Pure Slush

flash ... without the wank

The Pig and the Pope

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by Ellen Smithee      Blood and Water  > 


There are times I hate my job. Most of those times I try not to tell myself how much I hate my job, because I feel like it just reinforces the hate I feel and the vengeance I want. Jobs take up too much time, they take up too much space. Co-workers, that’s the real problem with hateful jobs. Especially hateful are those fat fuck-faced co-workers who lie and take up space in your office trying to play with your mind.

Today, I watched her. Her face got piggier and piggier.

As I described this scenario to my nineteen year old daughter, at the kitchen table later that night, she said, “Whoa! You shouldn’t use people’s physical characteristics as insults because they can’t help it. You can’t judge people’s merit by the way they look.”

I was glad I had taught her well because those are the values I wished to instill. That people can’t be judged by their physical characteristics and it is wrong to do that especially to women because women are so judgmental themselves and are already held to artificial and erroneous media made unrealistic standards.

However, that’s not what we’re talking about. We are talking about my projective experience, here.

I knew she was lying. How did I know? Because I have trusted informants at that job, who also know what a fuck-faced liar she really is.

The more she talked, the piggier she looked. It was me. It wasn’t really her. I know people don’t just change as they spew forth words. They’re not Pinocchio’s whose noses actually get longer like in the cartoons. But that’s how we all secretly perceive them. Because liars are ugly and every time they lie they get uglier. That’s what was happening. And, I was watching it happen. She got uglier and uglier, right there in my sacred space.

She came into my space, my office. My office, my sacred spacious, 8 by 10 office,  that took me eight years to get, because before that I had been in a fucking furnished closet with a desk. Eight years in a fucking furnished closet! What kind of a masochist am I? 

I asked her, “How’d it go?”

I listened to her lie. I put on my calm and trusting, sympathetic face. She told me she‘d been ‘exactly where she was supposed to be.’ She told me she’d been doing her job, just like she’s told me countless times before. But, this time I knew different. I’d suspected many times before that she’d been lying to me.  But I hadn’t had proof, and now I did.

This woman gets special dispensation because she kisses the pope’s ring. Yeah, you got it, the pope’s the boss. Every time I do a Tarot reading, he shows up as The Hierophant, the 5 of the major arcana. Fives, come on you guys, you know what that means. Fives have to do with feckless love. But there’s another word when fucking with the boss gets you those special favors.

I went into the living room where my daughter was watching The Gilmore Girls on her computer, to ask her what that word was that describes the favors you get from fucking your boss. She didn’t know, and let me tell you, as much as I wish I could figure out that word, I’m glad my nineteen year old daughter didn’t know it.

The Hierophant with his mitred hat, he’s the fucking Pope and that pig ain’t kissing his ring and you fucking know what I mean by that!

So the deal is this. The pig was supposed to be proctoring the state proficiency exams, those damned standardized tests. I don’t even believe in standardized tests. I haven’t taken one since I was a junior in high school, 40 years ago, and despite that I still have two graduate degrees and the pig only has one.

I was supposed to be an alternate proctor which means I only substitute for someone in case they’re absent. I was substituting for the pig because she called in. That’s what they told me when I signed in this morning.

Here’s the truth. I took a bathroom break during my turn proctoring the test. I was in the far room all the way at the end of the hall with all the kids who need extra time. I always get that assignment. I’m always the last proctor done. I don’t get to read like the hall monitors or do my paperwork like the favored workers do who don’t have to proctor. Administration always puts us way in the back of the hall so that when the other kids leave the test in regular time our kids who need extended time are less likely to be disturbed. Our room was on extended time, so all the other kids taking the test and all the other proctors were already having lunch in the cafeteria and waiting for us to end and for the buses to take them home. I went to the closest bathroom, the one by the janitor’s closet, which by the way is larger and more spacious than my last office. He’s even got a kind of plaid family room sort of sofa, which I don’t begrudge him.

I’m in the stall, and I hear this sound. It’s like this low drawn out moan invading my space. Suddenly, I’m having this weird déjà vu moment. It’s like the last time I went to that learning consultant convention in Atlantic City and the woman I was going to share a room with bailed at the last moment.

I hear these thuds. And then a woman’s voice says, “I need a cushion.” In Atlantic City, I think the woman in the next room said, “I need a pillow.” 

I’m sitting on the toilet and I’m feeling really creeped out and slimy, and I’m listening. The thuds are still happening but they’re a little softer now.

I look up at the ceiling and I see some sort of vent. That’s where the vocals are coming from. I’m sure of that. It’s coming through the vent, from the janitor’s closet.

She’s saying, “Ohhh, that’s so good.”

He’s saying, “Are you almost there.”

I’m thinking, it’s the pig.

I’m paralyzed and I know I have to pee, but I can’t let down.

I hear her saying, “Yes, yes,” and then the next “yes” is pretty loud.

Suddenly, the noises are done. I finally pee. Now, I’m afraid to flush. What if they can hear me, like I can hear them? I decide not to flush, let the next person do it, I think. I walk to the bathroom door. I hear another door open and footsteps are walking down the hall to the double doors at the end of the corridor.

Softly, slowly, as soundlessly as possible I lean on the door turning the handle to prevent the tumblers from making even a tiny bit of sound. I see the pope’s back. He’s opening the doors at the end of the hall. I’m glad I didn’t wear heels today, because I don’t want to make any identifiable sound as I head up the other direction in the hallway. I turn into the alcove just before the classroom. And, I wait. I know I’ve been away longer than I should, but the relief proctor’s a friend of mine and she’s pretty kind to me, so I think I’m OK.

The janitor’s door opens again. Footsteps are heading down the hallway. It’s the pig’s rhythm. I know it is. But I need confirmation, quiet, secret confirmation. I peek around and my suspicions are confirmed.

Extended time ends. The kids in my room are dismissed and I go back to my office. 

My assistant proctor, Kaylie comes in. She closes the door. My door sticks and she has to put her hip into it.  It shuts with a bang.

“Do you know what she did?” Kayla asks in that low whisper that gurgles secrets. We both know who “she” is. We have a lot of nicknames for “her.” Kermit’s girlfriend, the Divine Ms. P, Pink Pattycakes.

“Yeah, I do,” I say.

“You know?” Her voice is normal volume but thoroughly incredulous. Her eyes are really wide. 

She’s acting like I couldn’t possibly know, and now I’m thinking that she couldn’t possibly know what I know.

I start thinking that maybe we’re not talking about the same thing.

“Maybe not,” I’m thinking it through now.

“She got thrown out of her testing room. First, she came in late and made a lot of noise, then she started reading and she took out her cell phone, and the other proctor told her ‘I’m not losing my license because you’re breaking all the rules.’”

“Mmmm, leave the door open when you go,” I say. “When she passes by on the way to her office, I’ll find out how her day’s been going.” 


published 30 June 2013