When we last left our writer, she was fretting away the time until her work interrogation began armed with the knowledge that she’d seen scumbag Steve watching porn in the office, on his work computer! Will the tables get turned on her accusers? Read on to find out.
To read the entire series of articles from the beginning, click here.
Tuesday, 6 p.m.
I spent all day trying to decide how best to handle the situation. I’m certainly not going to keep my mouth shut about Steve, the big hypocrite. Here he is, viewing porn in his office, while orchestrating a bogus investigation of me because I was glancing at an online-dating site! But what, really, are my options? All three of these characters – Steve, Charmaine and Burt are heavily entrenched in the incestuous and corrupt old-boy network, while I’m a relative outsider. I only started working here after my divorce. I wasn’t born and raised in this town; I’m not part of the townie mafia.
Then again, neither is Sasha Cogan. She’s the new CEO of the parent company and is the mother of Jessica Cogan, who happens to be my daughter’s best friend. I’ve never met Sasha, but I hear that she’s a shrewd powerhouse with little patience for the insular and self-interested townie mentality. All of her new hires are big-city transplants, and one of the first things she did when she got here against loud protestations from the old-timers was to dismantle the patronage system, the free courtside tickets and Cuban cigars offered routinely to old farts who did nothing to deserve them. Maybe she’d be willing to talk to me about this mess.
Loves To Cook, Doesn’t Want Kids has sent me another installment of his life story, along with some photos. There’s one of him and his saxophone (is it my imagination, or is a sax the sexiest accessory ever?), another of him on a fishing boat and a third of him as a little boy (awww).
He mentions that the last few months have been the longest single period he has gone without a woman in his life it’s been 10 weeks since his last serious relationship. This comment raises a little red flag for me. Ten weeks isn’t very long. I wonder if he’s the kind of person who can’t be alone. Is he looking for a real partner or just a “plug and play”, as my IT friend Paul likes to say. In other words, would any willing female fit the bill? And if he’s the kind of guy who can’t be alone, I wonder whether he is capable of waiting for my work situation to calm down before our first date. I don’t like feeling like I’m playing beat the clock.
I’m just about to email him back when a chat box pops up on the screen. At this point I close my office door because who knows what Charmaine would do if she found me chatting online. It’s LTC. He wants to video chat. Oh, no. I look horrible today. Suddenly I understand why Jane Jetson always “put on her face” (literally a mask) before a video chat. Video chat is great, but it has at least one drawback, and this is it. I quickly slap on some lipstick and blush and wait for his call.
Oh. My. God. He’s adorable. I didn’t get this from his photos but now I realize that LTC looks a lot like Tony Danza. “I wanted to see if you were as beautiful as you look in your pictures”, he says.
Now my face is burning. “I hope I didn’t disappoint”. Lame.
“Quite the contrary. How are you holding up, sugar?” Ooh. His voice has a little twang. Very nice. “So when are you going to let me take you out?”
“Soon. I promise. I just need to get through this crap at work”. He makes a little pouty face. “I’m sorry. It’s just that I don’t think I’ll make very good company right now. It’s awful here.”
“Got it. I won’t pester you anymore. I’ll take my cue from you, OK?”
“Thanks”. I don’t know what else to say. “Soon. I promise.”
It seems like he logged off pretty quickly after that. I may be imagining this, but I think he was mad at me. Am I wrong to make him wait?
Wednesday, 7 p.m.
I’m still in my office because Charmaine dumped a pile of busy work outside my office door, which I had closed so I could chat with LTC. Everything in this stack is due tomorrow at 8 a.m. I feel like the miller’s daughter in the tale of Rumpelstiltskin. Isn’t that the story where the king challenges the poor girl to turn a roomful of straw into gold? I know exactly what’s going on here. They’re trying to break me. They won’t fire me (that would require paying me unemployment). They just want me to quit. It’s not going to happen.
Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.
Her novel, Wife Living Dangerously, is now available. Click here to read the previous installment of “Single in the suburbs”.