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in writing •  last year

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Sleek, slender, beautiful. That's what Joel thought as he watched her; the woman recently hired to do whatever. He didn't know what she was hired for and he didn't care. What was important to him was the amount of time he could steal to watch this gift from God in whatever capacity he could. A glimpse here, a casual glance there or even a 'good morning' would be special.

To say he was enamored would be an understatement. To say he was consumed would closer approach truth.

Candie was her name. "It's spelled the proper way, with an 'ie'," she would say with conviction and pride when asked if her name ended in 'i' or 'y'.

Dumb blonde and stripper jokes abound around this new office addition who wasn't blonde nor a stripper, professionally that is. She didn't seem to fit as she really had no idea what to do with the tools of her job or proper office etiquette and manners. Disdain quickly arose from all staff—women and men alike as how someone who wasn't quite sure what button to press in the elevator could make as much pay as some of the other staff and not do a lick of work. It was an affront to all fellow staff. Her beauty was beyond reproach though. She was impeccably dressed and you couldn't tell if she was wearing makeup it was so meticulously applied. No matter what she did, she did it with grace. Her body was of perfect form and proportion with smooth skin that glowed. Peaches and cream complexion I believe they call it. The envy of every woman whether they admitted it or not—and most wouldn't in public.

It was obvious Candie had no aptitude for office work. She did, however, posses her own skills that served her well in life. Talent that afforded her whatever she wanted. I know what you're thinking; she is really good sexually—at pleasing a man. Well, maybe so, but that was not her talent. And get your mind out of the gutter.

Read the tale of Joel and Candie and you'll soon know what Candie—Candie with an 'ie', can do.

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It was just another Monday morning dread for most staff. All but one was excited to be there bright and early—Joel.

He went about his morning but no Candie was in sight so he resolved he may not have as wonderful a day as he had hoped and lowered his expectations and went about the business of normal work until lunchtime.

Joel sat at his favorite table in the cafeteria and ate in welcomed silence. He looked up from his meal and noticed Candie had entered the cafeteria. Actually, the entire cafeteria noticed Candie had entered and all were surprised as she never came here. Joel watched with incredulity as Candie approached Joel's table and sat down. Joel was a little surprised at her forward manner as he figured, for the most part, that she didn't know he existed. "Hi there," she said pleasant, perky and very cute-like.

Caught in an awkward position with a mouthful of burger, Joel acknowledged with an maladroit wave as he tried desperately to chew and swallow his food. Candie watched and waited patiently as he scrambled for a drink and ample amounts of napkin. Eventually he was able to summon a word. "Hi," he said somewhat rushed.

The object of his affection leaned on the table and leaned-in close. "You mind if I talk to you for a minute?"

Joel, having time to organize his general position, replied. "Sure, that's no problem at all. What's on your mind?"

"I just wanted to get some feedback from you if you wouldn't mind?"

Having her interested in his opinion was a welcome situation. Even better than a passing 'good morning' which he savored as well when he got one. But now, this woman whom he didn't know, sat down at his table and wanted feedback on something or other. He wasn't really thinking straight as he was too busy trying to hold back the sudden urge to fantasize. He was able to throw out something so as to sound somewhat coherent. " Feedback?" was all he could come up with.

"Yes, it's about me."

Feedback about her?—his favorite subject! "Oh, okay. I'll give it my best shot—shoot." he said and regretted his lack of concentration to vocabulary acumen.

She collected herself and posed her question: "People around here think I'm pretty stupid and incompetent, don't they?" she asked matter-of-fact.

Joel was surprised at her forward no-nonsense question. He was unsure how to answer as people really did think that but he didn't want to hurt her feelings as she was the most gorgeous girl in the world. "Oh, I don't know that people think you're stupid or incompetent. You're still new around here and some of them are a little impatient with new people and their learning curve. You'll get there. You shouldn't worry what others think of you," he said satisfied with his answer but couldn't help think; But you really should care what I think about you, as he stared into her eyes.

Candie looked down in, what seemed to be, disappointment. "You really don't think they think I'm stupid and incompetent?"

"Of course not. Just give 'em a little time. They'll come around eventually," he said with encouragement.

She now looked perplexed and deep in thought. This girl really cares what people think of her, he thought. Candie rose from the table and looked his way. "Thank you, Joel. You've been a big help. I need to go, I have more stupid and incompetent work to do," she said in a vacant and aggravated manner.

Now Joel was a little perplexed. If he didn't know better he would swear she wanted people to think that way about her. No matter his mood or thoughts he was sure to watch every step, wiggle, jiggle and swing as she so expertly walked away—as did every other man and woman in the room. All for their own reasons.

After a few days Candie had managed to aggravate and annoy most in her vicinity. Joel wasn't sure how it was possible but she seemed to get worse at her job and appeared to approach a low double digit IQ and carried a perpetual look of confusion and dismay.

Many staff pow wows were concerning Candie and management's decision to keep her despite their complaints and ultimatums. Production, in one of the most important departments, was waning and soon to become a problem for the entire company as Candie was in a key communications position and was not communicating as the job required. Joel remained loyal to his libido.

