Here’s a few more words to accompany last week’s story fragment (scroll down just a bit – 11:54am – to read the first part):
Shari Leadbetter didnâ€™t so much jump from One Worldâ€™s roof as she did lean over the edge until she fell. That doesnâ€™t make much difference however, because at ground level you couldnâ€™t really say too much about Shariâ€™s pre-impact condition other than she was going for a particular result. (The reader may now ask whether this is true, given the inner speech quote above.) And, although one couldnâ€™t say much about Shariâ€™s condition before the fall â€“ that stopped no one from speculating.
â€œDo you think it was her weight?â€ was the most-bandied-about guess.
â€œNah, she was having problems at home,â€ guess number two. â€œHer husband was leaving her.â€
â€œBecause of her weight, right?â€ The physical trumped the psychological or always contributed to it in some way.
Macy Chi Chian (and a host of others whose offices dot the southwesterly wall of the building) saw Shari plummet. Well, Macy didnâ€™t necessarily see that it was Shari Leadbetter, or even that it was a person who dropped past her window. She saw something â€“ but didnâ€™t know it was one of her employees.
Shariâ€™s falling body did stir Macy from her overstuffed, rolling, leather chair.
â€œGet up, quick,â€ she demanded of her secretary, Tony. Tony didnâ€™t right away respond. Either his head and tongue were working to a rhythm he could not control or Marcyâ€™s legs held him so tight that his ears were blocked. â€œGet the fuck up!â€ she said louder and loosened her legs.
â€œWhatâ€™s wrong, Ms. Chi Chian? I told you it was too early in the morning.â€
â€œItâ€™s not too early in the morning, Tony. Something big just fell past the window.â€
An uncomprehending raise of the eyebrow combined with Tonyâ€™s glistening face made Macy feel the familiar, giddy rush of control.
â€œA person?â€ Tony asked, wiping his face with his sleeve.
â€œOh, Jesus, I donâ€™t know. I wasnâ€™t exactly paying attention.â€ Tony smiled. â€œGo clean yourself up before the rest of the team gets here.â€
Macyâ€™s phone rang. She answered and was quiet. In a surprisingly sincere voice she asked, â€œYouâ€™re kidding, right?â€ A pause, then she hung up.
â€œLooks like youâ€™re flying solo today.â€
â€œWha? Shariâ€™s not coming in? Goddammit, I swear Iâ€™m sick of picking up that bitchâ€™s slack.â€
Macy glared. â€œDo you like your job?â€ Tony nodded. â€œDo you want to go back to the call center?â€ Tony shook his head. â€œThen donâ€™t ever use that fucking word around me again. I fucking hate it.â€ Her tone shifted from freezer cold to refrigerator cool. â€œBesides, youâ€™ll be flying solo for a while.â€ Her glare softened too as she looked out the window. â€œShari just jumped off the roof.â€
â€œLook, the mediaâ€™s on its way and once people see pictures of Shariâ€™s body weâ€™re gonna have a shit storm on our hands.â€
Ben Borek exuded cool logic. He should. Heâ€™s Senior Vice President of Risk Management.
Macy sat with the other ten members of OWCIâ€™s Board of Directors. She said to the group, â€œIt seems less than coincidence that this would happen on the day of our annual board meeting. Given that weâ€™re already under federal audit scrutinyâ€¦why not do some drastic to remind the media and the public of our other issues?â€
Ed Vyrtle, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer: â€œLeadbetter was one of yours, Macy. Did you see this coming? Did she know something she shouldnâ€™t have?â€ He laughed. â€œWe are working within the bounds of federal and state regulation. The law is on our side.â€
Macy spat venom, â€œI know, Ed. I helped draft the initial proposals, remember? The question isnâ€™t a legal one but one of ethics. If what weâ€™ve planned goes public too soon, Iâ€™m afraid the public criticism may be too much for the Company to bear.â€
â€œThere is neither place nor budgetary allowances for ethics in business. Ever,â€ Randall Mayniham, Senior Vice President, Marketing. â€œYou of al people should know that, Ms. Chi Chian. You donâ€™t grow a company to the size of our Company by adhering to ethical standards that donâ€™t accurately reflect todayâ€™s business environment.â€
The pointed formality annoyed Macy to ire. â€œGoddammit! Listen to me! Donâ€™t just hear what you want to hear. Iâ€™m not talking about personal ethics here. Shari knew about our contractual negotiations with the federal administration. We know itâ€™s legal. Shari knew it was legal. But did you ever think what an employee might do if they thought the business was more than a little unethical?â€
â€œNever that they might jump off the bleeding roof,â€ Lester Rollins, Senior Vice President, Human Resources. â€œWouldnâ€™t just quitting make a bit more sense?â€
Macy sighed. â€œCould we have let her?â€ She let the weight of her implication sink in to the Board. â€œLook, I donâ€™t know. It seems quite coincidental is what Iâ€™m getting at.â€
â€œWeâ€™ll tell the newsblogs and mediacams what we know,â€ continued Lester. â€œAnd what we know is more or less the truth of the matter. Did someone order flowers for the family?â€
Macy would have answered but the phone interrupted.
