Thursday, March 18, 2010

Magpie #6 Re-Do



"Well, Norbert – hope you don’t mind if I call you by your first name; we’re very relaxed around here."
"Sure. That’s fine."
"The President and I are looking forward to having you join us in this administration. What kind of work do you do?"



"I run a hardware store. For years I was known around town as 'Nails Norbert.' I’ve always emphasized two things – quality and integrity – in the products that I sell. For example, I provide the best in nails: American Quality Nails, with the emphasis on the word 'quality.'
"How’s your business doing?"
"Well, it was okay, but now the big chains, True Value and Ace Hardware, have moved into the area so I’ve had to diversify. I’ve turned over a part of my hardware store to confectionary items. For one thing, my daughter makes a great little product; we call it 'Giggle’s Gourmet Fudge.' You see, we called her 'Giggles' when she was little."
"Because she giggled a lot?"
"You guessed it! That’s it, exactly. So I’ve set aside a part of the store to sell her fudge. It’s got quality."
"Sounds very tasty."
"The other items I sell in the store have to do with the Long Island Ducks – you know, the ice hockey team."
"You own the team, or you’re the coach?"
"Oh, no. They ceased operations years ago, but it’s just like the nostalgia for the Dodgers in Brooklyn, there are still a lot of Long Island folks who love the Ducks, so I sell caps, jackets, collectibles. We used to have a saying back home, 'Once a Long Island Duck always a Long Island Duck.'"
"Catchy. Let’s see now; you own this business?"
"Yes."
"So you’re the CEO of your corporation? I’m just trying to fill out this form, you see, and we want to make it look good."
"CEO? Well, I guess you could say that."
"How many employees do you have?"
"Well, my wife Emma is sort of a math whiz; she handles the books and the financial stuff. And my nephew comes in after school to help."
"That is the total list of your employees?"
"Yes. "
"I see. H’mm. I note that you were in the Navy. How does Undersecretary of the Navy sound?"
"Wow. I never thought I might be that – what was it again? Undersecretary of the Navy?"
"Right. It’s not all that prestigious, actually. They’ve got floors-full of undersecretaries of one kind or another in Washington. But it’s a way of rewarding those who have been loyal to the President. You were a friend of his for years, as I understand?"
"Oh. No, that was my wife, Emma. She was a good friend of the First Lady way back when they were both in grammar school. They stayed in touch for quite a while after that. Haven’t heard from them in years, though."
"Well, you’re hearing from them now. My assignment is to find a suitable position for you in the administration. What was your rank in the Navy?"
"I was a striker."
"Hey, that sounds warlike. Is that like a sniper?"
"No. It's a term the Navy uses for a sailor, an ordinary seaman, who has applied for and is studying for a move up to petty officer third class. He is 'striking' for that rank, so he’s called a striker."
"And did you make it to – er – petty officer third class?"
"No. My enlistment ended just before I got up there. I retired from the Navy as a striker."
"Well, I won’t use that term on the form; it’s not a word this administration likes all that much. I guess Undersecretary of the Navy wouldn’t be a good fit."
"Is there anything else?"
"Well, there’s head of FEMA. Oh, wait. That’s already been filled. Let’s see… What do you know about Indian Affairs?"
"Ha. I guess they have ‘em, like so many others."
"Hey, Norbert, you are a card. Oh, this might be good. Civilian Inspector General to the Army Corps of Engineers."
"What would I have to do in that job?"
"Well, as the name would suggest, you, as a civilian, would generally inspect things and then report to the Army Corps of Engineers. As an example, you’d inspect the levees around the city of New Orleans, and report to them."
"Wouldn’t they hold it against me, that I don’t know much about that?"
"I don’t think so. None of them seem to know much about it either."

56 comments:

Lyn said...

Great, the less I know the more equiped I am to "move on up"..you got it!! My new motto...Don't be prepared!! funny...

Berowne said...

Thanks for the comment, Lyn.

joanny said...

Berowne:

It sounds like an interview with Homer Simpson --with Gary Larson writing the script.
Or a postcard send to its citizen's from a government that had no pride.

Joanny
You certainly opened a big box of nails -Ollie.

Derrick said...

Sounds like the Peter Principle is working well here!

Berowne said...

Joanny: "It sounds like an interview with Homer Simpson --with Gary Larson writing the script."

Hey, that should look good on my resume. :-)

Berowne said...

Derrick: "Sounds like the Peter Principle is working well here!"

Story of my life... :-)

Sandy said...

Cringe or laugh? Don't know which to do.

Berowne said...

Sandy: "Cringe or laugh? Don't know which to do."

The perfect reaction. Thanks.

Madame DeFarge said...

How unlike my own civil service interview. Really.

Rob said...

Oh my, isn't this just too familiar today...
...rob
Image & Verse

Berowne said...

Mme DeF: "How unlike my own civil service interview. Really."

Yes, There's quite a difference between a civil service interview and a political-appointment interview.

Berowne said...

Rob, I'd tend to agree with you...

Peter Goulding said...

Brilliant! That could be written by Joseph Heller!

Berowne said...

Peter Goulding: "Brilliant! That could be written by Joseph Heller!"

Well, that is a compliment indeed -- thanks. I'm looking around for the Catch 22, but I don't see it. :-)

Lynn Hamilton Rutherford said...

I love this!! Tongue in cheek political speak! This sounds SO much like my Dad and Uncle, I had to read it again and put their voices with it! :))

Enchanted Oak said...

Oh, you are a sly one, Berowne!

Berowne said...

Lynn Hamilton Rutherford: "I love this!! Tongue in cheek political speak!"
Enchanted Oak: "Oh, you are a sly one, Berowne!"

