Flash Fiction

Beware of Joe Pesci

By November 16, 2013 10 Comments

Man Walking in Toronto Tunnel at Night

It occurred to me three years after I worked with him that I didn’t know anything about Edward’s family.

“Any siblings?” I asked.

His hazel eyes looked deformed behind the frosted beer mug. It was 3:14 a.m., and we’d just wrapped up a meeting in Montreal. The bar visit was not so much a celebration of a successful client project as it was celebrating the fact that we still had jobs in this economy.

“Two,” Edward said. “One younger, one older. I haven’t spoken to them since my parents divorced.”

“A middle child,” I said. “That’s dull, isn’t it?”

Over his shoulder, Rhonda from Strategy was laughing at something Boris said. Boris was the new guy transferred from the firm in Boston. He was our manager but only Rhonda liked him. Or pretended to. She had a plastic smile not even Joan Rivers could touch.

Edward was watching too. “It is dull. It’s almost as dull as Boris over there. Did you see him during the presentation? His hands behind his head, both of them, and smiling like he’s the freaking king of the castle. How did he become manager, anyway?”

“Bribery,” I said. I didn’t believe it, but the recent scandals in the news moved it to the top of my list of explanations.

Edward snorted. “Who knows? That’s the nature of the business. You don’t know much about me, and I don’t know that much about you. Anything goes behind closed doors.”

Boris looked up then. His eyes, like black pebbles, scanned our faces for a split second before settling back on Rhonda’s babbling head. His hand was on her shoulder, and it was sliding down.

Edward’s fingers curled into a fist.

“Nepotism,” I said, and Edward leaned forward, suddenly alert.

“You know what, that’s a more likely explanation. I always said that Boris and the VP were both spray-tanned like an East Coast Oompa Loompa. Got the body of one, too. Inferiority complex, I tell you.”

“Beware of Joe Pesci,” I said, and we both laughed.

So when Edward’s body turned up in a block of cement a year later, none of us should’ve been surprised. Rhonda, who’d ended up his fiancée a few months after our conversation in the bar, pleaded with head office to be transferred to Boston, but we’d lost so much staff recently that it wasn’t an option.

A week later, we had a new manager. No one talked much about the old one. Edward’s desk was cleared, and his replacement, a man who also had hazel eyes and fists for hands, was assigned to my team the next day.

As for me, I didn’t give it much thought. I was just glad to have a job in this economy.

Millie’s Note: Joe Pesci is awesome.

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Jen says:

    I worked somewhere creepy like that once. The first week on the job I went out to lunch with a few girls my age and they dished a little gossip about the place. When we got back to the office, and an hour later, the scary HR lady called me into her office to grill me on what had been said and who said what. Apparently there had been a spy in the cafe who squealed on us. Very very weird place indeed. Luckily, I moved out of town six months later and had a good excuse to quit.

  • Rebecca Cao says:

    You should write something longer! This is a great piece. Do you always write young adult? Because I feel that your tone and voice would suit adult fiction better.

  • DePlume19 says:

    Love, love, love this! I guess a lot of us have creepy work stories! What is Dec. novel writing month? We should compare notes! I write adult fiction under a different I.D.

    • Millie Ho says:

      December novel writing month is my own extension of NaNoWriMo in case I don’t make the word count. I’d love to compare notes, feel free to email me anytime.

      • DePlume19 says:

        Thanks! You too! I have no hope of making the word count, but being somewhat forced to try has been good for me. I had never heard of NaNo until you asked me about it. Thanks for that!

  • Hell yeah. Joe Pesci. If I had to form a posse out of Hollywood guys, he’d be in it. Like a mascot. Was he ever in an Ocean’s movie? He should have been.

    Liking the description, esp “fists for hands”. Also, the dialogue style. I need to learn about writing me some dialogue.

    Enjoyed, cheers!

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