Buisness as Usual at Kilgro Drug Store
Just then the craving for waffles hit him so hard that he knew if he did not have waffles within the hour someone was not going to be happy. So with the hunger knawing loudly at his gut, he got up and headed for the door. Just as he was about to exit the threshold, he began to think about the time in his life that waffles were all it took to make him happy. No hunts, no boring and tedious experiments to hack away at the time in his already thin schedule, damn how he missed those days.
On the way to work he would get waffles, he liked them with that fake and sickeningly sweet strawberry protoplasm that they smothered the cheapness of the batter in. He would immediately have to go to work with Mrs. Spiegel, she had been pushed back on his calendar for long enough. She had been so impatient during their last meeting and he had, for just a brief second, gotten his feelings hurt, but he was a professional and would just endure the hateful glares and insinuating little noises she made. He had met Mrs. Spiegel at an event that was held with his friend Simon. Simon was a real Academic in his field and had practically invented many methods and techniques that were currently in practice. He had learned so much from Simon that at one point they had been in business together, but it had gone south very soon and was getting all kinds of attention from the media so for the sake of both their careers they had parted ways and spoke only rarely and met even less face to face. On one occasion they had held an informal get together in the offices they had last in habited as business partners. This is where he had crossed paths with the powerful and equally unfortunate Mrs. Spiegel.
She was a very big woman with and even bigger mouth for voicing her never ending opinions on everything from cheap local politics to the ever abundant creation theories that she always felt the need to perpetuate given any brief chance. Still, she had strength that most people either hated with such a passion as to wish her physical harm or loved with the most loyal adoration and praise that made it almost instantaneously obvious that they were at least distantly related. After several long minutes of discussion about the minutest trivia he had decided some business could be done with this woman if he could stand the actual process of dealing with her. She had worked hard and he guessed she deserved it. Nobody could have known what a taste for hardball that this woman possessed. She had proven to be truly a worthy adversary and, had in fact, almost out bargained him in the negotiations, had as they say cooler heads and calmer hands not prevailed so that now she had given up the upper hand and would probably almost certainly relent by the end of business today. The elation at the prospect of finally letting this inglorious and, (in the end) typically overestimated blowhard give herself enough rope to hang could only with great restraint be contained… He managed, though he had to struggle a bit more with his need to publicly declare himself the master of all he surveyed.
Since it was casual Friday at work he dressed only in a shirt and a tie not the typical three piece suit with the occasional change in case negotiations stalled and a little bit more pressure had to be applied to the other side of the table. It was one of those sessions though that he had just brokered and it emotionally, physically and god-damn it, philosophically had taken its toll. He was ready for a little vacation or maybe work- vacation; in warmer climes with a large body of water near to put him in his place. After this deal was done he prepared to do just that before he got burned out and started making the kind of mistakes in the negotiation process that would ultimately cause him to lose his place as one of the greats in the headhunters club . His reputations had it that he recorded his deals in blood and once he set his sights on a client, no one could escape his powers of his persuasion. Powers such as his often came under the scrutiny of those jealous and wanting to posses just such abilities. His case was no different. Federal regulators had, on many occasions, investigated his practices and had yet to find anything they could pin on him. Still he had learned to hone his craft and give it the utmost appearance of legitimacy. This is why his mission statement now included a short phrase about legality and justice. He felt justice was being served in all the deals he had overseen. All when followed to their logical path of conclusion had left him with more power than he had ever imagined he could posses.
The time to endure the final skirmishes in a battle that would prove his ultimate superiority in the game had come. No fear, no hesitation, it was automatic, like breathing. The instinct to go for the jugular built as he made his way up the staircase towards his office. He could hear the pulse in his ear; feel the blood begin to pump faster and faster to all extremities of his body. This is it he thought to himself as he rounded the last corner before his office door would become visible. Walking faster now ready to sink his teeth into the deal, come out with all guns blazing and crush any opposing counter offer with a definitive death blow. The adrenaline pumped so hard through his muscles that he nearly began to shake as he reached for the cold polished knob and turned quickly to enter the room to face the thoroughly unprepared Mrs. Spiegel.
