Mister Bink Habit

by Michael Frissore

Franklin quit smoking a month ago. After that he went through the patch and nicotine gum and claimed they didn't work. Then he sat in his office with a pacifier in his mouth. Once that started, other than to eat, I never saw him without it. Everyone laughed at him and Maurice in Accounting Photoshopped a picture of Franklin wearing only a baby diaper and e-mailed it to everyone.

He thought he could make it look cool by handling it like a pipe. One morning I asked him what would happen if we didn't get the Silva Report to our client on time. He casually removed the pacifier from his mouth and said in a deep voice, "Well, Mark. They'll just have to wait. Won't they?"

"Franklin," I said. "Take that stupid binky out of your mouth. You look like a fool."

"It's not a binky," Franklin said. "It's a pacifier, and a pretty darn cool one."

"Because it says 'rock 'n roll' on it? No, it's not cool."

"I have a skull and crossbones one too."

For two weeks he had that thing in his mouth. He took it out and flipped it over and over like a coin. During meetings he chewed on it and the sound gave the entire room the heebie-jeebies. If I was at my desk eating yogurt, he came over and stuck it in my cup and said, "You gonna eat that?"

Finally we hid both binkies on him. It was embarrassing watching him panic over trying to find these baby nipples. When he couldn't he turned to his thumb. The bosses would not let Franklin meet clients while he was sucking his thumb. The bink was ridiculous enough.

They couldn't fire him because they knew this was probably a mental illness and Franklin would sue the company and probably win. So they drew up a contract. It sounds absurd, but what else would you expect in the business world? They gave Franklin his binkies back, plus a couple of new ones with the company logo on them because the ones he was using stank and had holes in them from overuse. The contract stated Franklin could not use the pacifiers during meetings, whether in house or with clients.

Soon he became the Two Bink Kid. If I was talking to him he would stop, take one bink out of his mouth and insert another one he had been holding, then later switch them back again. Plus, during meetings he would break down and cry, "Binky!" until someone gave him one of his pacifiers.

BIO: Michael Frissore has a chapbook called Poetry is Dead (Coatlism, 2009) and a blog called michaelfrissore.blogspot.com. His writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Dzanc Books' "Best of the Web" anthology, and included in humor journals alongside the likes of Sarah Silverman and Patton Oswalt. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in over 70 publications in six countries, including most recently in Pyrta, Pulp Metal Magazine, Jersey Devil Press, and Houston Literary Review. Mike grew up in Massachusetts and lives in Oro Valley, Arizona with his wife and son.