In the Obidos building in Seattle, young, Obidos Women have black hair and black eyes. They wear tight jeans at the ankle and high, heavy shoes. They stand with their tummies poking out. They walk in slow waves to the cubicles of young, balding Obidos Men who don't care about them. The men stand at their desks and track metrics. Crated, white Chihuahuas shiver at their feet.
Oh, so cute, the Obidos Women say, and when the men open the crates, the dogs latch onto the women's ankles. The Obidos Women continue to shine their eyes at the men's talk of simple code as blood trickles down their heels. The Obidos Men are jealous of their pets' focus and scoop them and snuggle, staining their shirts red.
Obidos Women are hungry Project Managers and Scrum Masters. When the Scrum Masters hold scrums, they pull their stomachs in and kick the dogs on the way to the meetings. Knobby horns push through their straightened black hair. Talons push through their toes and pop the leather of their big shoes. The Scrum Masters alight on the edges of the recycled desks.
What did you accomplish yesterday? They say, drooling.
The Project Managers, men and women, respond. We had a ten percent increase.
The shoulders of the Scrum Masters expand, tearing wrinkle-free cotton and chiffon. What will you accomplish today?
The Project Managers, both men and women, respond. A ten percent increase.
What will you accomplish tomorrow? The Scrum Masters say. Before the answers come, they open their jaws and snatch the dogs from the curve of the men's arms. The Scrum Masters swallow the dogs down hard. The Obidos Men touch the air where the dogs' heads used to be. They slap and slap at their empty arms. Kindle? they say. My little Kindle, they whimper.
The women answer for them: We will produce ten percent more.
I may need a day, the men say, hugging themselves.
The Obidos Women surround the Obidos Men. The Scrum Masters go first. From the edges of the desk, they lunge at the men's necks with their teeth. They keep the men steady, holding their heads with their claws. The Project Managers watch. They swoon. They giggle and clap when scraps come flying their way.
holds an MFA in Writing from Pacific University in Oregon. Her independently published novel, The Curious Solitude of Anise
, received excellent reviews from Kirkus, Switchback
and others. Thea's stories can be found in Anemone Sidecar, Camera Obscura, Crab Creek Review, Danse Macabre, Dark Matter Journal, Image, New Plains Review, Our Stories, The Sonder Review
and forthcoming in Black Denim Lit, Fiction Southeast
and Toad Suck Review
. Thea has taught English, from middle-school through college, but she can't afford to teach anymore, so she does other things.