Thunder exploding in the distance. That is the only sound that registered with Mrs. Spiegel. It seemed lately that the only sound s that she could hear was the wind and thunder. She really did not have the time to think about it though. She spent most of her time trying to figure out how to get the upper hand back from the man with whom she had been pleading her case. The man had grown tired of the constant reminding that she had a family to take care of and suddenly, one day, had invoked the gag rule. From that point on all she could do was use the best expressions of disapproval and pure shock that the muscles in her already burdened face could shape. Then she heard not just thunder but the low dull thud of heavy footsteps echoing in the hall. They were coming her way and not slowly either. Her heart began to pump faster and faster in anticipation of the brutal treatment that the negotiator was sure to employ in his bid to show her who was boss and in who’s her life was indeed held.
He swung the door open hard nearly hoping that it would hit Mrs. Spiegel but it did not even come close. She gave him a disapproving look then a fake smile. The negotiator moved closer then said something to the effect that it had been fun dealing with her but now the time had come for her to move on and for him to go on a long needed work-vacation in warmer climes close to a large body of water to put him in his place. He opened his brief case and pulled out his tools of the trade. A long sharp thing he said he used to seal the deal and what looked like and ink well or a paper weight. She whimpered ever so slightly and nearly wet herself. Just as he was about to deal his enemy the death blow his phone began to ring. Politely he excused himself saying this was important and he had to take it. To Mrs. Spiegel it did not matter ,for she was in her last moments as a viable entity and entering into the world of the statistic. A few moments of panic passed when the negotiator appeared again and ask where they were. With this he sealed the deal. Now he would search for employment in warmer climes near a large body of water to put him in his place.
Navigating in the convoluted rats nest called the job market, proved harder than earlier thought. Not only was the prospect of employment eluding the Negotiator, but it seemed that no one actually needed any help with their negotiations these days. A kind of rage began to creep into his usually bubbly mood. No one but No one rejects the negotiator. He formulated an idea. He would simply picked the place he wanted to work and force said place to allow him to work there. He really wanted to try his hand in the pharmaceutical market. He picked the long established Kilgro’s Pharmacy. There was an old woman who ran the place alone and she seemed nice enough. Nice enough to negotiate with. He decided to enter the store in the evening just before closing and begin the negotiation process. The sun seemed to be trying its best to stay afloat that evening minutes crept by with all the expedience of a slug. The familiar butterflies began to flutter in his stomach as this always happened prior to the negotiation of a life changing deal. He decided that he would break his rule and have a drink before his negotiations began so he made his way across the street from where he had parked and entered into the citole in the wall bar. The man behind the bar seemed be having a very bad day and grunted as the negotiator picked the bar stool closest to the door to sit at. The grumpy ole bar master asked what he wanted and he told him he would have a Glen Fiddich and water on the rocks with a lemon. The grumpy ole bastard began to chuckle and informed him that all they have in the way of scotch was Clan Mcgreggor and if he wanted some fancy ass shit he would have to take his business some where else. The butterflies began to churn and transform into hornets. He felt this man would make a fine adversary and began to negotiate with him right then and there. The grumpy bartender seemed to enjoy it too because every time he was given and out he fought forward and displayed his resilience until there was nothing left but a quivering and pathetic man who had tough talked his only bar patron. Then the killing stroke. Victory was his again and he felt as satiated as a lion after the hunt. The bartender was gurgling something about getting away and the negotiator thought that yes he was glad he had gotten away to warmer climes with a large body of water near to put him in his place.
By the time the negotiator left the bar the sign on Kilgro’s drugstore had been switched off. He had plied his trade on the bartender for too long this evening to begin on the old lady. That was ok because he had always tried to limit himself to one deal a day. After all he was not greedy man; he just wanted to make his way in this world. He just wanted to leave his mark on the Industry that had been so good to him. So with the bottle of cheap scotch that he had managed to pry from the bartender he went in search of lodging for the evening. There were plenty of hotels along the strip where all the tourists gathered and called it a good time. He began to feel the familiar resentment that always crept up when he saw all of the drones bumbling about looking for their scrap of normalcy. Not really knowing how to act but pretending that they did. It made his stomach turn. They made his stomach turn. Flaunting their happiness like they were somehow superior to him. A placid sense of amusement on their faces as they looked in all the shop windows coveting the useless junk that shimmered in the neon light. It seemed that none of them realized that the large body of water was why they were all there. Not the cheap novelties or the overpriced food. He was there to be put in his place. He then decided that he would help some of the tourists there understand why they were there as well and put them in their place as he was waiting to be put in his. Holiday motor lodge was only 25 bucks a night and he thought that was reasonable enough so he coughed up the money and adjourned to his room. It was a relative shit hole compared to some of the placed he had stayed. Just the type of place he liked to formulate a long term business plan. No one would come looking for deals and he could sit in peace and chart his progress. Half way through the bottle of scotch he passed out and drifted into the land of nightmares.
