April 25, 2014 by T. Gregory Argall
Yesterday, my friend Marsali was chatting with her boss about coffee, because that’s a good way to delay working. One of the comments made (“I prefer Dark French Nicaraguans”) sounded to her like a line from a bad romance novel.
She decided to issue a challenge on Facebook to crowd-source a bad romance novel (or novelette), with different people contributing parts of the story. Marsali led with the opening paragraph and I added the next bit. Our friend Jen joined in, initially just commenting on my offering. She soon realized that she’d been dragged into the process and ended up contributing some wonderful stuff.
The three of us fell into a rhythm and took turns telling the tale of an unusual coffee break romance.
“I prefer dark french Nicaraguans”, she purred, sipping on the velvety smooth, yet fruity roast. Her eyes tracked the man as he sauntered across the lanai, his bright blue and green shirt tails flapping in the wind, making the sailboats of the pattern appear to be bobbing on rough waters.
He reached for a coffee cup, their eyes met and he smiled. Her breath caught with an inward gasp, causing her ample bosom to swell as he said something about enjoying mountain grown.
^^how did I know he would be the first to comment?
…she said, offering to add sweetener with his creamer.
As he hastily accepted her offer, he chuckled to himself; very proud of his wit.
His lips pressed against the mug as he took a sip…and then immediately choked, his face screwing up in a grimace. “I prefer tea”, he said, raising an eyebrow in challenge. “Hot, hot, tea.”
The harsh fluorescent lighting in the break room glinted in her eye as she smiled and said, “I have a couple of hot teas you might be interested in.”
[Wait wait wait…their break room is a lanai?]
Now she was very impressed with how this was going…. He was impressed with the “scenery”. A lanai break room? How very fancy!
She decided that she had made the right move in accepting the job with Tropical Discordance Inc. She had no idea what the company did, but their offices were an intriguing mix of clinically dull and exotically bright.
And at least one co-worker was worth the commute.
Their staring contest was interrupted by the shrill shriek of a recorded parrot, announcing that someone else had entered the break room. As they continued their silent stand-off, the tension was undercut by the beeping of the microwave. “Am I interrupting?”, said a voice. They jumped apart, the spell broken. She giggled as the jarring movement caused him to spill the untouched coffee down his front.
“Oh look at this! I’m all dirty now.” He then proceeded to unbutton his shirt. “You don’t mind if I take this off here to rinse it, do you?” he asked.
She did not.
“Here”, he said, having removed his shirt and thrusting it at her. “Cold water only.” She stared at him in mute surprise for a moment and then blustered, “You actually expect me to wash your shirt for you?” There was a tense impasse until Bob from Accounting, still by the microwave, stuck his hand out, grasping the soiled fabric and yanking it out of his hands. “I’ll do it”, he announced, gleefully.
The lighting dimmed and soft music began to play as Bob scrubbed the shirt under the cold water tap, his taut accountancy muscles rippling in his arms.
Bob noticed her expression of confusion and laughed. “I’ve got a remote control,” he explained. “I like having music when I’m working my hands over something.”
“Is that all you can operate with that remote?” they both asked in unison.
“No”, Bob waggled his eyebrows suggestively. “I can also do…this”. He pulled his dripping wet hand out of the sink, palmed the remote and pushed a button. Immediately, the blinds on the small window in the breakroom rattled open. “See that?”, he asked. “One finger is all it took.”
Noticing the way he looked at Bob, she blurted out, “I have fingers, too,” and immediately regretted the declaration.
He looked down. She did indeed. In fact, she had an extra one.
….and he couldn’t help but wonder what could be done with an extra finger.
Fortunately, she had a pre-typed list of many of the things that could be done with an extra finger.
After a quick scan of the page, he winked and said, “Number 37 sounds intriguing. If I buy you dinner, would I have a chance of getting a double 37?”
“If you buy me dinner and take me to a movie, I’ll do a double 37 & throw in a 22.” she said teasingly.
Bob watched the two of them and wondered inwardly “what’s number 37?”
He looked back down at the paper. Yes, two piano duets and an extreme frisbee competition DID sound enticing. But he hesitated. Was that really what he wanted?
“Tell me about the hats,” he challenged. Bob was furious and stormed off, dragging the wet shirt behind him.
She smiled inwardly, and outwardly, and answered his hat challenge.
“Oh, I don’t think you could handle the hats” she said.
“Is that a dare?” he replied, hoping to God it really was.
She laughed musically. (Like polka music, really, which was odd). “I’ll be nice to you since this is the first time. Porkpie, Beaver, or Bearskin? “
Controlling his impulse to blush, he replied, “Whichever one fits best. I’ve got a very… large head.” He pointed at his head, as if to show that he knew where it was, just above his shoulders. “Although,” he added, “I have heard around the office that your beaver is quite something to see.”
She giggled and said “beaver can be high maintenance, but I keep mine…well maintained. However I think you seem like more of a bearskin kind of man though.”
“I do like to look taller”, he said, lifting his foot to show her the rather large lifts in his shoes.
