Page 1

Curbside Splendor e-zine | November 2013


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Curbside Splendor Publishing Curbside e-zine November 2013 ISSN 2159-9475 Poetry: Two Poems by Alex Rieser Harry by Janet Cannon Laundry by Don Pomerantz Three Poems by Thomas Pescatore Fiction: Man in Green by Robin Wyatt Dunn New Kingdom by John Martin Cover, Youth’s Ghost, and Photography by Frank Cademartori Editor – Joey Pizzolato

2


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Alex Rieser holds an MFA in poetry from the University of San Francisco. His works have most recently appeared in Ploughshares, and Feathertale’s Anthology for best works in the first person. His chapbook “Emancipator” is available from New Fraktur Press in Philadelphia, PA.

“House of Mirrors” by Frank Cademartori

3


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Two Poems by Alex Rieser

Sonata in Tandem Did I measure by the stone ear not by the tain’s smoke but by my own sources, not the tansy, that doesn’t grow in my city’s unit of measure from the eye to the lid’s width the petal making its sharpnesses Measure by the we, tandem tandem, you the struck-form

4


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Cement Sonata We left draping places in night’s city moon the walls contain all possible phantoms contained wantonness as they remain remaining we’ve got to take their nothing into account if I can make you see it in the churning urn layering their makers

5


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Robin Wyatt Dunn lives in southern California and is the author of three novels. He believes in an Aristotelian universe; that is, world without end. You can find him at www.robindunn.com.

“HCMC� by Frank Cademartori

6


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Man in Green

by Robin Wyatt Dunn I wear green; that is what I do. If only that were enough. I am getting old. “I don’t know Mary but you need to pull back a little, ask yourself if it’s good for your career to get involved with an artist...” “I don’t want anything serious, just a little fun . . .” The women and men in shades, in white, in tan, under the huge white sun of late summer. I attract attention in my green, but the city is full of lunatics. “Lady,” I say. “Lady.” “What?” She looks at me like a bug. I don’t fit into her schedule. “Lady, have you seen the sky?” Instinctively she glances up at it for a moment. “What?” she says. “Come on Mary,” the other woman says, giving me a disapproving look. The one named Mary scratches her arm, unconsciously, her lacquered red nails itching the itch, her red lips parted in a snarl, her eyes invisible behind the

7


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

glasses. A cloud moves over the sun and I feel the momentary pain of my life fading, then I cool, and cool. “Shade,” I say. I couldn’t get out what I wanted to say; the women move along, with hardly a second look. It’s true I am getting old, in my green. I have thought long now about a park, and its placement. The lords of the city arrange them carefully and excise them away into little slots, little prisons. But I can make joy; I can make green, more than you have ever seen, more than you could ever try, the wind, the day, the sky is mine for use and for my minions to impale themselves upon, to live and die and fertilize my eyes upon, within without the cleaving maple house of our old tragedy the Earth, under my many winged kingdoms― Mary stops, in the street. A car screeches to a halt. I hold the vine along the wall and sing. And the clouds move. --

My brothers will say I have merely been seeking an interesting death; they may be right. -Trees stream out of the pavement and out of the sewer, growing like fast vines, soon the sun is shadowed and the asphalt gives way to loam. A lone traffic light gleams amidst the boughs. How long will it last? Forever? “Mary,” I say. Her friend is gone.

8


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

“I’m Jack,” I say, and my word is still a bell, my name an awning underneath which you cannot scream. She does not move. “Mary,” I say. “You’re looking so beautiful today.” “Who are you?” “I told you, I am Jack.” And she smiles. What is a forest but a word? Who I am but the syllable undreamt beneath a susurrus of traffic? I hear the thousand voices of her pleasures beneath me and teach myself the language of this century so that I might be right again, so that my park will pound the city dwellers with its fearful urgency of green. --

I have so many trunks. Trunks full of my words which are boughs, for your succor; for your hanging.

