Stepping from the long car outside his office building, he straightened the crease of his trouser leg, freeing it from the tongue of his shoe, and turned toward the private entrance. The freed leg flapped like a filling station pennant. He considered his reflection in a mirrored wall and wondered could the length of his stride cost him a promotion? At the door, he delivered a full-armed slap, putting his shoulder into the effort, across the upper half of the doorman’s face. Morning, Jimmy, he said. Morning, sir, said the doorman. Boss in yet, Jimmy? Yes, sir, said the doorman, Bright and early. He punched the doorman just above the belt buckle. Did I ask you when she got in, Jimmy? No, sir, said the doorman. No, sir, you didn’t. He walloped the receptionist with a fist to the side of her head and picked up his overnight packages. Morning, darling. Morning, sir. With a knee brought swiftly from behind, he caught the elevator operator unaware between the hams and slammed his body up against the wall. Eleven, Jack. Eleven, sir? He banged Jack’s head against the cluster of buttons 21 through 29. Boss in? he asked the boss’s girl. She’s waiting for you, sir. He tipped her chair and spilled the girl against a bank of cabinets and entered the boss’s office. The boss was standing on her desk. Her head and shoulders disappeared through an open frame in the ceiling. Need help, boss? he asked. She clocked him with a quick kick to the head. I think I got it, she said. He crashed to the floor and lay there quietly, waiting for further instructions. He looked up at the boss’s legs, silently considering. His lip was beginning to swell. Thanks for coming in early, she said.

Copyright ©1997-2006 David Hodges

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