Quondam

December 2012
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Boss of Teats

Continuing my departure from non-fiction . . .

Friction: a story that starts from truth but is not itself truth.  Fiction with an inserted r for real.  I don’t care which parts you think are true and which are false, and I do not care if not knowing annoys you.

See?  Friction.

—–

I pick up the phone, “Hello?”

“This is Karen, from the school?”

“Yes . . . ?”

“I’m the Vice President.”

“What a weird hoax.”

“What?”

“Why not go all the way and just claim to be President? Dream big, Karen!”

“Ummm . . . because Joanne is President.”

“Sure she is. So what can I do for you, Madam Vice President?”

“Is this Kris?”

“Also known as The Grand Teton.”

“I feel like this conversation is not going well.”

I explain, “Doesn’t Grand Teton sound like it should be a title? I am Grand Teton, Boss of Teats!”

Silence.

I try again, “How about if you explain exactly what relevance your title has in my life, Karen who is Vice President?”

“Oh! I’m Vice President of the Parent Association. At the school?”

“Ohhh! Got it. What can I do for you?”

“I’m the woman who has been organizing the charity drive.”

“Yes! I donated some things . . . I can’t even imagine how difficult a time that family must be having. Dad in a car accident and in the hospital. Mom pregnant. No income and the holidays right around the corner. That’s a good thing you are doing, Karen. I’m pleased to have been able to help in a small way.”

“Yes, well. I wanted to talk to you about the items you donated.”

“Is there a problem? I don’t have a lot of extra cash, but I did have some things I thought they might be able to use to make the holidays a bit cheerier. Hold on, I made a list of what I donated – it’s around here somewhere.”

“No need. You donated a set of candelabras, some vanilla-scented candles, a ruby-colored tablecloth, some adorable snowman table-top decorations, a large crystal bowl, a green vase with a Christmas-tree pattern etched into the glass, and some Christmas ornaments arranged beautifully in a gorgeous wicker basket.”

“Yes, gifts from people who don’t quite know my taste. Lovely things, but not quite . . .” I pause and consider for a moment, “Huh. There was an oddly covetous note to your description, Karen.”

“Covetous?”

“It just sounded as though you are sitting there with the items as we speak. As though you are running your fingers over the items as you describe them to me.”

Silence.

“No offense, Karen. I just got a weird vibe for a moment. No reason I needed to voice that vibe. Sorry.”

Silence.

“Ummm, Karen?”

Silence.

“Karen, maybe you could tell me why it is you called. Is there some problem with my donations?”

“It’s just that I think the family is all set.”

“Hmmm.”

“Besides, I think the items you donated are perhaps a little too nice for this family.”

“Too nice?”

“Yes, it really wouldn’t do to have the items point out the disparity between what they do and do not have.”

“Ummm . . . that makes absolutely no sense.”

She repeats, “The items are too nice for this family.”

“This is the oddest conversation. How about we do this? How about we let the family decide if the items are too nice? If they find that a tablecloth and a few shiny objects fill them with despair that they are unable to buy cheap Christmas shit at Marshall’s, then they can hold a holiday yard-sale. Or they can re-gift the items. Or they can burn them in a pagan bonfire and dance nude around the flames. I don’t care what they do with the items, because . . . and this is key, Karen . . . the items belong to them.”

“About that.”

“Oh, I do not like where I think this is going, Karen.”

“I was just thinking that the family is already taken care of . . . so many generous people stepped forward with donations . . . more than I could have hoped for, really.”

“Alright, if my donations aren’t needed, I’ll just swing by to pick them up.”

“Seeing as how you’ve already donated the items, I was wondering if you might consider letting me keep them.”

“I seriously cannot believe that you just spoke those words. You do understand that I tried to stop you from saying those words, correct?”

“It’s just that these items are so nice, and you already gave them away. It’s not like you need them. This family wouldn’t appreciate these things as much as I would.”

“Are you mentally handicapped in some way?”

She tries again, “Listen, you meant to donate these items to a needy family. They’re all set – they are not needy anymore. I do not have items as nice as these items, and so I think you should just imagine me as needy.”

“What was the name of the President again? Joanne, right?”

“Joanne does not want to hear from you.”

“What, she’s busy solving the crisis in the Middle East?”

“Kris, I do not think we are going to be friends if you are going to be this unreasonable.”

“Yeah, I am weeping bitter tears over that tragic loss. Hold on . . . here’s Joanne’s number. Hanging up now, Karen. Off to report you to the President.”

“So you’re just going to be a bitch about this?”

“Karen, Karen, Karen . . . how little you know me. Bullshit is one thing up with which The Grand Teton does not put.”

“What?”

“A little grammar awkwardness for you, Madam Vice President . . . courtesy of The Grand Teton.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I really need to get business cards printed up.”

“You really think this is the first impression you want the group to have of you?”

“What, that I do not suffer fools and thieves? Yes, I’m fine with that first impression.”

“So I just want to be clear – I can’t have the stuff?”

“That’s correct.”

“And you are going to call the President?”

“Also known as Joanne — that is also correct.”

“Yeah, we’re not going to be friends.”

