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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: October 9, 2017      Views: 70

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I write short stories, poems, and essays.

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Napoleon is pressed by girlfriend to make more money.
"Give Me A Raise" by pbomar1115

"So, you are a gold digger, huh?"

"Now, be nice, Napoleon. You know I don't feel that way. I want more for you."

"If I make more money, what then?"

"You're not understanding, Dear. " Wanda, a fifth-grade teacher, believed to have life-changing effects on students while others squash them, but now, she was lost for words.

Napoleon demanded an answer. "I want to know, what do you mean, Wanda?"

"I . . . I just don't think you make enough money."

Napoleon Bell had been dating Wanda for seven months after meeting her at a bowling alley, promoted by a Dating organization. He was confident about himself--an abundant trait the average thirty-seven-year-old has. He became cross when their conversation went from the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks to financial issues. It got so serious that the conversation came to a standstill. He wished the phone was the old kind so he could slam it down. They said goodbye to each other while not coming to a peaceful point in their discussion.

Napoleon was confused on how to feel about Wanda, now. As he set counting the number of the rings it takes for her to answer, he was also thinking love is wonderful, love is joy, love is the greatest thing in the world, but love is also an enormous pain in the ass since it goes south on money matters.

When they met, he told her that he is known as Mr. Fix It, a traveling handyman, who worked throughout the city, fixing and building at a discount. Because their first meeting was a success, they booked their next date to dine, a feature Splitsville Dining Room has along with bowling. That's when he felt Wanda Collins was the girl for him. After that day, they had several memorable moments together but two stood out in Napoleon's mind: she eagerly showed him off to her elegant friends--from the different museums: artist, scientific, and cultural interest and exhibits; to the romantic picnics that she insisted. She loves the romantic moments.

As he leaves his bedroom--converted to an office--he stopped to look at the photo on the desk a minute and positioned under the lamp. The photo captured Raymond, a business partner, and Napoleon with the landscaping crew at the start of their business. All the interviews were conducted in the office.

Entering the kitchen, the coffee maker light was on. He poured a cup of coffee and turned the radio on. Miles Davis was playing his rendition of Black Bird. Sipping and musing, he decided he would ask Raymond for more money. He feared strong rejections. He thought after five years, the business was successful, but he did not have the bargaining influence to make demands, realizing the home office was no longer needed.  

The business office location started at Napoleon's persistence. He did not want to worry about finances, but Raymond is the real brains, having a business degree.

At the present time, Raymond works together with different business supporters: assisting in building structures for residential, business and construction sites; mixing concrete; participating in demolition and all the employees were interviewed at Napoleon residential office, too.

But his heart was dissolving to his toes for Wanda. He felt he must try for more money from his friend. His heart palpitated and forehead perspired just thinking about how his friend will react. Raymond is a clever guy.

Raymond comes over. Napoleon goes for a refill. "How about some, it's fresh?"

Raymond recognized a whisper of hysterics in Napoleon's voice. He knows when his friend is keyed up. With a small secret smile, he said, "Yes. But, I have good news and bad news, my friend."


"The bad news. We can't pay for office space in residential. But you knew that, didn't you, Napoleon?"

Damn "Ok. No more rental fees," he said, in a monotone voice, "Now what?"

"For God sake, man. I don't want to lose what we built."

Thank, God. All I had was the office space.  "You mean, what you built."

"Moving the business to commercial property is legal and right." Raymond expressed. "The good news. You can earn more with the new contracts I bid on. But you will have to work. That's all. Isn't it great?"

Staring down at his hand, Napoleon muttered, "Sure."

Napoleon honored Raymond's ideas, even though his plan to ask for more money was crushed by another of Raymond's big ideas.

He was wishing for comfort from Wanda, but he goes along with the moving process, and began working for his friend as usual, and avoided talking to Wanda.

Napoleon worked with Raymond. The business transformed more into construction than landscaping jobs. The new job required: assisting construction managers; digging trenches; moving hazardous material; and added a concrete, mortar, and plaster mixers. But Napoleon continued to pine for Wanda, and he missed the kind of work that brought him the most joy.

In his spare time, Napoleon assembled bookcases and larger jobs like wiring entire houses. These jobs came by word of mouth from clients. Mr. Fix It was more in demand now. Four months later, Napoleon returned full time as the traveling handyman job and relinquished his business dependence on Raymond.

Saturday morning Napoleon was cleaning out the spare bedroom that once was used as office space. The doorbell rang and rang and rang. Believing it was Raymond, who enjoyed catching him unprepared, like the Mr. Fix It wooden plaque, he was awarded, celebrating excellence that is hanging on the office space wall.

Napoleon goes to the kitchen, reaches under the kitchen sink, pulls out the stewpot, fills it with water, yanks the door open, and splashes the water on the troublesome bell ringer.

A voice shrieked, causing Mr. Williams, the neighbor across the street who was mowing his lawn, to halt, cut it off and stand there, studying Napoleon and the drenched jokester. He scrunched, decked out in a sombrero.

"Wanda. What . .? " Napoleon yelled.

She laughed, a quality that brought comfort to Napoleon. He drops the pot, scrabbled to restore Wanda's sopping dress, then waved at the neighbor, and pulled Wanda in the house.

Both sat on the sofa.

"I'm sorry for not calling you, Wanda. I-I just didn't think I was good enough for you."

She placed a finger over his mouth before he said anything else " No, Dear. I was wrong." As a teacher, she understood. And with a slow smile, she admitted. "Working with kids all day, I sometimes forget I'm lucky to have a unique man, especially, when I'm not at my best."

Napoleon wiped her forehead with the towel, stared Wanda in the eyes, "That's what I've been trying to say."

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