Bad Negotiation

I sit across his desk from him.
“Clichéd,” I mock, now tired of his cocky smirk and self-righteousness. That gets his attention. He straightens from his slouch and drives his bony, effeminate little hand into the desktop. There is a dull thud; it is not the massive explosion he had anticipated. Frazzled, he grabs a pencil holder (a plastic cup, really) and flings it straight at me. I am laughing hard, of course, and do not have time to duck. His aim is poor and he misses anyway. I hear the cup and pencils skittle across the linoleum floor behind me.
“Damnit, don’t you ever dare use language like that in front of me again,” he admonishes with a wagging finger. He sounds like a squeaky toy being chewed by a dog. He is so worked up that spittle flew when he spoke and some of it got caught in his goatee as white foam. His bedraggled top hat toppled some when he bolted up in his chair and I see that despite the long, dark locks that reach his shoulders, he is in fact bald on top of his head. It would all be rather ridiculous and particularly funny, were it not for the darkness that has risen in his eyes. I have never felt anything that intense and, frozen by a sudden and real fear, find myself paralyzed in a pathetic half-smile.
“Now you listen really carefully to me,” he leans in. “You’re the one who came to me. You need my help. You’re the cliché. Freak!”
He is right, of course. I am the freak, the nobody, the loser, the unnoticed middle-aged man hurrying between my anonymous little job and unknown apartment every day in some sad attempt to pretend that my existence counts for something in this greedy, self-indulgent, fucked up thing we call society. I am sick and tired of it all. I need to be noticed, to be seen and revered. And considering my prayers and feeble attempts at good deeds have gone unrewarded by the big guy in the sky, I am here to strike a deal with the other side.
“Then make me someone,” I hiss at him.

14 thoughts on “Bad Negotiation

  1. Evelyn

    Maybe the devil works for the circus.
    I think its funny that he is laughing too hard to duck and avoid the flying cup.
    And of course he would have a goatee…

    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Cliches exist for a reason, I guess! I’m not as averse to them as other writers can be.
      Thank you for reading this piece and for commenting.

  2. jeremythurston

    For some reason i imagine dany devito with long hair throwing a temper tantrum. Throw momma from the train? no. Throw HIM from the train. So, this one is not quite clear to me. At first i saw a child getting a scolding after talking back. Then it was a man talking to an agent. The possibility of the mob even came up (I’m ADHD). but now i am almost positive its a circus owner, and this man is trying to get somewhere in his life. So did i nail it on the head?

  3. Find an Outlet

    Ha ha that was good! A fresh take on an old story. Read it twice, once to hurry up and get to the end, then to indulge slowly. Everybody’s going to like this one.

    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Thanks Debra. Humor is another one of my weaker points, yet the payoff for getting it right is greater than anything else one can write. I like that you read it twice!


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