More of the story started last week.

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 didn’t so much jump from One World’s roof as she did lean over the edge until she fell. That doesn’t make much difference however, because at ground level you couldn’t really say too much about Shari’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 couldn’t say much about Shari’s condition before the fall – that stopped no one from speculating.

“Do you think it was her weight?” was the most-bandied-about guess.

“Nah, she was having problems at home,” guess number two. “Her husband was leaving her.”

“Because of her weight, right?” 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 didn’t necessarily see that it was Shari Leadbetter, or even that it was a person who dropped past her window. She saw something – but didn’t know it was one of her employees.

Shari’s falling body did stir Macy from her overstuffed, rolling, leather chair.

“Get up, quick,” she demanded of her secretary, Tony. Tony didn’t right away respond. Either his head and tongue were working to a rhythm he could not control or Marcy’s legs held him so tight that his ears were blocked. “Get the fuck up!” she said louder and loosened her legs.

“What’s wrong, Ms. Chi Chian? I told you it was too early in the morning.”

“It’s not too early in the morning, Tony. Something big just fell past the window.”

An uncomprehending raise of the eyebrow combined with Tony’s glistening face made Macy feel the familiar, giddy rush of control.

“A person?” Tony asked, wiping his face with his sleeve.

“Oh, Jesus, I don’t know. I wasn’t exactly paying attention.” Tony smiled. “Go clean yourself up before the rest of the team gets here.”

Macy’s phone rang. She answered and was quiet. In a surprisingly sincere voice she asked, “You’re kidding, right?” A pause, then she hung up.

“Looks like you’re flying solo today.”

“Wha? Shari’s not coming in? Goddammit, I swear I’m sick of picking up that bitch’s slack.”

Macy glared. “Do you like your job?” Tony nodded. “Do you want to go back to the call center?” Tony shook his head. “Then don’t ever use that fucking word around me again. I fucking hate it.” Her tone shifted from freezer cold to refrigerator cool. “Besides, you’ll be flying solo for a while.” Her glare softened too as she looked out the window. “Shari just jumped off the roof.”

FLIGHT FOUR

“Look, the media’s on its way and once people see pictures of Shari’s body we’re gonna have a shit storm on our hands.”

Ben Borek exuded cool logic. He should. He’s Senior Vice President of Risk Management.

Macy sat with the other ten members of OWCI’s Board of Directors. She said to the group, “It seems less than coincidence that this would happen on the day of our annual board meeting. Given that we’re already under federal audit scrutiny…why not do some drastic to remind the media and the public of our other issues?”

Ed Vyrtle, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer: “Leadbetter was one of yours, Macy. Did you see this coming? Did she know something she shouldn’t have?” He laughed. “We are working within the bounds of federal and state regulation. The law is on our side.”

Macy spat venom, “I know, Ed. I helped draft the initial proposals, remember? The question isn’t a legal one but one of ethics. If what we’ve planned goes public too soon, I’m afraid the public criticism may be too much for the Company to bear.”

“There is neither place nor budgetary allowances for ethics in business. Ever,” Randall Mayniham, Senior Vice President, Marketing. “You of al people should know that, Ms. Chi Chian. You don’t grow a company to the size of our Company by adhering to ethical standards that don’t accurately reflect today’s business environment.”

The pointed formality annoyed Macy to ire. “Goddammit! Listen to me! Don’t just hear what you want to hear. I’m not talking about personal ethics here. Shari knew about our contractual negotiations with the federal administration. We know it’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?”

“Never that they might jump off the bleeding roof,” Lester Rollins, Senior Vice President, Human Resources. “Wouldn’t just quitting make a bit more sense?”

Macy sighed. “Could we have let her?” She let the weight of her implication sink in to the Board. “Look, I don’t know. It seems quite coincidental is what I’m getting at.”

“We’ll tell the newsblogs and mediacams what we know,” continued Lester. “And what we know is more or less the truth of the matter. Did someone order flowers for the family?”

Macy would have answered but the phone interrupted.

Dan Poppitz, President, and CEO: “This is Dan.” Dan’s jaw dropped and a gassy gasp leaked out. “Of course.” He hung up the phone and turned to Ed Vyrtle. “Ed, it’s Terry. The mail room found her on the back dock. She jumped off the roof.”

