Saturday, August 6, 2016

'Whiff,' a Short Short Story



RICHARD ironed his nostrils with the back of his hand. All eyes around his desk looked elsewhere. You didn’t correct Richard’s less sociable antics. Not if you wanted to find your tires still stiff and plump when it was time to go home.
The New Guy, who didn’t know better, acted like all the other New Guys on their first day at the collection agency: Solicitous. Brainlessly solicitous. “Jeez, Dick, I’ve got some Benadryl tablets on me, if you want to shut off that tap.”
The New Guy yelped and spun around as the stapler bounced off his forehead.
“Call me that again, and I’ll give you a dick up your ass. Sheila, you got a mirror in your cosmetics case? I want him to see the hole in his head. He looks like a teacher’s aide punctured by toddler demon seeds. You’re supposed to intimidate a client into paying their bills, not make them laugh their scrotums off. Who was I sending you to?”
New Guy swore as Richard yanked the paper from between his fingers, leaving a skinny red string of a paper cut.
“Oh, yeh. THAT one. Told the hospital she can’t pay because her hours at work were cut and the government’s garnishing her wages because she doesn’t have enough money to pay off her student loan. The bitch probably has thousands of dollars hidden away. That’s what they do, especially since the big banks failed a few years ago. Clearly not the job for you now, Benadryl Balls. I’ll get that money back for the hospital. Watch.”
Sheila ran after Richard as he left the office with the other collectors. “Your inhaler!”
He waved her away. “I just yelled at Mr. Dick for not having the proper professional appearance. You think the broad’ll take me seriously when I start sucking on a plastic tit in the middle of my proposal? Eff the inhaler. Eff these flipping allergies. They’ll leave me alone if I don’t pay attention to them. ”
Ten blocks away, the guinea pig stood gripping the cage bars with his front paws as Mommy’s loving hands scooped his buddy out of the bedding beside him.
“I’m so sorry, sweetie.” Mommy sobbed as she held Sweetie to her shoulder, stroking his back, letting her tears soak his head.
Her friend gently reminded her that she was doing the right thing by placing her pet up for adoption. She simply didn’t have the money to look after two pets properly.
Mommy bravely placed the piggy in his little carrier and set a handful of sweet green timothy hay in the cage for the remaining piggy.
Richard watched them leave. He figured he had forty-five minutes to find the woman’s stash of money. He couldn’t wait to count it all and confront her.
He was ransacking the chest of drawers near the guinea pig’s cage when like a balloon he began to inflate.
The piggy chomped its hay, oblivious to the allergen-bloated body on the floor. -- by Gev Sweeney, Copyright 2011

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