3 Jun

husband shirt

He needed a raise. To save enough money to quit. HR was six months behind on his annual evaluation. This meant they knew he’d ask.

He’d had to follow up. The meeting was this morning. 9AM. The HR head would review his evaluation. They’d have budgeted an amount. But they wouldn’t mention money unless he asked. They’d pass his request to some anonymous personage. Come back with a smaller amount. A prior evaluation noted he did not always dress for the job he wanted. He would need to wear his crisp white shirt. It was custom tailored at Men’s Wearhouse. He’d had to buy it for a wedding. All cotton. No armpit stains.

He’d got up at five to iron it. Hung it on the shower curtain rod in the hope the shower steam might soften it. It didn’t. He had to spritz it down with the water gun from the iron. He took care to rinse out the chamber three times in case the old water had rust. Laid the shirt on the carpet and laid the iron on it and nothing happened. He waited for the iron to get hot. Tried again. This time it hissed. The fabric got marginally smoother. He spritzed it again. Ironed it again. It was still wrinkled. This was one section of one side of the sleeve. The whole shirt was spread out on the floor. It looked like there was a schooner sail worth of gesso white fabric left to go. He dragged the iron on the shirt intently. The correct speed took many tries to calibrate. Slow enough to flatten the shirt but fast enough to not leave iron shaped burns.

When he was done he took the tupperware of chili he’d packed the night before. And the wet smooth shirt. Not folded. Not on him. The seatbelt and his back against the car seat would mangle it into a state far worse than when he’d started. Carefully draped the long unfolded shirt over the back seat. When he got to work he parked. Carefully hoisted the shirt up and out. Carefully slipped it on. It was hard to chicken wing his left arm into the sleeve with the right arm in, without wrinkling the shirt. Hard to bring his hands to chest level to button the cuff buttons. Even this movement left an accordion of deep folds at the inner elbows. He bent his body only where this area was already ruined. Closed the car door. Locked the car. Picked up the heavy tupperware and his briefcase off the trunk lid. When he got to the dark glass door from parking garage to office, he put the briefcase down. Then the tupperware. Pulled the door open. Held it with his foot while he picked up the tupperware. The briefcase.

The meeting was nine o’clock. Later he would heat his chili. Take it to the park. Sit on the bleachers by the baseball diamond. Eat in the sun watching starlings and squirrels. A celebration. At 9:10 he got an email. We have to delay until this afternoon. Apologies.

The bleachers might be dirty. Instead he microwaved his chili and ate in the break room. The florescent lights sputtered. Made a sound like Tuvan throat singing. He opened the tupperware. Steam twirled out. The edges of the chili were molten. Bubbling. He dipped in his white plastic spoon. Held it aloft. Regarded it.

An amoeba-shaped hunk of meat squatted in the red grease in the spoon. It formed a face. Frowned malevolently. You know what I’m going to do you, it said. To that fucking shirt.

He did know. He paused. He blew on the chili in the spoon. Hand shaking slightly. It rippled in the hot liquid like distant tyrannosaur footsteps in Jurassic Park. He waited. Waited. The searing meat hunk glowered. You think I won’t get you, faggot. It was ninety nine per cent cow and one per cent the thumb of a man from Chiapas. He’d walked miles in the dark desert under the Milky Way. Forests of dry branches, hooked spines crawling with scorpions. To work the blades overnight at the meat packing plant. What he’d loved was playing his requinto. He’d been due for a raise too.

Go ahead, pussy. You’ can’t wait forever. His hand shaking like he was reaching out to get it cut off and he stretched out his lips and the meat sensed its moment and jumped. He shifted back fast. Caught it on his black pants and his other hand instead. The soft place between his finger and thumb burned like a hornet sting. That’s right bitch, he said.

7 Responses to “Evaluation”

  1. Nah June 3, 2018 at 4:51 pm #

    This has been the best story in awhile. I actually laughed out loud and then “he’d been due for a raise too” – fucking brutal. Bravo!

  2. bam June 3, 2018 at 9:13 pm #

    Laughed multiple times. Tried to ‘like’ it but somewhere wants me to login. This is the internet I don’t do that shit.

  3. dickycone June 4, 2018 at 5:43 am #

    I’ve had two jobs with no dress code whatsoever. Both in Boulder, Colorado for some reason. Shorts, flip flops, baseball cap, it was all good. On days when I was in a rush, I’d just wear my workout clothes in the morning, hit the gym for lunch, then change into jeans and a t-shirt. It was pretty great.

  4. Tool Is Phish For Juggalos July 10, 2018 at 11:34 pm #

    Did you mess up & repost this? We’ve seen it before

    • delicioustacos July 11, 2018 at 7:06 am #

      What are you talking about

      • Tool Is Phish For Juggalos July 11, 2018 at 3:17 pm #

        I think you already posted this; after “goodbye ok kcupid”


  1. Sticky: Finally, Some Good News | delicioustacos - July 7, 2018

    […] Evaluation […]

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