“The Grand Teton accepts this truth and moves on with her life, completely unburdened by remorse.”

“You are so weird.”

“The Grand Teton is unmoved. Get it? Because mountains don’t move and also because I could not possibly give less of a shit about your opinion of  . . . ::click:: . . .

She hung up on The Grand Teton, Boss of Teats?

Some people are so rude.

    31 comments to Boss of Teats

    • It was like living in a snowglobe here this morning, big white flakes falling all around.

      No point to that bit of sharing.

      But it was lovely.

    • Tela

      i read the first half of this story with Karen’s name being Kallen, just because that’s what i expected to see. it worked for a while….

    • Melissa

      You have got to be kidding….Who in the world keeps a school donation for a family in need because SHE likes the items???? Oh yeah, Karen the vice president does….Weird…
      I’d love to know how the follow up with the President goes…Should be equally entertaining ;-)

    • Amy

      You do, in fact, need business cards.

      Grand Teton

      • Seriously . . . if I ever had occasion to hand out business cards, those would be awesome.

        Hmmm.

        Thinking perhaps the bigger to-do item is the generating of occasions at which to hand out business cards.

        Perhaps.

    • Deanna

      Now I’m perplexed. How do I know if the items I purchased for my office are too nice for me? I better call Karen and ask.

      • Deanna?

        Do your new possessions fill you with despair as you contemplate the disparity they represent between what you have and hope to have?

        I believe that’s key.

        THAT MAKES NO SENSE!

        Stupid Karen.

    • Sue B

      That was really funny and outrageous. Who does that crap? And more to the point, who and where did it? Nah, I won’t ask but, really bitch? Who made you queen. You are only the Vice.

    • I was SO sad not to have Maj & Kallan stories anymore, but I’m loving this series. You are a gifted writer…

      • Thank you ever so much for that, babe.

        I also love the Maj and Kallan stories. Maj and Kallan are amazing. It was difficult to let those stories go.

        It was difficult to imagine what comes next.

        So thank you.

        Thank you very much.

        Me

    • Is it wrong that I want to punch Karen in the face?

      Who has the gall to try and take donations like that?

      Oh, I know, the vice-president does.

      And you? The Grand Teton?

      You need to have those cards printed.

      Stat.

    • Sue. B

      I am imagining Paul Ryan as that vice person. Yup, just perfect.

    • It is KILLING me not to know what parts of this friction are actually fiction. And? It is making me want to gossip. Pathetic yet true.

      • Heather?

        You crack me up.

        You totally crack me up.

        • Stephanie

          Heather, I am right with you! I am DYING to know what parts are true!! I have issues :P

          Also Kris, I am in agreement with Sarah above. Was sad to lose stories of the girls but these friction ones are an awesome consolation :)

    • BethRD

      The one part of this that confuses me is why Karen would call you and ask. If I were the sort of person to keep items that had been generously donated to a needy family (and if I were the sort of person to covet vanilla-scented candles and wicker baskets, I’m even less that kind of person than I am the first kind), I would just KEEP them. I wouldn’t ask permission. I’d just clutch those vanilla-scented candles to my Tetons and stroke them and call them my precious and pretend that particular box of donations got somehow lost in the shuffle. Like, what, the VICE-PRESIDENT of the whatever is going to lower herself to steal Christmas decorations? Of course not, and no one could prove otherwise.

      • Yes.

        That.

        A thousand times that.

        I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THAT PART EITHER.

        What the fuck, right?

        Like I’m going to be at her house accusing her of stealing Marshall’s-shit holiday decorations? Not even.

        Seriously. . .

        What the fuck?

    • These friction posts, particularly this one, are driving me a little mad as I want to know what is truth. Because if Karen in any way exists, wow. Just wow.

    • Well then . . .

      Wow.

      Because seriously.

      She in some way exists.

    • Ben

      Sooo… The thing about the “friction” stories is they sound exactly like the true ones, and are equally believable. Which brings me to the conclusion that they are in fact true, and the “friction” label is like a legal disclaimer. Similar to how they put on on the start of a movie “any resemblance to any living or otherwise person is purely coincidental”, when the whole thing is clearly based on real events.

      In other thoughts “Bullshit is one thing up with which The Grand Teton does not put.” is quite possibly one of the best phrases ever, and I intend to adapt it for my own situations, such as “Poor service is one thing up with which Ben does not put”. I’m going to have a lot of fun with this one :)

      • Hello, Ben!

        Nope . . . my voice and my imagined version of how things might have gone.

        There is a small bit of truth here, but most of this is imagined. Enough of a bit of truth that those around me in my real life have heard the true version of events several times over the years, but not so much that the person of whom I am speaking would recognize him or herself.

        Almost nothing in this post actually happened as I wrote it.

        Almost nothing.

        Almost.

        That said? After almost three years of posting truth, I may be just about done putting myself and my life out there in recognizable fashion. I posted in here somewhere (you saw that, correct?) that I am no longer posting true-life stories of Maj and Kallan. Turns out it may be time to stop speaking truths altogether.

        So I may be writing more and more of this sort of post, but I’ll just call them fiction.

        Fiction is comfy.

        Kris