Chick Lit author Sibel Hodge will be celebrating "International Chick Lit" month throughout the month of May on her blog, and she's hosting a bunch of giveaways. You should check it out! Following My Toes is one of many digital downloads you can enter to win.
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So, in honor of "International Chick Lit Month" (who knew there was a month for that?) I'm posting a short story I wrote years ago, combing two of my favorite genres: chick lit, and the Shakespearean tragedy - namely, Macbeth. Enjoy!
A Chick lit Version of MACBETH
It’s Monday morning and I’m feeling the effect from one too many Cosmos last night. My philosophy has always been that Sunday night is still part of the weekend and should be treated as such. I’m beginning to rethink that idea now, seeing as how I’m nearly thirty, I can’t get into lower than a size twelve dress, my mom and I don’t get along, and I’m still single! Oh! I almost forgot. I also have a crappy job working at a major NYC publishing house (I’m in the HR department). Lately I’ve been thinking that it’s time to grow up, form some goals, and achieve them. It’s time to get serious.
“Wendy! Snap to! I’ve never seen you looking so foul.” Helga, my direct superior, screams across the room at me, compounding my headache and rotten mood. There’s something about the martyred nasal quality of her voice that really sets me off.
My co-worker Sabrina answers back with a chirp. “Helga, be fair. She’s not capable of much”. She shakes her blond head and tugs on her size two jeans as she speaks. I suppress the urge to clobber her. Fair and foul, foul and fair – I hate them both so much.
Helga, Sabrina, and Wendy – together we’re the weird sisters of HR. Not just because we’re all weird, but because coincidentally, we’re named after famous – or infamous witches. Helga lives up to her name by being hideous in both looks and personality. Sabrina could be Melissa Joan Hart’s evil twin. And me, well, I’m Wendy the good little witch. Except I’m not so good, and I’m definitely not little.
And how are we weird?
You’d be surprised at what working in an office with fluorescent lighting, no windows, and only the same two people to talk to, all day long, can do to you. Sometimes when a new person strolls in we tend to overwhelm him with our enthusiasm. And so what if we practice a little black magic from time to time? You would too if your job was as tedious as ours is.
Our office door opens, and in strolls Mr. Mac. Mr. Mac is really high up here at Cawdor publishing. The only person above him is his best buddy Banquo, and Duncan Dunsinane, the president of the company. But Duncan is old and worn out, and there have been rumors about his retirement. Mr. Mac would be the natural successor. And what a yummy boss he would be! Brown wavy hair, piercing blue eyes, and a body that just won’t quit. Combine that with a sexy Scottish accent and witty personality, well, he’s the dream of every single urban girl who drinks too much and loves shoe shopping. Hooking him in would be the perfect start to improving my life.
“Good day ladies. I’m in a bit of a fix, and I need you to lend me a hand.”
Helga pipes in first. “All hail Mr. Mac, Publicity Director of Cawdor!”
Next chimes Sabrina. “All hail Mr. Mac, Vice President of publishing!”
Then I add in the final punch. “All hail Mr. Mac, you’ll be CEO pretty soon!”
Mr. Mac raises one eyebrow and gives us a crooked smile. “Right. I was just wondering if you could find our entry-level interview questions. I’ve somebody coming in at noon, and nobody seems to have a copy.”
The door opens again and in comes Mr. Mac’s good friend, Banquo. Banquo is short, round, and bald. Supposedly he’s wickedly good at publishing, but I just don’t have the urge to pour a frapachino all over his body and lick it up the way I do with Mr. Mac.
“All hail Banquo, shorter than Mr. Mac, yet much taller!” cries Helga.
“All hail Banquo, not so successful as Mr. Mac, yet much more successful!” wails Sabrina.
“You will have sex, although nobody actually thinks you’re sexy.” I proclaim.
There’s an awkward pause as everybody looks at each other but nobody wants to speak. Darnit! Why do I open my mouth and say such silly things? I could probably lose my job for that last comment and I can’t afford to. The new Jimmy Choos I have on made my credit card bill sky rocket.
Banquo breaks the silence. “Um, thank you?” Then he turns to Mr. Mac. “Mac, did you hear? Duncan is in the hospital. He had a massive stroke this morning. The doctors say he probably won’t last the night.”
“You’re… you’re joking, right?”
“Mac,” says Banquo, “I wouldn’t joke about something like that.”
Mr. Mac turns to Helga, Sabrina and me and gives us a suspicious look. “What are you ladies up to?” he asks.
Helga grabs her industrial sized bottle of whiteout and waves it around.
“Out, out damn spot,” she cries. Then a fog emerges from the bottle, and out of that fog came an apparition. It’s of a novel with a pink cover, and on that cover is a stiletto and a martini glass.
“Open the book and see!” yells Helga.
“See!” cries Sabrina.
“Read the dang book!” I howl.
Banquo and Mr. Mac each look a little green, but Banquo steps forward first.
“What the heck,” he says, as he opens the book-like thing that is floating in front of him.
“What does it say?” Mr. Mac asks him.
“I think you’d better see for yourself,” Banquo responds.
Mr. Mac steps forward to inspect the book. As he does Helga, Sabrina and I dance in a circle around him, chanting.
“Double, double, flirt and fumble. Money earn, and humor be humble!”
We stop chanting as Mr. Mac speaks. “It says that no chick of chicken born shall ever harm me. I must say, I have no idea what that could possibly mean. Banquo, what do you think it means?”
But Banquo hasn’t been paying attention. He has turned his focus to me.
“You’re Wendy, right?”
“Yeah,” I respond with a smile and a wink. Perhaps there is something about him after all.
“So you think I’m going to have sex?”
“No.” I say, deadpan. “I know you are going to have sex.”
He laughs. “You maybe want to get a drink sometime?”
“Sure. I’m busy tonight, but how about tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow…” Mr. Mac says that, but his voice trails off as the apparition disappears.
Banquo and I hit it off like a bored housewife on bowling night. And lucky for me, he was promoted after Duncun’s death. You see, Banquo recognized my talents right away and put me in a job in where I’d have some real input. Mr. Mac did make CEO, but he didn’t last long. Seems he fought me every step of the way as I tried to get Cawdor publishing to market books which spoke to me – and all the other single urban women out there. Sure, dismiss my books as chick lit, I don’t mind. I may be a chick, but I’m not a chicken. And when I replaced Mr. Mac as CEO, he realized just how wickedly good I am!