9


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Janet Cannon is from the Boston area originally, but she has lived in Manhattan, San Francisco, Taos, Tucson, and now she lives in the Seattle area. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa where she also did graduate work. Janet is the author of two published chapbooks, and her chapbook Day Laborers is a quarter finalist in the 2013 Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize. Her poems have been published in many literary journals such as Helicon Nine, G.W. Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, Beatitude, New Mexico Humanities Review, Southwestern American Literature, Texas Review, and the New York Quarterly— among others.

“Urban Angel” by Frank Cademartori

10


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Harry

by Janet Cannon he's on the stoop retired every morning greeting tenants off to work with accented english first name familiarity don't work too hard he says and on fridays no more this week after today each evening from the sidewalk he welcomes us individually with weather status salutations as our official ghetto doorman in summer he says too hot for humans or on rainy days from the eaves' shelter too wet for ducks today he says like a trained german shepherd guarding the building's entrance on weekends he buzzes me inside from his second story window's view so i don't have to hunt for my keys he waits at his door

11


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

as i struggle past laden with laundry and grocery bundles destined for my fifth floor flat oh thanks so much harry i say and he invites me in for wine my wife he says since she's gone there's no one...it's good you have your daughter to talk to sometimes

12


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

“Iris Light” by Frank Cademartori

13


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Don Pomerantz After much time in Western New England, Don Pomerantz now lives in New York City where he is a teacher. His poems have appeared in Washington Square Review, Failbetter, Potomac Review, Eclectica, New Plains Review, Euphony and elsewhere.

“Urban Cathedral� by Frank Cademartori

14


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Laundry

by Don Pomerantz The latticework arbors where my love laundry hangs push back now and then into the wind and other forces of nature. The big bad apocalypse mockery and the little blind thing that rides its prickly back that wants the air all to itself can’t be seen but they’re plain as whatever’s on my face or how you wear your love like hair and that being said I ask Mr. Star Gazer what’s the weather gonna be tomorrow not here but way up there where the cold and the heat get serious about what’s real and about to go down big time though they take it all so easy and slow we don’t even see frames or the change of frameworks let alone breathe slower than slow, the heated and chilled breath are that wind my love laundry wafts in— I could call it a breeze and mock the ol’ wind but I never knew how to do that kind of hallelujah break down. Dag Nab It! Dog Gone It, I say, make me your Augie Doggie, your Baba Looey, Booboo Bear can’tquitedowithoutme sidekick— I’ll settle for make me Snuffles, toss me a biscuit and heaven’s just two to five feet up, though we know it’s much lower and here it is all those stars and

15


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

their heat and all the cold in between them right here where I’m all dried out now ready to wear those clothes that make me so invisible even you can— even I can find what one of those explosions called out when it called out to me a softer than fabric soft name inside a name where all the arbors dance there latticeworks dance— Oh Yahweh, Jah, Buddha, make me your laundry, your sidekick, your beloved pooch maybe not soon just somewhere smaller than a lost sock, elsewhere, anywhere— but here in the good old before day before night star struck symptoms of before Toonville time.

16


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Thomas Pescatore grew up outside Philadelphia. He is an active member of the growing underground poetry scene within the city and hopes to spread the word on Philadelphia’s new poets. He maintains a poetry blog: amagicalmistake.blogspot.com. His work has been published in literary magazines both nationally and internationally but he'd rather have them carved on the Walt Whitman Bridge or on the sidewalks of Philadelphia's old Skid Row.

“Glass Ceiling” by Frank Cademartori

17


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Three Poems

by Thomas Pescatore Can’t Understand when in the drowsy hours you speak to me in tongues I can't understand, is when I realize we must be doing this for a reason, to get to some end, or to prove something lost, and you wait patiently for me to answer in huffy silence until you recall that I can't speak a bit of mandarin and you laugh, a sweet, funny kinda laugh before you fall asleep and forget.

