Oscar found it hilarious. She was still shaken up. "Have you known them to do something like this in the past? Should I worry that this is some elaborate scheme to get me to think that there is hope, then slap me back down to 'my place'?"
He shrugged his shoulders, nonchalantly and chuckled again, "I mean, is your place the unemployment line, because I have never known them to keep anyone on if they didn't respect them or their ways. Now, usually… they have a certain type that gets to be in the boys' club, but I guess you were granted one of those sitcom moments, where the boss likes you giving it to him. I certainly wouldn't press my luck a second time, though."
"I won't. I just couldn't seem to stop myself. You ever notice how sometimes people with the most power to help others use it to oppress, instead? One of the reasons I was interested in human resources was so that I could make some company better and more fair and give the human beings in that company my devotion to them being treated like humans. I convinced myself that I had this great destiny to help people out and that somehow human resources would be the best field for me to change my little portion of the world within. I wanted something closer to home, but this place hired me, like magic and it was a really good position. Too good to miss out on."
"Good. So, don't mess it up," he said and gave her a playful soft punch to the shoulder.
"I mean that's the kinda stuff you did all the time when we was kids," Michelle complained on the phone, while she was cooking. "It's like people just listen to you or something. Like you can put them in a trans. That's why they called you Charm School…" she yelled, "Oh, Kina! Get off that table, Girl! Dang!" Monique heard some other voice, a man's voice in the background reiterating the order off of the table.
"Who the hell is that talking to my niece like that?" She asked.
"That's just my friend, Mipp."
"Yeah, but who the hell is to be talking to Kina that way? I don't know no Mipp." Michelle sighed long, hard, and big. "I just think that if you'll have these unfamiliar negros around my niece, you should at least have them accustomed to respecting her."
"Well, Kina can get respected when her ass learns to listen to adults. She's acting up most of the time. I'm not gon' reward her for that."
"Don't degrade her for it. She's three. AND, she'll listen to you if you treat her better."
"I don't have no magical powers to get people to listen to me, so… You done, or what?"
"Lemme speak to my niece, Heffa."
Kina got onto the phone, barely comprehendible, "Aunt Moni you com'n to my house, our house?"
"No, Baby. I can't. Auntie Mon can't come around right now. It might be a long, long time before I get to come around there. But, you be good for your mama, okay? I'm not there to make her be nice, so try to be good and see if she'll be nice. If she don't tell Auntie next time we speak."
"Mama gon cook fa Mipp. I wan wash cartoons-but-Mipp had, had, had, he had said, Mipp was watching fooball."
"Well, they should let you watch cartoons, but still be good, okay? Just play with your toys and hopefully Mama will let you watch cartoons when Mipp not watching football, ok?"
"Ok. I luh you!"
"Love you to, my baby." She made all kinds of kissing noises into the phone.
Magical powers. She scoffed and put a bonnet onto her bantu knots. Hmph. Like she would really be just watching the world live its destructive, oppressive and subjective life if she had powers. Like Kina would have to deal with playing second fiddle to some knucklehead named Mipp…
A knock on Monique's door pulled her out of her thoughts and she glanced at the clock. It felt later than it was. It was only 8 pm, but she wasn't expecting anyone and she was ready for bed, so she glanced through the peephole, silently assessing this unannounced guest. But, nobody was there. She opened the door and saw a bouquet set on the ground. She wasn't going to chase the delivery guy down, but picked it up, a little bit taken aback that it was there and that deliveries were simply dropped off. Back home, that stuff would have ended up missing.
Inside, she checked the card:
It is okay to be powerful. Live it and love it. From Oscar.
She wrinkled her face, laughed and set the flowers on the table.
At work, the next day, she sent Oscar a thank you email. What was even the protocol for something like this? She was human resources. She knew that gifts and such could be easily misused or misunderstood. So, she figured that as long as she did not take this to heart or respond in an inappropriate manner, she was safe and sound.
Perhaps, she should have simply sent them back...