Sophie

No one knows exactly what she does, but you are likely to find Sophie Marois wherever the action is – equipment breakdowns, shortages at assembly, someone got hurt –  she’s everywhere. She could easily be a flibbertigibbet and a willow-the-wisp but maybe not a lamb.

Recently she has begun sitting in on ‘escape management’ meetings. Relax, nobody is trying ta escape anywhere. Escapes are errors that escape attention. The Americans have an expression for it – ‘falling through the cracks’ – defects in quality, caused by manufacturing processes skipped by oversight, errors and typos in documentation, accidents – anything that could have been prevented but wasn’t.

Where I work, escapes are taken extremely seriously. Why do you think our product quality is stratospheric? The next time you’re boarding a plane and you notice that familiar Eagle-inside-the-circle logo on the side of the engine nacelle, you can be sure you don’t have to check if your oxygen mask works or your life jacket is really under your seat or wonder if you have to chose a seat close to an emergency exit. You won’t need a Bible either. Folks who fly in planes that have our engines can feel safe being atheists. Even God leaves the Eagle alone. (Just kidding, Sire).

I have ta stop here. I’m getting all teary and emotional about my employers.

Anything that is news at work – you’ll find Sophie there, right in the thick of it. Sometimes she can be seen hurrying down the corridor, with a VP, cellphone stuck to the crook of her neck, her head bent as she speaks softly into it, turquoise eyes clear and confident, demeanor glassy and touch-me-notish. Pass her by in the corridor and she’ll look right through you with a fixed, vacant smile.

Of course, Sophie is pretty as hell. Where I work only pretty women are recruited. You should visit our HR department, 96% female. There are pairs of stuff there that even God couldn’t have created. No, I’ll have to leave that for another post.

A flaming dusty blonde – short, around five feet five – fleshy calves and ankles – nice feet, with pretty little toes that can drive a man nuts – baobabs that aren’t overly large, but firm, with nipples that aren’t exactly big as Yemeni dates, but neither are they so small that you won’t feel like writing home about them.

That is Sophie Marois, in a nutshell. I am not finished – she rolls her hair up and pins it over her head so you have a clear view of the curled wisps of the shorter strands of hair that she couldn’t collect up, which fall on the back of her neck. The urge to plant a peck on them and steadily progress to the backs of her ears and then maybe her cheeks is overpowering. Sophie is the sort who makes one burst into shokyo mein ghola jai, phulon ka shabab…us mein phir milaye jaye, thodisi sharab. (For those who don’t speak Hindi, that meant putting Sophie in a wineglass, swirling her around and drinking her up).

Of course Kenny, Lazslo, Stephane and I know she won’t give us the time of the day, but it doesn’t stop us from fantasizing about her at the lunch table.

That changed a month back. I was dragging behind me a dolly with some urgently required impellers on it, from the dock to the measuring center. A dolly is a small pushcart with a platform on which production parts are placed. Through a hydraulic system, the platform can be lifted or lowered so you don’t get a slipped dick, stooping to lift the part out of it. I meant disc – slipped disc. Boy, do I have a one-track mind.

Actually I should have been pushing the dolly in front of me, instead of dragging it behind. When it is behind, you have to keep turning around every few steps, just to see if the stuff on it is still on it. You could also trip against one of the legs of the dolly if your ankle got caught in it. You could sprain your ankle or even break it. Actually, you would drag a dolly instead of pushing it, only if you were a schmuck. I was dragging the dolly that day. Don’t say it, but I’m proud ta be what I am, I’ll have you know.

“Wouldn’t pushing the dolly be easier?” The voice came from behind had a tinkle, like as if someone had tapped a piece of bone china with a tuning fork. It had a lilt to it, a slightly impatient lilt of someone who has had to slow down because of me and my dolly blocking the passage.

I turned and it was Sophie Marois. She had a flowing skirt. Pretty feet peeped out of high heeled sandals. Oh yes, I have this thing about female feet. Crimson or purple nail polish can make me go like Robert De Niro’s character, Don Lino the great white shark, in Shark Tale, after he sniff’s blood. Ankles and calves too set me off. I shall refrain from commenting on regions due north of her waist as I couldn’t bring myself to survey them. From that close, she would know I was staring.

“You know, I’m beginning not to like you “, I said. “Besides, even dollys have feelings. They hate bein’ pushed around,” I smiled, to clarify to her that I was kidding.

“No one ever said that to me…” she smiled back.

“Said what to you?”

“Y’know…about beginning not to like me….” I was struck by that. It is true, beautiful women notice you only if you are dismissive with them – because usually no one behaves that way with them. This is a tip for my male readers. Just don’t go over board and insult them though. Tell them they don’t count, stylishly. And to all my gorgeous  female readers, you know he is hooked when he starts treating you like you don’t exist. Trust me. My life has been one long parade of gorgeous women. I should know.

“Well I’m sayin’ it now. I’m beginning not ta like you. What you goin’ ta do about it?” Again I smiled. She smiled again. This was it. I fell in love. I found myself on a cloud where everyone was naked and had beatific smiles and wings and the men had ridiculously flaccid richards. I could tell I was in heaven.

“Why do they call them ‘dollys’?” She asked. She didn’t necessarily sound interested ta know. She just seemed to want to dally behind my dolly.

“Because then you can say – parton me, may I pass?’, I said. She looked at me quizzically and I explained,” You know, parton -> Dolly Parton-> dolly? I love forming words by association.”

That made her dissolve in laughter. If there’s an acronym like DOFL, then that’s what she did, dissolved on the floor. Frankly, between you and me, that was a sick one, that ‘parton’ thing. It would have made Kenny and the rest of the guys puke.

Laughing, she said, “No, wait, it’s a dolly because then you can stand in front of it and say ‘Hello’ to it in that cigar-hoarse Louis Armstrong voice!” It wasn’t very funny but I doubled over and broke up anyway, just as she went into an imitation of Satchmo…

I said ‘Hello Dolly’, well Hello Dolly….its nice ta have you back, where youuuuuu beeeelong’. She was way off-key but have you ever had a gorgeous woman sing to you? No, you haven’t. It is an out-of-body, other-wordly experience.

After her sudden burst of Satchmo, we suddenly stopped and regarded each other for a moment. To my surprise, she didn’t hurry off when I made way for her to pass. Instead, she just fell in step and for a while we walked together.

She could have taken the stairs to the atrium then but she came along instead, into our department and didn’t mind it when I steered her through our cubicles. I did that only so that the guys would see Sophie and me together.

Believe me, if someone had handed Kenny a Rocket-Propelled Grenade, he wouldn’t even need the launcher. He would first drill me full of holes with a Glock and knock my head off with the butt of the RPG and then jump on my remains with hobnailed boots.

Boy, did I make them mad! I grinned at the guys, as if to say ‘look what I got, ass—les, go on, eat your hearts out’. They were dying to be introduced but I pointedly didn’t. They were trying so hard ta look through the corners of their eyes that if she had stayed any longer, they would have had stuck-pupil syndrome or something.

Sophie nowadays routinely seeks us out at the cafeteria and comes over to sit with us at lunch. She says she needs the laughs.

Humor, thou hath thy merits.

I love this country.