Dan Poppitz, President, and CEO: â€œThis is Dan.â€ Danâ€™s jaw dropped and a gassy gasp leaked out. â€œOf course.â€ He hung up the phone and turned to Ed Vyrtle. â€œEd, itâ€™s Terry. The mail room found her on the back dock. She jumped off the roof.â€
Not a paper shuffled. Not a suit stirred.
The Board prematurely adjourned and Macy walked back to her office. Tony caught her right before she entered. He was hysterical.
â€œHoly shit, Macy! Did they get a hold of you? About Terry?â€
â€œYes,â€ Macy snapped and slammed her officer door behind her.
Tucked into her corner she looked out over the southern spread of her city, Zinfield. My city. My company. My employee. Someone banged on her closed door. â€œWhat the shit is going on, Macy?â€ Tony.
She opened the door a crack. â€œCalm down. Senior management is working on it. Just stay by the phones.â€
â€œJust do your job and relax,â€ she repeated and slowly replaced the door between her and Tony. She walked over to window and looked down. A small crowd had gathered around the spot where Shari landed. Is she still down there? Macy watched as the first of a small army of remote-guided mediacams propelled their way to the messy scene. One of the miniature helicopters broke from the pack and rose up alongside the building. Wide-lens eye captured great footage of OWCIâ€™s one female executive, Macy Chi Chian, Senior Vice President, and Chief Information Officer. What am I going to tell the Board? Followed shortly by How am I going to protect the Company? She reached out to push a button that activated the window tint. Losing its subject, the mediacam resumed the search for news and descended down upon Shari Leadbetterâ€™s body.
Another knock at the door.
â€œTony, dammit, do what I tell you or the next time youâ€™re between my legs â€“,â€ Macy cut herself short when she opened the door and there stood Lester. â€œOhâ€¦whatâ€™s the news, Lester? Where are we headed?â€
â€œMay I come in?â€ he asked.
â€œSure, sure. What are we â€“,â€ she shut the door. Tony Egga stood up in his ovacle, but lost the last part of what Macy said. He sat back down and dialed Lesterâ€™s assistant, Henrietta.
â€œHuman Resources, this is Henrietta.â€
â€œHen, do you ever take the stairs instead of the elevator?â€
â€œNot unless the elevator is busted and I canâ€™t wait for maintenance to fix it.â€
â€œShari and Terry were both stair walkers.â€
â€œSo, both of them had names that ended in â€œeeeâ€ too. Shit, Tony, so do you!â€
â€œWhat are you getting at?â€ Henrietta was chewed on something.
â€œJust making an observation. Wanted to know if youâ€™d talked with anyone or been in the stairwell, today â€“ thatâ€™s all.â€
â€œNo, no, and before you ask, no.â€
â€œHow do you â€“,â€ Tony stammered.
â€œTone, seriously, Iâ€™ve got phones ringing and co-workers bawling. And I have no idea where Lester is.â€
â€œHeâ€™s with Macy.â€
â€œDid he have his Trak Badge on?
â€œI didnâ€™t notice. Should I get him?â€
Henrietta chuckled. â€œYou looking for an excuse to go knockinâ€™?â€
Ignoring her, Tony said, â€œWell, heâ€™s here if you need him.â€
â€œSure, sure. Look, Iâ€™ve gotta go. Take the elevator today,â€ and she hung up.
Smart ass. â€œTake the elevator today.â€ Hussy.
Macyâ€™s door swung open and Tony heard her yell his name.
