Edited by Michael Leonard
Hi, my name is John. I’ve worked for the same company for the last 47 years. I was hired right out of high school. I got the job because I grew up with the owner’s kids. Over the years the company has grown into a retail giant and is now the largest private employer in the world with over 2.2 million employees worldwide. I’ve had numerous, low level positions and I’m sure that in my personnel file there’s a special notation allowing me to work here for as long as I live. I’m happy being a worker bee, because at the end of the day I can leave work behind knowing that I put in a full day’s work for a full day’s pay; no more and no less.
For the last twenty five years I’ve been in corporate planning. It’s our job to make sure that the proper products get to the proper stores at the proper time. The last thing we want is to have a shipment of beach toys end up at stores in the mid-west for Christmas. When I first started in this department we were doing much of our work with paper and pencil. Today, of course, it’s all done by computer, by kids who have been working with computers since they were still in diapers. My manager keeps me around because I can teach these kids the business because I’ve seen it all and had to deal with it.
Now that you know a little about me, I’d like to tell you a short story about two of my favorite fellow employees, Michelle, my manager and Sean, one of our newest additions.
At 35, Michelle is about the same age as my daughter and I treat her as such. She’s fine with that and often calls me into her office to ask for my advice on various problems, both work related and personal. She considers me “safe”; I’m not after her job and I’m not trying to hit on her. I’m just John, who’s always been here.
Let me describe Michelle. She’s about 5’10” and one hundred fifty pounds that are all in the right places. She’s got shoulder length blond hair and what I would describe as a cute face, not beautiful, more like the girl next door type. What people notice first is her walk. She stands perfectly straight as she walks and her hips seem to rotate giving her butt a very unusual and enticing movement. On occasions that I have had the pleasure of walking a short distance behind her, I’ve noticed male heads pop out around cubicle walls to get a better view. Around the water cooler, the comments range from; ‘she walks like she has a broom stick up her ass, to, I’d eat a yard of her shit just to get a glimpse of where it comes out.’ As far as I’m concerned she just oozes sex appeal.
There’s one thing that most people don’t know about her. Underneath her conservative business attire is a hard body. She has broad shoulders, a thick chest which tapers down to a narrow waist. Her legs are sculpted and her butt is well shaped and appears to be rock hard. How do I know you ask? We go to the same gym; Kris’s Gym. I’ve watched her in her spinning class. She works herself on that bike harder than anyone else and when she’s finished she heads to the weight room where she benches over 250 pounds and dead lifts over 400. Michelle finishes her workouts with thirty minutes pounding the heavy bag.
Sean is the exact opposite of Michelle. He’s a couple of years younger and is about 6 feet tall and weighs 115 pounds. He is painfully thin even though he eats at his desk all day long. Sean has boyish good looks and resembles a young Tom Cruise. He gets along with everyone in the department and it is not uncommon for the three of us to go out for a couple of beers at the end of a long week. Sean also goes to the Kris’s Gym. He’s a runner and spends most of his time on the treadmills and on the circuit machines.
I’ve been in the showers along with Sean. He may be thin but he does pack some serious meat for such a slight build. Hey, I’m not gay, but let’s face it, I have checked out the other guys I’m showering with. I guess it’s just a guy thing.
One morning a couple of months ago, I was sitting at my desk reviewing emails I had received over night from various suppliers. I’m always one of the first people in in the morning, due to the fact that I’m up at 5:00 and soon after in the gym. I had just finished reading the last of my emails, when a note popped up on my screen.
‘John, when you get a chance can you come to my office? Michelle’
Not wanting to keep a pretty girl waiting, I immediately left my work station and walked down the hall to her office. Her door was open and just as I was about to announce my presence, I gazed upon a sight that nearly stopped my heart. I guess she wasn’t expecting me quite so soon because there, in front of me was Michelle, bent over at the waist looking through the bottom draw of her credenza; her colorful, snug fitting dress outlining the curves of her firm butt and displaying her long shapely legs in her high heels to their best advantage. After admiring the view for a few moments I exclaimed,
“Michelle, what are you trying to do, give me a heart attack?”
“Oh, sorry; I didn’t think you were in yet. Please close the door and have a seat.”
I did what she asked and waited as she returned to her desk chair. I studied her face trying to get a feel as to her mood and her intentions for this impromptu meeting. Even before she started to speak, I noticed several troubling things. First, even though she had tried her best to cover them with makeup, her face, especially under her left eye, was discolored and swollen and her lip was a little puffy. Secondly, her eyes were red, it was apparent that she had been crying.
“Michelle, what’s wrong?”
“John, I broke up with my boyfriend last night.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that; did you have a fight?”
“You could say that. John, you know me better than anyone; I’m an A type personality. I know I’m not the easiest person to live with; but I thought that this guy was different from the others. In the last couple of weeks I learned differently. He started telling me what to do. At first it was little things like where we ate or what movie to see, but lately he was telling me how to dress, how to wear my hair and who my friends should be. Two days ago I reached my limit; I challenged him to spar with me. I told him the winner would be the dominate personality in our relationship.”
“Michelle, you didn’t! What were you thinking? He’s a cop, right? You could have been seriously hurt.”
