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Authors: Sasha Marshall

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BOOK: Under the Cornerstone
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TO: (GROUP) Kohler & Kohler Master Directory

FROM: [email protected]&Kohler.com

 

Dear Owners, Investors, Mangers, and Co-workers,

 

As many of you know, I’ve worked at Kohler & Kohler for four years as a marketing associate. I’ve been an exemplar employee and recently applied for a promotion that I was told would almost certainly be mine.

This past weekend, Tony Danello, the nephew of accounting manager Paul Danello, beat me with his fists because he didn’t like what I was wearing to my friends’ going away party. Today, I was asked to drop the assault charges against my ex-boyfriend because his poor Uncle Paul just can’t stand for the world to know his nephew likes to beat women.

You’ll hear a vast array of reasons why I left the company so suddenly today, but I couldn’t in good conscious leave without you all knowing the truth and how much this company really cares about its employees.

Attached are the pictures which are dated from this past weekend. Please enjoy the footage of Tony’s handiwork, and ladies, if you see this prick… Run as fast as you can! He’s a snake charmer, but he’ll eventually show his true colors and you’ll end up being “one of those women”.

Please enjoy the remainder of your careers at Kohler & and Kohler, and know that it’s been a fucking blast talking to you all by the water cooler. By the way, I informed Sheila of how much she is truly disliked by us all. Perhaps she’ll use that knowledge and self-reflect on how much of a cunt she is.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Noely King.

 

Attached Pictures

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I carried the heavy box home on four-inch heels. At least I found a seat on the subway, but my legs were numb from holding the box by the time I'd made my round trip back to Brooklyn from Manhattan. 

I unlock my door, heave the box inside until it spills contents everywhere, and slide down against the door to the apartment. I try to muster up tears. I try really fucking hard. I even make the faces, but nothing comes. Not a fucking tear. I should try to cry, right? Purge all this hurt from within?

My back stays against that door for hours while I figure out what I'm going to do. Luckily, I'm a saver and I can get by for a while until I find another job. But I should definitely purchase a bottle of something strong to get me through the next few days. 

I shower off the makeup and shame. In the last four days or so my ex beat me, my best friend fucked and left me, and then he told everyone the one thing I asked him not to repeat. My group of best friends were arrested for assaulting my ex, I had to bail one out, and I announced to virtually everyone I loved that Johnny fucked me like a groupie whore. I decked my asshole of a best friend, I was basically forced to press charges against Tony and have my naked body photographed by a stranger, I slapped my asshole best friend, and then I lost my job.

Shit fucking week.

I let my hair air dry into waves and put on sweatpants, UGG's, and a Yankees hoodie. My phone is left on the table by my front door since I don't have a damn soul to talk to, but I grab my keys and head out for a big, expensive bottle of tequila. 

It's only noon, so I stop by my favorite deli and order food to pad my stomach. No sense in making myself vomit on top of everything else going to shit in my life. 

I really like the guy at the deli. He looks as though he is from India, but he speaks with a British accent and always says "tomato". It's stupid, but it always makes me smile.

Four hours later and a steady stream of tequila taught me two things. One, tequila seems to taste different when you're drinking it alone. It's not the same experience I've had in past years with my favorite liquor. Two, when I'm drinking alone, artistic genius takes me over. 

It took my drunk ass an hour to find a hardware store in Brooklyn. Google Maps continues telling me to drive a car and that probably isn’t a great idea right now. I can't figure out how to change the damn setting so the app recognizes I'm a pedestrian. 

I scream down at the woman who talks to me through the app, "I've already told you, I’m walking you stupid fucking cunt!" 

The awesome thing about New Yorkers is they only glanced my way, all words were considered appropriate, and they continued on their way as though I never had the drunken outburst.

"Noely baby," I hear the thick Brooklyn accent I know.

"Jimmy!" I smile and turn to him extremely excited to see his face.

"You drunk at five in the afternoon?" He smirks. 

I press my finger to my lips, "Shhh, I started at noon."

He laughs loudly and clutches his stomach, "So what are you doing now?" 

"Gotta find a hardware store. Then I'm drinking some more and making art."

