4:30 a.m. Beep, beep, beep. Let it ring up to 30 seconds max. 4:31 a.m. Damn. Too long.
Ummmm. Aroma. Smell that fresh brewed coffee set on a timer.

Get up, take off the shirt and aim for the laundry hamper. Swoosh. Yes.

Spin. Grab coffee (left hand). Open fringe (elbow). Milk (right hand). Splash. Spin. Put away. Close fridge door. Done. Thirty seconds. Not bad. Wait, milk in hand and coffee in fridge, reverse that. 30 second penalty.

Rush into the bathroom, careful not to spill the coffee. Rush into the shower, again, careful not to spill the coffee. Soap, right hand. Coffee, left hand. Scrub, sip, switch and repeat. Towel dry body and leave cup in the bathroom sink. The housekeeper will get it.

Now get dressed. Tuck in the shirt on the way to the elevator, and mangle tie on the way down to the parking garage.

No traffic at this time of morning, like usual…and in the office by 4:55, exactly. Five minutes for personal email.

What’s this? A card for Ellen? She’s a sweetheart. You’d have an extramarital with her, if the opportunity presented itself. She’s married, not you—so not that much risk. You’re the last one to sign, and they gave you the entire back page of the card:

“Ellen, sweetheart,

“Congratulations. This is a special day for you. I expect big things for you this year.
Let me take you to dinner to celebrate.

Ciao,
Mark”

A little over the top, but you are the last one to sign. Now seal it and send it inter-office. Done. As good as delivered.

5:02. Damn, damn, damn. Al ready two minutes behind. Time to work

And work…
And work…

Eighteen billable hours in one day, not bad. Time to sleep and dream of coffee in the shower.

*

PARTNER: Lennox and Ross LLP is one of the most reputable firms in this city. We’ve been around for a very, very long time.

ASSOCIATE: I know, sir. This firm is older than the country.

PARTNER: So we try to hire the brightest and the best. We expect a certain level, of well, decorum, from the people that work here.

ASS.: Absolutely, sir.

PARTNER: Mark, son, why did you write “Congratulations” on a condolence card to Ms. Sutton. Poor Ellen just lost her husband and you asked her out to dinner on a card signed by all the lawyers in this office. It’s just tasteless.

ASS.: I thought it was her birthday.

PARTNER: Did you even read the card?

MARK (to himself): Is this a test? Is he testing me?

ASS.: Of course.

PARTNER: Mark, maybe you need to take some time off. That’s not a suggestion. We think it would be best for everyone.

ASS.: What about the Colavito file?

PARTNER: Jenkins can take care of the Colavito file.

ASS.: Do you really think he’s good enough?
PARTNER: If he keeps working the way he has lately, he could be in the Hall of Fame one day.

ASS.: We’re talking about law, right, sir?

PARTNER: Mark, stay with me. You know what happened to Ellen, don’t you?

ASS.: No.

PARTNER: She killed herself.

ASS.: No!

PARTNER: YES!

ASS. How?

PARTNER: She arranged to have a piano fall on her head, just like the freak accident that killed her husband.

MARK (to himself): Try not to laugh. Hold it in. Bite your cheeks.

PARTNER: What are you doing with your face?

ASS.: [Sound of uncontrollable laughter.]

PARTNER: It’s time to go home, Mark…Like, now…Please, I have to get some work done…Just leave my office.

*

Mark D.’s Facebook updates for Tuesday:
10:30: is on vacation from the office today.
10:37: is actually on a vacation from the office until called back.
12:33: Ummm. Home cooked lunch. [JPEG attached.]
12:35: Comment from Freely G.: Bro, permanent vacation from the office = sweet. Hope u r getting paid. Btw, u can’t cook for shit. That looks like dog food.
12:37: Comment from Mark G.: I don’t know if I’m getting paid. Is that a bad thing?
12:38: Comment from Freely G.: Bro, if you’re on permanent vacation, and u r not getting paid, means u were fired. Just saying. LOL. Don’t worry, I know all about collecting disability.
12:39: Comment from Mark G.: FML.
2:14: Elly Sutton likes Mark G.’s status.
3: 18: is getting liked by some dead chick.
3:19: Elly Sutton likes Mark G.’s status.
3: 20: is getting stalked by the ghost of some dead chick.
*

Chat with Elly Sutton, started by Mark G. on Tuesday, 3:22:
– Hi
– Hiya
– What’s up? Why do you keep liking my status updates?
– Am I supposed to dislike them? Opps, there’s no button for that
– Very funny. You know what I mean
– No I don’t. Btw, you know you don’t have to start all your status updates with “is”. Facebook got rid of that years ago
– I know. It’s old skool kool. Why are we talking about my grammar? You’re supposed to be dead…
– Oh.
– Are you really dead?
– Yeah. This is the ghost of Elly Sutton reaching out to you through the internet.
– That’s just weird. Who is this?
– This is Elly. Who told you I was dead anyway?
– One of the partners.
– Sick. They prob used it as an excuse to fire you.
– I’m not fired. I’m on permanent vacation.
– Mark?
– Elly
– You’re not fired like I’m not alive
– Not sure I get that. What happened to you anyway?
– I quit. I’m starting my own firm, I guess they said I was dead so no one would join me.
– Smart
– Sick. Those guys will do anything
– Is your husband really dead?
– He’s dead to me. He cheated on me with one of my best friends. I’m so done with him.
– So who made up the story about the piano falling on his head?
– I did. What can I say? I watched too many cartons when I was a kid. And I wish a piano would really fall on his head.
– Remind me not to get you angry
– Lol. Are you going to live up to your promise?
– ? What promise?
– You said you’d buy me dinner to celebrate. We can talk about mergers and acquisitions.
– I was hoping it would be more…personal.
– So was I. M&A was just a…come on. Do ppl still use that phrase?
– Oh. *blush*
– See you around 8? By the old office?
– C u there.

 

Bryan Boodhoo

Bryan Boodhoo's work has appeared in a number of journals, include Descant, ARIEL, The Prairie Journal, and other places. He is the Artistic Director of Be(e) Right Back Productions, based out of Hamilton, Ontario.

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