fiction by thomas burchfield
The sun shone in love upon Me as I sprang from the bus, dietary sandwich in hand, lean, muscular shoulders back. My intense blue eyes frying away the early morning mist.
It was My last day under the employment of Crown Plumbing Supply. As I bravely walked the half-block to work, the wind whipping My red silk cape behind Me, I pondered over the deep significance of My Clerkship with Crown Supply. My keen, photographic memory returned to the end of My first day there, three days earlier.
"My God, what have you done!?'' Colin Lavage, My supervisor, had cried when he beheld My sublime accomplishment.
What I had accomplished was the total refiling of all Crown Company records into one single series of drawers; billing invoices, cash sales slips, receipts, freight bills, delivery tickets, Dun and Bradstreet credit ratings, shipping registers, miscellaneous scratchings, all in one simple A-Z series of file cabinets. With the New System (My name) I had saved space and unified the business of the whole Company in one Cosmic Expression of Universal Love. The only exception to this was the customer complaints, which I had displayed in a large open box, right next to the front entrance.
"Burchfield!'' Colin spluttered. "How are we supposed to find anything if You've put it all in one stack of drawers!?"
"That's your problem,'' I countered cleverly. "If you cannot see the Great Thing I have accomplished, then I must number you with the blind. . . oh, by the way, the name is Clerk. Clerk Kent."
"You won't get away with this!'' Colin bleated, moving towards Me in his puny threatening manner.
"Oh yes!?'' I retorted. "Remember Crane Iron Company?!''
I had outflanked Colin. He stiffened up like a plank, as two more inches of his receding hairline leaped to its death. He had heard how Crane Iron had burned to the ground after tampering with My filing system.
"Come on, Colin!'' I cried triumphantly. "Admit it! You've never had it so good!''
That and other great memories flashed through My brilliant, perceptive mind that day. Courageously, I burst through the front doors. Unfortunately, one of them snapped off its hinges, but such are the risks in hiring the Strong, the Brave and the True.
I benevolently gazed down upon the rumple-chested switchboard receptionist and intoned:
"Good morning, Ms. Fleshchest!''
"Good morning,'' she replied, just glancing over My handsome features. I knew it was hard for her to look at Me for too long.
"Nice day!'' she murmured in awe.
"Thank you!'' I returned graciously.
On My way to put My lunch in the refrigerator, I ran into Roger Largesse.
"Ah, Roger!'' I said loudly. "Good morning! Going to the bathroom!?''
My sharp probing question caught him off guard.
"Ah yeah. . . guess so. . . '' Roger was a little man with a moustache that collected mold in wet weather.
"Have a happy toilet!'' I cried, patting him indulgently on the head as he scurried away. When you're as wonderful as I am, you don't have to go to the bathroom!
My lunch stored away, I strode authoritatively back to the office to seek My replacement. Colin Lavage greeted Me with a curt "Good morning'' to cover his awe and adoration of Me. Reverently, he handed Me a stack of computer printouts to be filed in a place secret to all but Me.
"Tad--I mean Clerk! Please tell me where You filed these print-outs! I can't find them!"
"That's just the point,'' I said. "It's bad enough Me knowing where they are, without letting the whole world in on it,'' Colin sighed petulantly. "I've noticed, Colin,'' I continued, "that you are going totally bald. Have you considered wearing a wig?''
Colin whined, whirled and marched indignantly to the men's room. I pitied him. I knew he had come a long way down from assistant to the assistant manager at Woolworth's lingerie department. At one time he had been proud of his virility, until he discovered it was the result of a prostate infection.
His secretary, Elvira Mudd, waddled out to hand Me a batch of freight bills.
"You know, Elvira,'' I said confidentially, "if you didn't eat so much the others wouldn't call you a fat tub of guts behind your back!"
She burst into self-indulgent tears and lumbered to the ladies room. Some people just can't take the Truth! Whenever I give them a dose, they always hide in the bathroom!
I easily zapped the freight bills into the file and turned to see My replacement coming in the front door. It was eight-oh-five. By eight-thirty she reached my desk, twenty feet further on. By her posture, I could tell she was into bondage. She walked like a three-legged turtle and possessed the face that sank a thousand ships. She was so slow, she collected dust wherever she went.
"Don't bother telling Me your name,'' I said. "I can't be bothered with remembering it anyway. Mine's Clerk Kent. Don't forget that, now!''
She started out in her new position by filing My fingernails in one of the drawers. Not one to let such assaults go unnoticed, I subtly reached down the front of her turtleneck sweater, ripped out her bra and decoratively draped it around her neck. I then set her to filing away a few credit notices.
Knowing that would take her a few hours, I visited Lenore Drudge, Crown's token black typist. Our relationship was particularly intimate. I casually suggested some skin treatments she could look into.
"It would lighten you up!'' I said cheerfully, "Because you know dear, you don't match the office decor!''
"Honky,'' she said calmly, "why the hell d'Ya have a big "S' in the middle of Your chest?''
"Because I'm wonderful'' I replied.
"And those leotards. . . blue and red. . . are You gay?" "Lenore,'' I said gently, "if I told you anymore, I don't think you could take it."
The President of Crown Plumbing joined us. I do a fantastic impersonation of him and I performed it right there for the very first time. He got so mad, his teeth rattled right out on the floor. Wow! Hairlips are sensitive people!
Finally, it was time to go. I, in My Godly fashion, had done all I could to save Crown Plumbing Supply and now they were on their own. Sadly, tragically, it was over. By their granite faces, I could tell the others felt the same profound loss. I turned to bid a final adieu to them all. . . but there was a catch in My throat. My peanut butter and horseradish sandwich had been a bit dry. I just could not do it! And I knew they could not take it! When you have to say good-bye to Me, words are inadequate.
I lifted My head, squared My shoulders and, whistling an upbeat Burchfield Uber Alles, departed.
I go from clerk job to clerk job, each one different yet each one the same. But, in My big heart, there is still a soft spot for Crown Plumbing Supply. Walking along the city streets, kicking senior citizens and other weirdos who step on My cape, I often come upon freight trucks from the very shipping firms who, through Crown Plumbing Supply, I had saved from bankruptcy. When I see them, it is revealed to Me that Crown Plumbing Supply deeply misses Me and have sent the trucks out just to be sure that I am safe!