It was a cloudy Tuesday when I looked up and saw Clifford Bell bumble into my office.
“Excuse me Mr. Bell,”
“Uh, that’s Bello,” he said, looking annoyed. Then he mumbled something nearly undecipherable under his breath, “Why can’t anybody get this here?”
“OK, Mr. Bello, what are you doing here, in my office?”
“Well, Ms. Vé, I’m settin up our wine tastin for this afternoon.”
“You heard me, but I’m guessin your surprise comes from why, more than what? Right?”
“Yes, why are you setting up a wine tasting? That’s my department. What would you know about wine? I have traveled all over the –”
“Yeah I know about your fancy pedigree. But it’s like this see, more people are readin my posts than yours, so the editor sent me in to spice things up.”
“Joan never mentioned anything about this to me. I don’t need you to spice things up for me. I have a degree in –”
“Yeah, like I said, I know all about your fancy degree, your travels. Don’t matter. People like my stuff better so you gotta get on board or get out.”
“What? You can’t talk to me that way. You’re not in a position to fire me. Who do you think you –”
“Look, no disrespect intended here, but I’m willin to show you how to write if you can show me a couple a things about wine.”
“You are going to show me how to write? That’s a laugh. Sit down and stop moving things around on my desk. You aren’t doing anything until I’ve spoken to Joan about this.”
“The editor, you dimwit. Now, sit down!”
I glared at him until he understood I meant business and sat down.
“Hello, Joan? Can you come to my office for a moment?”
We sat in silence until Joan arrived.
“So what seems to be the problem Vé?”
“He is the problem, Bell, Bello or whatever his name is!” I said, jabbing my finger in his direction like an air dagger.
“I’m sensing some hostility Vé. We can’t have that. We must maintain a positive working relationship.”
“That’s fine, but he’s suggesting that he will be doing the wine tasting this afternoon. He says he’s going to show me how to write.”
“Well Vé, you see it’s like this,” Joan went on as she escorted me out of my own office. I wasn’t even listening to her at that point because I couldn’t believe what was happening…
OK folks, Clifford Bello at the controls now.
After Joan put her arm around Vé and led her outta her office, I just kept settin up the tastin. When I was done, I sat down and smoked a cigar. After the smoke alarms went off, they made me put it out.
I set down the three bottles a wines I bought at the grocery store down the street. After that last fiasco with the dough I dropped, up in San Francisco on the art exhibit, I figured I’d better do this on the skinny, so I just picked up the cheapest bottles a red I could get.
I put em in the brown paper bags I brought to see if Madam Vé the big wine tastin aficionado – like that word? I just found it yesterday. I know they all think I’m an illiterate slob lowlife, but I can use stuck-up words too. Anyway, I put em in the paper bags to see if she could taste each wine’s subtleties. Most people don’t know this, but I’m a pretty subtle guy when I have to be.
I took out a sharpie and wrote a big 1, 2, 3, on the bags. I got out the glasses so’s we could both take a snort. Then I sat down and waited some more. Hey, I’m no dummy when it comes to this stuff. I seen how they gotta do it so’s the snooty wine smartass can’t tell what kinda wine it is.
Shh, here they come, Vé looks like she mighta had to throw up or something.
“Mr. Bello, please step away from Vé’s computer. You have your own office now and I suggest you complete the written portion of your work there,” snooty Joan, the editor said.
“Have you opened the wine yet?” Vé asked, sniffing and wiping her eyes.
I shook my head.
“Then don’t. We will do this tomorrow.”
Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of Wine Tasting on the Cheap, tomorrow!