Working for the Man

BY : Jeffrey Opstik
Category: +S through Z > Simpsons
Dragon prints: 11003
Disclaimer: I do not own The Simpsons, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

The Simpsons:
Working For The Man

Homer Simpson began to crumple the piece of paper into a white wad and watched his future disintegrate out of the corner of his eye. This was all for Marge, his wife, whom for the first time in thirteen years had time to themselves despite his own scheduling conflict. He could only imagine what Marge had given up for her time here, maybe her own job. Times were tough and Marge had decided to pick up the slack, but without the resource of work experience a professional job was far from the present and she'd taken to waitressing at Berger's Burgers, a sleazy 60s nostalgia dive that, in agreeing with the motifs of the times, featured waitresses on roller skates serving customers at their cars. Marge was by far the senior to all the other waitresses who were working their way through or into a college. Though, unless under intense speculation, most customer were none the wiser to the years that separated her from the lesser sexually experienced and unmarried women. Not that Marge had totally handed herself over to Homer's desires. His curiosity had always outweighed Marge's own respect and so despite her dedication to his happiness she had in so many ways remained just out of reach of his most depraved agendas. As she was so oblivious to her own husband's increasing piqued interest in her body she was so too with any other man's. Homer wasn't but so much more aware than Marge, he had wondered if some men looked at his wife in the same way he did. Marge had always been uncomfortable about undressing in front of him and so Homer had figured she had dressed her public persona, even when she was away from him, with equally discreet and sexless, even mannish wardrobe.
It was Sunday and Homer had left work early for the four hour weekend that became six when he clocked out early. He'd made a promise to his wife that he'd always be there to listen. It was late now, the kids were in bed, and Homer and Marge were across town in a small back alley bistro. Homer slid his hands across the small table to meet his his wife's slender fingers. Marge watched the small stone of her wedding band twinkle until her husband's hands smothered the light from the diamond.
"Marge, you wanted to talk." Homer saw now that his words were not at all romantic, he had a bad habit of skipping past the pleasantries and getting right to the point.
"I'm thinking of quitting the job at Berger's."
"Marge, I.., why?"
"I just don't want to be there anymore. I don't fit in."
Homer relayed the words he'd been rehearsing in case this conversation ever came up, "Marge, I know when you, when we went into this it was just a little experiment and all but... We really need the money now."
"You're doing well."
Homer wasn't. He'd risked losing his job to meet with her, the long hours had begun to compromise his relationship with Marge and in trying to correct that he'd started to compromise what little responsibility his job had entailed. If his boss ever found out he'd be fired and possibly sued on the grounds of doctoring hours he'd refused to work. Even with the incentive of time and a half what little precious time he had left with his family and especially with Marge couldn't be make up the difference. Homer had considered leaving but he too had accumulated no work experience between school and the job he now had. The only reference on his resume would be either the guy who fired him or the guy who lost him his family. Quite possibly the guy who would eventually do both. His employer, Mr Burns, had no family of his own and no accumulated knowledge at what it took to keep a family or what Homer would lose if he chose his job over it. Mr Burns felt no sympathy for Homer and his problems, his own problems were grounded solely in the world of business and whatever could be turned into a buck. Homer had, over the course of the last few months, met and spoke with Mr Burns and gotten along with a better understanding of the man a sense of the devastating certainty that there would be no leniency on his part for Homer's sake.
Homer didn't realized these musing had drawn out to a long dramatic silence, Marge had spoken the last words in the close vicinity and that had been almost a minute ago, since then only his gaze into the distance. Marge watched her husband's eyes lock onto an object just behind her, she turned and found nothing.
Only open empty space. Air.
No answers. No words. Not even resignation.
Only the empty room, with them in it. Alone.
Homer started again, "I'm doing..."
"I wish I'd never spoken to Mr Burns. Now he's thinking about me. He may be watching me. He may already know what I'm doing."
"What are you doing?"
"There never was any early leave in case of emergencies. I made it up. Lenny is gonna clock me out in two hours."
"Oh god, Homer. I..." Marge pulled her hands out from under her husband's.
Homer felt his heart sink. She doesn't understand. She doesn't listen.
Marge looked down and saw Homer's hands by themselves on the red tablecloth and her own hands folded in her lap. She went back to his but he began to withdraw them back to his plate. She watched his eyes look down at his half empty plate, his totally eviscerated fifth glass of wine. He was drinking again. Marge just hadn't noticed. Wine wasn't usually the thing to cue his binge drinking, beer or gin had always been the triggers. Wine had always been too light to ignite the blaze. What had she started?
Wait, it had happened long before her words or her withdrawn hands. It had started along with the evening. Homer was drinking not because of her words but because of her alone.
Marge had never counted herself among the obstacles Homer had to overcome to keep his job or balance a career and a family, but now she saw it all settling into a ghastly image before her eyes. The bottle of wine was empty and now the last, the fifth glass of it next to Homer. Homer's face looked fleshless particularly because of its color. Every pigment that made his face breathe with the color of life was drained, the orbs of his eyes naked without their black centers or rings of blue pigment. The padding which separated the cartilage of Homer's face was scarce now, leaving him with gaunt features that were so much more explicit and extensive in their specificity. Homer had changed and Marge began to wonder if he'd not only compromised time with his family for his job but also time to eat. His face seemed long now without the flesh to extend his features into parodic proportion.
Marge had always loved him but couldn't help but agree she saw the resemblance he'd once shared with Mr Peanut when he'd been larger. Like so many of his other flaws, physical or habitual, they'd been pointed out and mocked by her sisters, whom he hated. Family was family though, and now her husband was unrecognizable as the man she'd married.
"Homer, finish your steak."
Homer began to cry.
"I love you so much Marge. Promise me you'll never leave me. Please promise."
Marge stood up and crossed around the circumference of the table and then embraced him. He cried into the depression between her shoulder blade and the base of neck.
She would never forget this moment. Or what brought her here.
Marge had been careful for so long to make herself the model of anonymity in Springfield. She didn't want to be anything. She didn't want to be a obstacle or a deterrent. She didn't want to be made an example or a martyr for a cause. She didn't want to be remembered or tempted by her weaknesses. She didn't want to be a slave to a label or an archetype. She didn't want to be the local color or the omnipresent stranger. There was up until a point no difference between who a person was publicly and who they could be in private, that was until she met John Berger.

