I turn on the computer and sip my pricey burnt flavored coffee. I need this job. I need it to stay in this city. I need it to survive. I need it because my parents aren’t paying for my rent, this coffee, my cellphone, my toothpaste. You know ‘cause, I am an adult and adults should pay for their own fucking toothpaste.
I sit down and stare at it. My stenciled self. I see the backwards version of me. Kelsie Huff spelled backwards is F F U H E I S L E K, or as I like to call her FuHa EE-slick.
FuHa EE-slick is an Eastern European Madame with a cold heart and an even colder touch. She’s a tough ol’ gal in an even tougher world. She may kill the spirit of young women, but she also massacres the men who abuse them.
FuHa EE-slick is a spell you whisper to curse your enemies. Bit of fire, bit of blood, bit of owl pellet. FuHa EE-slick, FuHa EE-slick, FuHa EE-slick!
FuHa EE-slick, feared across the LANDS.
FuHa EE-slick, the shiver down your spine.
FuHa EE-slick, sends your children screaming into the night!
or…Kelsie Huff, Director of Marketing.
My loud sigh echoes from every sterilized corner of my office and slithers around each fake plant, their plastic leaves wavering under the blasting draft of the ever humming, ever wheezing heating ducts; pumping as loudly as my exhausted breaths.
How can I be this tired? It’s only 9:35 in the morning.
I have to remind myself I lied to get this job. I wanted it that badly.
“Kelsie, do you know Photoshop?”
(No.) “Of course!”
“Kelsie, how would you describe your experience in marketing?”
(I got coffee for my old boss and cleaned up the cocaine residue he left on his desk every day. He was in Marketing.) I worked directly with Ted over at I.V.A.P. He was a fascinating creative director. I learned so much! I just love the creative side of marketing and I am so excited to work with your team!”
“Kelsie, as our Director of Marketing would you be able to go that extra mile?”
(Honestly, I’m going to be typing up my own stories and doing stand-up bits on your dime.) “ABSOLUTELY!”
I lied. I won. I got my own office because adults need money and I’m a fucking adult.
I check my voice mails. I sigh. I delete my voice mails. I sit and type, pounding out each letter like a loan shark breaking a knee cap. I answer the phone as though it’s a nagging child, I roll my eyes behind my coworkers’ backs so often that I have to take several doses of Excedrin to calm the pulse in my lower optic nerve.
Chad, a super eye-roll worthy coworker, bounces down the hall with a smile that only uber wealthy white twenty-year-old men can sport. His teeth sparkle and mock. Even his canines believe they are superior.
Chad’s job is to take other uber wealthy white men out on the town, get them drunk, then come into the office and “pump up” the staff. His title is Development Director of Sales but I call him Prince Fluffer, behind his back, of course. He smiles and leans his head in my office. I sigh and I reach for my Excedrin.
“There’s our creative gal! Hey, you know what Kels? Hey, Kels. Kels? Kels! Hey, ya know what? I just wanna tell ya. You’re so unique. Back in the day they would have burnt you at the stake!”
He high fives the glass door, like it’s a living breathing broheim. It does not high five him back, but that doesn’t stop him from flashing his world-dominating smile and he bounds back to wherever uber wealthy white twenty year old men hang out; a yacht, an athletic club, Hooters.
I say nothing. I don’t yell. I don’t smile. I just sit. I sit and grind three Excedrin into a chalky pulp with my molars until tears come to my eyes. I swallow down the bitter paste, take a swig of my four-dollar coffee and stew.
Burnt at the Stake. Burnt at the Stake. Burnt at the Stake. That’s not a compliment, you know. CHAD. You burn me at the stake. I’d like to see you try, CHAD. Just try to burn me. A witch. He just called me a witch. I’m not a witch. I’m just sitting here. Doing my job, CHAD. Making things. Creatively. Like I’m paid to do.
Some of us have to be here, to work. CHAD! Not just go out and try to impregnate waitresses on the company credit card, CHAD. Come in here and bother me with your stupid witch talk. Stupid, Chad.
“Back in the day they, they. They would have burned me at the stake. So you, Chad, you would have had nothing to do with it, right? You’re taking no responsibility for this agonizing, terrifying, imaginary death. So if the townspeople were burning your hard-working peasant friend and you noticed this injustice up in your castle, up in your fucking tower, you wouldn’t help a maiden out? No? Or would you just be like:
“Oh, dearest Kelsi … she was creative once, but there’s nothing to be done. Shame that. Oh, well back to my ball.”
Ungrateful. Worthless. Dick Face. Prick. Jagoff. Burn Me at the Stake. Burn Me at the Stake. Burn me! I’ll get a guillotine and chop your pretty white head off you 1% motherfuck! How’d you like that, CHAD?! How’d you like that for imaginary demise?! Without a head how would you be able to sail a yacht? CHAD. Without a head where would you shove your single malt scotch? CHAD. Without a head how would you be able to figure out how to roofie waitresses? I curse you and your imaginary decapitated head, CHAD. FuHa EE-slick FuHa EE-slick FuHa EE-slick. (spit three times)
I swirl my tongue around my pill and burnt coffee flavored teeth and search in my purse for some toothpaste. The toothpaste I bought with my own fucking money.
FuHa EE-slick would fight.
Kelsie Huff, Director of Marketing, types.