The daily grind grounds Pete to the ground, like the meat he grinds to make the daily meatball grinder, the star of The Carnery, his eatery and meat shop. Day in, day out, Pete is like the meat he first pounds with his mallet. His routine is not much different from how his father described his own time at the cannery back in the day. Nor the stories his grandfather told him way back when he was a carney. Hard work is stamped in his DNA. As Pete pounds away at the meat, he thinks how Connor, his son, seems to be enjoying the fruits of his labor. Pete sent Connor to the best schools and drummed into his head the idea of seizing every opportunity he sees. As a high-powered Wall Streeter, Connor is today a true carnivore.
Louisa glances at the time on her computer. A quarter of an hour before meeting with the company president! Quickly, she takes her purse and suit jacket, stopping by the restroom to freshen up. She gives herself a once-over at the waist-length mirror. Her self-inspection halts at the perspiration soaking through the sides of her blouse. She rushes to rub her armpits with a paper towel. A vision of sweat seeping through her thin, light-colored suit jacket concerns her. Just then her eyes land on a mini-vending machine for sanitary pads.
With growing annoyance, she tries to attach the sticky side of the panty liner on the slippery lining of her suit jacket’s armhole. She’ll just clamp her armpits down on the makeshift sweat shields. She heads out to meet with the president.
The meeting begins without a hitch and some people come in to join them. As the meeting continues to go well, Louisa finds herself relaxing and enjoying the group. Toward the end, the tone starts to lighten up. They start getting up, sharing anecdotes, with one trying to be funnier than the other. Caught up with the others showing off their wit, Louisa thinks of a perfect tale. She makes grand gestures as she tries to impress her audience. Immediately, she realizes her mistake. One panty liner lands on the floor, while the other barely clings on to her skirt. This will be one story everyone will be talking about in the next meeting.
Awakened by a full bladder, Lola scrambles out of bed when she realizes her alarm clock didn’t go off. She has a meeting to facilitate at the federal building and not much time to spend showering off her sleepiness. After barely toweling herself dry, Lola grabs what she thought was a pair of underwear but sees now it’s a pair of tights. Immediately, she pulls out a skirt suit and a blouse from her closet and puts them on. She then dons the pair of tights. As she takes a step, she feels the garter of her tights slip. Thinking quickly, Lola cinches a leather belt around her skirt to help hold up her tights. Proud of her simple solution, Lola dashes out.
As soon as Lola reached her building, she goes inside and is alarmed to find a line of people of starting to form. Then she remembers the security to enter the upper floors uses X-ray machines like those found at the airport. Soon it is her turn. Hurriedly, she places her purse, jacket, and briefcase in the bin on a carousel. She then walks between the sensor poles, which beeps.
“You have to take off your belt, ma’am,” the security officer extends his hand out to take the belt from her.
Conscious only of the time, Lola unbuckles her belt and gives it to the security staff.
As she steps forward, Lola is aghast at how quickly her tight schedule and loose tights lead to her downfall—right down to her ankles. No X-ray machines required.
Elwood groans from an oncoming headache caused by the sound of a jackhammer, compounded by the whining of a circular saw. Still feeling the effects from last night’s party, he barely catches his breath as he staggers into his office building. As he approaches his desk, he is met with his favorite framed photo smashed on the floor. Memories of when he took it and framed it flash through his mind, followed with stabs of anger. He carefully picks up the big pieces of broken glass and throws them in the waste basket.
Still feeling upset, he almost wants to cry. Elwood surmises his hypersensitivity must be a holdover from getting smashed the night before. Overcome with claustrophobia, he steps outside to get some air and go for a walk. The destroyed picture in his mind distracts him from noticing a huge concrete block suspended above by a rope that starts to unravel. Before any warning can be made, the block breaks free and smashes Elwood to the ground.
The meeting adjourned and the people started getting up to leave the Boardroom. As Sarah rounded the table, heading toward the door, she saw the CEO, who had just gotten up from the table, walk toward her.
