Ela scraps – Silence of the Hogs

Art from a Werewolf the Apocalypse book, could be by: Paul Tobin, Ken Meyer Jr, Laura King or Farri Lensen

When I was little I wanted to be a famous singer.  Or a famous actress.  Or a famous reporter.  Or a famous supermodel.  Or a famous dancer.  But mostly I wanted to be a famous singer.  The problem is even if you have a great voice, which I do, and have “the look” which I did back then, how do you become a world-famous singer?  Hell if I know.   

I mean how do you get started with a singing career?  Creve Coeur isn’t Rocheport but it’s not Hollywood either.  Or wherever you go to become a famous finger.  Is it Hollywood?  Detroit?  Atlanta?  New York?  Where’s the music industry based out of?  See, it’s hard.  What was I supposed to do?  Start my own band and work my way up from there touring the country until I got discovered?  How?  With whom?   

My point is that I’m not a professional singer but I do kill at karaoke.  Look at this way though, how many famous singers are there?  Thousands?  Tens of thousands?  HUNDREDS of thousands?  I don’t know how many but it’s a lot.  There’s only fifty State Feral Swine Czars.  Actually, there’s not even fifty because not every state has one.  So which is more prestigious then I ask you?  Hmm? 

Just kidding, I don’t even really believe that, it’s just fun to say.  I would change places with Jennifer Lopez in a second.  This body swap would be a disaster because Jennifer Lopez doesn’t know anything about feral pigs I bet.  I could do okay as Jennifer Lopez, she wouldn’t last a day as Ela Fitzpatrick. 

It all started in the weekly meeting with Hector the head of Environmental Quality, the State Parks guy Carl, the deputy of Environmental and Energy Resources Bill, and a couple dudes from the Field Services Division. Someone from Land Survey is always supposed to be there too but they never are. Don’t let the majesty and prestige of the title of Feral Swine Czar go to your head, most of my job is meetings.  Boring meetings.  But we have to have these meetings or the feral pigs win. 

I knew things were going to start rocky that day because I had just been OFFICIALLY reprimanded for my “inappropriate” comment about getting hammered in both ends when we were talking about cold weather superpigs coming down from Canada in a meeting a few weeks prior.  But as a woman in a workplace that’s mostly men you learn how to deal with that.   

You walk in, they make a few comments, a few unfunny jokes, smirk up their sleeves at you, ha-ha, I’m a good sport and not pissed at all because you assholes say worse shit than what I said fifty times a day and I’m the one who gets in trouble because there’s a total double standard, now let’s all settle down and get to work.  I am the czar after all, there’s only so much ball breaking you can tolerate and retain authority.   

Hector, Carl, Bill, the FSD guys and I were neck-deep in unifying three different polices on the translocation and interstate movement of feral swine (which as fun as it sounds) when Marti poked her head into the conference room and told me that I had a call.  Her name is pronounced marshy by the way, not the way it looks like Martini, I think it’s French Portuguese.  The woman has a face like a frying pan but she’s my trusty right hand, she wouldn’t pull me out of a meeting unless it was important.   

“Who is it?” I asked as I strode confidently towards my office on long shapely legs. 

Marti got a strange look on her face, the look actors try to sell in horror movies when the murderer calls them but before anyone has been murdered “He didn’t say, but . . .” 

And she just trailed off like that.  I raised a questioning eyebrow and she still didn’t say anything, but like I said, she wouldn’t pull me out of a meeting for just anything, she knows her business, so I trusted her and continued on my way.  I shut the door to my office and stayed standing, I had been sitting too long already and it wasn’t even ten yet, telling my digital assistant to answer the call on speaker and hearing the beep.   

“Hello, this is Ela, what can I do for you?” 

For a few seconds there was just heavy breathing.  I thought maybe Marti was playing a joke on me, even though that would be completely out of character for her, getting one of her brick-faced shit for brains softball buddies to fake an obscene phone call.   

“Yo, this isn’t a phone sex line buddy, do you need something or what?” 

This prompted a high-pitched snuffling sound, like what I imagine it might sound like if you put a Muppet in an industrial-speed blender.  Or one of those machines that I helped design for composting dead feral swine.  I eventually realized that this was some form of laughter.   

“My you’re a feisty one aren’t you?  You’ll soon learn respect.”  The voice was slobbery and toothless like someone trying to talk around a mouthful of blubber and also they have a speech impediment even when they don’t have a mouthful of blubber.  But it was strong, you know what I mean?  It wasn’t loud, it was just a voice that made me think the person on the other end was the size of a starting o-lineman in the NFL.   

“Who are you and what do you want?” 

“My name is Duke.  And what I want doesn’t matter.  What we HAVE is war.” 

And then the line went dead.  I shrugged and left the office, giving Marti my “what the fuck was that lady?” look as I walked back to the conference room on legs that simply refuse to quit. 

She grimaced in that odd servile way people do around me sometimes “Sorry, I don’t know . . . I just . . . just . . .” 

“Just what?” I asked her, but she had already disappeared down behind her cube wall like a groundhog into its hole. 

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