shepherdLast night was yet another Christmas party, this one at the Red Lion Pub. This somewhat grungy establishment sits in the very shadow of the building where my present employer was housed when I switched day jobs a year and a half ago. Leaving my previous company — after 30 years (it plays a big role in FLOM) — was such an exhiliarting experience, I still get a warm fuzzy feeling when I see what I often call the ugliest building in Houston. I mentioned to someone at the party that the building makes an appearance in one of Wes Anderson’s early films, but I couldn’t remember the name of the movie. Then I came home, turned on television to unwind and found “Rushmore” on Showtime. That’s what I call a coincidence.

At the previous job (AKA The Death Star), I had a long succession of bad bosses (plus in all fairness, one that was okay and one that was actually supportive). The one I write about in the following passage I thought couldn’t be topped, but my very last boss was at the very least his equal:

            “AE,” Don said wearily that night as I crawled back home to lick my wounds, “this man is your boss. He can do whatever he wants to you. It is your job to get along with him.”

            Fine, but I wasn’t going down without a fight. I was sitting at the kitchen table writing a point-by-point rebuttal to my review when Don got up from the television to refill his drink. He idly picked up my review and began to read.

            “Jesus fucking Christ.”

            I looked up to see Don red faced, green eyes ablaze. “This man is a dead man. You tell me where he lives. Now.”

            “Don, other than Katy I don’t know where he lives,” I sighed. “And I wouldn’t tell you if I did.”

            “Remind me then what his last name is.”

            As casually as possible, I gathered the fan of papers in front of me. If Don had bothered to look down, he could have made out the name typed on the cover sheet of my review. But he was too involved in his tirade to think of something so obvious.

             “I can find somebody that will track him down and make him pay, not that I wouldn’t like to do it myself.” He pounded his left fist into the palm of his right hand.

            “Come on, Don. That’s all I need: you in jail for murder and me without a job.” I figured Don would forget it before the evening was out, but then maybe not. I’d found out the hard way it didn’t do to underestimate Don’s capacity to create chaos.

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