His dreams were vivid that night. Perhaps because he was in a new place or perhaps because he was feeling the pressures of the negotiation process. He was standing in the middle of the deserted street. Thunder in the distance. As he looked for the lightning that caused the report he saw a most horrifying sight. An enormous ball of blackness darker than dark and growing and growing as it approached him. He turned and began to run and was making no progress. A low and ominous hum began to pulse from the ball of nothingness. A feeling of terror and emptiness began to fill him to his very soul. It was not mere terror but something more. A feeling that the safety of someone or something familiar could not allay. The black mass drained his soul of all emotion except despair. It was with this feeling of despair which he awoke. He would not sleep again for at least a couple of days after that. The negotiations with the old lady in the drug store would be brutal and he knew it. He thought it might be time for him to retire. He would retire after this final deal and finally he would try to live the life that all of the people that he despised lived. Just this last one he thought and began to plan his final negotiation.
It was no secret that the negotiator was fond of his work and would miss it immensely when he retired. After all of the sacrifices he had endured to build himself up as one of the greats in his field. He could not recall the number of sleepless nights that he had suffered planning and perfecting his craft. This last job would have to be the biggest and the best one that he had ever undertaken. He set about drafting the proper paper work and arranging his tools so that not a second would be wasted to idol hands. As the sun rose and the birds began their chorus the negotiator rose and showered the sweat from his frail and shaking frame. He picked his best suit and most expensive tie because he always liked to leave a lasting impression. His stomach began to churn and he realized it was time for breakfast so he headed to the little diner that was a couple of blocks from his shitty hotel. On the way he stopped and paid for another week so that he would not have to worry about renewing everyday. The smells wafting from the diner promised some delicious waffles and maybe even an egg or two this morning after all this was a celebration. The culmination of all of his time and talent. His swan song. The waitress came over and asked him if he would like some coffee to which he replied that coffee made him nervous. He asked for water and told her that he would have waffles with the sticky sweet red strawberry syrup that really charged his batteries. He also ordered two eggs runny. He sniggered at the word runny which managed to draw a puzzled look from the waitress who promptly shuffled off to complete his order. As he was watching the waitress he caught a curious image from the corner of his eye. It was the old woman he was going to see that day and she crept over to the booth behind him and slid her decrepit body into it. The same waitress asked her the same question about wanting coffee to which she replied that coffee made her nervous. This was truly funny to the negotiator. She had no Idea of the kinds of things that should really make her nervous. As he snickered to himself she proceeded to order the exact same thing he had but ordered twice as much of it. He thought if the negotiations were to be as brutal as he imagined she would need her strength to endure the process. She sat and read her paper drinking her water and eating her waffles and eggs for what seemed like at least two hours. The negotiator thought to himself about how he would own her soon, Just then she said out loud that she worked at night and if she wanted to not open at all that it was her store and she could do with it what she wanted. This made the hair on the back of the negotiators neck stand up. Then she said that indeed she was talking to him. He turned to look at her and as he met her gaze the most peculiar thing happened, the same feeling of despair that his previous nights dream had brought him crept into his being again. She then explained that she had been following his work for some time. She had stated that she especially like what he had done to the Spiegel woman and wondered if he had anymore deals in the works, explaining that she was somewhat of a negotiator herself. She then made a startling move. She proposed terms to him for which he was totally unprepared. She said at that point that he would do good to take the generous terms that she had proposed. The negotiator began to shake and cry and whimper like a blubbering child. Ms. Kilgro had proposed that he retire and wash himself from this horrible profession and in return she would not spill his cowardly guts all over the diner. She then got up and paid both of their bills and told him to take some time , stay there in the warmer climes , and gaze out at the large body of water because it would put him in his place.