Short Story

We were planning a trip to Atlanta to visit a certain large retailer headquartered there. We argued about flying Delta, which touts itself as the world’s most trusted airline but can be primarily trusted to delay your departure, divert your flight, and somehow lose your luggage on the way. (To be fair, I prefer even Delta to Northwest, but that’s another story.)

Cowboy Bob, comfortable in his It’s Not a Boot, It’s an Attitude Durangos, was calf-roping poor Tom Haas who has been, on more than one occasion, the object of CB’s pranks. The ostensible plan was to take Tom to a strip club in the Buckhead area of the city. A midget stripper named Pinky was well know in certain circles to heat things up by shaking her outsized booty to the sound of thunder claps.

Truth may make the devil blush.

Tom was so enthralled by Cowboy Bob’s off-color descriptions of Pinky’s unbecoming behavior that he hardly noticed the winking and the shaking of heads around him. Bull Terrier accidentally snorted beer through his nose. (Not to worry, he has a small nose and it was no more than, say, a depth charge sized snort.)

Now I know that there used to be a pretty raucous bar scene in Buckhead, but things have become significantly more… uh… civilized. Buckhead is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods, not just in Atlanta but in all the Southeast. With its impressive mansions, exclusive boutiques and fine eateries – my favorite being the Holeman and Finch Public House – Buckhead has earned a reputation as the Beverly Hills of the East.

One never knows for sure with Cowboy Bob, but I suspect Pinky is just another urban legend and I fear Old Tom will be disappointed.

Then again, maybe not. Truth may make the devil blush but, I imagine, it will be Pinky that takes care of the rest of us.

Right from the Gecko

Gilles came to see me in my office, a look of consternation on his face. He is a Parisian who speaks English with a strong accent. He can’t pronounce his Ts, so he says things like “I’ll see you Thoosday.”

He asked me if I could help him with a language issue he’s been having. I told him to sit in the comfortable leather chair I keep for just such occasions.

As he tells it, he has heard people use the expression “from the get go”, which doesn’t make much sense when you think about it. Or maybe, the expression is “from the gecko”. But that makes even less sense. So, he asked me, which is it?

I’ll see you Thoosday.

To believe with certainty, it has been said, one must begin with doubting. Well, then, Gilles must have been very certain indeed. One colleague explained carefully why this was this but another assured him, as a friend, that this was that. A third said both were fine but meant very different things. Well enough was enough. He knew that he could count on me to clear this up once and for all.

Now geckos are endearing sorts – for lizards anyway. They chirp, they change colors, and they can reproduce without copulation. They also have adhesive toe pads. And they lick their eyes to keep them clean, which is important indeed for nocturnal creatures that eat mosquitos. So pretty much anything from the gecko is cool, right? Geico figured that out long ago. And now so will Gilles.

I looked directly into that Gallic face and said with an air of solemnity that enough is seldom enough and that he should have known this from the gecko.

What’s Up, Doc?

A half dozen of our senior managers were on a two-day leadership course. The topics ranged from negotiation tactics to handling troublesome employees to effective communications. One of the attendees was Cowboy Bob, resplendent in his Corral boots – the ones with the whiskey goat inlays and square toes. General Ledger, our dour CFO with the saucepan ears was also there.

We had several different instructors and group animators. Cowboy Bob had his eye on a woman named Mandy who looks suspiciously like Kate Winslet. She is high-class and high-spirited, and was clearly the object of his affection. Her outfit was conservative in theory but suggestive in practice. To be sure, Cowboy Bob was ready to practice. He is no youngster, but his broad shoulders and infectious smile easily melt away the years. Both he and Mandy were very professional but neither was above flirtation.

Her outfit was conservative in theory.

At the end of the second day, we were all handed out certificates. One by one, we were called up to the front of the room. Mandy would hand out a certificate and kiss the participant on the cheek. I could not miss the intoxicating scent of orange blossoms when it came time for my close up. Eventually, it was Cowboy Bob’s turn. Mandy called his name, but he didn’t budge. She looked around, caught his eye and smiled seductively. He still didn’t move. I leaned over slightly and said, hey Bob, what’s happening? He looked at me with helpless eyes and whispered, “I can’t get up”.

I looked down with a grin. Poor Cowboy Bob. Hoisted by his own petard.