The Real Canadian Fighting Potion Pt.1
At the offices of Tesnor Plastic’s the clocks were chugging by at a stately pace. For each subjective minute, the clock would tick about 25 seconds. Jay was certain of this; he felt in his heart that the clocks themselves were against him. He had one agenda for the weekend, one single mission that had to be fulfilled, and up until now all the details of this mission had been in the hands of a man that Jay wouldn’t trust with a child’s piggy bank (an empty one at that). It was 4:15pm according to the devil clocks, just 45 blessed minutes until he could charge recklessly out of the doors and get the affairs of the night in order. He could make it. He must. Glancing across the sea of cubicles that comprised the 5th floor, Quality control, he scanned for the likes of an eager to please junior executive. There was only one, so it would have been easy to spot him, if his head were higher then the cubicles themselves; this naturally made the tiny man who ran all the lives on floor 5 all the more of a dictator. Classic Napoleon complex popping out of the pages of a bad Hollywood script and slipping on a 500 dollar suit to make Jay’s life a total fucking disaster.
He suspected in the back of his head that Stedman, the asswipe, tiny man in charge, had some complete train wreck waiting for Jay, and would only reveal the prize behind the door when he could see his prey finally making a break for the door. Jay seriously considered going to the bathroom to take a 45 minute long shit, but that would be too obvious; when fighting the tiny man, subtlety was chief amongst his weapons, second only to subterfuge. Scanning again, despite the hopelessness of doing so, he let out a loud breath, hoping that perhaps Stedman had actually gone home around lunch, as the executive branch was known to do on Fridays. Turning his back on the expanse of the rest of the floor, Jay looked to his cubicle mate across the tiny divider. Sarah had already organized all her folders and was in the midst of shutting down the SAP application for their issue tracking; she was always well organized. Jay had achieved a similar effect by never actually starting the application when he’d come into the office that day. He smiled as he watched Sarah sharpen all her pencils; she was obsessed with leaving all of them the same length at the end of the week. It was, at times, a comical display, because she would get distracted or be talking on the phone, and would chew one of the pencils down almost half way, you could then watch the debate in her mind about whether it was worth it to sharpen the rest down to stubs. It wasn’t the Superbowl, but entertainment around this particular office wasn’t all that forthcoming. That was when Sarah looked up to see him staring at her and grinning,
“What?” She gave him a mock expression of anger, an expression he’d seen all too often,
“Nothing, I was just thinking I should start a pool for the length of your pencils at the end of the work week, I’ve watched you do it for a long time, I think I could make a lot of money” He grinned his lop-sided goofball of a grin, a look not too far from a teenager having been caught stealing milk.
“Well, I could anonymously bet in the pool and then make them whatever length I bet on, make a killing” She retorted to him, playing the little game they always did. Jay wondered, and not for the
first time, why he’d never just asked her out, she seemed able to put up with his bullshit.
That was when he heard a small man clearing his throat directly behind him. Ice replaced his blood, and he knew that while he bantered with Sarah, he’d abandoned his diligent patrol against assholes; the defenses were down, the assholes had made it through. Turning around, Jay was confronted by the sight of Stedman scowling at him, no doubt pissed off that he was chatting her up, while Stedman couldn’t get more then “Yes” and “No” out of Sarah for the last 9 months he’d been in charge of this floor. It wasn’t a big stretch to realize she thought he was a complete tool; everybody thought he was a tool. Jay suspected that even Stedman harbored thoughts that he was a tool, and that lent an even greater enthusiasm to his attempts to prove he wasn’t. Which of course made him look like an even bigger tool. The viscous cycle abounds.
