The Cornfield

The Cornfield By DJ Cline

August 13, 2012 Calvary Ohio

Anita Gromex had found the station wagon and the pet carrier, but her client wanted to bring a new friend. He looked like a grown up Eddie Munster and had a creepiness about him that made even her uncomfortable. She agreed but charged twice as much as usual. That air conditioner was not going to fix itself.

She was taking her third cigarette break of the morning outside the building in the suburban office park where she worked. Calvary was a small town that was gobbled up by the urban sprawl of Caligula. So far it had not banned smoking in the workplace, but Anita knew it was only a matter of time. She smoked outside, not out of consideration for her coworkers, but as a chance to get away from them.

As corporate compliance officer, they hated her and the feeling was mutual. The sad characteristics of her night job carried over into her day job. Anybody that was not in compliance with the company standards was let go. Her bosses liked it because it kept turnover high and wages low. Part of the whole scam of janitor or dead peasant insurance was to get lots of life insurance policies on lots of people. No matter how a former employee died, the executives collected the cash and cut her in on the action.

The other employees did not know this, they just thought she was, well, not a very nice person. One young woman figured out the scam. She told Anita that she couldn’t wish her into a cornfield like in an old television show. She tried to sue the company and lost.

Anita heard she had committed suicide, but did not get her usual cut. She thought the executives were mad about the publicity of the trial. They kept her on as an employee to buy her silence, but maybe they were starting to think she was a liability. Maybe the day would come when they would collect on her policy.

She wondered about how she wound up here. It was a series of decisions about her life and the lives of others. When she made the conscious decision to sell out, did she know it would be for so little? It was so hot and humid here. For a second, she wondered if she was cursed. By having the power to wish people into a cornfield, maybe she should have picked a nicer one, because that is where she wound up.

She stared out across the parking lot to a cornfield that had not been developed yet. Out in the summer heat she thought she saw something new. She walked to the edge of the parking lot and saw an old-fashioned scarecrow in the withered field. A red scarf was draped around its neck; similar to the one the dead woman had worn everyday. A raven sat on its right shoulder. She saw something shiny on its right leg as it called out and took flight toward her.

She turned and ducked. Her cigarette fell onto the bone-dry crops and started a fire that she could not put out.

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Next: Company Policy

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

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