A Novel
By "KutWrite"

Chapter Two

"Be careful what you wish for."

The Pipeline Under Construction
Felix Bok was nervous.  He had just moved to LA,  and this was  his first day on the  job as a civilian.  He had left the Navy just a few weeks ago, and  had  lucked  into this job with a big oil company.  A lot of his friends had not had such an easy time  getting  work;   it  seemed  the real world did not think as highly of ex-naval  officers as the Navy had promised.  Everyone  wanted  someone with experience, and  didn't count the military. Well,  things were finally going his way, professionally at least.  
It was just as well  he had moved up here.  San Diego just reminded him of Joyce, and that still meant a lot of pain.  He had really loved that girl, and she had dumped him like a dog.   Shit!  It pissed him off just to think of it.   Anyway, LA would be different.  He could ride the bus to  work,  read  a  book or magazine on the way, and just pluck his way up the corporate ladder.   And travel... they  were  going  to send him all over the country, maybe all over the world.  It wouldn't be like the Navy,  either, with two days' liberty at a time and no dough.  Only a few promotion steps above Felix, Kirkley Petroleum people traveled first class.  What  a life! 
The bus stopped, and a few people got on.  The first two looked like cleaning ladies;  the third was a rather fetching lass, as Bok liked to say.  Sort of low-rent, but pretty.   She smiled back at him as she walked down the aisle.   At least LA women were friendly, unlike the self-absorbed chicks in San Diego!  
Felix clambered up the steps.  Yep, this would be all right.  He lugged his briefcase   onto the bus, threw some change into the fare box,  and  sidled  back  as  far as the  other standing passengers would let him.  For now, he was stuck riding buses.   He wryly thought back to his first days on the job, when riding a bus to work seemed  so convenient.  
Driving in LA was intimidating.  It was no picnic for anyone, as Felix could  see just by looking out of the bus window.  Who made up this stupid idea of commuting?  It was no way to live.  Traffic was still snarled, and it was 10:10.   Where were all those people going?  They couldn''t be late for work — early lunches  -- Salesmen making calls? Felix fell into his old defense of daydreaming, thinking of some of his favorite songs  or an incident from his Navy days.   Somehow, the sound of the bus's diesel engine  made him think of Navy flight training.  Ah, those were the days...
From  many  months' practice,  He snapped out of his reverie just before his stop  came up.  He bustled off with his load of audit papers.  He felt foolish in  this heat,  wearing the woolen dark blue suit and tie.   Ties gave him headaches.  They were one item of clothing which made  him fantasize   the inventor condemned to a hell of forever wearing a tie in unbearable  heat, forced  to eat mile-long spaghetti without dripping any onto it.  Choking on the expensive  silk symbol of the eternal followr with a limp corporate dick. Felix showed his ID card to the  aged  guard  at the entrance  desk.     
He saw Bruce Parley, his lead auditor for this job, waiting by  the  elevator.   Felix  attempted  a friendly wave, which came out as a half-assed salute. "Hi, Bruce.  All set for  another  day  of  funsies?"  Teasing henpecked Bruce was  one of the few pleasures which went with this job. Bruce straightened his already-straight tie and  let out a sigh.  "Yesss, but you're  needed on another part of the audit." They got into the elevator; Bok  pressed  "3."  He winced... it was expected that the  junior auditor would press the floor button; another stupid tradition of the job. 
Felix  didn't like those little signs of subservience; he didn't like weird schedule  changes, either.  Funny, Bruce was so anal.  It was unlike him to pull Felix off the  invoice check until it was done and rechecked.   Besides, there were several young  lasses in that office which Felix had been lusting after.  Maybe that's what  bothered Bruce:  An auditor wasn't supposed to enjoy his work.  Probably not women,  either. "Well, where are you putting me?" Felix  knew  better than to argue. "You're being moved over to Manual  Payments."  Bruce always  gave  orders  in  the  passive voice.  That way, it sounded as if God had commanded the more inane decisions.   Nothing would ever appear to be Bruce's  fault.  
"What a pansy," Felix thought.  Bruce spoke and acted so effeminately.  "He may be  married," thought Felix, "but I bet he  hasn't balled his wife since the honeymoon - if then!  He probably dresses in her clothes, prancing in front of a mirror while she's out shopping."

 "What ARE you grinning at?"  Bruce sounded hurt, as if he could see Bok's fantasy reflected in Felix's unconscious grin. Before he had time to make up an answer, the elevator doors  opened. 

Time to  venture into the new world of Manual Payments.  Who knows, maybe there'll be some nice lasses there, to flirt with, even date.  Somehow, Felix doubted it.  Auditing was designed to be no fun.
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Updated  January 07, 2009