Monday, February 06, 2006

and her little dog, too.

her drawl reminded me of a piece of taffy being pulled for miles and miles without breaking. whenever i heard it on my voicemail at work, i sighed because i knew i was about to hear a message that would last as long as a presidential 'state of the union' address.

"hey there, nikki," she'd start off, "this is carol. i'm not comin' inta the office this mornin'. seems there's an opossum stuck in mah chimney and i caint get it out. i called one of those chimney sweepin' people to stop by and handle it, but they told me i had to call animal control. well, i called animal control but all i got was the answerin' machine. i didn't leave a message because i wuzzint sure when somebody was gonna call me back and i really need somebody to get out here to take care..." click. see, this is where the voicemail cuts off cuz her longwinded ass couldn't just say "i ain't coming in, the end."

but it gets better, because she'd immediately call back to continue with her rendition of 'war and opossum pieces"

"hey there, nikki," she continues, "i was cut off before i could finish tellin' you why i'm not comin' in to work. so as i was sayin', there's a dead opossum stuck in my chimney an' i caint get it out and i've been tryin' to get a hold of animal control so they can come get this opossum 'cause it's stinkin' really bad and mah dogs are barkin' somethin' fierce and i know if i don't take care of this problem soon we're all gonna be dead from the opossum fumes."

pause. this pause means she's about to wrap it up. thank fucking goodness.

"so tell everybody i'm not gonna be in until they come get this opossum. thanks." click.

the breath i'd been holding releases like an explosion through my lips.

she's one of my co-workers. she's known for leaving long phone messages, talking ten minutes abut the paper clip shortage, and not washing her hands after she uses the bathroom. whenever we have a department function where folk are supposed to bring in homemade dishes, i always ask her what she brought so i know what to avoid when i'm in line picking out my food. if she doesn't wash her hands after wiping her ass, there's no telling what's in her tuna casserole.

one day i was walking past her desk. actually, it was more like running past her desk cuz she has a way of hijacking folk with the skill of a middle eastern operative.

"nikki!", she starts off as i glance over at her and pick up the pace of my walking, "WAIT!"

i stopped and turned around, trying to put on my best impression of 'crazy angry negro token bitch''. it's that look that's supposed to scare white folk into leaving me the fuck alone because they don't know what the crazy angry negro token bitch's gonna do. you know, cuz i'm black and from the ghetto.

"cumere a sec. i've got somethin' ta show you."

THAT was exactly what i was trying to avoid. i sighed as i realized my 'look' was no longer effective. shit, but i've been around these mothafuckas for too damn long. i had become as threatening as a mammy. i suddenly envisioned carol attaching one of her hungry brats to my teat while i rubbed his head and thought about all that cotton i'd have to pick later on in the day. is dat the sound o'dawgs barkin' i hear? chile, i best ta be tellin' massa one of those uppity niggers don' run off again..."

SHIT. snapping out of my nightmare, i blinked and looked at her. she was waving me over to her desk. i begrudgedly walked towards her. the closer i get to her desk, the more the air became seized with the distinct smell of sweaty ass and i wrinkled my nose in protest.

"look here!"

i didn't want to look anywhere. all i wanted to do was get to whatever mundane, spirit shriveling, brain sapping, peon designated assignment i'd been commanded to complete. you know it's bad when you'd rather be tortured by some shitty task at work than stand around and talk about nothing. carol had that effect on me, though. ever since she'd called me "girl", i'd had to bite my lip to stop myself from calling her "nasty ass heffa".

i was biting my lip right then as the words were beating against my teeth, demanding exit. moving my glance towards the direction of her pointed finger, i noticed a little brown ball of fur on the carpet behind her desk. my first thought was she'd shit furry turds onto the floor. then i realized that didn't make any fucking sense so i just looked at it and waited for her to tell me what it was.

"that's mah dog, mr. puddles"

i blinked.

you brought a fucking dog to work? a fucking DOG? a fucking dog named MISTER PUDDLES?

my eyes widened a little bit as i adjusted my eyeglasses and leaned over to take a closer look. it must have sensed a negro/burglar/murderer was in its general vicinity because it suddenly raised its little head and let out a little yelp. wtf?

two little eyes as dark as a night ripe for a cross-burning were staring up at me. i wasn't sure if the dog was supposed to look that sad or if it looked sad because carol was its owner. either way, it was still cute and the sight of it tugged at my little doggie weakness. i dropped to my haunches to get a closer look. it was still and silent, staring up at me with what appeared to be a pleading look in its eyes. i frowned. are dogs supposed to have a look of plea on their faces?

"hey there little fella," i whispered to it, smiling as it hesitantly stood on its legs and made its way towards me. it looked me over for a second, then started licking on my outstretched fingers. then it started yipping happily. what a cute little dog!

"mr. puddles is a little cutie, carol" i said as he continued licking my fingers and yelping, "he's an energetic thing, isn't he?"

she stared down at mr. puddles proudly, like a momma who'd just received praise from a teacher about her child.

"mr. puddles is mah sweet lil baby, aren't you mah precious lil boy..."

she started talking 'pet owner babble' in that tone i always hear when grown folk are talking to infants. it was irritating.

aiight, cute moment over...i gotta bounce.

"well, he's definitely sweet," i was straightening up and about to make my way to...DAMN. i forgot where i was headed. i'd have to go back to my office and retrace my thoughts until the memory of my task again latched itself to my conscious. i sighed. attention deficit disorder is a fucking BITCH.

"yes he is, isn't he?" her face was beaming. i glanced down at the dog who was now sniffing and licking my shoes. this has got to be the most lickenist dog i've ever seen in my life. i gave my foot a little shake to move mr. puddles off of my shoe.

"aiight, well i've gotta get some work done. thanks for letting me check out your dog," i said over my shoulder as i swiveled and headed back to my office, "uh...i'll talk to you later."

i heard a high-pitched yelp, muffled like the dog was being put into a bag or something. i turned my head to see her placing the dog at her feet beneath the folds of her long skirt. she's hiding the dog. the dog she brought to work. i rolled my eyes and walked back to my office.

later in the day, i stepped into the bathroom to wash my hands of the crumbs from the bologna and cheese sammich i'd had for lunch. as i turn on the the faucet for the water, i hear a muffled, high-pitched yelp coming from one of the stalls behind me. what the fuck? she brought the fucking dog in with her while she took a tinkle?

evidently she had, cuz the muffled yelping sound came again and then there was a rustling in the stall. and then i heard what sounded like licking noises.

i started quickly washing my hands. i had to get the fuck outta there. a woman, a bathroom stall, and a licking dog wasn't anything i was trying to contemplate at any point in my life ever.

at that moment, i suddenly remembered the urban legend about the lady, the dog, and the peanut butter.

i heard more rustling in the stall and more muffled yelps.

i didn't even bother drying my hands. i just turned off the faucet and ran the fuck outta there.

as she was leaving for the day, carol stopped by my office with mr. puddles in her arms. i looked into his eyes and witnessed that pleading look there again.

if i'd had to do what i think you had to do, i'd be pleading, too.

he yelped.

poor little doggie...