That bitch. She’s done it again. It’s only nine fucking a.m., and she, of course, has been here since before fucking sparrow fart, and she’s done all my work, again.
Great. I’m going to get fired and it’s all her fault. My vision is a windshield covered with red paint and my scalp prickles.
I look over at her, she’s waiting for me to acknowledge how much better than me she is but I bite the inside of my cheek and I look away.
It’s a pity, I tell her silently, that you smell like shit. Yes, you, the most important woman in the world, take a crap, for god’s sake why don’t you? But I know the answer to that.
She’s too busy to defecate, she’s too busy attending to all the important matters, the ones everyone else is ignoring — she’s too busy doing my work. Oh, I can’t wait to get rid of her.
You. Across the room, I watch you arrive. Late, you’re always late. And how will you feel, I wonder, when you see that I’ve done it all in record time? I’ve finished all of my work and yours too. You’re useless.
I’m bit disappointed by your non-reaction and some of the happy feeling in my chest disappears and the hard lump in my belly rises into my throat and I can taste it.
I wish I had more time to go to the washroom. I’ve been here since 6 a.m. fixing other people’s mistakes. My bowels are so full I feel sick. I’m afraid that if I leave my desk, I’ll miss out on something, things will get done without me and they’ll see they can manage on their own and I’ll lose my job and with it, everything that matters to me.
I hope no one notices my stink. I try to cover the smell with baby powder, and I worry that people in meetings might think an infant with dirty diapers has been left under the boardroom table but no, it’s only me, a fifty-year-old woman with no life and an ageing nagging Italian mother at home who hounds me day and night asking me in that voice of hers, why I haven’t got a husband and three kids, why, why, why??
But who would have me? My voice is like a man’s; I’m short, stocky, brutish. My manner is brusque, bossy.
So I work night and day, all hours, never stopping, not even to go to the washroom because I am so afraid. I eventually go home to Mother, force her food down my stuffed gullet and listen to her ask why, why, why?? and then I sit on the toilet straining but nothing happens and I wonder how my life ended up this way.
I’m always in pain. Laxatives don’t work. Nothing works. I am being crushed by the python of my life’s disappointments.
It’s time get rid of her. Thinking about killing her cheers me up. But how? Then I realize I can pull the trigger on her life, send her to her grave, get her the fuck out of my life.
The next day she drops a printout on my desk. “I understand,” she whispers quickly, “about your condition. I’ve got a naturopath friend, he mixed up a smoothie for you. Bottom drawer of your desk. I won’t tell anybody. But honey,” she pinched her nostrils with her fingers, “you really need to take care of it.”
My face is puce and I want to cry. But I don’t. I slide the bottom drawer open and there is a green concoction in a glass jar. Could it help?
A small glimmer of hope flutters in my chest. I undo the lid of the jar and sniff the drink. It smells sweet. I take a sip and then I gulp it all down. I take the jar to the kitchen and rinse it and I give it back to her.
“I’ll let you know,” I mutter.
“Oh,” she said sweetly, “I’ll know.”
Lisa De Nikolits’ extremely creepy story has made us all form a King Rat tonight, for warmth and consolation.
We are, above all, so deeply pleased by her generous contribution, and thank her for her graciousness and mad skills.
Illustration: Corey Cuisineau, Thank you Corey, for this funny, beautifully rendered, bit of chill!