18


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Fly All this world out there and you can't reach any of it, and neither can I right now, Only I know about it you can't even realize it, even in the end, this glass is ugly people cough, piss & die it's reflected on me, windows divide the cosmos, the very black hole of reality, you stick to it, falling sideways, crawling about my books.

19


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Might Be Half a Worker's Sentence Cleaning ladies shouting in Spanish across their too small sad wood (composite) lunch table with what looks like tons of food to be shared smelling great like I'd imagine Mexican streets do with warm tortillas and whatever else in the warm sun of old America summers baking everything a golden brown lovely ancient color can be themselves for a only those few stolen moments, even in their dirty blue stiff uniforms, with the half hour clock looming, before the boss man needs to eat or have his toilet cleaned and god-what-all-or-what-have-you requires them to snap those defeated, stoic masks back on and go to breaking their bones or spirit cleaning up somebody else’s shit.

20


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

John Martin makes his living as a writer in corporate America.. When he’s not doing that, he pursues other writing projects and various interests that include gourmet cooking, bird watching, and extensive reading. His work has previously appeared in Per Contra, Bias Onus Quarterly, Black Lantern Publishing, and the Externalist.

“House of Glass” by Frank Cademartori

21


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Little Kingdom by John Martin

The feeling of deep satisfaction that comes from the knowledge that you, and nobody else, holds the fate of at least one individual in your own two hands—this was the feeling that Bart Davis had always strived to fulfill even more than his own physical needs. Since accepting a position with Marker Software in 1997, he had moved from maintaining code for the company’s flagship product, Execalc, to Director of Software Development in just four short years, a credit not only to his unremitting ambitions, but, more importantly, evidence of a superior destiny—a sign of his birthright to exercise power over others. Certainly, many had tried to undermine his authority over the years, but none had succeeded. He was an individual not to be trifled with, and he made sure that everyone knew it—lest they encounter the full force of his fury. As with most other days at the office, today’s agenda was to be devoted largely to meetings—the first with his team, a meeting he held every morning at 9:00 to review the day’s priorities and make adjustments as necessary— followed by various meetings with other directors and their own organizations, ending with a meeting at 5:00 with his boss, the Vice President of Software Development, David Skaggs, whose ignorance of software development was only exceeded by an insanely inflated confidence in his ability to manage and lead. Reading over his emails as he downed his first soda of the day, he accepted all the meeting requests, and then turned to the emails whose subject lines seemed the most

22


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

interesting or which promised to put some individual or part of the organization in an unfavorable light, intelligence he later could use to discredit new rivals or win favor with executive management. There were a great number of emails from members of his own staff having to do with some application failure from the previous day, but he never troubled himself with matters for which his team was responsible. He had enough of his own work to do. Highlighting these dozen or so emails was simply a matter of control-clicking the whole mass of them, and then pressing delete. He glanced up from his screen to see Peg Harrison, one of the more senior members of his staff, standing in his doorway. “Did you read through the emails I sent you?” “I saw them,” Bart corrected her. “Anything I need to be concerned with?” “Network installed a new firewall last night—without notifying us. All of our batch processes failed because we couldn’t get to the server.” “So tell them to reconfigure the firewall.” “I did. But they said it needed approval from Data Security. They couldn’t do anything about it.” “Who said?” “Evan Jameson.”