Stedman handed Jay a death sentence in the form of a blue sheet. Blue was bad. White was simple tickets for Quality issues that had cropped up after this department had green lit a product, but blue was a directive from someone above; a gigantic “What the Fuck”, and it was followed by sleepless nights, crying, fighting, drinking, and shouting matches on the phone. To get one on a Friday was like being kicked directly in the balls, by a steel toed giant. After slapping it down on Jay’s desk, Stedman’s almost bug like screeching that he used for a voice piped up,
“If you’re done chatting Mr. Cabbot, perhaps you can address this emergency ticket? It has to do with product id GK7556, one that you yourself looked at, I believe?” Stedman affected a little smile after that point, a twisted sort of shit eating grin. It made you know, not wonder, that whatever he was talking about was a shit storm that was going to be pinned to your skull regardless of what indemnity letters you had locked in your desk. Jay didn’t normally deal with approvals, but he did enough of them that the product id didn’t jump into his head right away. Opening the tracking software, Jay punched in the tracking number, and scanned the product description. Jay was taken aback when he saw what it was. He picked up the blue sheet that had been slapped down and read the inquiry reason, nearly laughing when he saw it. He couldn’t believe for one moment that what he was reading had anything to do with the product; it completely escaped his comprehension. According to the sheet in his hand, product GK7556, a plastic Vaginal speculum, had killed a 25 year old, perfectly healthy Woman. Jay glanced up at the clock, seeing it’s hands kill his hope, it was 4:35pm, he was still on the clock, no way to escape this issue. No way out. He sighed, and began reading the case notes for the blue sheet, trying to discover how an object no more dangerous then a hacky-sack had killed someone. He knew he was fucked.
11 hours, 27 minutes until Explosive Hubba Bubba Detonates.
25 minutes later, across town, a cell phone rings. The cell phone belongs to one of the biggest low life’s that walks the earth. If you met this men, you would reach into your pocket and clutch your wallet tightly. You instinctively assume he’s going to steal from you, and women detest his presence so powerfully that on more then one occasion he has had to run from a rape whistle, despite only saying “hello!” to a pretty face. The ring itself can actually cause a similar feeling to hit everyone in a 15 foot radius when it goes off. Few people are so lame as to have the “Let’s all go to movies” song as their ring tone. He does. Flipping the phone open he puts it to his ear and in a thick cockney accent yells,
“Allo my son, what’s the trouble whot?” He barely understands himself what he’s saying, knowing only that he feels it makes him cooler for saying it.
“Gary? It’s Jay, listen, first of all, stop talking like that, you sound like a complete dip shit. Second, I’ve been delayed at work, and I want to confirm that you’ve done everything I’ve asked you in preparation for tonight”. The voice coming through is thick with agitation, this is obvious, but it also has a subtle, difficult to filter out edge of hysteria that could lead to violence and bodily harm.
“Yes, Jay, everything is fine.” Gary’s accent slips away, “I’ve made all the arrangements as you asked for them. I followed the list to a T”. Gary can sense across the wire the near psychotic edge to Jay’s voice, and knows that any mention of the problems he’s had getting the things on the list together will probably push him over the edge. The last thing Gary wants is an ear full from Jay, better to leave the loose ends out of their conversation and deal with them before Jay shows up. He repeats his assurance a few more times until Jay is satisfied, and hangs up.
Jay hears the click on the other end as Gary hangs up, and let’s out a long sigh, hoping that for once Gary wasn’t just feeding him a line. Tonight was important, and the last thing he wanted was for it to go poorly because of his own failed planning. Looking up at the devil clocks, he notes the time, 4:47 p.m. He calculates in his head when the party is supposed to start, and factors in showering (and also considers NOT showering), he realizes that he only has 34 minutes either way, if he doesn’t get back to his apartment, and meet with his brother, the whole plan is shot. He frantically begins typing in the information that he’s already found out. The fact is, the woman who died was actually allergic to the latex coating that all their speculum were subjected to in order to make them hermetic. How she’d managed to see a gynecologist as often as most women needed to and never come into contact with latex prior to her doctor changing the equipment he typically used wasn’t something that Jay wanted to dwell on. He just wanted to get the ticket closed, and get the hell out of the office.
Sarah had been sitting with him while he was making the calls, and filling out the ticket. She reached over and squeezed Jay’s shoulder,
“Hey, I know you got your brothers thing tonight, why don’t you head out, and I’ll finish this up for you?” She smiled her infectious grin, making Jay smile himself, and a small voice in his head was convincing him that it was the best course of action. He knew that by now the tiny man had left for the day, having delivered his bad news. Sarah would be able to use his workstation without anyone seeing the unauthorized use of his login. He didn’t really care, it wasn’t like she had access to anything he didn’t, and he didn’t want to make her start up her machine again just to finish off the ticket.