Is it -- can it be -- true? There's room for satire in the Magpie Tales writing contest? :-)

R. Burnett Baker said...

You're too dang funny!

"...Indian Affairs. Ha. I guess they have 'em like so many others."

He could be the Secretary of Moral Affairs in the Executive Branch!!

Catalyst said...

Funny, funny, funny, Berowne. (By the way, is that really your name?)

little hat said...

Very dry Berowne. At times I almost believed it was true! Norbert is as thick as two bricks - in hardware speak..

Berowne said...

R. Burnett Baker: "He could be the Secretary of Moral Affairs."

That's the position I currently hold. :-)

Berowne said...

Catalyst: "Funny, funny, funny, Berowne. (By the way, is that really your name?)"

Sure. Just ask William Shakespeare. :-)

Berowne said...

little hat: "Very dry, Berowne. At times I almost believed it was true!"

At times it is. :-)

Peter Goulding said...

Hi Berowne, I was thinking more Good as Gold than Catch 22!

Berowne said...

Ah yes, the political appointment approach.

chiccoreal said...

It goes to prove the point: "what's said in Washington stays in Washington" unless Watergate! Also this scenario plays out when someone "knows too much" often they don't "go too far". Perhaps too much of a threat to the power-mongerers! Love your political satire Berowne. Lots of fun. Reminds me of "Animal Farm" or "Gulliver's Travels". Excellent take on the prompt; from the bottom to the top in one easy step. "Watch that first step, it's a dilly!"

Peggy Jo said...

Thanks for the political giggle...I appreciate your humor.

Brian Miller said...

ha. loved it...sometimes i wonder how people get into certain governeent positions and now, i know. lol.

spacedlaw said...

Hopefully it doesn't run like this!

Berowne said...

chiccoreal: >> Love your political satire Berowne. Lots of fun. Reminds me of "Animal Farm" or "Gulliver's Travels". <<

Hey, it's great to be in such distinguished company -- thanx.

Berowne said...

Peggy Jo: "I appreciate your humor."

And I appreciate your comment.

Berowne said...

And my thanks to Brian Miller and spacedlaw too.

Katherine said...

Loved this! As the old saying goes....It's not what you know but who you know!!

Norbit may not have been the sharpest tool in the hardware shed but he (or in this instance, his wife) knew the right people!

You know what though ... I really liked Norbit! He seems like such a nice, caring family man! You gotta love someone like that!

Berowne said...

Katherine: "I really liked Norbit! He seems like such a nice, caring family man!"

In addition, he sells great fudge! :-)

Katherine said...

And fudge is so, so yummy too!

Vicki Lane said...

I see you've had experience with bureaucracy.

Berowne said...

Vicki Lane: "I see you've had experience with bureaucracy."

Ah yes. Very true.

Berowne said...

Katherine: "And fudge is so, so yummy too!"

Yes, but not as good as a Candy Babar. :-)

Angie Muresan said...

I laughed a lot, and cringed a bit. Very good!

Berowne said...

Angie: "I laughed a lot, and cringed a bit. Very good!"

Exactly what I was aiming for with this post. Thanks.

willow said...

Good one, Mr. B.

I'll take a piece of that Giggles Fudge, now.

Berowne said...

willow: "I'll take a piece of that Giggles Fudge, now."

Chocolate or Almond-Coconut? :-)

Your Magpie Tales have really steam-rolled into something quite impressive IMO.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

Hysterically funny! I knew many appointees with not as good a background as Norbert when I worked in State Gov't in CA. I was assigned to "watch" one such character whom I thought about reading this. You might have thought you were writing fiction, but truth is here too! I loved it.

Berowne said...

Pat Transplanted: "You might have thought you were writing fiction, but truth is here too! I loved it."

What a great comment -- thanx.

Katherine said...

Ok Berowne! What is a Candy Babar? Is it a chocolate molded elephant (as in the kiddies show Babar) or is it a chocolate bar? Or is it something altogether different?
Have never heard this term used before!

steviewren said...

Doesn't that just say it all! Oh the ineptitude!

Kevin Musgrove said...

This is how our unelected regional assemblies that are paid a few million pounds to pretend they don't exist get populated. Does our machinery of government know you have a mole in their midst?

Nice dialogue. (-:

Berowne said...

Kaherine: "Ok Berowne! What is a Candy Babar?"

For the exciting, thrill-filled Candy Babar story, check out my Magpie Entry #4 post, dated 3/5/2010.

Katherine said...

Ah Ha! Now I understand! Read it ... & left a comment..you clever man you!

SUN DANCE HILL said...

Wonderful read, very nicely done. I love all the dialogue in your stories, you have quite an impressive imagination, very creative and good at writing conversations into your work. Thanks!

Berowne said...

steviewren: "Oh the ineptitude!"

What? How can you say that? Oh, for a moment there I thought you were talking about me. :-)

Berowne said...

And my special thanks to Katherine and SUN DANCE HILL.

Pat said...

I think Norbert should make a great team member.

Berowne said...

Pat: "I think Norbert should make a great team member."

Yes, there are probably a lot of Norberts as team members in today's political world.

chiccoreal said...

Berowne: Excellent! Read the rewrite! Nails Norbert...is he...I think he is? A famous political figure. I need the back-story on this, as being in Canada we don't get the news past the 49th parallel much. Giggles "Fudge"! This is a true story made into a funny satire and black humour. I really think New Orleans would be in good hands with Norbert and FEMA. (yah, right...)

Berowne said...

chiccoreal: "This is a true story made into a funny satire and black humour."

Thanks, chiccoreal. That's what I was aiming for.

 
Blog designed by Blogger Boutique using Christy Skagg's "A Little Bit of That" kit.