He raises an eyebrow with a smile firmly in place, "You need my company then."

“Damn Skippy.”

Chapter Five

 

Three hours later it’s dark, and Jimmy and I are making art. I decide to graffiti the back entrance to Saul's Bar. It's where Blood Feather got their start, and where some of my favorite memories were made.

When Jimmy discovers my artistic plans were illegal, he’s insistent on being my wingman. It's just in his nature to do so. I'm not very sure how he's not already performing a stretch for all of his debauchery. 

We play for hours along the alley entrance and commemorated all the memories there. I draw all of us, not just the band. I work with Ryan and his drums first. I then draw Rich with his bass. I leave the center open for Johnny, because I’m not ready to face him yet. Not even in my own art. 

So, I draw Jimmy's tall body with a cigarette in his mouth and a bottle of liquor in his hand. I draw him sitting on an amp since that's where he often sits. I make sure all the guys tattoos are included, and then I draw their parents and our friends.

Jimmy breaks at ten to grab food and more tequila while I continue working. He returns, so we eat and drink. He continues painting other details around my work, adding in a background of a bar and a stage. He starts to work on hands reaching for the stage when I swallow my heart and draw Johnny.

"You want to talk about it?" Jimmy quietly asks.

"Which part?" 

"Tony, Johnny, your name and picture being leaked, Johnny putting you in the position he did... Why weren't you at work today?"

"Subtlety has never been your strong suit," I answer.

"Feel it eating away at you. Watched you avoid drawing him all night. I know you Noles."

"Tony beat my ass. I saw the signs I knew it was coming. I stayed like an idiot. I knew better. He didn't like what I was wearing to the going away party and he snapped. Gave me some pretty bruises. Everyone was calling because I wasn't at the party. Johnny called for the sixth time and I knew I had to answer or he'd show up at my place."

He's quiet for a moment, “Why did you stay with that asshole?" 

I pull my brush away from the brick and look down as I shake my head. 

"I'm not going to do the same shit Johnny did. Whatever you say to me stays with me, Noe."

Stupid drunk tears well up in my eyes, so I put the brush down. 

Tears roll down my face so fast I have no way of stopping or hiding them. 

"Noely, baby," Jimmy says sweetly and starts towards me.

I stick my hand out to stop him, "No. I don't want to be coddled."

"Everybody gets a fucking free pass from time-to-time, including you. You don't always have to be so god damn tough,” he replies.

"I... I stayed because I was tired of being lonely. It's the most asinine reason in the world, but I'm tired. I'm tired of feeling so alone in this world."

Jimmy takes another step towards me, but I step back.

"I spill all this shit out to you, you have to promise not to baby me," I negotiate. 

He glares at me, "Fine. I'm not happy about it though.  Just so we're clear. And you've always had us... All of us. If you didn't know anything else, I know you know you always had me."

"I did... I do. I... I'm not explaining this..."

"You wanted someone to spend your life with?" 

"Yeah."

"Got it. You learn your lesson about assholes like Tony?"

"Lesson learned."

He waves his hand in the air, "Fine. Done.  Moving on. You didn't show up to the party because of the bruises. Johnny called. You picked up?"

"I told him I ate something bad and couldn't make it. He knew I was lying, caught me in the lie, hung up on me, and showed up at my place."

"He knew as soon as he saw you?"

"Pretty much. He was an asshole. Smeared my makeup so he could see the bruises and lost his shit. Still an asshole," I explain.

"You two fucked?" He asks like he already knows the story. 

"Wasn't planned."

"Got that."

"It happened anyway."

"He ducked out like a punk?"

"Went back to you guys and partied," I answer.

"He looked weird when he got there. He was quiet. Looked more like he was drowning his woes than celebrating,” he divulges.

"Regret," I clench my jaw. 

Jimmy takes a step towards me, his jaw tense, and firmly tells me, "No. Johnny didn’t… He isn’t the one who…"

I roll my eyes in response and cut him off with a wave of my hand.

"You'll have to see it for yourself. I don't have a crystal ball, Noe."

