There Will be Consequences

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
My first attempt at writing humor.

Submitted: August 03, 2008

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Submitted: August 03, 2008




There were no clouds in the sky that day. There were no birds either; at least, if there were you could not see them because the air was so thick with smoke you could taste brimstone. The grass fires had been blazing for a week and the odor of ash that assaulted the nostrils only made one even more aware of the hellish heat. To make matters even worse, the night prior there had been a major power outage that left half of the county without electricity--meaning no air conditioning, no electric fans, no ice cream or cold packs. The city was ready to explode.

Worse still, on this day Rhea had to do overtime. Rhea was a sales associate at the used automobile dealership on the corner of 4th and Grand avenue in Dayton, Ohio. She had been falling behind at work for the past couple of weeks and she wasn't about to lose this job. Not with seven cats at home to feed, she wasn't. And her boyfriend had moved out of the apartment the month before so she had to handle the rent herself.

At least she didn't have to worry about the expense of gas because she didn't have a car--it was ironic, she was a car salesman and she didn't drive one herself. She didn't really need one anyway, since the dealership was only eighteen blocks away. She merely biked to and from work.

She stepped outside her apartment wearing her best, most professional attire. Not that she looked a prude--Rhea still managed to look sexy in her stoic black pant suit and matching silk blouse. Hell, she could've looked sexy in a canvas bag with Kleenex boxes for shoes. She was quite versatile in that regard. But goddamn, was it hot! "Like the surface of the sun," she muttered under her breath as she mounted her bicycle and took off.

Beads of sweat were rolling down her forehead by the time she reached the dealership. She tasted the salty, translucent bulbs as they slid down her lips and chin to the asphalt below, shooting up plumes of steam as they evaporated. “Time to face the crowd,” she thought queasily as she stepped through the automatic doors.

Inside she found no relief from the heat. Customers and employees both fanned themselves with folded brochures and sales catalogs. It was only nine o'clock in the morning but it already had to be at least eighty-five degrees in the shade. Rhea quickly exchanged hellos and good mornings as she made her way to her office in the far corner of the large building. She had some insurance policies that she needed to review before she could go out on the stage floor and put on her best show. Today she was determined to rake in the greatest clientèle out of all her coworkers, and she had to be absolutely prepared.

She had no sooner seated herself at her desk than her supervisor walked right through her door without knocking. “I saw you come in and I wanted to have a word with you,” he said as he closed the door behind him.

“Of course, Mr. Masterson. Won't you please sit down?” was the startled reply.

But Mr. Masterson ignored her request and proceeded to saunter about the room, gazing absent-mindedly at the modest furnishings of her small office. He picked up a round glass paperweight from the top of a filing cabinet and examined it. “It seems you haven't been meeting your quota these last few weeks, Ms. Cavendish,” he said, his eyes not leaving the curves of the paperweight. “Is there something that's been bothering you, something that has been hindering your work that you'd like to talk about?”

Now, her boss was the last person that Rhea would ever want to chat with about her private life. He was a fat, bespectacled old man in his mid-fifties with a disagreeable countenance and an arrogant smile. Today he looked somewhat like an elderly Tweedle Dum in his brown suspenders and ridiculous bow tie. Rhea shifted uneasily in her chair. “Well, as a matter of fact I have had some family troubles recently, but they've all been resolved for the most part and I expect the...pace of things to improve here very soon,” she said, carefully avoiding self-accusation as she spoke.

He put down the paperweight and walked over to her papered desk. “Oh, how wonderful. I'm so glad that you foresee better business in your department , Miss Cavendish, because to be quite honest, the entire company is beginning to suffer because of lackluster sales performance.”

“Is that so, Mr. Masterson? I wasn't aware that--”

“Yes, it seems that there isn't the market for pre-owned luxury vehicles that there was in the nineties,” he continued. “Now everyone's making the rush to 'go green' as they like to say. It's all about fuel efficiency and eco-friendliness. Times are looking grim indeed,” he said with a sad sigh.

“Which is why I had to come by today to talk to you. You see, our company is facing a crisis right now that could potentially result in several thousand layoffs by the end of this fiscal year.” Rhea's stomach dropped at the word “layoff.” Now he was leaning over the edge of her desk, his face so close to hers that she could see the pores on his bulbous nose. “So you realize why it is so essential that you keep up with the pace of consumer demand, especially now, Miss Cavendish?” he said ominously.

“Of course, Mr. Masterson, and I promise to be extremely prudent from now on. It's just that—I just broke up with my boyfriend, and—“

“Please, this is not the time or place to talk about personal matters,” he interjected, forgetting his earlier remarks. His sausage fingers drummed heavily on her desk and he assumed a patronizing tone. “You understand that you have a responsibility to this firm that must take precedent over the mundane distractions of private life—that is, if you wish to maintain this position,” he said, peering at her from behind his broad-rimmed glasses.

“I do, sir, and I'm prepared to do anything that is asked of me to keep this job.” Rhea was all but pleading now. “Please, if there's anything that I can do to avoid being laid off, I swear on my honor that I will do it.”

“Oh, I know that you will, Miss Cavendish,” he said as he made his way toward the door, “because if you let yourself slack any further, I'm telling you now that there will be consequences...” His voice trailed off as he turned around and left.

Rhea was glad that he was gone. She had never really liked her boss and had always found speaking to him unpleasant. She ruminated over his parting words in her head. “There will be consequences.” Such an overused phrase. Whenever she heard it, she was reminded of her high school algebra teacher, Mrs. Basanov. Mrs. Basanov had the face of an English bulldog and the voice of an over-caffeinated hyena. At least, that's how Rhea always depicted her in caricatures. She leaned back in her chair, remembering. Mrs. Basanov hated teaching almost as much as she hated teenagers. Rhea remembered how she would often lecture the class in her obnoxious voice whenever they collectively “forgot” to bring in their homework. “If you guys don't start doing your homework on a regular basis there are going to be serious consequences,” she would say, drawing out the last word in a drawl. Rhea suppressed a laugh. Whenever Mrs. Basanov would say that, she would always envision her walking through the classroom door, dragging an enormous paddle with aerodynamic holes drilled into the blade and the word CONSEQUENCES written along the shaft. No, she didn't want to get beaten with the consequence paddle, not then and not today. Rhea quickly tightened up her affairs and went outside to greet her customers.

Twelve exhausting hours later, she was back in her blissfully cool apartment. The power had come back on around noon, and she had the air conditioning on full blast. She didn't care about the energy bill right now; she had earned the right to live in a freezer if she wanted to, after a day like today. Now she was stripped down to a pair of men's swimming trunks and a tank top, her long blond hair up in a ponytail. She had put on her favorite bossa nova music and was busy fixing herself a cup of chai tea when she heard the doorbell ring. She looked up, surprised. She wasn't expecting to see anybody today, and not this late in the evening. Suspiciously she walked over to the door.

She opened the door and was taken surprise by the sight of her smiling boss. Wearing a trench coat. Before she had time to open her mouth and react , he opened his trench coat so she could better see his dog collar, leather thong, and the large rubber paddle he was carrying in his inside pocket.

© Copyright 2018 Eliza Wollenstone. All rights reserved.

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