As the swivel chair creaked its familiar greeting beneath his ample weight, Steve settled into his seventy-seven by seventy-seven-inch slice of the corporate life. It may not have been much but within these cubicle walls, he was a knight, a bounty hunter, and a variety of other dashing adventurers as he cruised through the raging seas and dark labyrinths of the corporate network in search of precious caches of data.
It was his specialty; arranging seemingly unrelated numbers into correlating trends that the people in suits whose windowed offices lined the perimeter of each floor could use in their meetings and such. Despite his prodigious skills, Steve would never occupy one of those offices. That did not bother him a bit as he shied away from suits.
Being a hockey fan, Steve's choice of shirt wear were hockey sweaters worn untucked over his jeans. His supervisor, Patricia, reminded him that his chances of promotion would increase if he dressed more professionally. But as she only did that when she was feeling bitchy which meant these lectures occurred daily.
But her snide comments rolled off of Steve. Others in management, well above Patricia, appreciated his skills and saw to it that his pay raises and occasional bonuses exceeded Patricia's penurious recommendations. Along with his limited degree of autonomy, Steve enjoyed some colorful friendships in this drab sea of cubicles.
"Ohhh...Steven...mm, mm, mm."
That female voice came from the other side of one wall. Glancing up, Steve saw a brown hand with a thumb extended upward and acknowledged it with a nod that went unseen by its owner, Francine. He and Francine were "donut buddies", often buying two of the delicious treats from local shops in their respective neighborhoods to take to work for sharing with their pastry pal.
"I've got jelly in my belly," Francine crooned, for today's special had been boysenberry jelly-filled donuts.
Older than Steve by about twenty years, Francine was part friend and part surrogate mother to him. Her own kids were out of the house; two of them giving her grandchildren so far. But they all lived out of state so Steve had become the focus of Francine's maternal attentions now and then.
"With loving like this," she continued around a mouthful of donut. "You'll make someone a fine husband."
Steve chuckled. Not that he didn't like women, but he was content with bachelorhood and the freedom to lounge about in his underwear and eat last night's pizza (still sitting on the coffee table) for breakfast. His brother, Chuck, was the married one with kids and he was perfectly to have a family life as an uncle, brother, and brother-in-law. And when Chuck needed a break from domestic tranquility, he sometimes joined his brother at a hockey game.
"No donuts for me?" asked a somewhat girlish voice outside of Steve's cubicle.
Steve turned around in his chair to see a petite, dark-haired woman standing there.
"You're sweet enough without any sugar, Mal," he replied.
"Uh oh!" sounded Francine from behind the opposite wall.
Mal batted her eyelashes coquettishly. At first glance, she looked like someone's cute kid sister. At second glance, she looked like someone's kid sister who was disturbingly hot because she must be jailbait. And at full realization, she practically oozed sensuality.
"I need you Steve," she said as she stepped in and leaned over to put a folder on his desk.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Mr Double's Palisade
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Changes last made on: Tuesday, June 19, 2018