Female Pushback

bad boss

The meeting started promptly at 2:30, unfortunately half of the staff were absent from their seats.  On the wall, the minute hand moved towards 2:31.  With each ticking that did not produce another staff member through the doorway, the manager grew more irritated.

He cleared his throat and looked around at those who were present with disgust.  What is punctuality if no one can tell time?  The empty chairs taunted him whispering of his incompetency.  His face turned red; the flush started from his neck and spread outwards like blood in a puddle of water.

“Where are your colleagues?” he demanded of the women sitting at the table.

His blue eyes pierced through the faces in front of him one by one with a laser focus that could have sliced through steel.  He looked at the clock on the wall and then at his wristwatch to confirm the time.  He wanted the room to know that his time was important and currently being wasted on them.

Jill sheepishly volunteered, “Debbie and Jan are off today.  I think they sent you an email about it.”

Straightening the stack of remaining agendas by lining up the edges, Jill looked down, sensing that eye contact may result in an atomic explosion and not wishing to see anyone without a head, she fiddled with the papers until he moved onto the next distraction.

“And Bonnie had to leave early for a doctor’s appointment,” Linda offered with a smirk that nearly gave away the delight that she felt from conflict.

“I knew about Bonnie,” he replied sharply and mumbled to himself as he scratched something down on his notebook and underlined it three times with his red pen.

“Well then, I guess we will start without the others.  They will have to wait to find out that I was able to get the pen request approved.”

He cast his gaze around the room, expecting a round of cheers.  Of course, he wasn’t surprised at the blank faces of his team.  They were all ingrates.  This is what they wanted.  They don’t know what they want, he reasoned silently.

There was one other man in the room, he unsuccessfully tried to catch his attention for a shared eye roll at the lackluster response of the women.  He was disappointed to see the man tipped back in his chair and staring at the ceiling with a blank expression as though just recovering from a stroke.

Worthless.

He’s as bad as the rest.  Women, he shook his head and snorted.  He would have to continue his campaign against female pushback another day.  He ran through the rest of the agenda items at full speed, without allowing for questions or breath.

“Ok and that’s a wrap.  See you next month.”  He grabbed his notepad, two pens and coffee mug and rushed through the door before the first woman had time to stand.

Jill laughed to herself doubtful that there would be another meeting.  An atomic explosion was averted only for the moment and maybe the day, but he was still a man on the brink of certain disaster without a clue about his fate.
Slight

Watching the Ponies Run

audible

As the conversation lulled between the couple, Julie glanced up at the tv screen on the brightly painted wall and stared; instantly mesmerized by the images, she lost her train of thought. 

“Sorry, what were you saying?” Julie asked, still staring over her companion’s head.

Ken twisted his neck to see what had caught his wife’s attention and understood the situation.  It was the Kentucky Derby and the ponies were set to run in less than an hour. 

“I like the odds of that Amazon horse,” Julie leaned forward and whispered.

She didn’t have to worry about being overheard as two boys in the booth behind her started a screaming and kicking match that brought the manager to their table in an attempt to mediate while their parents sucked down cervezas, apparently blind and deaf to the behavior of their terrible children.

“Have you done any research on this?” Ken half-whispered back.

“No, but I have a good feeling about it. Plus, Amazon wins at everything and that’s all the research I need to know the winner.”

Ken nodded in a that-makes-sense kind of way and reached for another chip.

They were both gamblers, but in different ways.  Julie speculated and encouraged others to take risks, while Ken methodically researched and backed his bets with money.  To be fair, they also won in different ways, Julie briefly celebrated a win but mourned long and hard the foolish loss of even a dollar.  Whereas when Ken won, he rode a tidal wave of adrenaline for days and wrote off loss as a thing of the past from which to move on. 

Julie asked, “Do you want to put some money on it?

Ken’s eyes lit up at the prospect. It was like offering a cat a piece of chicken and it was no surprise that he greedily grabbed at the opportunity.  His phone was in his hand and opened to a betting website in less than minute.

“Let’s do it.  What is that horse’s name?”

“Alexis.  It is definitely Alexis.”

Screwing up his forehead, Ken scrolled through the list of horses in a futile search of a name that was not to be found.

“Bad news, it’s not here. There is no Alexis…”   

“…but there is an Audible!” he declared.

“That’s the one, bet everything on Audible.”

Everything? Ken thought to himself with a mixed sense of concern and excitement.  Who was this person sitting across the table from him?

“How about $20 on Audible?” he offered.

“How about $50?” his wife countered.

They settled somewhere in the middle and ordered dinner.  

After the couple finished a plate of tacos and fajitas, suffered through countless commercials about Kentucky whiskey and views of the crowd miserably slogging through the mud in boots and ridiculous hats, the ponies ran. 

Audible didn’t win, but for once Julie didn’t care.  It was just money, after all, and seemed inconsequential in comparison with her other worries. The stakes were far higher in another bet; it was, in fact, the biggest gamble of her life and she didn’t have the energy to worry about the loss.     

She had the future on her mind. 

  

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