The User Pool - 5. Kornfeld
Updated: Jun 15, 2022
On the day Mulhausen shot the CIO in weekly staff, I ignored Blair until after lunch when she finally decided she didn’t hate me anymore, which meant she no longer had to pretend to like me.
The more Blair hated me, the more she had to pretend to like me; otherwise, people might think we were fucking. The more you act like a couple, the more you are a couple. On the other hand, the more she liked me, the more she pretended to hate me; otherwise, people would also think we were fucking. The more you don’t act like a couple, the more you are a couple. When she liked me, the best way to pretend she didn’t like me was to ignore me completely in meetings.
After lunch, Blair and I had a meeting with her boss Kornfeld, the Director of Finance. He was an angry, defensive, bitterly small man riddled with a Napoleon complex. He was also a very sickly man who would never admit he had anything, although he always had something. If it was something that kept him from coming to work, he always remained in complete denial. He once had pneumonia but insisted it was only walking pneumonia, which just means that you feel better than you are. He refused to lie down even for a moment, because if he did lie down, his illness would no longer be walking pneumonia but rather full-blown pneumonia—which everyone knows requires weeks of bed rest. So, he continued to stagger around the office grimly until he finally collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. He had come to work with the flu, gastroenteritis, Valley Fever, and even a black widow spider bite on his left thigh. There was a leprosy scare for a while, but it turned out to be eczema.
Kornfeld prided himself on his ability to be unreasonable because the more unreasonable he was, the less he had to do. Being unreasonable was his way of making sure he always had nothing to do. Nobody likes dealing with an unreasonable person, and if he could prove to be the most unreasonable executive, people would avoid asking him to do anything the most. I always asked him to do things, which really pissed him off, since everyone else avoided him because he was so unreasonable. I pretended not to notice he was being the most unreasonable executive and instead thanked him as if he were being the most reasonable executive. This frustrated him to no end.
Kornfeld was extremely uncomfortable during meetings with Blair and me when she liked me because she ignored me completely. When I’d ask Blair a finance question, she would turn to Kornfeld and answer as if he had posed the question. Kornfeld would just stare at her not knowing what to say since he didn't ask the question, and in fact, already knew the answer to the question since he was the Director of Finance.
When Blair asked a question about one of my technology projects, she would direct it at Kornfeld as if he were going to provide the answer. This confused Kornfeld greatly, but before he could say anything, I would answer the question. Blair would then graciously thank Kornfeld.
Kornfeld felt much more comfortable in meetings with Blair and me when Blair hated me because that's when Blair didn’t ignore me because she was pretending to like me. In this particular meeting, Kornfeld was surprised because things had been going so well for so long in meetings with Blair and me, but only because things had been going so badly for so long with Blair and me.
I knew Blair had forgiven me because she categorically ignored me during the entire meeting.
“Just so that we’re all on the same page,” I began amicably. “Can you explain the current Company policy on capitalizing technology projects?”
Blair scowled at Kornfeld. “How many times do you need this explained to you?”
Kornfeld winced and wormed in his chair uncomfortably.
“It keeps changing,” I said, staring directly at Blair who continued to glower at Kornfeld.
“Two years ago, it was any project over $200k. Last year, it was $250k. This year? Who knows? Maybe I should ask Plotkin. At least he’ll give me a straight answer.”
“Plotkin? Who the fuck is Plotkin?” Blair barked with a blaze of red, smoldering fire behind her black, beautiful, vicious eyes that unwaveringly and flagrantly indicted Kornfeld. “He’s Accounting.”
I paused momentarily just to watch Kornfeld’s reaction. His eyes erratically darted back and forth between me and Blair; with his brow furrowed, his jaw clenched, his resolve obliterated.
“I feel like Accounting establishes the rules,” I finally said, provoking Blair. And while this surely irritated her considerably from a business perspective, personally she enjoyed it because I was being so playful while she pretended to dislike me in front of Kornfeld because she adored me once again.
This was the game we played. Every single fucking day.