About nine years ago, Madelene and I were on the hunt for a new condo or apartment to rent. It was slim pickings, because everything was way too small, and way too expensive. After months of rummaging through the classifieds, we saw that there was a condo for rent a bit upstate. We decided to take a look.
Now don’t get me wrong, there were shopping plazas and other ‘civilization’ out there, but more farmland than anything. The owner of the complex showed us an open unit for rent. You know when you walk into a place, you immediately feel ‘home’? That’s how it was. I automatically knew that this was the one. This was the place I was going to put my feet up, have a martini or five, and get away from everything and everyone. I was ‘home’.
The décor was mostly a southwestern theme. The kitchen had a beautiful island with a bar on the other side, so you can place stools there. (Of course I’d want my place to look like a pub, right?) No, this was really nice, and it let your guests talk to you while you cooked in the kitchen. Everything was just perfect. We had our own laundry room—which is unheard of in an ‘apartment’ usually, and the bathroom had a vanity that any drag queen would gasp over!
I got a job working only four minutes from the condo complex. Talk about luck, huh? There was a large corporate park located minutes from this place, so I thought, “Why work an hour away?” I found an accounting job at Sorrento Cheese Company. Why not? The money was ~okay~, however it made up for what the commute would have done to me.
My first day of work, I came back home smelling like a dairy farm. Not only was this the corporate office, there was also the factory inside the building. The worst part of it was, I had to walk through the factory to head over to the controller’s office if I needed something, and/or if he needed me. The smell of stale milk from the vats dripping access milk out onto the floor was enough to make me gag. The milk would ferment in the same spot for months, and end up recreating itself as blue cheese. We only made mozzarella. Everyone scurried when the inspectors came in looking for cheesy errors.
Coming home was a treat, because I was terrified of my stalker boss, who was the controller of the accountant department. I’d come home practically in tears. He literally drained the life out of me. When you walked into his gloomy office, he had demonic statues all over the place, and gargoyles placed on each corner of his desk. Now, I do realize that gargoyles are to keep ‘evil spirits’ away, however, I never understood the Satan statues that stared back at me. Rick, my boss, would stare at me with his little beady black eyes until I would practically faint. Onen day, I fainted while on the phone with Madelene after hours when I was about to leave the office. Rick grabbed the phone and told Madelene I'd call her back. Some say that his 'staring technique' was something that was used in some Satanism practices. He did this when he was upset with me. His hair looked like a toupee gone wrong. It was blue/black with a gloss to it. He was very tall and lanky, and walked like Lurch.
His sexual innuendos flew too easily. They weren’t even innuendos, he would spew out some sick shit! One day, the president’s secretary heard wind of this, while I was walking out of Rick’s office. She heard many comments being said to me, but never told me she knew…until the day of our holiday office party.
It was month end, and Rick and I were stuck in his office trying to fix his $10,000 mistake on the budget. I was trying to be nice and help him out. He never did ANY work. All the work was done by me, fixed by me, and his mistakes were covered up by me. I peeked at his resume, and it clearly stated that the only job he had, was a nightshift controller at a Motel 6 somewhere. Not for nothing, but anyone out of high school could get that position.
Anyway, as soon as Madelene and I arrived to the restaurant that they were holding the “holiday party”, (have to be politically correct here) everyone swooped us into the other room, to make sure we was seated far away from Rick. Obviously, the hens had a little powwow in the office earlier that day. They were concerned for me, and thought I was going to leave my job. I assured them that he didn’t have that much control over me.
A filet mignon and four cabernets later, I was tearing up the dance floor with my coworkers. Madelene always fit right in—wherever she went. People just gravitate to her and she becomes ‘one of them’ instantly when she mingles. I was never concerned about bringing her anywhere with me, which was a relief.
A slow song came on, and a very handsome factory worker came up to me, and asked me to dance. I didn’t mind—neither did Madelene. It was fun, and I got to know him better. He was sweet. He grew up in Mexico and told me about his life getting here, to America and getting his legal papers. Sorrento Cheese was big on having everything done properly. They even gave applicants reading comprehension tests. It seems discriminative, but believe me, there were tons of applicants that came in not knowing how to read one word. They didn’t even speak the language, so how were they supposed to know the ingredients or replacements of the cheese mixtures? Even though it was a ‘factory job’, you had to be good with numbers and had to be able to read.
