This new anthology from STARbooks features my original story, "I Hate You. Bend Over." Available now in Kindle format from Amazon.
This one's for my buddies Matt & Mario. Love ya, guys.
Mario and I shared a cubicle about the size of two McDonalds booths shoved together. We’d been stuck together for about six months, ever since my former cubemate—Sharon “touch my titties” Fowler—was fired for sexually harassing one of the temps.
For me and Mario it was hate at first sight.
He was infuriating: more handsome than he deserved, funnier than I’d like to admit, and sexier than I could stand. He had a thick, muscular body that bulged in all the right places, stretching his perfectly pressed white shirts and charcoal gray slacks. He had large, perfect hands and he shaved his head, which gave his face a feral, hungry look, his red power tie dropping from his chin like the lolling tongue of a wolf.
Despite his good looks and his suave demeanor, he was a total dick. He was a braggart and a liar. He stole credit for other people’s work, found scapegoats for his own fuck-ups, swiped lunches from the lounge refrigerator, took coins from the coffee kitty to use in the vending machine, and plundered people’s desk drawers after everyone else had gone home. I once caught him stuffing his briefcase with boxes of staples and paperclips. To be honest, the fact that he was stealing office supplies would almost have endeared him to me had forty bucks not gone missing from my winter coat the next week.
I hated him. A lot.
After my first two weeks with Mario, I submitted a form to Facility Operations requesting a cube reassignment. I was hopeful for a couple of days, but then I got hauled into my boss’s boss’s office where, with an H.R. rep named T.J. as a witness, I was accused of being a racist. With no clear preamble, I wasn’t sure exactly where the accusation came from. I listened for a while and then asked what had prompted the meeting. T.J. handed me a copy of my transfer request. “It’s not okay to hate Hispanics,” he said.
My head exploded.
“I don’t hate Hispanics!” I roared. “What the hell are you thinking?”
Martin, my boss’s boss, leaned back in his chair, grinning and steepling his fingers like he was getting a big kick out of the process.
“This is not funny, Martin,” I snapped.
T.J. inserted himself back into the conversation. “I think the best way to handle this is to get you some training—”
“Oh, my God, T.J.. This is nuts.”
“Your Remedial Diversity Training starts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday in the small conference room.”
“I don’t need Remedial Diversity Training. I’m a half-Jewish, half-Catholic gay man from Alabama, for Christ’s sake—”
“Then you should be more adept at the whole Diversity thing, don’t you think?” T.J. was leaning forward with his elbows on his knees, projecting his talk show empathy in my direction. “Differences make us stronger,” he said.
Martin was still steepling and grinning. Fucking bastard.
I “accidentally” knocked a cup of coffee off Martin’s desk as I left the meeting, but I went to the class.
And I knew I would be stuck forever in that cubicle with Mario.