“What do you think of the new way to approach our target market?” The CEO asked as he neared her. Sarah walked back toward the table as he moved in closer, extending his right arm. At first anticipating a handshake, which never appeared, as Sarah drew closer to the CEO she then figured he intended to hug her. Not really knowing what to do and hoping to avoid any personal display of office emotion, she reached out first to deflect his extended arm, wrapping her left arm around the CEO’s waist in the process. Then she lightly patted his back. Suddenly she saw from her peripheral vision that he had been reaching over to push the chair that was near her back under the table. So much for the hug.
Subtly stepping back from the CEO, Sarah enthusiastically voiced her thoughts about the meeting. Then she asked some questions, hoping he would fail to notice, or forget, that she had nearly embraced him. Toward finishing their brief conversation, Sarah reiterated her excitement about the business strategic changes, as she subconsciously weighed the importance of making some changes of her own–like being more aware of her blind spots.
Part 2 of 4 – A Matter of Wear and Tear series
Part 1 posted on 8/24/17
(Warning: Some language and sexual references may be objectionable)
Anya runs to Walter. “What happened?” She can hear his muffled voice still uttering, “O’dore . . .” She turns him over and cradles his face. Then she presses her ear close to his mouth. A look of realization flashes on her face.
“’Oh, the odor’ is what you’re saying! Portable toilets can be stinky. Walter, I’m sorry it was so bad, but you need to get up if you want to be in the running.” Anya gently shakes him. Sunny joins them and tries to straighten out what little fabric she can salvage. To make matters worse, Walter’s fall landed him on some pebbles that poked some holes on his thong.
Walter sits up and thanks them. He looks down at his ruined design and says, “When you play the game of thongs, you wear it or you tear it. You can’t return it.” He exhales, “Looks like I’m sitting out the contest this year. I shoulda listened to my mom and used a real toilet before coming here. Never use a port-o-let without adequate cover . . . and a nose clip. Let that be a lesson learned.”
“The things we sniff destroy us every time, man. Store that in your skull,” Theo reinforces Walter’s words, as he and the rest continue walking toward the stage. Secretly, he’s glad to have one less rival to compete with.
Juan, Theo, Sunny, Anya, and Tyrone are met with applause as they parade onto the stage, taking their place among the others. Good to see not too many participants this year, Tyrone thinks. His plan in spreading his crabs apparently worked, although at the expense of having to suffer through it himself. But he had cleverly designed his thong to hide any evidence of discomfort and disease.
Juan surveys the group and notices two more people have yet to join them. Just then, the crowd erupts into cheering and hand-clapping, louder than the reception he and his friends received. As the cheering continues to grow louder, he sees the two, fashionable late-comers prance onto the stage.
This year is going to be a slaughter, Juan thinks, as he eyes the two show stoppers—two well-known locals who also happen to be arch enemies: Crissy Bannister and Dana Tara Gong.
The Garden Hall Room at the Radish Hotel is brimming with activity. Laughter and excited conversations rise above the music. A classic color-changing jukebox is playing a 1960s song by The Platters, Under the Boardwalk. Atop a long banquet table is a generous spread of various foodstuff. A variety of fruits are gathered together, focused on their own animated chatter among themselves, as the following snippets are overheard:
Bananas: We about peeled when we learned we won for doing the best split.
Grapes: You know some people think we’re just a bunch of winos.
Pineapple: I hope you know that you’re always welcome to visit.
Watermelon: My doctor planted a seed in my mind to make me think it’s all water weight.
Cherry: So one night my young lover and I agreed to go for it . . . for the very first time.
Peaches: We swear by the brand of that blade, which will cut through any fuzz.
Oranges: Everyone thinks we’re so irresistible they can’t help but squeeze us.
Kiwifruit: We prefer not to be called Chinese gooseberry anymore.
Pear: Okay, so I’m not from a shapely lot. So eat me.
Strawberries: We were left out in the fields . . . seems like forever.