23


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

“Let’s discuss it at our nine o’clock. I’ve got something here I need to take care of.” Peg went back to her desk. Bart finished reading his email, and then brought up his favorite sports website to look over the scores. His old alma mater had seemed a sure thing for making it into the playoffs, but with last night’s overtime loss to Michigan State, that dream was dead. “Damn.” When he got to the conference room, everyone else had already arrived and was now sitting in silence, waiting for him to begin. Everyone except Peg. “Where’s Peg?” “She’s working a firewall issue. None of our reports ran last night.” “Go get her,” he pointed to Ted, whose misfortune it was to be nearest the door. “Did everyone see the email from corporate yesterday? A lot of you haven’t completed your self-evaluations yet, and I need them by the end of the day. That is, if you want your review. Also, we have an upgrade scheduled this weekend, so of course, we’ll need the usual coverage. Paul, I think it’s your turn? Chris, I want you on hand as well. Upgrade is scheduled to go in at eleven. Systems assures me it should go through without issues, but we know how that goes, don’t we? Finally, corporate is getting ready to roll out a new program next month—‘Data Security Is Everyone’s Business.’ You’ll all be getting something in your inboxes very soon to sign up for training. Make sure you do it. Participation is not optional. So, what else is going on? Anything I should be concerned with?”

24


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Peg came into the room, followed by Ted, who sat in their seats without comment. “That reminds me. This problem with the firewalls. Peg, you need to call Evan Jameson and get this taken care of. We can’t have these people shutting us down. I don’t care if they are Data Security. All these signoffs and approvals—it’s a waste of our time. We’ve got work to do. I’ve got a pretty full calendar today, but I want a status report by noon. You’ll have to catch me between meetings.” “As I told you a few minutes ago, I’ve already talked to Evan. He won’t budge.” Bart fired back with a withering glance. The atmosphere inside the conference room went suddenly chill as a wind off the lake. “I know what you said. Try again. That is your job, after all, isn’t it?” Adjourning the meeting with a dismissive gesture, Bart began making his way back to his office, stopping first in the breakroom to buy another soda from the vending machine where he ran into Evan Jameson, refilling his coffee. Seeing Bart come into the room, Evan said, “I can’t change a firewall without authorization from Data Security. I thought your people knew that.” “I’m sure that they do. Just let them know what the procedure is you want them to follow.” “They know the procedure. They just don’t care. I don’t make the rules, Bart. You need to get a handle on your people.” Though Evan Jameson held an equivalent level position in the company, he had been with the organization

25


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

three times as long as Bart had been, making it risky to challenge his authority, or go over his head. “I told Peg the same thing,” Bart told him, stepping in closer as though to suggest the existence of a deeper conspiracy. “If she’s giving you trouble, you need to tell me so I can address it.” “That is what I’m telling you.” “I’ll look into it then, of course.” “Asshole,” Bart muttered under his breath as he returned to his office. He read through the agenda of the meeting he was scheduled to attend at 9:30 and, seeing nothing of interest, decided instead to step out for a bit, grab an early lunch, make a few calls. This was one of the perks of his position that he valued above all others—the freedom to drop off the grid whenever the mood suited him, knowing full well that he would never be questioned, or asked to give an account of his whereabouts. He was a director, after all. Such were the privileges of power. “Don’t forget that status report,” he reminded Peg as he walked down the hall, smiling as she started and spilled a bit of the coffee she was holding onto her blazer. He liked to keep the people around him a little off balance, never sure of just where they stood. If the people who worked for you weren’t at least a little bit of afraid of what you might do to them, if you didn’t seem at least a little bit dangerous, you had nothing to leverage. In the workplace, give him an adversary over a friend any day—at least with an adversary, you knew where you stood.

26


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

As Bart pulled his Jaguar onto the avenue and merged in with the traffic, he suddenly remembered a woman who’d flirted with him while making his coffee that morning. Why not stop in and pick up where they’d left off, he thought, pleased enough with the idea that he made a U turn at the next intersection. When he walked into the coffee shop, she was sitting at one of the tables, reading her email, but as he passed by she looked up and smiled. “Come back for that muffin I suggested?” “Muffin?” Bart evocatively lifted his eyebrows. “I think I would have remembered you offering me a muffin.” The woman regarded him warily. The ground rules had suddenly shifted, of that much she was certain, but where it was leading was still unclear. “Too late anyway. All the muffins are gone. You missed your chance.” “Say it’s not so,” Bart smiled. “Guess I’ll have to settle for coffee.” Bart managed to look hurt. “Right.” Then, as though finally making up her mind about something that until that exact moment had still been in doubt, she stood up from her chair. “Back to work,” she said with finality. “Come on over to the counter if you want and I’ll make you that coffee.” “Sorry, got to run,” Bart replied, his shrug and cool stare leaving little doubt as to the wrong that had been done to him. There was a word that he reserved for women like this barista, and that was the word that now came to his lips, a word whose ugly sentiments fell like a shadow over his face. And while the barista might not have heard the word spoken, its effect caused her to shiver and turn abruptly