Not a paper shuffled. Not a suit stirred.

FLIGHT FIVE

The Board prematurely adjourned and Macy walked back to her office. Tony caught her right before she entered. He was hysterical.

“Holy shit, Macy! Did they get a hold of you? About Terry?”

“Yes,” 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. “What the shit is going on, Macy?” Tony.

She opened the door a crack. “Calm down. Senior management is working on it. Just stay by the phones.”

Tony protested.

“Just do your job and relax,” 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 OWCI’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 Leadbetter’s body.

Another knock at the door.

“Tony, dammit, do what I tell you or the next time you’re between my legs –,” Macy cut herself short when she opened the door and there stood Lester. “Oh…what’s the news, Lester? Where are we headed?”

“May I come in?” he asked.

“Sure, sure. What are we –,” 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 Lester’s assistant, Henrietta.

“Human Resources, this is Henrietta.”

“Hen, do you ever take the stairs instead of the elevator?”

FLIGHT SIX

“Not unless the elevator is busted and I can’t wait for maintenance to fix it.”

“Shari and Terry were both stair walkers.”

“So, both of them had names that ended in “eee” too. Shit, Tony, so do you!”

“I’m serious.”

“What are you getting at?” Henrietta was chewed on something.

“Just making an observation. Wanted to know if you’d talked with anyone or been in the stairwell, today – that’s all.”

“No, no, and before you ask, no.”
“How do you –,” Tony stammered.

“Tone, seriously, I’ve got phones ringing and co-workers bawling. And I have no idea where Lester is.”

“He’s with Macy.”

“Did he have his Trak Badge on?
“I didn’t notice. Should I get him?”

Henrietta chuckled. “You looking for an excuse to go knockin’?”

Ignoring her, Tony said, “Well, he’s here if you need him.”

“Sure, sure. Look, I’ve gotta go. Take the elevator today,” and she hung up.

Smart ass. “Take the elevator today.” Hussy.

Macy’s door swung open and Tony heard her yell his name.

“Yes, Macy.”
“I need thirteen copies of this.” She met him at her door and handed over one sheet of paper with a small amount of type on it. “Bring them back here when you’re done,” 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 you’ll get sick. Sure enough, a second later the copier began vomiting paper like a mechanical bulimic. One hundred twenty-six years of the “paperless” environment. The greening of the office. Tony folded his arms to wait for the copies.

Finished, he brought the warm stack to Macy’s door, which opened before he knocked. “JESUS, Tony, you cared me!”

“Copies.”

“You’re too efficient. I was just bringing you a revised version that I need copied instead. Here,” 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.

“He really is an efficient admin,” she said to Lester and sat down. “His head’s always in the right place.”

“Sure, sure. Macy, we need to get someone from Legal up here on this. I don’t feel comfortable releasing any statements without their consent.”

“That’s fine, Les, but we can’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 Senior’s admins in the same day, Les.”

“I know, I know. Christ, I know. I want Legal in on this statement. The fucking exposure…this could end up terribly for the Company.”

“All right. Let’s get Legal on the phone,” and turned to her phone. “Legal,” 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. “TONY?” When he didn’t immediately respond Macy yelled, “SHARI?” Lester coughed. “Shit,” and clapped her hand to her mouth. “Oh, shit.”

“It’s OK. Hop on the net and page Tony’s Trak Badge.”

“Good idea,” and strode over to her monitor. “No hiding from us, Mr. Egga. Duty calls.”

FLIGHT SEVEN

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 – the kind that stretches you almost to widths you can’t bear for just about longer that you can take before everything’s out and you breeeeathe long and deep like you’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 – no, four – 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. Tony’s eyes turned blue, then purple, before fading to a dull red.

“Yum, yum,” to the overhead florescent.

He shut his eyes and whispered again, “Yumyum.”

“Yumyum,” 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.)

Comments

that was a vivid doodoo session

is tony doing futuredrugs? i like that.

p.s. i gotcha ovacle right here

Posted by: rubigimlet at September 23, 2004 12:56 PM

haha!

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

More of the story started last week.