“I can’t remember the phrase. Is it familiarity breeds fondness … or is it absence makes the heart contemptuous? My phrasefinder software isn’t linking with our database,” Claire shouted from her stale, noise-insulated, gray, industrial one-size-suits-all cubicle at the Hansen’s Greetings; the country’s second-largest greeting card company, following a hardy, distant and almost impossible-to-beat lead by Mallhark Cards.
“It’s pizza is a girl’s best friend, after her vibrator,” grunted Luther, head of Get-well and Sympathy, his neck craning around the side wall of her cube. “Holy cow, you’ve got a lot of work to do. Those all your shout outs?” he asked, his nose and chin doing that weird “hey” nod only the cool seniors did in high school, the silent indicator of awareness of something or someone else’s presence. One of the speakers from his hot pink Dr. Dre headphones was screaming tinny Metallica through their tiny tweeters at his chiseled jaw’s perpetual 5o’clock shadow.
“What? You can’t talk? What’s wrong with your neck? Are you trying to say something? What’s with that twitch and eyebrow thing you’re doing? Why is it always you who answers my legitimate questions with a completely irrelevant comment? How are your headbanger’s balls today?” she said.
“Want some pizza? Clearly you haven’t seen your other best friend…” he said, nodding again at her purse before he laughed and rolled his chair back over the vinyl mat toward his bank of blindness-inducing computer screens and pulled the mini Metallica back over his ears.
“You’re such a d-bag,” she growled.
Claire and Luther had worked side-by-side for about 15 months.
‘Worked’ is loosely used. They had tolerated one another. They had befriended one another. They had confided in one another and now, they couldn’t stand one another ever since Claire told Julie that Luther’s best friend Craig from Graduations and Condolences had a thing for Sam in accounting, but Sam was flirting big time with Convenience Store Division’s Lesley for that opening in Elections and Olympics, and even though Pat from Gift Cards got the promotion that Claire was supposed to have; it would be her last opportunity to get out of Revenge and Congratulations before graduate school began. Luther just let it all happen; he didn’t bother intervening at all with Lesley. Pat was unfit for the job and everyone knew it.
It was Pat’s body and not brain that won the job. “I mean, who gives snarky biennial content to a gift card designer??” Claire would rant. Luther’s excuse was “nonpartisanships; there can be no taking of both greener sides in the company pond,” he said in his defense, mixing so many clichés and single handedly destroying defenseless metaphors that Claire wondered how he could have ever landed any job anywhere ever having to do with writing.
From that point on, she determined she would never, ever, ever, not in a bazillion years, ever, talk to him again about anything, ever, having to do with anything. Ever. She was going all Taylor Swift on his ass. She had the string of men to prove it. She turned around to her desk, moved her current card to the bottom of the pile and pulled the next one at the top.
“I heard about that leak on YouTube,” was the theme. Nope. Back to the bottom. She wasn’t ready.
“So you won the lottery!” was the next one. She considered that one as she took the next one off the top.
“So sorry about your car getting keyed” was the theme. Her right eyebrow tipped up as her posture improved.
The fact of the matter is that Claire was ideal for Revenge and Congratulations. She had the perfect mix of enthusiasm and scorn cultivated through years of making absurdly poor choices: she bought MicroSoft Zunes while she bashed the iPods; she fervently used Yahoo! instead of Google; she embraced the Bank of America fee increase, citing the return of the use of cash instead of credit or debit as “awesome.” Luther liked to tease her that if she was old enough she would’ve chosen Crystal Pepsi or Lawn Darts as the next big thing. Luther saw brilliance and cash in Claire’s predicament: her obvious knack for the clever marriage of antithetical forces. Claire saw stupidity in Luther, which probably meant he was wildly genius, and everyone reminded her of that, especially Luther.
(c) Molly Field 2013
next week: https://mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/friday-fiction-2-1-greetings-with-flowers/
That’s it for me today. I’m wiped out. My son has been sick for a while and I started this about an hour ago. I want to take it further, but right now, I’m out of gas!
Here is today’s prompt, which I decided to refer to as opposite… Use the cliche, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” in your story (when you are not with a loved one, you tend to miss them more). You decide how to use it and if your character agrees with it or not. As an added optional challenge, use the literary device, “antithesis” (used when the writer employs two sentences of contrasting meanings in close proximity to one another. Whether they are words or phrases of the same sentence, an antithesis is used to create a stark contrast using two divergent elements that come together to create one uniform whole. An antithesis plays on the complementary property of opposites to create one vivid picture. The purpose of using an antithesis in literature is to create a balance between opposite qualities and lend a greater insight into the subject.
Example: When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon it might have been one small step for a man but it was one giant leap for mankind.
Please check out today’s other Friday Fiction Friends!