George Fitzgerald, CEO and World Class Jerk, entertains and destroys fellow members of the evil Brazier Institute in a relaxing game of billiards
Georgy Porgy Pudding and...Die
George S. Fitzgerald, President and CEO of Dam-it-All International, God of the Turbines, Scourge of the Rainforest, leaned into the billiard table of the Goose and Gavel as far as his over-ample girth allowed him. It might take a week for the dent to come out, he thought. But it didn’t matter. Through the wall of flab the table nudged a couple of the balls his gut had closed over earlier in the game. They’d been making a dull clacking sound when he walked. People had looked at him oddly. Who gives a fuck. Let them think they were his cojones knocking together. Idiots. No, Governors of the Brazier Institute. Double, triple idiots. All convening in the private lounge for a few drinks after one of those stupid lectures MacPherson put on.
He ignored this rabble to concentrate. It was a difficult shot. His target was the shocking-pink ivory ball he needed to secure his victory over Joseph K. Ouzandrias, Idiot and Born Fool of Affiliated Amalgamated Analgesics. The infernal thing had wedged itself directly behind the black ball at an impossible angle. The cue ball was directly in front of the black. Bank shots were out of the question. His only hope was to take the cue over his head in both hands and plunge it broadsword style on the very edge of the ball as if he were a medieval Saxon despatching a prostrate enemy. The laws of physics willing, the ball should snap three feet straight up and land on the other side of the black, directly on top of the pink. Maybe not directly: obliquely--84º longitude, 136º latitude would be better for his purposes. Send the pink fucker straight into the corner pocket, bank the cue ball back to prime the clincher for the coup de grace. Piece of cake. He was an engineer for god sakes.
“I don’t know, Fitzgerald,” whispered Edgar J. Rowbotham, President and CEO of Rowbotham’s Rip-Roaring Conflagration Restorations. His voice was just coming back after Fitzgerald had nearly broken his jaw in the fateful volleyball tournament a few days earlier. “It looks like a long shot.”
“Shut-up!” said Fitzgerald.
“Da boy is right, Georgy,” said Ouzandrias, twirling his cue and tossing it in the air like a majorette. It fell like a lance into a drinks tray a waitress was carrying through the room. Shrapnel flew. People screamed. The waitress fled.
“Don’t interrupt!” Swine, thought Fitzgerald. Anything to be an idiot.
“Are you going to hit it here, George?” asked Yvette Dollard, President and CEO of Dollard’s Molls and Dolls, extending a chubby pink-nailed finger at the cue ball. “Shouldn’t it be here, instead? Oh, but isn’t that pink a nice colour.”
“Have you chalked your cue? I haven’t seen you chalk your cue. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do before a big shot?” asked Cynthia Updyke-Jones, President and CEO of the Punitive Publishing Group.
“I--” Fitzgerald began.
“Oh, don’t talk to him. He’s just being a grump,” said Yvette. “Aren’t you, Georgy? A big grump.”
“I don’t know how he can hope to win choked up like that,” said Cynthia. “Blocking the chi.”
“If everybody could--”
“Everybody’s alright here?” asked the returning waitress, gathering up the empties and trying to empty the illicit ashtrays with her newly, heavily bandaged hands.
“Hey ya, Glenda! Another round again,” said Ouzandrias, “and sorry about those tendons, eh?”
“No probs,” said the waitress, crushing a glass between her banana sized fingers.
“Dexterity’s overrated. Nothing but trouble if you ask me. Just think: now nobody can catch your hand in the cookie jar.”
“Here,” said Ouzandrias, fishing a coin out of his pocket. “For your trouble.” He dropped it into her hand. It slipped through her fingers, fell to the floor and rolled into a furnace grate.
Fitzgerald had enough of the back chatter. He closed his eyes and called upon some generic Zen god of the rolling deep to focus his concentration. He brought his cue down with inhuman force. But his cell phone rang at the last second. He hit the ball too hard, too sharp. The cue broke into three pieces, taking out Rowbotham, Dollard, and Updyke-Jones in the jaw, throat, and bridge of the nose, respectively. The cue ball itself rocketed into Ouzo’s temple. He dropped like a stone. The ball bouncing off his head and back onto the table, it smacked into the pink from behind. Which meandered its way into the pocket.
Oblivious to victory, Fitzgerald snapped open his cell phone and paced around the table, stepping between the bodies. “What is it!”
There was a terrified squeaking on the other end of the line.
“Whadya mean, it’s cold! It’s Antarctica, for Chrissakes! Put on a sweater....Whadya mean, its too cold to build the dam! What? The water froze? No? Bilgewater froze...right. ‘Course he would, the wimp. Forget Bilgewater. What? What the hell would I know what to do with him? Feed him to the penguins, or take him with you. You never know when you’ll need a bridge for a crevasse....what? What do you mean, you don’t know how to set off the bomb? Bury it in the snow and run like hell! What?...So what if it’s nuclear! Run faster!” Fitzgerald snapped the phone shut with disgust.
“Playing with matches, George?” inquired the urbane, modulated voice of Kingsley Q. Jackson, President, Lord, and CEO of Vanderville Pillage and Loan, the city’s premiere black hole for billions and bullions.
“Eh? Oh...a little side project of mine. Have my eyes on a little property down south...a few capes and shelfs and whatnot. Not doing too much good where they are now: just going to waste. So why the hell not blow off a chunk? Who’s going to miss it? Float it to Argentina, or some damn place. Give the natives something to cool their daiquiris with.”
“Damned sporting of you, George. A selfless act of altruism totally out of character. Some uncharitable folks wouldn’t believe it, I daresay. Why, they may even claim that blowing Antarctica to smithereens by way of an H-bomb may be some underhanded way of disrupting global ocean levels to...oh, I don’t know, submerse most, if not all coastal communities around the world--and so skyrocket the personal fortune of a certain hydro-electric engineer. Say it isn’t true, George.”
“Not a bit of it.”
“But I’ll say this, Jackson,” said Fitzgerald, poking the banker in the chest with a piece of his cue, “that Arctic or no Arctic, I get the job done. On time, every time. By hook or by crook. None of this namby-pamby ‘oh let’s wait and see’ bullshit as a certain personage is fond to spew.”
“You know what I mean.”
“Indeed, George. But, palace coups besides, our situation is somewhat different, is it not? The McRobbie is not the Antarctic. Blasting notable landmarks to Kingdom Come is a delicate matter. There are people, for one thing, and they may, in time, notice a hill or two has disappeared from view, or their backyard missing since putting out the cat.”
“Bah and horse feathers, Jackson. People don’t know shit. Or else how the hell did we get where we are?”
“Speak for yourself, yeoman. I need not blot my escutcheon putting my hands to trade.”
“You’re such an ass.”
“Lord Ass, to you, George.