Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The office follies, part 1

Wednesday. 1:00. My phone rings. The number does not look familiar.

"This is Steve."

"Hey, Steve, it's Stephanie!"

How the fuck did she get this number? Think, think.

I seem to recall giving her my business card at one point. I always carry 9 or 10 cards in my wallet, and I write my cell phone number on a few of them, for when I'm giving them out for personal use.

"Hey, Steph!" To be honest, with her having a boyfriend and with her blowing me the first night, I didn't expect to hear from her again.

I love leaving a girl's house and not asking her for her number, or where she works. I love not knowing her last name or where she's from. I love the feeling of power, the feeling of not being some weakling who is begging to see the girl again. That's just what happened with Stephanie. I figured there was not much chance of getting with her long-term, so I just said my goodbyes and left.

"How's your week going, Steve?"

"OK, yours?"

"Good! I can't see out of one eye, though."

I laugh. "Yeah, sorry about that."

"That STINGS, you know. I hope you appreciate it!"

"Guess I better lay off the hot sauce, eh?"

She chuckles. "I am so crazy with studying. I have an exam on Friday." Stephanie is a second-year law student.

"What kind of exam?"

"Contract law. Boring stuff."

"Yikes," I say.

"Hey listen," she says. "You, ahhhm, you kinda, errrr, left something here the other night."

What could I have left there? I have my wallet, and my keys. It couldn't be anything important.

"Like what?"

"Well, it's, small, and square, and....I guess it fell outta your pocket..."

Holy shit! My condom!

I always carry one with me wherever I go. But when she was blowing me, my pants were down, completely off, actually, and it must have fallen out.

"Oops!" I say.

"Oops is right!" she replies.

"Hey, I just want you to know, I always carry one of those. I wasn't being presumptuous."

"Of course not! You didn't know you were going to meet me when you left home," she says.


"So, do you need this back," she chuckles.

"Nah, that one's used, anyway," I say.



"Ahhh!" she says. "Hey listen, Steve, while I have you..."

"Hm?" Is she going to ask me out?

"What are you doing this weekend?"

"Nothing much. Why?"

"God, I am gonna need to decompress after this exam."

"You wanna have a drink on Friday night?"

"I wanna go see Shark Tale!" She says.

I really hate going to movies with girls. If you're on a date, it's because you like each other and want to get to know each other better. And exactly how the HELL are you going to do that sitting in the dark? Now, of course, some interesting things can happen with the lights out, but unless it's some turkey of a film that no one cares about, or the movie is in its 15th week of release, there's gonna be seven teenage kids three feet away from you chomping popcorn, so your chances of getting anywhere are slim.

Plus, I love to comment on movies as I am watching. When Paulie and I get going, we are just as funny as MST 3000.

If I actually go to a theater and have to sit through a movie, quietly, it's going to be for something that looks really special. I went to all the Lord of the Rings movies on the day they came out, and I also saw The Passion of the Christ, (AKA The Jesus Ass-kicking Movie). These were major motion picture events. You'll never catch me at Bad Boys II or Pirates of the Carribean. It's just not worth it to me, timewise or moneywise.

"How 'bout dinner?" I say.

"How 'bout not?" she says. "I REALLY want to see it!!"

She hasn't made a good case, but to keep fighting it now would make me look petty. I think I will defer to her wishes, at least this time.

"Well, seeing that it's you," I say.


Bonnie sticks her head in my office. "Steve, Fred McCrory is on line 6. He doesn't sound happy."

My office phone rings. "Who is that," I say.

Bonnie shrugs. "I didn't transfer it to you."

DAMMIT! I have very strict instructions not to transfer calls to me directly. "Bonnie, answer that and find out who transferred it," I snap.

She heads back to her desk and picks up the phone. My phone rings again.

What the fuck?

"Hey, Steph, I gotta run."

"K. Call me before Friday so we can make plans!"

I pick up my office phone. "This is Steve."

"Steve, goddammit, this is Fred McCrory!"

Shit. That was the call Bonnie wanted to transfer to me.

I didn't want to talk to Fred yet. I like to prepare for a nasty phone call by knowing all possible information. Now I'm stuck.

"Fred, what can I do for you?" I never ask how someone is when they are angry. We already know the answer, don't we: "I'm LOUSY!" Why give them a chance to say it?

"Steve, what the HELL are you guys doing up there? I have $3000 in reimbursements that have yet to be paid! I got bills to pay!" Fred says. Fred is our naitonal sales manager. Total head case.

"What the hell are we DOING?" I say, sarcastically.

"Steve, I-"

"Fred, we are running those through accounting to make sure there's backup on everything. It slows it down by a day or so. "

"When were you planning on telling me this? That's a lot of money, Steve!"

"What did Tim say when you called him about this?" Tim handles most of our accounts payables. This is an old trick, guys. I'm hoping he didn't call Tim first. Psychos like this guy usually go over people's heads.

"His damn voice mail is on all the time. He never answers his phone. I WANT my damn money!"

"CALL TIM, FRED." I say, firmly.

"You better get your act together up there! I don't know what the hell is going on-"

Dom is standing in the doorway. He is pale and frightened-looking. I pull the receiver away from my ear and look up at him.

"Lila just quit," he says.