Business as usual

Dreamland III

Some years earlier, the old boy set one of his sons up and gave him a chance to run his own business over in the next town. Ever true to the family’s sense of accounting, Sonny eventually went bankrupt and left town with his tail between his legs. He tried his luck at a series of loser jobs back in the big city from whence he came, until finally his old man’s name got him a job during which time he was able to practice his customer/employee relations.

In his attempt to retire, the old boy had put the day-to-day running of his business into the hands of his latest wife. Given that she wasn’t too with-it in the sense that she was running the business into bankruptcy, the old boy had second thoughts and eventually smarted up and brought Sonny back into the fold. He offered to let him discover what was going on with his business: namely, that it was close to being insolvent, and that his wife and employees were stealing the rug out from under him.

Over time, Sonny laid off the thieves, helped the old man divorce his wife — who, I might add, got a big fat settlement through their prenup, which she undoubtedly deserved for putting up with his ugly hatefulness — and tried to bring some semblance of order to the dark, dingy, dirty hole that was the building, which hadn’t seen a thorough cleaning in decades.

The floors and walls were dirty and the windows were splotchy. The staff was incapable of putting a clean rag to the cluttered shelves and display racks, while management appeared incapable of giving them direction. If you picked something up off of a shelf it was covered in dust and dirt from the ventilation system.

During the entirety of this rescue fiasco – which went on for the better part of two years — one employee was retained. She was the finance and insurance link in the business. She had remained loyal, and had assisted Sonny through the discovery process as he attempted to uncover the money missing via a maze of accounting errors and loans to employees, both present and former.

Celia turned out to be quite the comfort to Sonny, whose wife and children wouldn’t be joining him until June and the end of the school year. By the time I arrived on the scene, both Celia – who also had a spouse – and Sonny were well on their way to extramarital bliss.

It became obvious that he had used several tired old lines on her to get her help and cooperation with the business. Needless to say, her acceptance of “I need someone to be my eyes and ears for me,” had put her in the unenviable position of employee spy, and that didn’t sit well with the drones since most were aware of her relationship with Sonny. Had she been a nice person, she might have carried it off. Instead, she was very much a spiteful, vengeful harpy who was encouraged by Sonny to think of herself as a shadow for every employee who walked through the door each morning. Everything was her business, and it was duly reported to Sonny at some point in time, either during the day or as pillow talk.

It didn’t take me long to get fed up with this stupidity, and eventually, after spying her in a mirror as she lurked behind a column that stretched to the ceiling, I stuck my head around and invited her to join in our conversation. Her eyes widened as the cloak of invisibility was removed, and she stomped off to Sonny’s office where I’m certain there were some harsh words spoken. I didn’t care. I was there for the fun of it all, and fun it had finally become.

Christmas of that first year eventually came around, and Celia received a substantial bonus for her tireless dedication to Sonny’s undying affection. Unfortunately by that time, her services as Sonny’s chief investigator were over, and she was left with the more mundane duties her regular job entailed, chief among them being to keep Sonny happy in a loving way. The longer the affair went on, the more she became the floor police, scurrying here and there in an attempt to project her perceived power and influence among a bunch of teenagers, some of whom were still in high school.

Celia’s dedication was as tireless as it was fun to watch, but it was also pathetic.

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