Leaving her to finish up the ticket, Jay grabbed his coat and started to run out of the office. He was forced to stop short however, the shit he’d considered taking earlier had taken on a far more insistent quality, and threatened the sanctity of his pants. Doing the little dance near the elevators, Jay debated his best course of action: Whether to force the rebellious turd down, or hit the porcelain and then drive like a maniac home. He then felt a distinct seeping effect, and realized that the issue was no longer in his hands. Ten minutes are lost to appease his colon. Bursting forth from the mens room, he arrives at the elevators again, frantically mashing the button. Jay is a subscriber of the theory that mashing elevator buttons, cross-walk buttons, any button at all really will cause the mechanism to speed up it’s workings and heed your commands. One could call him foolish if it didn’t seem like the elevator’s speed had actually increased after the 5th or 6th mashing. Once on the parking level, Jay jogged to the outer rim; having no pull in the company, his spot is only considered close to the building because there’s nothing BUT parking lot between him and the front doors.
Jay arrives at his baby; his chariot. A 1990 BMW E34 525ia – Eurospec; his steed. A bolt of 168-horsepower, 2.5-liter V6 chained blue-lightning. This is his pride. This is his joy. This is his premature heart attack, lancing pain across the whole of his body and coming to rest as a dull throb in his loins when he realizes that someone has smashed out the rear windshield. Glass is spread across the trunk and ground around the car, and the wind howls into the opening; a light tinkling noise, almost as if a small faerie were fluttering about, comes to his ears as a small piece of the window that didn’t part from the frame jingles back and forth from the blowing wind. On a normal day tears would come to his eyes, but today isn’t a normal day. He has things to do, places to be, and obligations to fulfill that override the need his feels to stalk through the city streets, murdering any teenage hooligans he comes across with his cold, bare hands. Taking a quick scan of the parking lot he realizes that the damage could have been done hours ago, and few people would have noticed. The security station for the parking lot is so far from his vehicle that the only possible commotion that would bring them over would be a ball of searing white-hot flame shooting into the sky, with a rapport like dynamite going off in a concert hall. Most likely they wouldn’t even come then, figuring with their bizarre security guard logic that the deed had been done, after that display, what could they do more?
Jay opened the driver side door and got in, grateful that the glass was only in the back seat, and he wouldn’t have to spend 10 minutes shoveling it into a container and taking it to the trash (no sense dirtying up the parking lot). Shaking the shifter loose from the day of 1st gear it’s been stuck in, he peels away from the lot with a loud screech, heading for the exit. As he arrives, George the old, black security guard doesn’t let down the metal block as he approaches, instead poking his head out of his tiny security hut,
“You know, screeching like that ain’t good, gets rubber on the pavement, makes a big racket” George says this with a dead sort of look in his eyes. An old codger kind of stare, that communicates to Jay that this infraction in no way effects the guards life, but that he doesn’t approve of it. Jay nearly has a brain spasm, trying to reconcile the idea that squealing tires and rubber are somehow a problem, but the smashing of an employee’s windshield is not. After a few moments of apoplectic struggle, Jay manages to choke back the tirade that is clawing out of his soul, and instead muttered through clenched teeth,
“Everybody’s….working…for the weekend”. For a moment he doesn’t really consider what he said, only thankful that it didn’t have a colorful smear of profanity and vulgarity in it that would have served to agitate the situation. But, he then has to consider what neurological damage has been done to him in the last 5 minutes to inspire him to quote Loverboy. While not afraid to listen to great hits from the 80’s while he’s driving, cleaning his place, or incredibly drunk (in which case he also SINGS along) he typically doesn’t reference it in normal conversation. However the effect it has on George is even more surprising; a look of downright shock and fear plays across his face, and he frantically begins to mash the controls to lower the metal barricade and only says,
“My apologies Sir, I should have realized you would be in a hurry”, and throws Jay a salute.
