They knew layoffs were coming. They all thought that’s what the 2 o’clock meeting for administrative staff was going to be about.
They all assembled. Richardson got up, holding a piece of paper.
“I found this in the suggestion box,” he said.
“Office bombshell. Big tits. Redhead preferably. Blonde okay too. Lonnie Anderson or Jessica Rabbit-type.”
“So what I wanna know is if this some kinda joke? Anybody want to explain?”
Gordon stood up. Little did he know the query about it being a joke or not was just a ruse for exposing the composer.
“This place is going to hell,” Gordon said. “I thought a bombshell would do us some good. Every office with a sultry bombshell seems to be doing good.”
“That’s just on television,” Richardson said.
Richardson excused everybody.
“What about layoffs?” Bill asked on the way out.
“No layoffs today,” Richardson said.
He told Gordon to stay behind.
“But I gotta let you go,” Richardson said. “Can’t have this kind of thing going on in the office. It’s sexist and it makes me look bad.”
“I just bought some new pants,” Gordon lamented. “And got a haircut.”
“Doesn’t matter,” Richardson said. “Sorry, but you’re done.”
Gordon got his things and left.
An hour later in the breakroom, Bill told Buddy, “Gordon got fired.”
“He was crazy anyway,” Buddy said.
“Yeah. You heard about his wife?”
“How he wanted her to stay home but she got a job at a dentist’s office and started fucking the dentist?”
“Yeah And it was his dentist too. Shame. Finding a good dentist that you develop a good rapport with isn’t easy.”
“A really double-whammy,” Bill said.
“Maybe she did it because Gordon’s crazy.”
“Maybe,” Bill said. “Can you imagine that dentist’s hands all over your wife, then all inside your mouth?”
“He’d have been wearing gloves,” Buddy said. “I mean during the dentistry. Probably not the sex with Gordo’s wife.”
“Guess you’re right. Probably not. Unless it’s some kind of dentists’ kink. But it’s still a violation. It’s gotta be some kind of ethical violation between doctor and patient,” Bill said.
“Yeah. A real shame,” Buddy said. “And his kid? Old Gordo wanted him to be a football star but he turned out being a fag. But Gordon made him play a full season anyway, figuring the gridiron would straighten him out.”
“Wonder he didn’t kill himself.”
“Who? Gordon or the kid?”
“Both,” Bill said.
“What do you think about his Lonnie Anderson idea? A real Hail Mary, right? We need more than an office tramp to set this ship straight.”
“We could use something to break the stress,” Buddy said. “Lonnie Anderson seemed like an okay idea.”
Buddy stepped close to Bill and whispered.
“Can you keep a secret? Promise?”
“Yeah,” Bill said. “What is it?”
“I put a suggestion in there too. I was afraid Richardson was gonna call me out and maybe can me too. Even though mine wasn’t as weird.”
“What was it?” Bill whispered.
“Yeah,” Buddy said. “Everybody likes cotton candy. I suggested we get a machine.”
“That’s stupid,” Bill said.
“But everybody likes cotton candy. Don’t you?”
“Sure,” Bill whispered. “I’m not opposed to it. But I like fireworks too. Everybody likes fireworks too.”
“Did you put in a suggestion for fireworks?” Buddy asked.
“No. But now that we’re on the subject, I suppose I would have if I was forced to decide.”
“Nah,” Buddy said. “Fireworks won’t work. My father-in-law was in the war. He never liked fireworks. I say cotton candy.”
“Too bad,” Bill said. “I thought patriotism and serving one’s country and fireworks all went hand-in-hand. Musta been a bummer for him.”
“Yeah. I got a theory fireworks aren’t any good for the vets at all. PTSD, you know. And a lot of dogs don’t like fireworks either. That’s why I’m sticking with cotton candy.”
“Maybe,” Bill said. “Maybe. Problem is you can’t please everybody.”