He felt the need to pull her aside and try and find out just what was going on. As he remembered from their conversation she, Joel thought, was worried what people thought of her in the negative. In fact Joel was coming to the conclusion that that is exactly what Candie with an 'ie' wanted!

He walked to her office and found her finishing-up a cell call. He approached and she noticed and greeted him with a warm smile.

Joel took a moment to prepare his words carefully. Candie cut his train of thought by speaking first. "Wondering what's going on?" she said matter-of-fact as she leaned on her desk and gazed into his eyes.

Being more concerned with his job then flirting with the most beautiful girl he had ever seen he kept his composure. "Yes what is going on, Candie?" he asked a bit more stern than he intended.

Candie rose and walked to the door and shut it gently. Joel couldn't help but watch mesmerized with her grace and beauty. She then went to her plush couch and sat. She beckoned for Joel to sit next to her. He was quick to comply. She looked him in the eyes and began. "I have a very interesting career. I make men happy by giving them what they want."

While this didn't come as a shock to Joel he didn't think she would admit it! And it was pretty obvious she was not qualified to work in an office. Their boss must be real happy as she is still here. Not knowing quite how to respond he took the safe route. "I see," he said somewhat reserved.

Candie turned toward him. "No Joel, I don't mean happy in that way," she smiled then continued. "I give men what they truly want not what they believe they want. More precisely; I give them what they need. Men like power, attention and control. They like, or rather, need, their egos fed. Any woman knows this. While it is frowned upon publicly to advertise this, it is what men strive for. It's their natural inclination. It is the way life is. It's what Mother says. Just like women truly want to be desired and needed and have a natural inclination to nurture whether it be another person or an entire society—it is their natural inclination. Mother says so. That's something that always has perplexed me; how this is not obvious to everyone? It doesn't matter what social customs come about. It doesn't matter what laws are made. All is trumped by what Mother says and, while you can fight it for a while, Mother is always right... always.

Joel listened to what this woman said and couldn't help notice she really held her mother in high regard. She must have done her best to be a driving influence in this woman's life. It seemed to work. What mother says is law; according to Candie. He noticed something else; while she had a somewhat warped view of mother, she was not talking like the complete airhead she had led everyone to believe. This woman was talking in a very lucid and analytical manner. Yet again, things were not adding up with this woman and Joel decided to call her on it. "Candie, you run around here like, well, you're a moron, but every time I talk with you you are quite the opposite. What is going on here?" he demanded.

Candie smiled wide and her eyes sparkled. "I suppose I can tell you now that the deal has gone through."

"Deal? What deal? What are you talking about?" he said confused with a rising aggravation.

"That call I was on when you walked in was the confirmation of the company being bought-out by your—our boss."

"Turney? The owner's son, John Turney just bought the company? Really?"

"Yes, and he got it at a very good price too. That's where I came in."

"You? How were you involved in a multi-million dollar deal between father and son? No offense but you can barely staple two pieces of paper together. Office work is definitely not your forte, Candie."

"Yes, the corporate atmosphere is not conducive to a happy and functional Candie—that's Candie with and 'ie' mind you," she said as she held back her laughter.

Joel, even more confused, noticed she was now playing with him. "Who are you—really?" he said coming to the conclusion there was much more here than was being advertised.

"My name is definitely not Candie. It's Tiffanie—with an 'ie'," she chuckled and blushed.

Joel, now becoming angry as she was pushing her luck, retorted. "I've had enough of this. I can see you're not going to answer any questions for me so I'm done here," he said angry as he rose to leave.

The woman, who definitely wasn't named Candie, grabbed his hand and led him back to his seat. Joel, apprehensive, reluctantly complied. "As I said earlier, I give men what they want. More precisely—what they need. Let me give you an example.

I had a client who needed to up his status in his community. Basically, he needed more street cred with his fellow investors that didn't notice him or take him seriously. This was a truly brilliant man but he had the social skills of a gnat.

After a week of grooming him on contemporary social etiquette and getting him more presentable, I had him take me to every social club and event in his industry. I made sure he was dressed impeccably and I was dressed to kill. Everywhere we went I made sure we were noticed, I hung on him and doted over him and was the perfect girl. I was charming, witty and loyal, socially speaking of course. There's no intimacy with my clients—ever.

Well, all the boys soon knew who he was and were more willing to talk to him about business and included him in their functions and back room deals. It was a challenge to get him to that level but a willing person can achieve miracles if they focus and do the right things. He now had what he wanted; a social life within his community and respect from his peers. Women seem to be taking notice as well—that's a bonus. I just opened the door for him. He did the rest.

I read people and I'm very good at it. Always had a talent for it. That's how I can do what I do. I see things—I see things in people that they can't see themselves," she stated then continued. "Now, Joel, you know if a beautiful woman gives a man attention he gets downright stupid. I mean he turns to mush, right?" Joel instinctively nodded in the affirmative. "Well the same happens with women. If there's a handsome provider, and I use that term loosely, as it could mean he's just really popular or rich or talented, etc. It all depends on whatever the girl is looking for. What her criteria in a man is. Women really do make things more complicated but, then again, we kinda get off on it. Anyway, she gets stupid too. It's natural.