27


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

away from him, a position in which she remained till she heard the door close behind her. --

In need of some way now to kill time before taking his lunch, Bart decided to stop by a cell phone dealer to discuss upgrade options. “I’ve been thinking about upgrading my phone,” Bart explained, spreading his hands far apart for emphasis. “I think it’s important for someone like me, you know, to stay current, stay up with the latest technology.” The young salesman whose nametag read “Nathan” either had not heard what Bart said, or had decided instead to ignore it. In any case, his expression remained unresponsive. “My company would pay for an upgrade, that’s not the problem. It’s just that, if I use one phone for company business and another for personal business, that means I have to carry two phones around with me wherever I go. So, I think it makes sense. That is to say, to pay for the phone myself.” Bart paused, waiting for the young man to jump in. “I’m interested in this phone,” Bart said, pointing impatiently. “Nicest model we sell,” the salesman observed, taking the phone from the counter and turning it on. “Fully Internet-capable, comes with over a hundred pre-installed apps. Takes video as well as still digital images—holds up to five hundred hours of downloaded music as well.” “How much?” “Let me look up your plan. Number?”

28


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

Bart gave him his number. “Upgrade would run you around four hundred dollars—four hundred seven and ninety-five cents, to be exact.” “Can’t you give me some kind of deal? I’m a good customer. I’ve been with this company for almost five years. Doesn’t that entitle me to some sort of discount, something?” “We offer free upgrades, but only for base models. The model you want is state-of-the-art.” Bart paused to consider his options. No surly punk kid was going to get away with treating Bart Davis like a regular customer. “You mean to tell me that you would actually be willing to let me and my business walk out the door for the sake of a few hundred dollars? I mean, come on, kid, I pay that much a month for my data plan, for Christ’s sake.” “I’m sorry, sir, I don’t make the policy.” “You don’t make the policy—you just enforce it. Well, you know what I have to say about that? Fuck you, that’s what I say.” Bart’s phone started to ring. He looked at the number, and then pushed the button to send it to voicemail. “And fuck your company, too.” --

“You understand what I’m saying,” Bart continued, pointing his finger for emphasis. “All the kid had to do was throw me a bone. When it came down to it, being able to tell his boss he followed the rules mattered more than making the sale.” Drawing a couple of fries through the puddle of catsup he’d put on his plate, Bart held the fries out in front of John’s face for a moment before cramming them into his

29


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

mouth. “Where’s the fun in spending your money if you can’t put one over on some pimply-faced kid once in a while?” “Rules protect as much as they prevent, don’t forget.” “What do they protect?” Bart sneered, draining his beer. “Hey kid!” Bart snapped his fingers. “Another cold one, if you don’t mind. John?” “No, I better not.” John looked at his watch. “Hey, I saw that. What are you so worried about? I invited you, remember? Just tell your boss you’re having lunch with a vendor. As if he cares.” “I’d rather not lie, if I can help it.” “You don’t think your people lie to your face every chance they get? It’s the way of the world, my friend. People suck.” “I’d like to think they respect me enough to be honest with me.” “Boy, what have you been smoking? Are you serious? Little Suzy Sunshine, that’s what I’m going to start calling you.” John took out his wallet from his back pocket and pulled out a twenty. “This should cover my half of the bill. It was good seeing you, Bart. Let’s do it again sometime.” Bart waved the money off. “Like I said, I invited you. After all, we’re still buddies, aren’t we?”

