Saturday, November 10, 2012

Another sample of Animal Cracker, my comic novel set in an animal shelter

Here's another sample from my comic novel set in a beleaguered animal shelter organization. Our feisty heroine, Diane, prepares for her first board meeting as the new Communications Director.

To read the novel's opening pages, scroll down two posts. And if you like it, would love a tweet or a comment here. Enjoy!

Chapter Three
My debut – my first board meeting - had arrived, and I was in the midst of an anxiety attack. Act like the senior management you are, I urged myself. Not only was I no longer the vassal I’d been at the ad agency, I owned my own fiefdom. So why didn’t I feel like the lady of the manor?

Dressing to impress might help. I requested Genie’s assistance with outfit selection. We were standing before a closet designed for a leprechaun. This was in fact okay since I possess a leprechaun-sized wardrobe. All my clothes have a story, and by the same author – her name is ebay.

Genie bit her lower lip, worrying her eyebrows as if pondering the secrets of black holes instead of which outfit in my wardrobe would be most likely to make our board of trustees - my boss’s bosses - think they had the next Hilary Clinton on their team. Genie had a theory. Actually, Genie has many theories, but that day’s had to do with the psychology of clothes.

“Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Who will you be in the future? I pick Senior VP for Marketing at Microsoft.”

“You sound like my dad. I want the job I have now. With more money.”

“Then dress like money.”

She thought she was Stephen Hawking at the moment. I gave myself over to her completely.

“Here, try this.”

She was holding one of my fashion mistakes. It had looked great in the picture, but the rust-colored suit I’d viewed online had materialized with a two-sizes-too-small jacket and tiny skirt in an unspeakable tan shade that made me look like a hooker with hepatitis.

“This is a joke, right?” I said.

"I thought it fit you like a glove.”

“Unless you want my money to come from guys yelling ‘how much, baby’ on a street corner, I think I’ll pass. In fact, give me that.”

I threw it in my bag of clothes designated for the battered women’s shelter, where my ebay mistakes became someone else’s help in getting a fresh start.

“Okay, this.”

Of course. My other suit. A striped number with huge buttons on the cuffs, and a knee-length skirt. Classy with a bit of pizzazz.

About half an hour before the board meeting, I was chatting with Betty, whose office lay just outside Hal’s, when I spied a plaid apparition, an eighty-ish dowager in head-to-to-toe Burberry – and I mean literally, from hat, to jacket, to boots - accompanied by a rat-sized yapping Yorkie in matching sweater, tethered to his owner by a leash of the same signature design. I thought even the Burberry people would’ve yelled “Stop!” at the umbrella.

As dowager and dog drew closer, I became nearly blinded by the woman’s left bosom, upon which perched a gigantic, in fact nearly life-sized replica of the clamorous canine, wrought in enamel with precious stones for eyes, mouth and nostrils.

Hal hastened to the door, ushered her in.

“Hi there, Sis,” he said, as she extended her hand for a wobbly shake. “You’re looking wonderful today. And how is my favorite Yorkie? Hey there, Puddinface.”

He stooped down for a cuddle and a lick.

“It’s lovely to see you, Mr. Mason, as always,” Sis replied.

As Hal rose from his crouch, he said “Diane, I’d like you to meet one of APA’s most outstanding board members, Sis Reade. Sis, Diane Salvi is our new Communications Director.”

Sis smiled, and we shook hands.

“May I…” I asked, gesturing at Puddinface.

“Of course, dear,” replied Sis.

There’s nothing sweeter than the feel of dog’s tongue on my hand.