Our writing group is meeting most every Wednesday after work. I’ve been doing more editing than writing lately and this week I didn’t have anything fresh to bring. I don’t like to show up empty handed, so I whipped off a silly little quick thing simply for the amusement of those involved. Now I’m sticking it here too.
If you want to read the genesis of my bit of scribbled rag, read Peggy’s blog entry, Here.
Rufus Amalgam loved his Bluetooth.
“Hey Hunk, I’m telling ya’, this is a great deal. If you keep tellin’ me no, one day you’re gonna look back and be pissed at yourself for passin’ this up. And I ain’t gonna feel sorry for ya, neither.”
Rufus’ buddy Hunk had recently lost both his elderly parents. He had received a large inheritance. That was supplemented with a healthy negligence lawsuit settlement from the tour operator that had let its bus break down in the desert. The bus was full of elderly tourists, including Hunk’s parents, on the way to a wilderness tour of an Indian village near the Grand Canyon. Heat stroke is a terrible way to go, but Hunk’s grief was washed away by the cash.
Hunk had been estranged from his parents for twenty years – ever since in a fit of youthful self-destructive pique he eschewed his families ‘ long-proud ancestral regal title, hired a lawyer, and had his name legally changed from Percy Beauregard to Hunkahunka Burninglove. Ever since, everybody called him Hunk – except his family, which never called him at all.
And now Hunk was rolling in it.
Rufus had Hunk in his sights as a mark, or at least a potential customer, but Hunk was acting a lot smarter and with more discretion than his ridiculous adopted name would indicate.
“So that’s what it is going to be, is it,” Rufus said, finally giving up. “Hey, now, let’s not let this get ‘tween us, now. Saturday night, The Palace of Love, OK?”
Rufus was not happy when Hunk was noncommittal about a big Saturday night at the fanciest strip club on that side of the city. Rufus knew he could tap his flush buddy for a night on the town, a big night. He didn’t have the scratch to pull it off on his own.
“Man, these Starbuck’s soft chairs are sure comfortable,” Rufus said in the same loud booming voice he used on his Bluetooth phone, even though he wasn’t speaking to anyone. He lowered the book that he held in front of his face a fraction of an inch to survey the scene in the coffeeshop. It had filled up a lot since he had come in and sat down – luckily the barista didn’t seem to notice that he hadn’t bought anything. A table of four women was glaring at him, so he raised the book back up and tried to concentrate.
“48 Hours to the Work You Love.” What a load of crap. He had been reading the book for a week now and nothing had happened. He still hated his work. The real estate crash had made everyone wary and tight. Rufus had been working for Glengarry Properties for three months now and hadn’t made a sale. He had been following the instructions – locate a client with money to invest, find that person’s weakness, and then exploit it. No luck.
Rufus had found the “48 Hours…” book in a pile dropped outside the dumpster at his apartment building. It looked like a good idea, but Rufus couldn’t get a handle on what the author was trying to say. He was never much of a reader anyway. But at least the book was good as something to hide behind while he was trying to bilk some marks from the comfort of the Starbucks.
He was getting desperate. His power was off at home, so he had to go out and find some air conditioning. Glengarry paid for his phone and Bluetooth, but they were threatening him with termination if he didn’t produce anything. His salary was less than minimum wage, no benefits to speak of – he was supposed to make it all up in commissions.
He was relieved when a buzzing at his waist gave him an excuse to ignore his book-skimming and answer his Bluetooth.
“Rufus… whatchagotgoinon!” he bellowed into midair, his book deflecting the soundwaves into all corners of the Starbucks.
“You miserable, lying scum, you disgusting bastard!”
“Oh Sandy, it’s you,” Rufus smiled when he recognised Sandy Samsonite, a woman he met six months earlier when they worked in adjacent cubes at the call center. Rufus always felt there was a connection between the two of them. They were fired together when they were both caught smoking weed in the alley during afternoon break. It was Rufus’ idea, but it was Sandy’s weed, so he always felt she was responsible and owed him a solid.
“God, you no-good…”
Rufus cut her off. “Hey, Sandy, how did your date go?”
“That’s why I’m calling. That moron you set me up with… he was the biggest perv I’ve ever met… and that’s saying something. Not only that, he was cheap. A cheap perv. And boring… a boring cheap pervert… that smelled like bad chicken.”
“Well, Sandy, I’ll give you that one,” Rufus chuckled into the air. “I noticed his aroma… I thought it was our lunch.”
“Jeeze, Rufus, I don’t know how I managed to let you rope me into this. You owe me big time now.”
Rufus had convinced Sandy to go out on a date with Sylvester Radio, a painfully awkward man he had met at the door of a class called “Coming out of Your Shell” on the State campus. Rufus had figured that the cost of the class would indicate anyone enrolled had spare cash and the shyness thing would indicate weakness. Mr. Radio fit both criteria.
A couple beers and Rufus was able to pry Sylvester open and a smidgen of information fell out. Sylvester hadn’t had a date since his cousin had gone to his senior prom with him and Rufus figured a night out with Sandy would deliver him into the not-so-happy family of Glengarry Properties investors and a start to the painfully exclusive club of Customers of Rufus. He had to bribe Sandy with his last twenty and a handful of Oxycodone, but she had agreed when Rufus promised to cut her in once he had his fish hooked.
But it looked like things had gone wrong. Horribly wrong.