Friday, June 30, 2006

Coworkers: Part 72 - Artists

   "Stupid, stupid mediocrities."
   The Professor grumbled aloud as he swept past in a rage.
   "What happened, guy? Someone screw up your burger order?"
   Years -- years earlier, a drive through window swiped Classical Mike's hamburger with mustard rather than mayo. Instead of phoning or driving three minutes back, he punched a hole in the wall next to the ladies restroom. Coworkers immediately circled the blow with ink, enshrined Hole Courtesy Mike's Manly Fist Of Blubber. The Professor's temper was just as black, his fuse just as short.
   "No! After you showed me how to use the library computers to access the Internet, I've become a regular on Mahler and Bruckner forum pages."
   "Oh. What do you guys write about?"
   "I haven't time to read what others write. Bunch of pompous no-nothings anyway."
   "Junior college professors and pygmy academicians. One of those petty souls challenged the factual authenticity of my previous post."
   "I penned a sharply worded reply, minus foul language, except a moderator blocked my comments, then suspended me for a week. Damned mediocrity."
   "Ah ... How's the book coming?" Perhaps I could distract the venting volcano.
   "That's progressing, albeit slowly. In fact, I can probably weave this horrific incident into the overall narration. Thanks for reminding me."
   The Professor had been working on a novel for years. Decades. A fictional novel about a classical music enthusiast / critic.
   Not remotely autobiographical, he assured us.
   I'll keep you guys appraised on future publishing house bidding wars.

   Camp Bowie received a Hulen cast off.
   To be fair, Sonya wasn't a reject. Sonya was Rob's girlfriend. Unlike previous Robster bang bunnies, she had lasted longer than a few hours, a few days, a few months. The trophy girlfriend sailed waters uncharted. District minions noticed and ordered Rob and Sonya to separate. Rob probably recommended the old Camp Bowie gang, hoping we might be nice.
   As if ...
   With any new drone, part of the staff, the cranky crew, tried to avoid contact, lest that initial impression take root. Still ...
   One of the females asked Sonya if she preferred Rob with alcohol or without.
   "Depends on what I'm in the mood for," she answered.
   "Rob is what I'd term hard-to-handle," I mentioned one afternoon. "Carefree."
   "From what I heard, some of his old coworkers were considered equally hard-to-handle. One of those carefree souls has been married twenty years," she strutted away.
   "Think I'm gonna call you S-Dogg," Joe suggested.
   Next day, Sonya arrived with a nasty cartoon strip of Joe Dogg, captured by the Dogg Po-Leece, tossed into the Dogg Pound. Little Joe Dogg in a kennel with over sized, love starved Bigg Doggs. The next panel was blank, but Sonya could finish the initiation sequence.
   Joe quit calling her S-Dogg.
   Score another win for the brush.
   On the other hand, that alerted me that Sonya was an artist. A sculptor, actually, but her drawing and technique were excellent. I began pestering her.
   Rob certainly warned her about that, about me. Almost from the beginning, I had requested, badgered, hounded coworkers for artwork. For displays, promotions, ad events. Dan, Matt, Layla, Gilda, Pat, João, anyone who could draw, doodle or sketch. In their own way, each was a pain in the ass. They were slow, they didn't like charity work, and they always wanted their work returned. Still, needs must be met. Plus, I was no prize. I was difficult, and operated from an inner agenda.
   For the past year, Mandy's husband, Paul, and Joe had been my art guys. Paul, like Dan, was well trained, skilled, yet slow and too much of a perfectionist. Also, he wasn't in the store, so I couldn't nag and prod him. Joe was a glorified street Picasso. Wizard with a can of spray paint. Graffiti and tagging. He could have gone into graphic design. Meanwhile, he imprinted his urban rubble scene throughout the store.
   Sonya was quite talented. She already had part time employment with a national wax museum. Retail was not in her future, we were a passing moment. Right away I asked her if she might be interested in drawing some Wild West Noir comic thing. I didn't have a clear story in mind, just this concept. I had bounced this past my artsy colleagues for years. Totally ignored me.
   Sonya didn't decline outright, she shot me the "Sure, Lunatic, Whatever" look. She threw me the bone instead, and drew a galloping horseman in electric hues. Placed it in the Western section of DVD's. We needed that image, it looked great. But ... it wasn't ... well ...
   Maybe the next artist ...

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