Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Mucko -- short fiction


By Bob Sanchez

Gilly’s gut cantilevers over his belt. Holds a coffee from Dunkin’ in one hand, couple of sugar-coated Boston Cremes in the other, powdered sugar dusts his reindeer sweater. Lid’s loose, and given what’s about to happen, Mucko figures there’ll be spillage in the IT department. No, spillage in the whole company.

“How they hangin’, Mucko?” Gilly’s daily greeting. “Place ought to be closed, day after Christmas, you think?”

“I expect it to close early,” Mucko says.

“Yeah? I didn’t hear that. We leave early, I can play with my kids on their new X Box. Nor’easter’s coming in a couple days, I’ll fire up the snow blower my wife just gave me. I couldn’t believe it. There’s this one little package left under the Christmas tree, and Sandy’s like “Open it,” and I tear off the wrapping and it’s this little plastic John Deere, and I’m thinking like what do I need a kid’s toy for, and then she’s like “look out the window, baby” and I’m like holy shit, the luckiest guy in Wakefield, and now I’m hoping for three feet of snow.”

Mucko twitches. He likes Gilly, he really does. Mucko doesn’t usually mind Gilly running his mouth. Looks like a slob, codes like a demon, covered for Mucko in a couple of jams. As developers they’ve worked long hours together on deadlines, til midnight even. The rest of IT he could take or leave, at least they never fucked him over like Rose in Accounting. Gilly doesn’t know the festering canker that Mucko’s life has become. Wife bitches like a banshee, car’s about to be repossessed, IRS is on his ass, he’s got a variable mortgage that only varies up, and Rose tells him no to a pay advance—

Gilly bites into a donut, keeps talking. “The blizzard of ’78, remember that?” Of course Mucko remembers, everybody does. Gilly talks like a pinball machine as his monologue bounces from Red Sox spring training to how much the Yankees suck to how compassionate a conservative George W. Bush really is to why Gilly thinks his oldest daughter just missed her period to how the company just gave out such nice bonuses. “You got yours, right?”

Mucko doesn’t answer, and that’s his answer. Not stupid, Gilly takes the cue, shuts up.

Mucko stands up, opens a cabinet. Takes out a 12-gauge, an AK-47 and a .32-caliber that he tucks into his belt. Walks out of the cubicle. Gilly’s mouth opens, a donut-filled cavern. Coffee splashes onto the carpet. “Where you going with all that?” he asks.

“To Accounting,” Mucko says.