Florence repeated her credit card information to the operator who truly had been standing by to take her call. Just like the lady on the infomercial had said he would be.
“Yes 7214. No, that’s 14. ONE 4”
The operator told her to allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.
“Can’t I pay for air shipment?” Florence asked. “I really could use that machine right away! No, no, it’s OK; I understand.”
It hadn’t been that long ago, when Florence would not have been so patient, when she would never have agreed to wait so long for her new machine. That operator would have agreed to air freight or she would have unleashed the fury of hell on that little company in Battle Creek.
But that was the old Florence.
The old Florence would utter a few words over a cauldron and your skin would fester and ooze for months. The old Florence would wave her hands and recite a simple incantation causing your entire family to perish in a fiery accident. An accident you would believe you had caused. The old Florence would sing a few rhyming words and you would find yourself surrounded by ballet dancers, spinning with tutus flared wide. Circling tirelessly forever, until you went mad and they took you away in a straight jacket. The old Florence would ruin your life.
But, this was the new Florence. The new Florence had renounced her wicked ways. The new Florence had not so much as cast an evil eye since the day she met Stanley. When Florence met Stanley she had been smitten. She loved Stanley. She loved his paunch and his comb over. She adored the way he wore his trousers high above his belly allowing his white socks to show beneath his cuffs. She found it endearing, the way his tongue poked out of the corner of his mouth when he studied tax forms. Stanley was powerful.
Stanley had told her that his mother would never approve if he took a wicked wife, so Florence had immediately agreed to change her ways. For the last 17 years Florence had spent her days baking, sewing, and generally being domestic while Stanley went to work. Now he was in line for that big promotion. Lead accountant! Mr. Barnes had assured them that this would be the year.
It was mid October, almost Halloween, and Florence hoped against hope that the new machine would arrive in time for Thanksgiving. The new machine promised to slice and dice, to chop and peel, to stir, mix, and blend. With this new machine she would be able to prepare a Thanksgiving feast the likes of which Stanley and his mother could only have dreamed about before.
Stanley’s mother… Stanley’s mother, now there was a real piece of work. When Florence and Stanley were first married his mother would call to speak with Florence. She would give Florence tips on how to take care of her boy.
“Stanley likes his underwear to be ironed, folded, and organized in his top left drawer by color.” She had told Florence. Then she had continued, “Stanley likes the crust cut off his sandwiches, and he hates crunchy peanut butter.” Twice that woman had almost brought back the old Florence and perished in flames, but then Florence would remember how much she loved him. She knew that enduring Stanley’s mother was simply the cost of loving Stanley. Florence understood that; and did her best to welcome her mother in law into their home whenever it was necessary.
Florence knew that Stanley had the power. Florence knew that with this upcoming promotion his power would be increased exponentially. Florence knew that as powerful and as wicked as she had been before, she was nothing when compared with Stanley.
Stanley worked for the IRS. When you received a letter from Stanley it changed your life. You shuddered in fear, knowing the pain that he could bring down upon you. If you were on Stanley’s radar you lived in fear. Fear of perpetual audits and financial ruination. Stanley was all seeing, all knowing. No one and I mean no one, pulled a fast one on Stanley. He was evil and Florence loved him for it.
He was pure evil and he was all hers.