Teaser 208: An Intent to Thoroughly Disrupt the Business of an Office

Friday morning everyone was up reasonably early, even Sofia and Carla. We were going to John's office well before noon to descend upon their little business and disrupt it as much as we were able. We knew such potential disruption came with John's blessing. I knew he wanted to see how Serena and I interacted now, since he had already witnessed my interactions with Lena up close a few months prior. John could never shake how my personal relationships had evolved, not that he had any strange or weird desires about it or about me. He still couldn't get past the week of the Oscars and the following week in Chicago. “It all revolves around one skinny, old guy...I don't get it.” John never has, as much as he likes to project himself as sophisticated, worldly and open-minded, which he is to a major degree. My relationships, personal, intimate relationships? He still doesn't get it. Whatever he hears about them, though, doesn't surprise him any more. “I would expect that, from Gregory.”

Sofia had been to John's office so often it had become her playground. She would run around the building, dart into a room and ask the resident, “What are you doing?” She wouldn't leave until she got an answer she approved. Everyone simply followed John's lead. “Excuse me, but the Chairperson of the Board demanded to know what I'm doing. Just a minute, please.” He would engage the tiny tyke in an in-depth conversation as she wandered around his room asking about this, then that. The interruption would always last more than a minute, but the person on the other line would wait, often listening in since John wouldn't always put them on hold. It was common knowledge in the movie business that John's production company was run, secretly and in the background, by a ten-year-old girl who spoke three languages fluently, and could conduct conversations with anyone and interject words and phrases from any of those languages at will. She was a high-powered executive, no doubt about it. I would remind John he brought it on himself.

“How so?”

“You're an executive producer, John. You can't help but produce executives, and age is irrelevant.”

“When you're an executive producer, Gregory, I'm going to make you eat those words.”

“Ummmm, that will taste good. Looking forward to it.”

Gary pointed out there was a name missing on the plaque. “Whose name is missing?” I asked, facetiously. “I don't think I missed a single one.”

“You know whose name is missing, Gregory!” Gary exclaimed with great vexation. “Will counted three hundred forty-seven and told John one was missing. John had a pretty good idea whose name was missing and told Will to look for a name, which didn't take long since they're in alphabetical order by surname, and your name was missing. It still is missing, Gregory.”

“It doesn't belong on the plaque, Gary. It would be me thanking me for working on the movie. That's ludicrous.”

Gary looked at the plaque. “It reads, Gregory, 'The accompanying Award from the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was made possible only through the hard work, effort and dedication of the following human beings.' You worked on this movie but your name's not on the plaque.”

I pointed to the Oscar. “Whose name is on the award, Gary?”

“Your name.”

“Does that not imply I worked on the movie, since they gave me an award for it in my name referencing The True Cross?”

“Well, yes, it does, but-”

“And since it implies I worked on the movie, why would I have to say it on the plaque. Is that not redundant?”

“Well, I suppose...”

I pointed to the plaque. “Three hundred and forty-seven.” I pointed to the Oscar. “Plus one. That's three hundred and forty-eight. That's everyone. No one's name is missing, Gary. All are accounted for in this display. And if you ask me why I did it this way, here's my answer. The fine folks at the Academy simply didn't have the room on the Oscar to put all three hundred and forty-eight names on it, since their names deserve to be on it. I have merely attempted to correct this woeful deficiency.”

Serena stepped up to both of us. “You can't win, Gary. Live to fight another day, right, Gregory?”

“Wise beyond your years, little girl. I can't wait until you turn eighteen. Ravaging your flesh comes to mind.”

Serena gave me her best mock shy expression. “My parents will look the other way, Senor. They like you for some strange reason.”

“I suppose I could pretend you're not a minor. You don't look like one.”

“You two are sick, you know that!” Gary exclaimed as he retreated to his office shaking his head furiously. “Sick!

...It was touching throughout the afternoon and evening watching and listening to Sofia mingle, often as the center of attention. Who honestly can ignore a ten-year-old dynamo who would ask the most pointed question with no sense of shame or impropriety? Since she would often call me Papi and I would call her little squirt, this seemed to stay on everyone's mind. When Serena was asked what it all meant, she replied, “They're in love with each other. What can I do? Although if I ever catch them in bed together I'll cut Gregory's heart out, but he understands. Don't you, little boy?”

“Absolutely. She went to school in Mexico. They teach knife play in home ed there.”

- Just Desserts, Segment Twenty-SixAn African Experiment Begins” by Gregory R. Schussele, © 2021

contact me, as always: schussprose@gmail.com