Henderson’s office. He didn’t look up from his paperwork when he asked if I had gave his wife their anniversary present.
“Yes, sir, I gave her the painting,” I said with an air of trepidation hanging heavily on my shoulders. Mr. Henderson looked up.
I noticed that his hearing aid was lying uselessly off to the side of the paperwork.
“I SAID I GAVE IT TO YOUR WIFE!!”
The reaction I received wasn’t the one I expected; I hadn’t given him the bad news yet there was a scowl on his face. His eyes narrowed.
“You look terrible,” Mr. Henderson announced curtly, “what the hell happened to you?”
I sighed and answered, “The rain came quickly.”
Damn half-deaf bugger.
“I said THE RAIN CAME QUICKLY,” a little louder and a little more irritably.
Mr. Henderson looked at me quizzically for a moment then his cheeks reddened.
“Came quickly, did she?” He said in a stern voice.
“YES, THE RAIN DID,” I confirmed, thanking the gods silently that the bugger had gotten it. Now the hard part; to tell him that his painting had been ruined. I started to mime out the rain falling and making the paint run, the effort I took trying to spot dry the painting on the front of me jacket.
“SEE, THE RAIN SOAKED IT,” I shouted, hoping that I still would have a job though it wasn’t looking good from the deepening of the red in his cheeks. The colour started to migrate into the whites of his eyes; never a good sign. Mr. Henderson’s voice became even colder as he stared at the shredded paper in my hand.
“So she did this, eh” he growled. I nodded.
“YES, SHE CAME IN BUCKETS,” I stammered, “YOU CAN SEE THE RESULTS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!”
I didn’t think it was possible for an oak desk sound like a chalkboard, but somehow it was doing a fine imitation of it as Mr. Henderson’s gnarled fingers scraped across it. It was then I noticed that he wasn’t staring harshly at the wrecked paper towel but beyond it. I looked down to see where his attention was…at my wide open fly – the safety pin had come undone without my notice. Great, just flippin’ great – not only had I destroyed his forty thousand dollar painting but I was standing there telling I had done it with Mr. Happy bobbing his head at the old man as my supporter. Things couldn’t get any worse I had thought – funny how sometimes just when you think you’re at the bottom you discover there’s a sub-basement.
Mr. Henderson stood up, supporting himself by using his quivering fists as supports on his desk.
“So you come in here,” he started off quietly stating, “And have the audacity to have your wang hanging out…”
The volume and tremor in his voice increased with every enunciation. This wasn’t looking good.
“…Boasting about HOW YOU MADE MY WIFE LORRIANE…”
I tried to shout, “THE RAIN! THE RAIN! NOT LORRAINE!” No words could however get past the large ball of horror that had gotten stuck in my throat.
“…ABOUT HOW QUICKLY SHE CAME?”
I could see Reg laughing his ass off through the open door as Mr. Henderson came around menacingly slow his desk. I tried to get my feet to head out that door but I found myself paralyzed to that spot as Mr. Henderson slammed my way to freedom shut; I prepared for the worse.
Mr. Henderson shuffled until his bald head was almost touching my nose and he poked my chest with his gnarled finger.
“IN BUCKETS, NO LESS!” He spat at me. “YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NOW? DO YOU, BOY? DO YOU?”
My legs were losing their strength; trembling as I “er” ed and “uhm”ed.
Mr. Henderson stepped back, pulling my head down to where my ear was directly in his seething lips path. In a snarl he started out by saying, “You’re going to tell me…”
The venomous tinge left his voice and was replaced by an almost pleading one.
“…How you did it.” He let me go and then brushed smooth the sopping wet material.
“How did you do it? Damn it boy, you have to tell me! I’ve used a snorkel with an eight hour tank, Lithuanian Albino midgets with French ticklers glued to their heads, elephants with nasal tics, Uranium powered rockets and still had to use a barrel of lube”…