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The spice jars rattled when he slammed the door. Marjorie kept her head down. He hated it when she waited for him. She heard him dump his briefcase on the table. She shouldn’t turn around.
She turned around.
He just stared at her. He stared a decade of disappointment at her before sniffing loudly.
“What’s for dinner?”
She smiled. She should definitely smile. Pretend she didn’t know what was wrong.
“I thought we could go out.”
He yanked open the fridge door.
“I’m not going anywhere.” He took out a beer. “I’ve had a long day. I’m working the weekends inspecting booty. Is it too much to ask to have dinner ready when I get home?” He took out another three beers, shoving them under his arms, and he made for the den. “Call me when it’s ready.”
The spice jars rattled as he slammed the fridge door.
He’d been lying, of course. He hadn’t done any actual booty inspection in years. He had loved inspecting booty, but now he was lucky if he saw any booty in a month. It was mainly paperwork. And what was worse, he was a little behind.
He cracked a beer, and flipped the television on. Red carpet. Look at those fuckers. He balanced his beer on the arm of the chair, as he got out his latest booty assessments.
He didn’t regret it. He didn’t regret a single thing.
Yes, it had been hard splitting up the Funky Bunch, but the promotion was something he just couldn’t turn down. Most people had to wait years before they got made a Booty Administrator, Hector had been just 27. Most of the Bunch had understood. Marky had taken it the hardest.
“What the fuck, Hector? That doesn’t even rhyme!” Those were the last words Marky had said to him.
Not that he had cared. Those had been good years, fat years. Hector and Marjorie had lived high on the hog. Booty assessment had been a growing field in the 90s, and they had ridden the crest of the wave. But somewhere along the line, he had fallen down the crack.
He was still Funky.
“Shit!” Hector flapped at his trousers, as the beer glugged lazily into a pool on his lap. He rescued the papers and stood, dripping, brushing himself down.
Still red carpet. Who was wearing what. Or whom. Or some shit. Same every year.
The chair was only a little damp. He’d live.
He shouldn’t have shouted at Marjorie. It wasn’t her fault. The Booty Inspectors had never unionised. It had never seemed like they had to.
So when Hector had had that accident…
He was bumped upstairs to a desk job. Booty Supervisor. A room full of dead-eyed men who had once been something. Lords of all the surveyed. M-ass-ters of the Universe. Now all they did was shuffle booty between different filing cabinets. And not in a good way.
He looked up.
It was starting. He wouldn’t get too drunk this year. It wasn’t Marjorie’s fault.
The 84th Annual Academy Awards. There he was, grinning away in the fifth row. Marky fucking Mark. It was going to be a long night.
Sighing, he flipped his bifocals down off his forehead and opened the folder. Booty didn’t supervise itself, you know.