Monday, June 8, 2015

Contest Season: "Skin" (A Subverted Fairy Tale Office Romance)

Meet the Hero...

Chapter 2

                Russell had been at Lordon PR and Marketing for seven years but rose up the ranks for doing an exceptional job. He was efficient, finished before deadlines, ideas came quickly to him, and he had a lot of free time. Being a reserved and kind man, he never really got to date much. A few girls in the past were bold enough to instigate a relationship with him, one being Sally whom he dated for three years. The relationship became companionable, so much so that when she suggested marriage he refused and they parted ways. There wasn’t even a fight. He never even missed her. He actually was quite happy to give her the apartment and moved into a much bigger one downtown.

                He worried from time to time about his lonely and dull life with its constant routines: coffee shop mornings, work, the gym, watching TV or reading a book, and Friday meeting up with friends. On the weekend he’d clean the apartment and take care of all the other miscellaneous things life needed to run smoothly. One Sunday every month, he visited family: golf, dinners, or a BBQ at his older brother Jim and his partner Larry’s house in the suburbs.

                His life was full, but there was no spark. His friend Brian made him meet up with girls every Friday, always scheduling double dates. Sometimes Russell slept with them, sometimes he didn’t, but rarely did he ever pursue them. He longed for something to happen to him. Brian lectured him that he had to drop the “adolescent apathetic act and grab life by the horns and make his own adventure,” but he just couldn’t figure out how or who to start the next chapter of his life with.

                Then one day, a bubbly, blond intern walked in the door. Goldie was beautiful so he knew his boss George, who thought with his cock all the time, would hire her. Russell liked to watch her, not in a creepy way but he found everything about her to be exciting. She was like a live wire, always full of energy. In meetings her foot would tap on the floor driving him to distraction; she would bite the end of her pen when she was thinking hard. She was outspoken always giving input, and she was intelligent, although for some reason she seemed to hide it. She made herself memorable and when they had a meeting to discuss hiring on one of the interns, he suggested Goldie by listing all of her good work and the accounts she helped in. No one thought anything of his recommendation, since Russell was known to be punctilious about everything. They thought he just kept track of everything about everyone.

                Russell couldn’t fool himself though. He was beginning to have a thing for her; the more he learned about her, the more he liked. Finally that spark he had been looking for was happening. He was just too damn timid to randomly ask her out. He listened to her talk about terrible boyfriends and horrible dates to Kelly, her only co-worker friend (a former intern herself a year before), with tolerance, at times subduing the green monster within him. He listened to colleagues criticize and belittle her, the men with a lustful “respect” towards her “real assets” and the women with venomous and thinly veiled jealousy, digging desperately for flaws to make their more unappealing looks be comparable to the stunning Goldie. A few guys even tried to ask her out, but she turned them down gently with the cliché I-don’t-date-co-workers excuse. This backfired on her when Martin, the “copy guy,” quit in hopes to go out with her and she denied him. He scampered back in with his tail between his legs begging for his job back. He didn’t get it. Now George had her in his scope and only two things happened to the women at the firm after George made his advances: they’d sleep with him or he’d find a legal way to fire them. He wondered when he should act, when he should talk to her even. All the banter between them was a few sentences in board meetings about work related things. She hardly even ever looked at him or acknowledged his presence.

Patience, he told himself repeatedly. An opportunity must arise to throw them together, he told himself; isn’t that the way in movies and novels after all?

Then one day while he was handing over the Dormer account information to Sara, the crone mentioned Goldie getting her raise in conference room A while lewdly poking her tongue in her cheek to gesture a blow job. He found his opportunity. Without even think about the repercussions or what he was doing or saying, just thinking about poor innocent Goldie in the clutches of George he opened his usually passive mouth.

“Sara, that’s the kind of gossip that will get you fired,” Russell said quietly with a smile. Sara’s mouth dropped open in shock and she flustered and stammered out something unintelligible. The two other women whose names escaped him scattered off back into their cubicles like ants in the rain. “Conference room A you said?” Then he left her, her mouth dangling open still.

Not knowing how to quell the storm of rage inside of him, he walked down the hall. He was about to get fired because he’d never let George get to her, not Goldie, not someone who represented perfection and innocence wrapped in beauty.

George stormed out of the conference room with a smug grin and walked briskly down the hall. Russell sighed with relief that his boss didn’t see him approaching or talk to him because Russell knew what he’d say would in fact lose him his job and any hope of references.

Russell, heart pounding wildly in his chest, stood outside the door hesitant on what his next move should be.






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