“Wow,” she said, widening her eyes to demonstrate that she was impressed, then quickly narrowing them to show that she was also aroused. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a wonderful pair of platform bowling shoes.”
“You should see how adept I am at handling balls”, he leered. There was an awkward silence. She cleared her throat and looked away. “I’m sorry. That sounded much sexier in my brain”, he backtracked. Bob skidded sharply into the break room, now wearing the crumpled, wet shirt. “Did someone say…”
“NO, BOB!” they both snapped in unison.
Bob slunk away, his fingertips caressing the moist fabric of the soiled shirt.
She smiled and laughed a soft, oddly baritone chuckle at their accidental chorus. “We sound good together,” she breathed. After a moment, she repeated it, more audibly this time.
“I was just thinking the same thing” he said excitedly. “We should go to karaoke RIGHT NOW!”. He then grabbed her by the wrist and started walking to the door.
He winked. The old fashioned, dark walnut grandfather clock in the corner of the room, jarring against the tropical yellow paint of the lanai-themed room, chimed the hour. “Oh dear”, she sighed. “I guess I’d better get back to work. Thank you for the titillating conversation. Shall we continue tomorrow?” “Maybe”, he shrugged, oiled pectorals gleaming in the fluorescents, “but I don’t even work here.”
“You being here certainly works for me,” she quipped, inanely. “You could be my personal… assistant,” she offered. “Or I could be yours,” she continued, suddenly unable to stop herself from talking. “We could assist each other personally with… personal things that need assistance… or whatever.” She suddenly realized that the whole time she’d been talking, her hand had been on his chest.
She left it there.
After what seemed like an eternity, she removed her hand and gently touched her lips. When she tasted the coffee that he had spilled on himself earlier, she remembered why she was here in the first place; she was here to get coffee for her boss.
She quickly dismissed the thought and began mentally writing her resignation. “You said something about karaoke..?” she prompted when it became apparent that he was graciously overlooking her blurted personal assistant ramble. He was also overlooking her chest, she noticed, or more accurately, he was looking over her chest.
“Words,” she thought. “They’re hard.”
“Shasta, where the hell is my coffee?”, came a voice, almost too coincidentally. Her boss appeared in the doorway. “Oh. There you are. And I see you’ve met Ricardo.”
“Yes, I was just about to grind his beans,” she said, giving up completely on ever saying something non-embarrassing again. “I mean… Coffee, yes, right away, Mr. Happengladly.” She quickly poured a cup of coffee, turned too fast, and spilled it on her blouse.
She hoped that it had looked accidental.
She turned slowly, fixing a look of dismay on her face, to find Mr. Happengladly and Ricardo staring at her in puzzlement. “Did you just pour coffee on yourself?”, Mr. Happengladly asked. “Uh…no…”, she stuttered. “Why on earth would I do something like that?”. “Who are you talking to?” asked Ricardo, looking around in confusion. “My boss.” Shasta pointed at the doorway. Ricardo frowned. “There’s no one else here.” Shasta rolled her eyes. “Um, he’s totally right there.” Ricardo stared at the doorway again and then back at her. He began to back away.
“Um…” she said decisively. “I wonder if Bob will clean this for me,” she pondered as she unbuttoned her blouse. “And maybe even return it eventually.”
As she tossed the blouse towards the sink, he stopped backing away.
“Are you wearing another blouse under your blouse?” He asked incredulously.
“Oh, this? Just a spare. I don’t need it.” She began unbuttoning the second blouse and glanced over at Mr Happengladly. Her boss grinned, gave her a thumbs-up gesture, and faded away.
She thought about giving her boss a high five, but decided that if he was , in fact, a figment of her imagination, that might make her look crazy. The type of crazy that even her glorious, alabaster boobs couldn’t make someone overlook.
“So,” she said, awkwardly conversationally, “these are my glorious, alabaster boobs.” She gestured towards the multi-breasted sculpture on the table behind her.
He stepped towards the beautiful, if inappropriately provocative, sculpture and reached out to touch it. It was smooth and cool to the touch, just like he liked his boobs.
He traced the curved lines and then looked up, seemingly coming to his senses. “What the hell kind of place is this?”, he demanded. “Erotic statuary? Grandfather clocks? Ghosts? Automated mood lighting?…” He trailed off, confident that his tone expressed his question emphatically. Shasta shrugged, somehow still wearing a shirt despite removing two previously. “You’re the one who’s topless and wearing bowling shoes.”
“Good point” he said, “but you’re the reason I’m not wearing a shirt.”
As if on cue, Bob appeared in the doorway, holding the still damp shirt, Shasta’s two blouses and a toucan. “Do you mean this shirt? You can’t have it back, I love it too much to give it up. I’ve done things to it…”
Ignoring Bob, Ricardo surrendered to his urges, looked Shasta in the eyes and said, “Kiss me.”
With a lustful giggle Shasta slammed her foot into his well-developed mid-section, causing him to double over and drop to the floor. A moment later, a moment too late, she realized her mistake. “Words,” she thought. “They’re hard.”
To cover her embarrassment, she gingerly stepped over him and ran for the door. “He’s all yours, Bob.”
The end… for now.
And remember, try to be nice to each other.