“He may be a cop, but that doesn’t give him the right to boss me around. I gave him an ultimatum; either he fights me for control of our relationship or he moves out. I was confident that I could handle him. He’s a little bigger than me, but he’s gone soft sitting in his patrol car all day. We met at the gym last night after his shift. I gave him one last chance to change his attitude. I told him that once we got into the ring that I would not show him any mercy. To make a long story short, it took less than two rounds for me to thoroughly kick his ass; he’s a street fighter not a trained boxer. I left him flat on his back, staring up at the ceiling. I told him he could pick up his stuff today and to leave his key on the kitchen table.”
“Michelle, you can’t keep doing this. A relationship is give and take; it’s about compromise.”
“No John, you’re wrong. One person has to be in charge, one person has to be the boss, otherwise nothing gets done or at best you get mediocre results.”
“If you believe that, then you’re going to have to stop dating ‘Alpha Males’.”
“I can’t help it if I attract that type of guy.”
“Maybe you should get some professional help, see a psychiatrist or something.”
“My best girlfriend is a psychiatrist, we’ll be seeing each other over the weekend; I’ll talk to her.”
Nothing more was mentioned on the subject and we settled back into our normal routine. Nothing, that is, until one day when I was walking on the treadmill at the gym next to a hard running Sean.
“John, I’m thinking of asking Michelle out on a date. What do you think; do I have a chance with her?”
“I don’t know, Sean, she hasn’t had much success with her last several boyfriends; maybe you’re just the kind of guy she needs. I say go for it.” Several weeks later I got called into Michelle’s office.
“John, close the door. I just wanted to let you know that Sean and I have been seeing each other quite a lot lately. I have to admit that I was caught off guard when he first asked me out. I liked him as a fellow employee, I enjoyed being in his company; but I never saw him as a potential boyfriend. However the more we are together the more I like him.”
“That’s wonderful, Michelle, I’m so happy for you both. I’m sure he feels the same about you.”
“I was talking with my girlfriend, you remember, the psychiatrist, she was telling me that with my personality I need to be in control in a relationship, and that I have to take control at the very beginning of that relationship so that there are no misunderstandings.
“OK,” I said, not knowing where this was heading.
“She said I have to demonstrate my dominance both mentally and physically. I get the feeling that Sean has already accepted that I’m the dominant personality in our relationship. But I have to make him understand that I am also physically superior to him and that he has to accept that as fact if we are going to have a lasting relationship.”
“And just how do you plan to demonstrate this dominance over him; if I may ask?”
“My girlfriend says that I’ve already been doing this with several of my other past relationships; I have to prove to him that I can physically impose my will upon him and that he can do nothing to stop me; and that if he tries that there will be extreme consequences. So, I’ve told him that next Friday after work, we’re going over to Kris’s Gym and settling who is in control of our relationship. I gave him a choice as to whether he wanted to wrestle or box; he chose boxing.”
“Michelle, you can’t be serious. You know as well as I that Sean would stand no chance against you at either wrestling or boxing. You have to call this off before you seriously hurt him.”
“That’s why I’m asking you to be our referee. It’ll be your job to see that he doesn’t get hurt too badly. I just want to rid him of any thoughts that he might have that he can impose his will upon me.”
I was dumb struck. I was just about to tell her that I wanted no part in this fiasco but then reconsidered. I would be the only obstacle between Sean and his absolute destruction.
“Okay, I’ll do it, but I want to be on the record that I am totally against this.”
The next morning I bumped into Sean as I was leaving the gym after my workout. After steering him off to a corner of the lobby I confronted him.
“Are you out of your fucking mind? Michelle outweighs you by at least forty pounds and trains here regularly. I’ve seen her boxing workout; she’s brutal. Sean, I’m sorry to say I don’t think you stand a chance against her.”
“John, I’ve watched her too and I know what you’re saying and I appreciate your concern; but I have to do this, I love her. Don’t worry; I can take care of myself. See you later.” Before I could respond, he picked up his bag and headed for the locker room.
At work, for the next week and a half, I felt that I was living in an alternative reality. My two closest work friends went about their jobs as if everything was perfectly normal. In fact, the three of us went out for drinks at the end of the week. Was I the only one who could see that this was so wrong on so many levels?
On the day of the fight, just before we left the office, I tried one last time to talk some reason into them; but it was no use they were each committed to seeing this through regardless of the consequences.
When I got to the Gym, Kris was behind the desk. Kris and I have been friends for a long time. I was a member when she and her husband started the gym. I was there for her when her cheating husband was killed by a jealous boyfriend. I was here when she returned from California after the death of her second husband. Although she’s in her middle fifties, she has the body any thirty year old would be envious of. I have asked her on numerous occasions to marry me. She has always politely declined, saying that two marriages were enough. We are what the kids of today call, friends with benefits.
Figuring that in Kris I’d have an ally, I tried one last time to get this fight stopped.
“Kris, you’ve got to stop this. She’s going to kill him.”
“John, there’s nothing I can do. They’re both members in good standing, they’re consenting adults, and they’ve signed the release forms.”
“John, don’t worry, everything’s going to be fine as long as you enforce the rules and they have a clean fight. Why don’t you plan on spending the night; you can help me with the editing of the DVD.”
Reluctantly I retreated to the locker room, changed into my workout clothes and then headed to the boxing room which had been reserved for a private session. The fighters were already in the ring, completing their prefight workouts. I climbed into the ring, walked over to Michelle and inspected her gloves.
“Michelle please take it easy on him.”