Literary LEO 2013

Flash Fiction — Third

Chairman of the Board


I’d choked out my bowels with dairy and bread and nothing was moving.

I’d been camping out at the shelter waiting for the nuns to drop off the tax-exempt pizza.

The body of Christ, twice-baked. If only the Sisters could leave a heathen with a little of that “blood.”

I tried to will into being a blacksmith of my bowels to try and forge something out of it all.

“Blacksmith Wanted.”

I’d have open interviews from noon ’til 4 and lay it on ’em thick. Teachers turned waitresses, waitresses turned janitor, janitor turned barnacle. The Recession was rounding out the field. Maybe we’d pull through more viable.

The cabinet chairs and directors would be presented pie-graphs as the CEO asks his magic 8-ball, his second chin giving the “OK” and they bring the sweatshops back home where they belong.

One-by-one the applicants would sit before me.

There’d be a pitcher of water on the table with slices of lime and lemon, maybe pomegranate, if they were in season.

“So, Gus, what kind of previous related work experience we talkin’? Says ‘Sizzler’ here ’76-’81. What does that necessarily mean?”

“I worked at Sizzler for 5 years.”

“No references. Suspicious. Somethin’ rotten in Denmark, Gus? That is your name right, ‘Gus’?”

Gus shrugged off the question smoother than Clinton in the hot seat.

My water sweet as a honeysuckle.

A face poked above the secretary’s cubicle, the heads in the waiting room blinked back to life like the weighted eyeballs in a marionette.

“You the one here about the paper shredder position?”

“Yes,” picking my hollow briefcase off the ground.

“Mr. Steimenheimer will see you now.”

I tucked the stale breadstick in a pocket meant for a watch or a wallet or monocle and slapped on a silver grin.