John had his reservation about hiring women over thirty. Though this woman was a veteran and he had the vaguest semblance of how she'd looked nineteen years ago things had changed around here. Since a franchise of Hooters restaurants had descended upon small innocent Springfield Berger had found they were stealing away most of his customers. Berger's Burgers had the same niche, beautiful women in short skirts serving hot food to hormone-zombified teenagers. But Hooters had one-uped him, busty women in short skirts and tight tees. Opstensively, even after the changes Berger's Burgers had still remained fairly under the radar for anyone that wasn't in high school or college and there were few local colleges. Berger had always taken advantage of this, and the fact that given how invisible his corner of Springfield had come, he took advantage as often as possible of the waitresses. Marge, at the time he'd hired her, was jailbait, not legal and that meant statutory. She was a pretty girl then, with amazing legs and a placid naivete to match her dated bee-hive hair that had planted in his mind ideas of how to get her alone and pop her cherry, along with her bubble of innocence. She was engaged then and married now. And he doubted very much that she would fit in with the theme which had assimilated itself into Berger's Burgers.

Marge, four weeks after she'd initiated her search for a job, had come to the last place on the marathon of addresses. It had come last because she had so arranged the list chronologically, starting with the people who would most likely hire her. Now she was one or two generations separated from the world she hadn't seen since her engagement. She'd chosen for the occasion, or rather the slightly prior interview, a modest polo dress which lined the length of the legs down to just below her knees. She thought at the time she'd chosen it it was probably too good for the company she would be keeping. It was white, almost manilla and very casual given the context of the meeting, give or take the extensive reach of the skirt's length.
Berger, just as she'd remembered him, had wasted no time in the years she hadn't seen him to meet the expectations of her own memory of him as it exaggerated over the years. He was short, fat and seemingly invalid for most of the meeting.

Berger was happy to see Mrs. Simpson had worn a stretch knit dress, he saw now how much more kind the years had been to her, even generous. While pursuing no particular end or direction in his questions his eyes examined the potential mass that her sports bra restrained. She had dressed in hopes that her small dress size would depreciate her enormous bust but all in vain. As Mrs. Simpson chatted about her wonderful husband and beautiful children Berger tried to will the buttons of her dress to pop and cleavage bloom in the place where his eyes surveyed the outline of two formidable ovals of pert young flesh. He was, even as she strolled circles around the story of her life as a married woman, fighting the urge to reach across the table and relieve Homer's wife of the dignity her demeanor so imposed.
Then, as he had once so wished it, a white button on the end of a white string at the top of Marge's dress dislodged itself from its sleeve. Marge had done this with a yawn, her chest rose and expanded and the wealth of endowment that her dress was already tolerating breached at its length. Berger watched the button convulse and then as it was slowly pushed beyond the length of the thread which attached it. As the minute piece of plastic made a break for it Berger watched the crisp spine of linen divide, allowing Marge, unwittingly, to divulge an appetizing view of her deeply indented cleavage.
Marge felt faint, as her chest heaved Berger watched her with something not quite as permeable as concern. His gaze no doubt meandering on the small silver pendant which hung from her neck.

(More Chapters to follow)

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