’This is your living example of the very things I’ve been talking about.’ She vilified the De Maria brother in a harsh voice. ‘This is just the sort of oily, mealymouthed parasite—this reptile,’ she went on, ‘the yellow little reptile—who comes sneaking out of his hole at the first sign of a crumb on the floor. He can’t dress himself. He can’t add up a column of figures. He has a vocabulary of about four hundred words. But when no on is looking, this little Latin bag of tricks will walk off with your silverware, your umbrella, your tables and chairs, and your life savings!’
As Mrs. Fitzgibbons lashed away at her ex-employee, she maintained a rigid posture and a very drained expression. The restaurant had fallen silent on all sides, especially as the target of Mrs. Fitzgibbon’s wrath stood transfixed in horror before her. Laurence De Maria’s fear passed description. He couldn’t move.
—meet Frankie Fitzgibbons, the protagonist of Raymond Kennedy’s Ride a Cockhorse, who mysteriously emerges from her mundane life as a widowed home-loan officer in a small-town Massachussetts bank to become the domineering, conniving, high-school drum major-seducing terror of the town. Here she is berating Laurence De Maria, a former popular teller at her bank who she fired as her first action as the new C.E.O. De Maria gets his revenge after the meal, attacking her in the parking lot with a two-by-four, but only succeeds in hitting her beautician and getting arrested. Mrs. Fitzgibbons shows little evidence of mercy, but does see the incident as an important lesson on the pitfalls of power, and a reason to be extremely paranoid.