The amount of wasted power by women just astounds me. Women know they can manipulate men with their wiles. Men know it too. That's the game and how life works. But there is so much left on the table by women. Most use their ability of persuasion for some of the most trite of things. Getting doors opened or getting their boyfriend to take them out to dinner. Wasteful! I mean they have so much at their disposal and they just waste it on whatever tall, dark and clueless walks by!

Men take one look at me and think I'm a ditz. I believe many women would be offended by that. I see it as an opportunity. Just another tool I can use in the business world. In the end, I run circles around them and take them down before they know it. You fight it—you lose. You use it—you win.

Here's a prime example: Mae West. You know, that actress back in the 1930's? Well, as you know, that was a male dominated business back then. I mean very dominated. Mae came to Hollywood and owned that whole town practically. She used her sexuality and wit on-screen to make herself so valuable she dictated how the shots would be in a film and even wrote her own scripts. She was also the highest paid woman and the second-highest paid person in the United States—a woman!—In the 1930's! She also bought a lot of prime real estate back then that no one even considered at the time. And the funny thing is, she wasn't that good looking. She was pretty but not beautiful and didn't have a good figure and was very short—and she owned a big part of that male dominated town through sex appeal and smarts. She worked all of them and won! She used Mother's rules."

Joel was rather impressed with this woman's thought process. She was pretty sharp, he thought. "I've heard of Mae West but I didn't know her story. That's quite inspirational. I see you really hold your mother in high regard as well. She must have been quite a woman." This was Joel's way of getting to the bottom of this over emphasis on her mother obsession.

"My mother? Pffft. My mother was a lazy wreck of a woman. All she taught me was how not to end up like her."

"But you keep mentioning your mother and what she says and her rules."

She laughed. "Sorry, I'm used to referring to it as just 'Mother'. I'm talking about Mother Nature. That which comes to us naturally and can't be altered by us no matter how we try. You know, instinct—drive."

Joel finally got all she said up to that point. It made sense now. All this woman did was use people's natural tendencies and inclinations to her advantage. Like we all do to some degree but this girl had it down to a science and turned it into a career. Brilliant! he thought.

The girl with the dubious name continued. "Okay, here's the whole story. I was introduced to John a couple months ago by another client I worked for. John told me his predicament of wanting to buy the company but couldn't raise the capital needed. His father was playing hardball and needed a little persuasion. So we devised a plan to 'cripple' the company enough to where the price would be forced down to where he could buy it with the capital he had. Needless to say it worked. My real name is Madison and I'm not an airhead—well, most of the time."

"So let me get this straight. You came here under the guise of an idiot stripper persona to internally destroy the company, upset the staff and jeopardize their jobs so your client could low ball the current owner, his father, out of his company. Is that about right?"

"Yeah, that's pretty much part of the story."

"Part of the story? What's the rest?"

"Do you remember that party you went to at the company president's summer house last summer?" Joel nodded. "Well, I was there too on some unrelated business. And I'm sure you remember what happened that day. The little girl fell into the middle of the pond and, out of all the people there, all the well dressed people who were so concerned about their image, stood and panicked along the shore. Then there you were bursting through the crowd and swimming out to save her. Which you did. Only you Joel.

You got my attention that day. What you did stayed with me. I wanted to find out more about you but couldn't think of the best way to accomplish that. Then this Turney opportunity appeared and I jumped on it."

"Wait—you took this job to spy on me?"

"In a manner of speaking—yes. I wanted to get to know the real you and, quite frankly, I didn't want your personality to be swayed by the way I look so I created a scenario where we could be together without being together so I could be sure I got to know the real you. I already knew based on that one summer's day but I wanted to be sure you were consistent in your integrity and honor. I know you watched me the time I was here. But I was watching you as well. And I am very happy you are who you are. You're special you know.

Out of all the people in the department, who came to talk to me about what I was doing? Who was the one concerned enough and bold enough to call me on it? You. As I believed you would. That's why I'm here.

As you can probably guess I'm very discerning about people. Especially about those I want to get to know better."

Joel sat there—dumbfounded and was trying to process the information. Madison helped to ease the confusion. She gently grasped his hand. "I'm here for you, Joel. I just want to get to know you better, that's all. There's no further expectation. Better yet, I'm here to give you the opportunity to get to know me better, if you so choose. This decision is yours and yours alone. If you want me to leave and never return, I will. I just wanted to lay it all on the table as you deserve that and it was necessary for you to make your decision."

Madison rose and walked to her desk and began to pack as her job there was done.

Joel couldn't help but feel a bit overwhelmed and intimidated to find out that the woman he had desired for all these many weeks was, in fact, admiring him from afar and manipulated everyone just to get to know him better. He wasn't sure if he should be flattered or creeped out. He decided to let Mother decide and to just say something and see what words came out. He looked toward Madison and watched her pack. "Dinner tonight?" was what came out. He guessed flattery was what Mother intended.

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The End

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