As he drives, Jay contemplates what Byzantine recognition signal he’d accidentally triggered with his Casey Cassum utterance, but doesn’t really give the thought much time to form. Perhaps some devil-worshiping cannibalistic cult makes up the executive branch of the company, and he’d managed to stumble across this week’s code phrase for instant access to security desk’s and free Snapple. He tried to forget it, since it only served to remind him of WHY he was so angry, and then he would stare balefully into the rear view mirror, cursing the churlish lack-beards who broke his window. Making the jump to light speed on the highway, he got into a solid cruise speed, shadowing any vehicle he could to lower the chances of being nabbed by the fuzz. He’d run this stretch of highway so much that he knew all the places they can hide, and always managed to be in the blind spot of a moving van or semi whenever he passed one. The commute from his office to the palatial two room he lives in is about 45 minutes by standard peon travel, but with his strategy and generously intrepid use of the gas pedal he got there in 23 minutes.
Crashing through the front door, almost too fast for the release to open, Jay stumbled around the foyer. He had approximately 25 minutes to shower, change clothes, and frantically rally drive to his brothers house in time to pick him up. He removed most of his clothing in the process of huffing up the flight of stairs to the apartment proper. He threw the last bits onto the floor and dove into the en-suite bath, firing up the shower. Cold water lashed out against his skin and sensitive bits. Jay unleashed a torrent of colorful swears as he adjusted the temperature to something humane, shuddering as he fought off the shock of his package being immersed in frigid waters. His time line only offered a few minutes to wash away the stench of office decay from his skin, shutting down the water he jumped out and toweled fiercely. Spraying himself with the necessary bait juice, and haphazardly choosing a shirt and pants to throw on, he rushed from the apartment, back into his injured vehicle. Pulling out of his neighborhood, back onto the highway, he put the hammer down. His brothers home was, on a normal day, about 25 minutes away, but only the weak and stupid would take that long. Especially today, Jay’s powers were in full force. He rarely had occasion to push his vehicle into the critical mass zone, but the timing of all the plans tonight depended on the split second reactions of both himself and his brother. The reason for this fright and frantic driving was not his brother, but his brother’s to-be bride. Tonight was the Stag, and if she’d been given the impression that anything more saucy then a few beers with some friends had been going down, she would have put the hammerlock onto the poor bastard, and never let him out of her sight. Nothing could stop them from going to the party Jay had planned, too much had been sacrificed; assuming of course that Gary hadn’t simply stolen all his money and fucked him. Which was a murky thing to bet on.
All of the people living on Westeria Crescent, most of whom were probably just starting to cut their vegetables for dinner or stretch out on the couch after a hard week, All of them, every single one, simultaneously shit their pants. The screeching noise that ripped the late-afternoon bucolic sleepy-time haze surrounding the crescent asunder was not alien attack, despite the inhuman nature of the ear shattering noise. It was, in fact, the exact sound, that four Potenza S-03 tires make as the sixteen hundred kilogram car they are wrapped around, power slides into the crescent at eighty kilometers an hour. The vehicle, whose back window was missing (which the neighborhood children assumed happened due to the sonic blast of the car’s arrival) slid expertly into the drive way of the second house from the corner. A frantic figure emerged from the vehicle, jogging up the walk way and reaching out to open the door to the house. However, it appeared the lock on the house door had been set, as the figure ran right into the door, and bounced off. Landing in the small garden next to the porch, the figure could be heard muttering aloud, and fortunately all the children were too far away to recognize the numerous foul oaths that constituted the muttering.
Twenty minutes later the same figure emerged from the house, dragging a bedraggled looking man who resembled the neighbor they all respected, the one who lent you tools, helped you move a couch. Stuffing the neighbor into the car, the man then slid across his hood, and fired up his chariot again, backing out with a screech, and blasting out of the cul-de-sac and tearing away with another horrible shriek of rubber against asphalt.
Stay tuned for Pt.2 in an upcoming issue of R4NT..
- The Real Canadian Fighting Potion Pt.1
- by Crom
- Published on January 1st, 2006
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