Every step Tita takes down the deeply carpeted hallway at Klegel, Fustsom and Moss is a pleasure. She reaches up to make sure her chignon is still tightly pinned and then makes her quiet entrance into the board room where she will give her weekly report on telephone usage for each of the firm’s 187 employees. Yesterday she reviewed with these elderly gentlemen the facts on postage and printing consumption. Wednesdays she devoted to auto, air-fare and hotel expenses. Tuesday was health and pension benefits. Then on Mondays she gives them the latest ratios on overtime vs. part-time employee hours, the only payroll figure about which Tita harbors a decided personal bias. The more overtime she gets the less time she has available for her personal life which has grown so difficult that she has come to think of it as her night-job.
Life at Klegel, Fustsom and Moss is tidy, quiet and well lit. At its worst it is still a vast improvement over the disaster she’s made of her life outside these granite walls. More than once Tita has wondered just how she was talked into marrying that old crooner at Night Sweats, a Vegas side-club where the menu is peppered with pediophilic double entrees. The bouncer, who was her latest boyfriend, had seemed nice enough in the beginning but had turned out to be a real ass. The laundry service keeps sending her some other woman’s nightwear that consists mostly of crepe-paper wings salvaged from a show at the Murfield assisted-living facility. Her apartment is infested with all manner of flying things resistant to insecticides that had very nearly killed her instead. Something subtle, however, finally tilted when Tita discovered that her new, non-returnable, rest-o-pedic mattress was hard as a rock.
So early this morning she had smuggled into her office a soft, blue, sleeping bag filled with delicious white-goose down. At this very minute it is lays tucked into the bottom drawer of her desk waiting until everyone else goes home for the weekend. Tita has reviewed the law and the labor agreements. If all goes well her day-job will soon become completely full time.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream IV.i.” painted by Henry Fuseli in the 1780′ engraved by Jean-Pierre Simon in 1796
Folger Library Collection, Washington, DC, USA