30


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

“Sure, thanks,” John conceded, appearing now to reconsider his previous impulse. He sat down again and looked at his friend, an expression of concern beginning to straighten his mouth into an even dark line. “Are you doing all right, Bart? We haven’t talked much since the divorce. How are you handling it? I know things like that can be tough.” “Honestly, I don’t even think about it all that much anymore. Except whenever I have to get out the checkbook and write Stephie a check—bitch.” Bart looked to John to join in on the joke, but John merely shook his head in dismay. “Are you seeing the kids? How do they seem to be doing?” “Couple weekends a month, is about it. You probably see them as often as I do, with school and sports and everything else—maybe more.” Bart thoughtfully studied his beer glass a moment, as though its draught of courage might be all that was needed to set the situation aright. “I wouldn’t admit this to just anyone, John, but, the kids, it’s so awkward with them sometimes, you know? Like we’re strangers. Most times when we’re together, I can’t wait to drop them back off at their mother’s.” “Give it time, Bart. It’s important you maintain a relationship with them. Remember, it’s hard for them too, maybe harder.” “I suppose.” If only more time were enough. --

“Do we know where Bart is?” The question was addressed to the attendees of an impromptu meeting convened by the head of Data Security, Jon Holden, who, in response to the grievances he’d been fielding all morning, had decided to get

31


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

all the players together and settle the matter before things got any worse. “I haven’t seen him since our nine o’clock.” “His calendar’s clear. Could he be traveling?” “That would explain why he’s not answering his phone.” “We’ll just have to move forward without him,” Jon told the group, turning his attention now to Peg. “So. Peg. In the interests of getting everyone on the same page, maybe you could give us your perspective on how we got ourselves into this mess in the first place?” Given the level of frustration on display in the room, Peg correctly surmised that diplomacy would advance her cause more effectively than further complaining. What’s more, she could see that Jon was genuinely interested in handling the matter, a welcome alternative to Bart’s preference for evasive maneuvering and subterfuge. When she was done explaining the issue, Jon turned to Evan. “So who submitted the original request for the new firewall?” Evan sheepishly looked about the room. “No one submitted a request, per se. A lot of unwanted Internet traffic had been getting into our systems over the last couple of months, so we decided, in the interests of data integrity, to install a new firewall that would cut down on the amount of this stuff getting through.”

32


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

“And how did you determine what you would let through before you installed the firewall?” “Well, various organizations in the company submitted lists of source URLs that needed to be given unfiltered access.” “Did Bart submit one of these lists?” “He was supposed to. The note went out to the managers at the beginning of February.” “Peg,” Jon said, “did Bart ever ask you to provide a list of URLs?” “No,” Peg carefully answered, checking each of the faces in the room so as to assess the collective reaction. “But then, Bart gets so many emails. He might have just missed it.” “That’s no excuse,” Jon observed, throwing the room into numb silence. Turning then to Evan, he said, “Peg will provide you with the URLs no later than four today. The firewall needs to be updated before eleven tonight, before all the batch processes start. Do you see any problems with this plan? If so, I need to know now. I don’t want to have this same meeting again tomorrow.” Evan shook his head. “Then we’re done. Except that, in the future, I want to be copied on any similar requests you send to Bart. Copy Peg as well.” --

