by Sam N. Yago
George does what he does best. Written for 02/10/08 Writers Cramp challenge.
|"Well, if it isn't Mr. Washington."
George looked in the direction of the voice and saw his boss leaning against the outer wall of his cubicle, his muscled frame nearly blocking the entry. "Good afternoon, Mr. Wheeler."
"Afternoon'," Wheeler said, grinning.
George didn't like that grin, as it almost always meant trouble. He had to step sideways into his cubicle as Wheeler had no plans on moving from where he stood. He found his seat and stared up at his boss. "What can I help you with, sir?"
"Funny you should ask," Wheeler turned to face his assistant, "I need a little favor."
Oh, boy, George thought, immediately recalling the most recent "favor" he did for his boss, which ended with an overnight stay at Sinai. He hated hospitals to begin with. To end up in one as a result of doing something in the line of duty made him feel at once irritated and pitiful. But he was the man's assistant after all. George knew all too well what happens to assistants who didn't take care of their bosses at this firm. He couldn't afford to lose this job. He only needed to stay six more months in this position before being eligible for a promotion. And he would do anything not to mess up that chance. "I'd be happy to."
Wheeler beamed. "See, that's what I like about you, Georgie--" George hated to be called "Georgie." In his teens, he almost had to petition a law be passed that would stop his parents from calling him that name in public. "--you're not afraid to dive right in. You haven't even heard what the favor is, and you're already committed to doing it. That's what you are: Georgie the Committed."
I should be committed, George thought, cringing at the new nickname his boss invented. "You know me, boss."
Wheeler moved inside George's cubicle, stooped as low as his six-foot-three frame would allow to be hidden beneath the dividers, and said in a near whisper, "It's Helen. I want you to take her out tonight."
George's eyes widened. "Y-You want me to kill your wife?"
"Well, that would be preferred," Wheeler said, sighing. "But, no, that's not what I meant. I want you to take her to dinner tonight."
"Oh," George said, relaxing.
"Waitaminit. Why would you think I'd want you to kill her?"
"I mean," Wheeler leaned in closer and shifted his eyes from right to left, "can you do stuff like that, Georgie?"
Wheeler frowned. "Too bad."
George sat back in his chair. "So, you want me to get her out of the house for two, three hours. Is that it?"
"Bingo," his boss grinned, adjusting an invisible tie. "Madeline is coming over tonight."
"Why can't you two use a hotel room like normal adulterers?"
"Because, wise-ass, I like my bed. I'm really good in my bed. Catch my drift?"
George stopped himself from rolling his eyes. "Yeah, got it."
"Anyway, Helen's been wanting to try this new vegetarian place on 53rd," Wheeler said, then snickered. "Like I would go. Me in a vegetarian restaurant is like you digging women. It's just not natural."
George sighed. "What time do you want me to pick her up?"
"Seven," his boss said as he straighted himself and started to leave the cubicle, "and don't be late tonight. Hold my calls for a while, okay?"
"Yes, sir," George said and waited until his boss was completely out of his cubicle before letting his body slump over his chair. It was only one o'clock in the afternoon and already he felt spent. His interactions with his boss these days had become increasingly taxing. But he knew he had to endure him. "Six months," he told himself, "just six more months."
He was suddenly startled by the beeping of his desk phone, and frantically inserted the wireless receiver in his ear before dutifully pressing the answer button. "Good afternoon. Frank Wheeler's office."
"Why, hello, George!" the woman on the other end bellowed.
He immediately recognized the distinct high-pitched, nasal quality of the woman's voice, which in itself wasn't so bad-- it was the strong Southern drawl he was convinced she was faking that grated on his nerves. "Good afternoon, Mrs. Wheeler."
"My, you are always so formal," said the preternaturally cheerful Helen Wheeler. "Is my husband in?"
"I'm afraid he's in a meeting," George said then remembered his boss's favor. "Actually, Mrs. Wheeler?"
George gulped. "Have you been to that new vegetarian restaurant in midtown? I've heard fantastic reviews."
"Oh, my heavens," exclaimed Mrs. Wheeler, "I've been fixin' to go to that place for months!"
"You don't say," George said, "Well, would you like to try it tonight?"
"Would I ever! I just have to make sure it's alright with my husband. I mean, I know it's impossible for anything to happen between you and me," she said with a light chuckle, "but, you know, my wifely duties insist that I ask his permission."
George closed his eyes and massaged his forehead, "Actually, I'd already asked him earlier and he was fine with it. I have a car coming to pick you up at seven. I'll meet you at the restaurant."
"Well, aren't you efficient!" Mrs. Wheeler gushed. "No wonder my husband thinks the world of you. You keep this up, he's never gonna want to let you go."
"I would only be so lucky," George said through gritted teeth.
"Please have my husband give me a call when he gets out of his meeting," Mrs. Wheeler said. "You take care now, y'hear?"
"Thank you, I will," replied George, as he heard the click on the other end disconnecting the call. He removed the receiver from his ear and sighed heavily. His mind raced with the logistics of tonight's dinner at a restaurant he's barely heard anything about.
But three important words remained on the surface of his reverie: Six. More. Months.
Winner for 02/10/08 Writer's Cramp Challenge
Prompt: Write a poem or story with George Washington as the main character.
Word Count: 999