Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chapter 4

Daffy stared at the building before her, wondering at the great motive power needed to keep it unmoving. Not sure if that's "motive" in the sense of human desire or "motive" in the sense of motorized energy to produce movement. For an unmoving building... It all makes a sort of sense if you're an idiot.

She'd just returned from a train car factory not important enough to warrant a joke name where she'd spent the better part of two hours with the executive. Not that she remembered much from the two hours. He'd been saying something that didn't answer the questions she didn't bother to ask. The one moment that stuck out her memory was when they'd passed some rotting piece of machinery. At that point she'd made up her mind to hate both the factory and the executive because only their lack of will could account for the condition of this particular machine. Because in Daffy's view of the world, entropy doesn't exist.

Back in her office, Daffy found her staff had left for the day - except for Edguy Dithers, as always. She made a mental note to harangue the rest of her underlings for their blatant lack of will-to-please-her.

Dithers was in poor spirits. "McNam quit!" he wailed, looking up at Daffy like a child that just discovered Santa Clause was both a fraud and passed out drunk under the Christmas tree again.

"What's that?" Daffy asked, being too preoccupied with herself to really hear him.

"McNam, our contractor," Dithers explained. "He just up and quit!"

"But he can't do that!" protested Daffy. "I need him for the Rio Norte line!"

Dithers just looked at her with that pathetic quality of his - what she'd seen in him that one time she hit his pet turtle with a croquet mallet. At least this time he was upset over something important...

Daffy was beside herself with grief. First broken machines and now this? It was turning into one rotten day. The sort of day when she needed buildings, needed to look at their great unmoving motives and such, thrusting deep into the sky...

"Uh, Daffy?"

She'd been staring off into space again. "Never interrupt me, Ed!" she snapped.

"Sorry but... you weren't actually doing anything."

"I'll tell you if I'm doing something or not!"

And now holy shit elipses!

.    .    .

Yes they are.

Daffy walked the streets, posters and billboards depicting narratively convenient movies and books along with a drunken couple who were clearly having a blast with life but not in the way Daffy would prefer, which made them bad. Daffy didn't want to look at another woman's heaving bosom because it was too debased, too confusing, and too starkly reminded her of the fact she wasn't getting any tonight.

Arriving home, she put on a Dick Holey record to soothe her nerves. It was music of Greatness, very individual Greatness because Holey had not been constrained by such diminishing things as "rhyme" or "meter" or "carrying a goddamn tune." The apartment filled with the sort of caterwauling so celebrated by people without musical skill who still want to feel special on the topic.

Dick holey had once given a performance. Only the one, it had been sold out months in advance and when the curtains rose, Holey stood on stage surrounded by the many instruments he abused in the studio... and did nothing. For three hours. The unscrupulous lice had been so astonished by such a Bold and Great move! "Dick Holey is an overrated, untalented dickhead!" declared every music critic in every publication for about a week before the world collectively lost its patience with the antics of another hack hiding behind "avante garde" and dropped the story forever.

But Daffy knew better. She knew all those lesser people couldn't appreciate the Truth and Beauty of Dick Holey's music. And Holey had known it himself, that's why he hadn't bothered performing. The audience had just paid extortionate ticket fees to see his one and only concert - what did he owe them anyway?

And he'd just up and disappeared not much long after that. No more Dick, no more concertos... except that tune Daffy could've sworn she heard in the first chapter.

Putting it out of her mind - an exceptionally easy task! - Daffy opened up a newspaper. And promptly threw it across the room like a spaz. Why would she do such a thing?

Because emblazoned across the cover which she hadn't noticed until just now despite it sitting out for quite some time was the face of Francisco Domingo Carlo Banana Fana bo Binko d'Ano The Third!

Picking it up again, Daffy read that Franky was up in New York this week. Some high society type was suing or counter-suing for divorce because she claimed they'd been having affair. Why the hell would anyone want to travel across the country to bear witness to that!?

That's just what the reporter had asked d'Ano, who answered, "Honey, I'm just here to watch the fireworks! Want some popcorn?"

Daffy found that sort of childish frivolity so very admirable. It's what had drawn her to Franky so many years ago in the first place... That and the desired qualities she projected onto him because she lacked the social awareness to read people properly.

It was one of the many things Tim was considering about his sister the following morning - oh hey, a real transition!

Tim Braggart sat in his apartment, too tired to do anything because he'd been too worried to properly sleep. After Daffy had slipped into one of her characteristic nombrilismeRearend deal.

To his shock and horror, he found Daffy had not only sealed the deal from every legal angle - she displayed annoying savant-like skill at causing these problems - but also that the Mexican government had "nationalized" the Sanspantalons line.

Talk about a bad joke - nationalized! The Great Recession had been global after all, and some countries were less ruled by governments these days than by whoever could buy off the most police and army officers... like d'Ano. Tim couldn't shake the irrational suspicion Daffy had conspired with him to get rid of something she'd always hated for seemingly no reason.

