The Divorce of Fiery and Cool Magpie

It’s not as if we didn’t know it was coming. Fiery Magpie finally flew the coop last week for $$-er pastures and the sight of her vacant desk chair was too much for Dreadful Dreadlocks to process. Galvanized by a pressing need to know every single detail that might have foretold the end of Team Magpie’s 19-year tenure at the Firm, she could barely contain her angst.

As she darted around the firm looking for answers, her wire-thin dreads levitated, spinning out in a whirly-birding frenzy. The rapid rotation of frizzies in the airspace above her scalp precipitated an updraft so intense, so furious, that its unprecedented velocity registered on The Weather Channel’s Doppler radar as a category 1 vortex tornado.

She was pissed. Rumors were confirmed (so they like to think) that Night Staff had instigated the split between the Magpie sisters.

NIGHT STAFF…zzzzz…Don’t their sloth fool you….They’re Lazy Like a Fox…

unknown    and     unknown

Cool Magpie was flitting nervously around the Firm, too, pointing her beak into everybody’s cubicle like a compass needle aiming for true north. Afraid her own job might also be in jeopardy — no one was hired yet to replace Fiery Magpie — she wasn’t privy to her estranged sister’s new place of employment. In desperation, she went into drone mode and dive-bombed the desk of Dreadful Dreadlocks hoping for a few crumbs of information.

But Dreadful was not in the mood. She didn’t know where Fiery Magpie was working and yelled at Cool Magpie to leave her alone. Docketing overheard the altercation and dialed my extension.

They wanted to know, at that very moment in time, if Dreadful Dreadlocks was inside The Dark Force’s office spilling the beans. That, I told them, was a negative.

Joe Palooka Sand Bag palooka had beaten Dreadful to the punch and was sitting with The Dark Force in her office. The office door was closed, but I could still hear the muffled sing-song-y cadence J. P. Sand Bag employs when ragging on people.

She is of the species Eyelash Batter with Two Faces and One Big Mouth, a type of subhuman bottom heavy creature that, back in Junior High, roamed the schoolyard among her pack of similar miscreants with the sole purpose of picking on the most vulnerable kids.

Dreadful expectedly appeared in our cubicle neighborhood after encountering The Dark Force’s closed door. She moseyed over to commiserate  with Carvel Soft Serve. 


They slipped into sotto voce gossipy mode. The extremely faint decibel level of their obsessive whispering is nothing short of amazing. From their mouths to dogs’ ears.

Seconds later, when Cool Magpie showed up in the ‘hood, Dreadful split for the employee kitchen.

Carvel Soft Serve was now as valuable to Cool Magpie as Deep Throat was to Watergate. However, Carvel Soft Serve does not indulge in mud slinging.

When she senses a verbal exchange might be turning dark, she will assume her standard passive-aggressive defense. Feigning a loss of hearing in the ear closest to your mouth, she will reply to whatever was said with: “Hah?…Hah?...Hah?

My phone intercom buzzed. It was The Dark Force summoning me into her office.

At the sound of The Dark Force’s bossy voice, Cool Magpie also took off for the employee kitchen — the Firm’s Mecca of Discontent. I felt Carvel Soft Serve’s eyes burning a hole in my back as I walked into The Dark Force’s office and closed the door.

“You may not know this about me,” said The Dark Force, in her creepy way. “But I am an entity descended from a large mass that is missing from the universe.”


(Okay, she didn’t really say that, but I felt it could be true.)

A murmur of staticky voices streaming out of her computer from a third-world radio station filled in the silence that hung between us. She made no move to lower the volume. I felt like i was in the backseat of a taxi in Montego Bay.

“I would like you to take over Fiery Magpie’s job,” she said, making direct eye contact.


“Who else can I give it to? Carvel Soft Serve? I can’t stand her,” she growled. “I hate that woman. ”

I didn’t need to hear that. “What about The Church Lady?” I said.

churchlady2The Church Lady is known for smiling perpetually, laughing boisterously, invoking The Lord every second, and agreeing to everything congenially — and then throwing any work she doesn’t care to do in the trash.

An audible exhale, purple in color, came out of The Dark Force. “No, no, no,” she muttered.

Fiery Magpie’s former job wasbasically, dunning clients for money, keeping track of all the monthly annuities for every lawyer in the Firm, checking myriad databases for each and every entry — all of which required the use of a computer program called Excel.

Excel, in case you don’t know, is a dreary grid of a bazillion cells, crammed with numbers and formulas and whatever, row after row after row. The font inside these cells is a minuscule 8-point or smaller. The-Lord’s-Prayer-on-the-head-of-a-pin. It is a monotonous, wearying grille of statistical misery that you navigate through using the “tab” key.

No, no, A thousand times NO.

Excel spreadsheets are so depressing they deserve to be thrown in the trash. Which is why The Church Lady would be perfect for the job!

I was to assume this new job while continuing to work for The Gecko. The Dark Force actually believed The Gecko when he told her he “felt so bad that they gave this job to me.”

“I will assist you,”  The Dark Force said. “I will learn this job, too.”

Nightmare number 2. Did I mention that before being “promoted” to this Middle Management position, The Dark Force was supervisor of Night Staff.  Two people. At night. When no one is around. Need I say more?

“And will I be getting a raise?”

“Raises come at the end of the year,” she said. “Last year, when I got you your raise, I had to first propose an amount to The Gecko. And his response was, ‘Okay, but cut it in half,’ 

Cut it in half. Did I need to know that? Because as much as I dislike that peanut-munching, nose-picking, cockroach-killer, my dislike of The Gecko boiled into hatred when I heard those four words.

Cut it in half.


When the meeting with The Dark Force was over, I felt as miserable as Griffin Dunne did in this scene from Martin Scorsese’s “After Hours”:

But there is always a bright side. I know what my New Year’s Resolution for 2017 will be:

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