Boston Solutions Incorporated
Copyright© 2009 by Lazlo Zalezac
Claudia entered the office pushing a stroller. Irene looked over at the stroller and cooed, "Isn't she cute."
"Thank you," Claudia said with the kind of pride in her child that only a mother can achieve.
Magus came out of his office and looked in the stroller. He frowned and shook his head in dismay. He said, "She's a Gerber baby."
"That's a bad thing?" Claudia asked.
"She's going to grow up to be a beautiful woman. You know how I feel about that," Magus said. Shaking his head, he said, "You'd think that she'd have inherited some of Igor's ugliness."
"Phil isn't ugly," Claudia said.
Magus said, "I'm not going to do the coochie-coo thing."
"I didn't think you would," Claudia said.
Magus said, "You named her Helen after Helen of Troy, didn't you?"
"Well, that was Phil's idea," Claudia said. She knew how Magus felt about Helen of Troy.
"The face that launched a thousand ships and killed a city," Magus said.
Irene said, "Be quiet, Magus. She's a beautiful baby girl."
"Stay here," Magus said grumpily. He went into his office and came out with an envelope. He handed it to her and said, "This is a little present for her."
Claudia opened the envelope and studied the contents. It looked like legal papers of some sort and she wasn't really in a position to study them. She asked, "What is it?"
"A college fund. It should be enough to cover four years of college when she gets old enough," Magus said. Seeing the look of shock on Claudia's face, he said, "I can't have a goddaughter of mine growing up uneducated."
"That's very generous of you," Claudia said overwhelmed by the gesture.
Magus grumped and said, "Maybe you can ugly her up by that time."
"You're horrible," Irene said.
"I've got to get back to work," Magus said. He headed into his office grumbling.
Leaning over to Irene, Claudia whispered, "He has a problem showing affection."
"He has a lot of problems and that's the least of them," Irene said.
Claudia said, "I came here to talk to him about my job."
"You know where his office is," Irene said.
Magus called out, "If you come in here then hold the baby. It will remind you that you're a mother and not a beautiful woman."
"He's terrible," Irene said.
"I know," Claudia said while picking up Helen. She headed into the office saying, "I need to talk to you."
"You want to be a stay at home mother," Magus said gruffly.
"Yes," Claudia said feeling a little guilty.
"Okay," Magus said.
Claudia said, "That's it?"
"I can't compete with a baby," Magus said. "Besides, being a mother is a much more important job than being a receptionist. Everyone knows that."
"Not everyone," Claudia said. She felt that a lot of people looked down at stay at home mothers.
"Anyone who has half a brain knows it," Magus said. He pointed to Helen and said, "She's our future. If you want a good future, you raise your children to be responsible caring adults."
"I agree," Claudia said.
Magus nodded his head and said, "You're lucky. A dad is a dad, but a mother is always special. Did you know that the busiest day for the telephone company is Mother's Day?"
"No, I didn't know that," Claudia said.
"It is," Magus said. Shaking his head, he said, "You are going to be the most influential person in her life. It is a great responsibility. It is also one of the most rewarding things a person can do. You'll worry when she gets sick. You'll never forget the day she takes her first step or says her first word. You'll suffer through her first failed love affair. You'll strut like a rooster when she graduates high school. You'll feel left behind when she heads off to college. You'll boast when she graduates college. You'll weep like a baby when she gets married. The life you've chosen is special."
"I'm looking forward to it," Claudia said.
"I'm sure you'll enjoy it," Magus said, "I hope you'll remember your days here fondly."
"I will," Claudia said.
Waving a hand to dismiss her, Magus said, "Go talk to Titus. He has a present for Helen, too."
"Thank you, Magus," Claudia said.
"Go. I'm sure Titus is waiting anxiously to see Helen," Magus said gruffly.
Claudia came around the desk and leaned over. She kissed him on the cheek and said, "I love you too, Magus."
"Stop that. You know how I feel about that mushy stuff," Magus said.
Claudia smiled and left his office. She winked at Irene. She said, "He has real problems with intimacy."
"You can say that again," Irene said.
Stephen came out of his office and looked at the baby. He frowned and said, "She's a Gerber baby."
Irene said, "It is frightening how alike those two are."
"I'm going to have a lot to talk about with his mother the next time she calls," Claudia said.
"You named her after Helen of Troy, didn't you?"
"It was Phil's idea," Claudia said.
"You know how I feel about Helen of Troy," Stephen said grumpily.
Irene said, "This is really disturbing."
"I know," Claudia said rolling her eyes.
"Too bad Igor's genetics didn't take. She's going to grow up to be as beautiful as her mother," Stephen said.
"That is not a bad thing," Irene said.
Stephen said, "I'm not going to do the coochie-coo thing."
"I didn't think you would," Claudia said.
Stephen held out an envelope and said, "This is little present for Helen."
"What is it?" Claudia asked.
"It is a trust fund for when she is old enough to drive. It should be enough to get a modest and safe car," Stephen said. "It explicitly stipulates a safe car. We can't have her driving a convertible sports car. That's not safe."
"That's very generous of you," Claudia said surprised by the gift.
"Well, you know... ," Stephen said. He shrugged his shoulders at a loss for words.
"I know," Claudia said.
Stephen said, "I assume that you've decided to be a stay at home mother."
"I have," Claudia said.
"It makes sense. There's no job as important as being a mother," Stephen said. "You can ask my mother if you don't believe me. She'll tell you the same thing."
"I'm sure she would," Claudia said.
"I better get back to work. I've got a big project for the FBI, classes to attend, and homework to do," Stephen said.
"Thank you, Stephen," Claudia said.
"I'm sure that you have motherly things to do, so I'll go back in my office," Stephen said walking away.
Claudia watched Stephen return to his office. She said, "His mother did a good job raising him."
"Too bad Magus ruined the effort," Irene said smiling wryly.
Claudia returned Helen to the stroller. Once the baby was strapped in, she rubbed the baby's cheek and said, "You are a Gerber baby, aren't you? Yes you are."
Irene held out a package and said, "I got her a gift."
Claudia unwrapped the package. Inside the box was a pink girl's baby snow suit. Claudia held it up. She said, "It is so cute."
"I liked it," Irene said. She felt a little embarrassed about it considering the gifts that Magus and Titus had given Helen.
"It is perfect," Claudia said. "She's going to look adorable in this."
"I'm glad you like it," Irene said.
Carefully folding it up to put it back in the box, Claudia said, "I love it. This is a present that I can use. Thank you very much."
Irene felt a lot better about her present. She said, "You're welcome."
Claudia said, "I'm going next door to see Phil."
"I better warn you before you go over there, Poindexter has a present for Helen," Irene said.
Claudia rolled her eyes and asked, "Don't tell me he bought her a computer?"
"What do you think?" Irene answered.
"Someone is going to have to tell him that an infant can't use a computer," Claudia said.
Irene said, "I tried to tell him that. I mentioned that infants can't type."
"What did he say?" Claudia asked.
"He said he would install some voice control software on it," Irene answered.
Claudia laughed. "Doesn't he know that babies can't talk?"