Tim had a meeting with the board that day. Not just to determine how they would recover the proprietary electric technology - being much too early in development to be released to the general market - but also how to handle Daffy. Tim found it more and more difficult to cover for Daffy's blunders and a few on the board were pressing to have her removed outright.

Rationally, it was the correct thing to do. Ethically, Tim just couldn't justify throwing his own sister under the bus in such a way...

Herman Doyle was waiting to meet Tim Braggart when he arrived later. Yes, we're again dispensing with proper transitions.

"Jesus, you look like hammered shit!" exclaimed Doyle.

"Good to see you too," Tim said. "I would ask why but I think I already know..."

Doyle looked away, embarrassed. "Just heard there was gonna be a vote on your sister today -"

"I'm not mad at you, Herman," Tim explained patiently. "But whoever leaked that is gonna have Holy Hell to pay."

Doyle didn't have anything to say to that. He couldn't remember ever having seen Tim Braggart angry.

Tim didn't add anything else, just entered the office and began the long elevator ride to his own office. Herman Doyle, upon further consideration, did not follow.

The board meeting proved to be a messy affair, more so than Tim had expected. Three hours of back and forth - "She's a Braggart and has every right to direct this company!" "She has no right to crash everything for the rest of us!" "How does someone end up a co-CEO anyway!?"

The pro-Daffy camp offered weak arguments, all of them reliant on the stipulations of the Old Man's will. The anti-Daffy camp countered that she'd been the cause of every major loss over the past seven years. Which was absolutely true. Tim, as reluctant leader of the few moderates, found himself counseling not to keep Daffy in her position but rather not to reprimand her too harshly.

"She is still a part of this company," Tim argued, though with little conviction.

"And what if she destroys this company?"

"Have you seen the press release for this 'Spankmeum' crap? 'A Spankmeum toilet seat is the least icy to the posterior on a brisk morning.' Who even thinks of things like that!?"

And on and on. When the vote finally came, it split down the middle between leaving Daffy in her place or ejecting her immediately. Tim, the future of the company weighing heavily on his mind, found himself casting a vote in his sister's favor. He could feel new grudges forming among the board, against each other and against him in particular...

The Sanspantalons matter was a little easier to resolve. Thanks to Braggart Big Damn Rail's good relations with both Federal regulators and Congress, they were getting unprecedented assistance form the State Department not only to recover their property but to also ensure the financial security of their Mexican employees. Tim would've liked to press for some means of getting them across the border, get them proper jobs and green cards, but some things were sadly outside the range of possibilities.

Elsewhere in the sprawling Braggart offices, Daffy went about her usual bullshit in total obliviousness to the difficulties she was causing for everyone else. Not that she would care of course - what were the pragmatic concerns of others when measured against the Great and Bold daydreams of Daffy Braggart?

Well, sometimes the plot interrupted her... She learned that a certain regulation she didn't entire;y understand had just gone into effect - and shut down a rival railroad. While usually Daffy would cackle with glee at the thought of a competitor closing their operations, she remembered this one as a man with a square jaw and angular crotch, so she dropped what little she was actually doing in the office to run off and see him.

I think I got a defective printing because this is seriously how bad the transitions are...

Daffy arrived in the office of Fingo-Dingo Rail's owner Danny Conman, a man she'd looked up to for years because of his brilliance at managing a railroad. Sure he didn't know the first thing about history, science, math, or ethics but those trains of his were always so shiny - he had to be doing something right!

Until this latest regulation. Suddenly it was against the rules to run a train without routine maintenance! Did those lice in DC think Great Folk like Daffy and Danny were made of money!? Sure, a few Fingo-Dingo trains had derailed and burst into flames but Danny Conman had made some record profits!

"Dan, you've got to fight this!" Daffy declared as she burst into his office.

Conman was in the process of shredding incriminating documents and stuffing cash into a suitcase. "Who the fuck are you and how did you get past security!?"

"Daffy Braggart!" she declared, taking a moment to pose. "Co-CEO of Braggart Big Damn Rail and I'm here to help you fight this -"

"Waitaminute, you're from Braggart Big Damn Rail? The bastards who took my Rio Norte line?"

Daffy paused in mid-monologue. She'd forgotten all about that... "Uh, er, that's different. Somehow."

Conartist shook his head. "Fuck it. That's your albatross now."

The wheels slowly turned in Daffy's head. That was how they'd acquired Rio Norte in the first place, government redistribution of the Fingo-Dingo lines. Which made Daffy one of the looters! Oh no!

"Unclean! Unclean!" Daffy wailed, fleeing from the office.

Danny stared after her. "Man, bitches be crazy," he said to himself. Making one last look around, he snatched up the suitcase full of the profits he'd made from rampant downsizing and murdering his own company. As he fished a bottle of Cialis out of his desk, he said, "Thailand here I come!"

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