Thursday, April 21, 2011

The raw deal

   She coughed softly as she entered his office. "Gimme a moment," he said, without looking up from the desk. But her heels, black and high, caught his eye. The long, shapely legs above them, a brown tweed skirt and a prim white blouse waited patiently. The expensive clothes seemed alien to her, as she fidgeted with her hemline. Maybe she was trying too hard. But it got his attention alright!
   "Come in," he said. She wobbled in her heels, giving away the fact that she was unused to them. Yet, in all her clumsiness, her honesty was graceful. "Maybe we could sit on the couch," he said. He didn't want to lose sight of parts of her, behind that huge mahogany desk. Unsure, demure and achingly beautiful, she mumbled a "Yessir" and walked up to the couch, holding on to her file for dear life.
   "Coffee?" he asked, as he sat directly across from her. 'God! She had long legs!' he noticed.
   "Actually, I'd like a smoke, if that's OK. I'm terribly nervous," she said.
   If he was taken aback, he didn't show it.
   "Sure," he said, fishing for the Zippo in his coat pocket. She knew she had thrown him off gear. She opened her bag and extracted a pack of cheap cigarettes. Sticking one into her scarlet lips, she leaned forward. Life never ceases to remind you that appearances can be deceptive. She took the lighter from him, lit her cigarette and sparked off his desires.
   "So, may I see your... " he hesitated, as she looked him straight in the eye.
   "Yes? My...?" she teased.
   "Um...uh... resume. Resume, of course," he fumbled with words, his tailored gray suit growing oppressively warm and uncomfortable. There was so much of her outside her clothes. Those slender calves were like highway to his destiny.          "Get to the point," he said, standing up, trying hopelessly, to get to business.
   "I'm here for your job," she said point blank. "The cowards at the HO didn't want to fire you upfront. So they sent me. I'm here for the dirty work."
   He sat back on the couch. Before he could utter a word, the peon walked in with a tray, two steaming mugs on it.
   "Coffee's here," he said. "That may just provide us the stimulation this situation demands."
   "Here's to new beginnings," she said lifting her mug and settling down on the couch; her skirt a little higher, her blouse a little lower.
   "Was just six billion that I took," he said. "Didn't think they'd ever notice. Well, they did, and all they could do is hire you to fire me." 
   She shot a cold glance at him.
  "But since you are here to make sure I'm fucked, why don't we get down to it?" he continued.
   "You are a brave man," she remarked, "Big steals are not for little boys. Let's do this exit interview properly," she said, unzipping her skirt.
   'Red and lace! Every dark cloud has a red, lacy lining,' he thought and smiled. It was starting to get really warm in the room. He turned the AC to a full blast, before leading her to the mahogany desk. He would use it for the last and the first time today.
   Even as they made this strange passionate love, her mind was thick with calculation. Six billion dollars was a lot of money.
   "I've a proposition for you," he said panting, as she dug her nails into his back. "I know," she moaned. "Run away?" they asked each other.
   The cold glass top of his desk was making her head spin, or was it his tongue? She didn't care. There was a decision to be made.
   "Yes, yes, oh yes!" she screamed. It was too good a deal to refuse.
   'Ah, I can have my cake, and eat it too,' he thought, as he fell back, wasted.
   They sat, that night, at the jazziest bar in town drinking the finest champagne, celebrating the fool each had made of the other.

(Co-authored with Satish Lakshman @tishman)

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