A tall, athletic woman in a green running suit and trainers entered the boardroom.
“Artie, you’re late!’ Another woman, clad in a pin-striped suit, consulted a large binder in front of her.
“’Thena, you can take your calendar book at put it where the sun don’t shine”. Artie plunked herself in a chair across the table from Thena and propped her feet on the edge.
Thena glared at her and said, “Is that how you dress for a meeting with the CEO?”
“Sorry, my shoulder pads are at the cleaners.”
“Ladies! That’s enough. She’ll be here any minute. Does anyone know why she called us together?” asked the woman seated next to Thena. She had a scowl on her face and nervously toyed with the gold band on her left hand. “I’ve got things to do.”
Artie responded, “What, Hera? Trailing your hubby again? Who’s he running around with today?”
“Shut up! At least I have a man. Shot anyone lately, Artie?”
Thena glared at them both. “Y’know, this is why the Company is suffering. Neither of you can focus on the greater good. Especially you, Artie. You’re always running off into some forest or something. Why can’t you just do your job?”
“Which is what, if I may ask? Hob-nobbing with the ‘old-boys’ club? At least I try—“ She stopped when Thena reached across the table and touched the arm of the plain, silent woman seated next to Artie.
“Hes, honey, maybe now is not a good time to be lighting incense?” Hes smiled at Thena and extinguished the tiny brazier on the table in front of her.
“That’s a good girl, sweetie. You know how that smoke gives me a headache.”
“Look at you,” continued Artie, “always bossing people around, telling people what to do, where to do, how to dress, what to say. Look at Seph and Demi over there. You won’t even let them get a word in edgewise.” Artie pointed to the woman and girl seated at the far end of the table. Demi sat with her arm around her daughter. They were deep in conversation and ignoring the rest.
“Oh, c’mon, Artie” exclaimed Hera, “we all know what the both of you did to poor Aphie.” Hera motioned her head to the woman seated next to Demi and Seph. Aphie was motionless, her vacant eyes staring into nothingness. “She hasn’t said a word in months because of what you did—“
“That was Artie’s doing, not mine,” said Thena, “in fact—“
At the moment the door swung open and hit the wall of the boardroom. The CEO entered, struggling with a pile of books she held in her arms. “Can someone give me a hand with this?”
Thena jumped up and took some the books from the CEO.
“Suck up..” hissed Artie under her breath.
Thena placed the books at the head of the table. On top was a volume of Russian fairy tales.
The CEO clutched another one to her entitled Female Archetypes: The Functions and Purposes. Thena reseated herself.
The CEO stood at the head of the table and looked at each of them in turn. Finally, she said:
“Ladies, I called you together today, because, quite frankly, we have a problem.”
Thena jumped in, “Yes, I was just saying to the—“
The CEO motioned at her. “I’m doing the talking her this morning, if you please.” Thena fell silent with a look of surprise.
“Let me make this short and to the point: you all are driving me nuts.”
The women looked at one another and then back at the CEO.
“This constant bickering has got to stop.” She began to pace around the table. “I have enough things to deal with in the real world without listening to you guys arguing amongst yourself. You have got to learn to get along with each other.”
Thena spoke up, “I’m sorry, ma’am, but you see Artie—“
“Thena, I fully appreciate everything you do. You keep things moving along. I depend on your orderliness and conformity. I really do. You are the engine that drives things. But, you need to stop being so critical of the rest. They each have a function and you need to respect that.”
“And you, Artie,” the CEO circled behind her, “You, Artie, need to be a little more cooperative. I appreciate your free thinking independence. You keep Thena from getting too bogged down in rules and regulations, but you have got to stop sabotaging her at every turn. The Company would be a lot further along if you tried that.”
The CEO looked across the table at Hera. “And, you have got to lighten up. Your attitude, most of the time, well, how can I say this? Your attitude stinks and you really aren’t pleasant to be around.” Hera opened her mouth but nothing came out. “Hera, I need you to help me deal with some of the difficulties I have ‘out there’. You lend an air of dignity…of confidence…this I really need at times.” Hera straightened up in her seat and her scowl softened a bit.
The CEO put a hand on Hes’s shoulder. “And Hes…” she glared at the others. “….if Hes wants to light incense, then let her. She is my connection to the Source. I need her as much as I need any of you. Hear me on this: you will let her alone. Got it?”
Then she approached Demi and Seph. “You two…” Demi pulled Seph even closer. “…you two have got to be a bit more assertive. Demi, I know you have too little time to spend with your daughter while she is here on earth, but you need to spend some time nurturing me as well. I need some “mothering” once in a while myself.”
“Yes, ma’am,” muttered Demi.
The CEO then turned to everyone. “And all of you need to let Seph come out and play more often.” Seph blushed and buried her face in her mother’s shoulder. The CEO smiled at Seph and leaned down to her. “Honey, it’s okay to have a little fun while you are here. It keeps us all from becoming too serious.” Seph looked up and beamed at the CEO.
The CEO straightened up, her face suddenly grim, and walked to the last woman at the table: Aphie. “And can someone please explain this to me? What happened here?”
Thena and Artie shifted in their seats but said nothing. After a moment, Seph’s small voice spoke up. “They did it. They zapped her with a spell.”
Thena and Artie glared at the girl. Demi said, “Shush. You don’t want them to zap you too.”
The CEO lifted an eyebrow and looked at the two women at the head of the table. “Well?”
Thena cleared her voice and started, “You see- it was Artie who—“
“Hey, watch it sweetie—“
Hera piped in “They are both responsible, ma’am.”
The CEO raised a hand. “Please continue, Hera.”
“Well, see, as you know, Aphie tends to get a little passionate about her ideas. You know, she’s the ‘creative’ one? Anyway, Aphie suggested if Artie and Thena could just connect with their masculine counterparts, then maybe the ideas could flow a little more freely. She said… well, she said they needed to be a bit more ‘randy.’
“Hera!” both Artie and Thena shouted in unison.
“Well, it’s true!”
“And that’s when they zapped Aphie,” giggled Seph.
“Is this true?” asked the CEO.
“It’s not at all like that—“ said Artie.
“Is this true!?”
“Well, she was getting so loud about it all…”
“Release her. Now.”
Thena and Artie looked at each other and then, in unison, banged their right hands on the top of the table.
Life returned to Aphie’s eyes. She blinked and cleared her throat. “Where am I?” Demi gave her a motherly pat on the shoulder. “You’re back with us, dear. You’ll be just fine.”
The CEO returned to the head of the table. She said in a low voice to Artie and Thena, “I do not expect anything like this to happen again. Am I clear?”
Then, the fluorescent ceiling lights flickered and Thena rose to her feet. “Who do you think you are talking to?” she thundered at the CEO. “I work my fingers to the bone for you and this is the thanks I get?!”
The CEO stared her down. “I know who I am talking to and let me remind you: you all work for me. I do not work for you. You will do as I say or you can take a walk.”
A stunned silence fell over the table. “Now that that’s settled,” she continued, “I am thinking about bringing some new life into this group.” She patted the book of Russian fairy tales. “I’m thinking about hiring a consultant. Have you all heard of The Baba Yaga?”
Seph whispered to Demi, “Who’s that, Mama?”
“The Crone.” Demi chuckled. “She’d sure knocked some sense into this lot.”
“That’s really not necessary.”
“Let’s hope so.” The CEO picked up her books and headed out the boardroom door. “Let’s just hope so.”
No one said anything at first, except Aphie who was humming contently to herself. She pulled a compact out of her purse and began applying new lipstick.
Artie glared at Thena. “Now see what you’ve done?”
L. Gloyd © 2008