I wave him off, "He didn't call. I didn't see him until I bailed you out. I asked him not to tell anyone about Tony and he told all of you.  I didn't realize you weren't alone, so that was the first time I saw him after we slept together."

"He was angry as a fucking bear when we found out,” he states.

"Fuck that!" I yell at him

"Noe, Johnny isn’t the one who…." He tries again, but I’m tired of hearing excuses for his behavior.

I cut him off again, "Leo got my blood boiling about the story he leaked to the press. I decked Johnny, and then was forced to talk to the detective to hopefully save you all."

"Heard from Johnny since?"

"He's been texting and calling but I haven't read the messages or answered. Called into work yesterday. Said I ate something bad. My supervisor read the story Leo leaked so she fired my ass this morning for lying about why I was out. Then she informed me that Tony’s uncle was the accounting manager, which I already knew. I was ‘encouraged’ to drop the assault charges against Tony in exchange for keeping my job," My voice comes out shaky by the end.

“That’s bullshit,” he yells out with fury.

“They were going to fire me after I dropped the charges. I told my supervisor that she was a cunt and then emailed the entire company the pictures Johnny took of me that night with a nice fuck you before I packed my office and left.”

"Shit,” he responds and then he laughs a full on raucous laugh. “Went out with a bang, Noely baby.”

"Johnny came by my place last night. I slammed the door in his face and went to bed. He stayed in the hallway all night. We had words this morning as he followed me through the building. Told me my name was leaked, and I slapped him. Then I went to work and got canned. Last I heard or saw him. I left my phone at home anyways," I admit.

"He's trying to make amends."

"I'm not ready."

He nods curtly and picks up my brush, "Let's finish the damn painting."

It takes me two hours to complete Johnny in front of a mic and a guitar in his hands. I hate and love every minute I bring him to life on this canvas. He really is a beautiful man, and even in my anger I can appreciate it. 

"I'm adding stage lights up top. You add yourself or we're not leaving here until it's done," Jimmy advises.

I use my memory to recall one of my favorite pictures of Johnny and me, the one that sits on my nightstand, and has for two years. I use it to draw me. The thing about representing yourself through art is you notice every flaw. You see yourself differently from the rest of the world. The good, the bad, and the ugly show through the work. It takes another two hours to draw me in combat boots, ripped jeans, and a tank. I add a gaping hole in my chest, and my bleeding heart in my hand. It drops blood onto my pants and boots. The final details of my face come last.  I add the last of the shadows when the siren sounds twice. 

"Fuck!" Jimmy says.

Two officers exit the car with flashlights shining in our faces. It's past two in the morning and I'm tired. I'm also really drunk. And I'm breaking the law. 

"Good evening officers," Jimmy greets with sarcasm.

"Jimmy fucking Crawford. How are you still a free man?" One officer asks.

"I was framed?" Jimmy smiles. 

"Not quite," the officer smirks back at him. 

"It must be my charming personality, then,” he counters. 

The other officer calls in for backup. Jimmy picks up his phone and sends a text, and then returns his attention to the two men. 

"Don't feel like going to jail tonight, " Jimmy says as he lights a cigarette

"That's what happens when you break the law," officer number one retorts.

"We're not breaking the law."

"Please do tell," the officer laughs.

I'm getting the impression these two know each other very well and in this case it doesn't work very well in my favor.

"We were paid to complete the piece by the owner," Jimmy lies.

Fuck a monkey. We're screwed. Saul is a recovering alcoholic who owns a bar and he's not one for bullshit. A pissy mood is his norm.

"Where's the owner?" One officer asks.

"At two in the morning?  I'm assuming he's asleep," Jimmy answers. "Got my people getting him over here though. You mind waiting?"

The officer lifts a brow, "Why the hell not? It's Brooklyn. It's not like I have anywhere else to be. Of course, if you're lying to me, I'm booking you."

Now I'm really never going to find another job. 

We wait twenty minutes before Rich, Ryan, and Johnny arrive. Rich talks to the cops while Ryan and Johnny take in the mural. Johnny steps closer to the picture of me and extends his hand like he's going to touch my face.  It pisses me off. 

BOOK: Under the Cornerstone
12.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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