33


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

“You didn’t notice all the emails flying back and forth? And all the missed calls on your cell phone?” David asked. “I might have,” Bart admitted, puzzled by this show of anger from his boss. “I miss emails all the time. Everyone does. And the calls, well, I can’t say for sure what happened there,” he said, pretending to scan through his memory of the last several hours. “But if I need to make it right, I’ll make it right. Though I don’t really see what all the fuss is about.” “Where were you anyway?” David asked, not ready to let the matter go. He was determined not to let Bart talk circles around him—at least not this time, not today. “It made us look bad. It made me look bad—like I don’t even know what my people are up to.” “It’s not like you’re not going to fire me,” Bart exclaimed, conveying his contempt for the idea with a withering glance directed in the general direction of Evan Jameson’s office. Though the firing of Bart might be a lot less painful than the solution he’d decided to implement, David was determined to go ahead with it anyway. “No, but here is what I am going to do. Peg has been with us a long time. I’d like to give her a shot at running the department. You’re obviously involved in too many other matters to give the day-to-day issues the attention they deserve. This way, Peg can manage the work in the trenches, and you can devote your efforts to more long-range initiatives.” Though Bart heard the words, he thought he must have misunderstood. Could his boss really be taking his department away from him? “I don’t think it’s necessary to

34


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

take it this far. As I said, I’ll make it right if I need to. This is not a big deal.” David’s expression remained unmoved. Bart decided to alter his approach. “Has Peg been telling you things behind my back? I knew she wanted my job, but I didn’t think she’d take it this far.” “What sort of things would she have been telling me?” David asked, sensing for the first time that he might have gained the upper hand. He was trapped. In a final act of desperation, Bart rose from his chair, saying over his shoulder as he brusquely advanced toward the door, “Well, you let me know what you decide to do.” “Bart?” Bart stopped, and turned. David was looking at him, his body tense, his hands gripping the desk. “This is what I’ve decided to do. Would you send Peg in here? I’d like to discuss the new position with her.” Bart was so taken aback by this turn of events, so unnerved that David would do something this conniving, he could hardly contain himself. For several interminable minutes he stood outside David’s office, wanting to retaliate but also knowing that any sort of proper revenge would require planning, and time. As he advanced down the hall toward the break room, he endeavored to block out the faces of those who were looking at him as he passed by. Small talk, or worse, supplying excuses for where he had been all afternoon were the very last things he wanted to do. He needed to clear his head, plot his next move.

35


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

“Bart, where have you been? Didn’t you see all my emails? We even called you, not once, several times. Things got pretty uncomfortable around here.” Out of the corner of his eye he could see Peg studying him intently, waiting for some sort of acknowledgement. “I heard all about it,” Bart coolly replied, still refusing to look at her. “Must have been exactly the sort of opportunity you’d been hoping for.” “What?” The sense of confusion rang through her voice like a bell. Bart turned and faced her directly. “I don’t know what you did,” he began, the look of apprehension on her face infusing his bloodstream like a powerful narcotic, “but David Skaggs wants to see you in his office, right now.” “Why? What did I do?” Peg helplessly asked, visibly scanning her memories of the last several hours for clues as to what lines might have been crossed, what rules of executive etiquette might have been violated. “I made sure I was careful, really I did. I didn’t implicate the department in anything—or at least I don’t think I did.” Peg was so conscientious that even the suggestion of an impropriety tended to throw her off balance—and created an opening for even more outlandish accusations. “I’m glad I’m not you, that’s all I can say. What are you doing still standing here? You think you should keep someone like David waiting? Is that your strategy, Peg? If it is, you might want to re-think, right now.” As Peg rushed down the hall to David’s office, Bart smiled to himself. He still had the power.

36


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

About the Photographer Urban Reflections Frank Cademartori Frank Cademartori has spent much of his twenties traveling east Asia, but now resides in Chicago, Illinois. He spends his time achieving amateur status at various activities and has chosen to daily relive the horrors of Middle School from the other side of the teacher's desk. More of his photography can be found here (http://endlessframe.wordpress.com/) and his thoughts on Photo Presentation will be featured in an upcoming Wordpress.com roundtable.

“Mirror Lake� by Frank Cademartori

37


Curbside Splendor

November 2013

www.curbsidesplendor.com

38

Curbside E-Zine November 2013  

Curbside Splendor's monthly online zine of short stories, poetry, and photography. Curbside Splendor is a Chicago-based publisher of books,...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you