â€œI need thirteen copies of this.â€ She met him at her door and handed over one sheet of paper with a small amount of type on it. â€œBring them back here when youâ€™re done,â€ and she slammed the door.
Tony walked over to the copier and hit the button. The copier sucked up the single sheet. Careful. You eat too fast and youâ€™ll get sick. Sure enough, a second later the copier began vomiting paper like a mechanical bulimic. One hundred twenty-six years of the â€œpaperlessâ€ environment. The greening of the office. Tony folded his arms to wait for the copies.
Finished, he brought the warm stack to Macyâ€™s door, which opened before he knocked. â€œJESUS, Tony, you cared me!â€
â€œYouâ€™re too efficient. I was just bringing you a revised version that I need copied instead. Here,â€ and handed him the single sheet. With a thumb and forefinger, Tony took the paper. His other hand clinched the thing stack. Paperless environment. Once again Macy shut the door right in his face.
â€œHe really is an efficient admin,â€ she said to Lester and sat down. â€œHis headâ€™s always in the right place.â€
â€œSure, sure. Macy, we need to get someone from Legal up here on this. I donâ€™t feel comfortable releasing any statements without their consent.â€
â€œThatâ€™s fine, Les, but we canâ€™t hold onto this for much longer. We need to get something to the Zinfield media and something to Washington. We have to be very careful how we step in DC. And we have to be very aware of who in-house is aware of the transaction. Two Seniorâ€™s admins in the same day, Les.â€
â€œI know, I know. Christ, I know. I want Legal in on this statement. The fucking exposureâ€¦this could end up terribly for the Company.â€
â€œAll right. Letâ€™s get Legal on the phone,â€ and turned to her phone. â€œLegal,â€ she said and the phone rang. No answer. The called rolled out to the assistant. No answer there either. Macy jumped up and threw open her door. â€œTONY?â€ When he didnâ€™t immediately respond Macy yelled, â€œSHARI?â€ Lester coughed. â€œShit,â€ and clapped her hand to her mouth. â€œOh, shit.â€
â€œItâ€™s OK. Hop on the net and page Tonyâ€™s Trak Badge.â€
â€œGood idea,â€ and strode over to her monitor. â€œNo hiding from us, Mr. Egga. Duty calls.â€
Tony never wore his Trak Badge. He hated that the Company could find employees anywhere with those Trak Badges. He was stubborn like that plus he liked to shit alone in the knowledge that he was shitting. Well, he and whomever might be in the stalls next door.
Thankfully, the other stalls were empty while Tony enjoyed a painfully pleasurable poop â€“ the kind that stretches you almost to widths you canâ€™t bear for just about longer that you can take before everythingâ€™s out and you breeeeathe long and deep like youâ€™re supposed to when the doc hooks you up to the gas.
Done with doo, Tony pulled from his pocket a small, multi-colored, tightly knit, zippered bag. From within he removed a small vial filled with an oily substance, a hard plastic mortar and pestle, and a ball of aluminum foil. The vial he placed on the tile floor and the mortar and pestle he rested in the fold where his thigh met his waist. Then Tony unwrapped the ball of foil to uncover a small chunk of orange and white. This he put into the mortar and ground to dust with the pestle. Then he spit into the dust and pulverized the mixture into a paste. Finally, he picked up the vial, unscrewed the eyedropper top, and squeezed three drops â€“ no, four â€“ into the paste. More grinding. More spit. The end result: a clear, gooey liquid. Tony sucked up the substance into the eyedropper and dropped three drops into each eye. Tears welled and his nose ran. Tonyâ€™s eyes turned blue, then purple, before fading to a dull red.
â€œYum, yum,â€ to the overhead florescent.
He shut his eyes and whispered again, â€œYumyum.â€
â€œYumyum,â€ something whispered back.
I found this over at Yaaarr: Jon Stewart interviewed by O’Reilly
I don’t know how I missed it either, Rusty. (Well, probably because I think O’Reilly has about as much appeal as a moldy sack of panda poop, but still – I figured I would have heard about it before today.)
is tony doing futuredrugs? i like that.
p.s. i gotcha ovacle right here
Posted by: rubigimlet at September 23, 2004 12:56 PM
he may be doing future drugs…
he may just have a case of future fried eyes.
Posted by: jdoublep at September 23, 2004 03:59 PM