Flash: Ann Kirlin draws

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

“Knock, knock.” Kirlin said, pretending to knock on the frame of my open door. She came in and flounced into one of the leather chairs in front of my desk. “Tippitt.”

She left it at just a name. I was impressed she made it nearly four weeks before coming to me. Her predecessor hadn’t made it a day. The one before that set a record of forty-two days, but that was because she had been in quarantine with COVID for four weeks.

I closed my laptop and moved it to the left, then laced my hand and waited, appreciating her efforts at colorful business attire. The bright red shirt with the embroidered bolero jacket matched the rose clips holding back her hair. The red against my pale skin would look like death; I squashed the envy.

“Don’t get me wrong, he is absolutely brilliant, but he is also absolutely infantile. My two-year old has a better grasp of reality. Really Dr. Gallagher, how come he doesn’t drive you crazy?”

Time to explain the care and feeding of the development teams, especially the Green and Yellow ones.

I moved my scratch paper over and picked up a pen to fiddle with. “I don’t manage what Tippitt does. It makes my life easier.”

“What? You’re the vice president for development.” Kirlin waved her hand around. “The best ever according everyone in the department.”

“Really, well, that is nice to know. The metrics says the turnover is down.” Nil since I took over three years ago, except for the administrative assistants and that is only because I had a special project I was working on with them. “And patents are up, so I’m glad to hear word on the street that people are satisfied.” I sighed, “Except you sound like you have an issue.”

“It’s just Tippitt being Tippitt near as I can tell. But … Tippitt!” Hands got thrown in the air. “Like yesterday, the calendar popped up saying to remind him to call his mom about her birthday. Like a scheduled reminder.”

“Did you remind him?” I smiled, knowing what normally happens.

“I not only reminded him, I nagged him, and eventually grabbed his phone, opened it and called his mother and handed it to him when I got back from transferring David to daycare.”

I didn’t comment about her having the ability to open his phone.

“I take it, that was effective?”

She rolled her eyes. “He was still talking to her when I clocked out. But, man, why couldn’t he just call her on his own?”

“Have you ever dealt with your geniuses before? I am not talking about smart people or high IQ people, but people who when you give them two and two, you will get an orangutan.”

Kirlin snorted at that example. “No, not really.”

“You don’t manage these types of people. Just guide them.” Glancing down at my sketch, I saw yet another attempt to solve the problem I ran into for my private project. Three months and I still haven’t figured out how get the water tension at the scale needed for the miniaturization. I might need to corner Kolbash. “For Tippitt, and most of the others, I just give them the space to do what they does. Less headache and a whole lot more accomplishments results. It isn’t the easiest thing in the world to explain to the board, but it gets the work done and keeps the ulcers away.”

“So you just let the five teams go their own way?”

I pulled the sheet off and crumbled it, tossing it into my little stack I go through during my four hours of play on company time. “Not exactly. Like I said, I guide them. Sometimes as intense as you did with the phone call to keep them on project, and other times, well, I hope it doesn’t get bad.”

“And how often is Tippitt bad?:

“Oh, you just had to ask.” I tapped the pen on the pad. :Umn, so you know how some people have a green touch and can grow any plant?”

Kirlin took one of my balls of paper and started to smooth it out. “Sure.”

“Well, Tippitt has the fecal touch.” She frowns at my drawing and reaches for another. Part of me wanted to keep my project private, but I had reached the point any consultation could benefit me. I pushed the pile to her. “Anything he touches can and will become a shitstorm unless handled properly. But, on the plus side, just like things growing wonderfully in shit, what comes out the other end just might be something beautiful. Or really smelly.”

“How smelly?”

“You worked in security.” I pointed at two drawings she was comparing. “Condenser but the scale is mircons.”

She nodded her understanding.

“You remember the OSHA visit a couple months ago because of complaints from neighboring companies about an afterhours light show?”

“Yes. Sumpter and Niemeyer had to escort the inspectors for two days.”

“Well, someone,” who I later had a long talk at, “told Tippitt the lights weren’t bright enough on the panel for people to distinguish.”

Kirlin raised her eyes to mine. “What … what did he do?”

“He figured out how to increase the LED luminosity by a factor of three.” I rubbed the back of my head, remembering that headache. “With no change in wattage or significant change in equipment.”

“That isn’t possible!”

“Yeah, I wish.” I shrugged. “But, new patent! Well, two. And a visit from OSHA that had me in meetings with the board for a week. Shitshow and flowers.”

She laughed. “That sounds like Chuck.”

I did not comment about her using his nickname.

“Yeah, I have an ongoing bet with Pantuso that if I can have customer give me a legit complaint about how dangerous gravity is for their instruments that Tippitt,” or Kolbash over on the Yellow Team but she doesn’t need to know we got two crazies regularly endangering the building, “will invent anti-gravity or null gravity.”

“I can see that happening,” she pulled a pen out of her messy bun, “Love the man.”

That is what I am hoping for. Matchmakers are us. Happily married couples stayed with companies that took care of them and their families. And keeping someone happy who adds to the bottom line to the tune of hundreds of millions every year was high on my priority list.

“So, what are you trying?” I tilted my head to see how she was changing my design.

“If I understand the problem, the water surface tension is creating blockages because water molecules bond differently at the micro level. But if you change the shape, like this …”

Oh, I am liking her art degree a lot.

(words 1,127; first published 12/6/2023)

A Match for Green Team Series

  1. Ann Kirlin transfers (1/16/22)
  2. Ann Kirlin draws (2/13/22)