Rick shuffles over and asks the man if he could cut in. I could see everyone staring at us, as this was taking place. My coworkers would not let their eyes off me. They thought everything was under control. It wasn’t. I was now in the arms of Satan himself. Since he was taller than me, my head came up to his chest. He grabbed me so close--practically squeezing the air out of me, and he had his right arm swung around my head, keeping it against his chest real tightly. It was W*E*I*R*D! He wouldn’t let up with his vice grip. It kept getting stronger and stronger, until I scurried out of his arms.
“Are you alright? Did everything go okay?” My coworker asked me.
“No, I’m fine, I just need a drink.” They all hurried to get me something to calm me down, seeing how tense I was being in the grips of Satan.
Then the nightmare---he decides to mingle with me at the bar.
“Want a smoke?” He asks.
“Oh, no thank you, I quit…”
“Well, take it back up again, so we can go outside and talk.” He says, as he smiles with his little pointy teeth.
“No, really, I’m fine.”
“You know, you should report to my office much earlier than you do. You don’t respect me, do you?”
“Rick, I have to make sure the truckloads of milk that come in are accounted for by weight and trek them down to the lab to see if the bacteria levels are acceptable. Then I come straight into your office right afterwards. You know that.”
“Well it has to change, because I see a lot of mistakes being made.” He says, knowing that all the mistakes he made were obviously covered up by ‘me’.
“And who was the one who lost ten thousand dollars from the budget? If you had the balls to own up to your errors, maybe I would respect you more.” I said, now having the ‘balls’ myself to stand up to him. (The wine helps.) I have now reminded him of his HUGE oops.
“Oh, I have quite the handful. You should come find out, if you could just get into my office a little earlier. You can find out for yourself how big my balls really are...”
That was it. I stormed off with Madelene and went home. I couldn’t believe the nerve of this guy. The very next day I reported to him…much later than he expected. He sat there with a contract for me to sign stating that I will never be late again, or I would be fired.
“Sign on the bottom please.” He says.
“Naw, I think I’d rather have you fire me.” I said, as I flung the contract back over to him.
“You’re not going to sign?”
“Nope. Fire me.” I said, really hoping he would. He starts laughing…but laughing hard. He almost sounded like one of those carnival haunted house voices that laughed continuously; making the hairs behind your neck stand.
“Mua-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! Fine, you’re fired then! Ha-ha-ha-ha!” He said, joking around and laughing like a complete lunatic. He didn’t want me to go. He thought I would never leave. He needed me. He needed me to cover up for him. He needed me, because he needed his own job.
“Thank you so much,” I said, as I reached over to shake his hand, “it’s been such a pleasure to have worked with you!” I walked out, and went straight into the president’s office.
“Debbie!!! How nice of you to visit me! Come in, what’s going on?” He said, always greeting me with a smile. We were friends—he was one of the nicest guys I have ever come across.
“Well, Rick just fired me, so I wanted to say my goodbyes to you now.”
“WHAT?” He says, as his big blue eyes welled up with tears. His eyes automatically got bloodshot. I felt awful doing this to Bill.
“He can’t fire you!!! He has no authority to fire you!!! He has to consult with me first!!! This is outrageous and I want to have a meeting now!!!” He shouted loudly. I could see the blood vessels coming to the surface of his face.
“No, Bill, I have to go. It’s been awful what I’ve been going through. Just make sure the next girl who takes my place doesn’t get harassed by him, because you’ll have one law suit on your hands. I’m not the type to sue, I just leave.”
Bill gave me a big bear hug, and let me walk out of his office. Then there was Anne, the secretary. She was all ears. I’m surprised she didn’t have a cup up against the door to overhear things that went on in that office. She knew, because she had tears in her eyes. She didn’t say one word…and then ran over to me and hugged me. I was trying to keep my composure, because these people became my family. It was one of my favorite jobs, because I worked with my best friends. If it weren’t for Rick and his awkward behavior, I would have still been there today. I guess everything happens for a reason.
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