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Single in the suburbs, part 116

Single in the suburbs, part 112

In our last installment, Sara was searching for a handyman on Craigslist and trying to assuage her guilt over her daughter’s complaints about having two divorced parents. However, the weekend is over and it’s back to the office to see what’s happened with the Terrible Turncoat Trio.

To read the entire series of articles from the beginning, click here.

Monday, 9:30 a.m.
I am standing at the reception desk picking through a candy dish full of Hershey’s Kisses and peanut M&Ms in search of a mini Twix bar. I am dying for chocolate and grateful to Maria for keeping this candy dish well stocked. Suddenly Steve’s secretary Gayle races through the room, looking frantic. “Does anyone have a Xanax?”

Marie offers a Tylenol apologetically. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. It’s not me. It’s Steve. He’s having, I don’t know, some kind of breakdown.” One of the other receptionists, a temp, says she has a Klonopin and starts digging through her purse.

Feeling some combination of joy, curiosity and a gnawing sense that I might be responsible for the boss’s breakdown, I stay rooted to the spot, pretending to be intensely interested in the mini Twix I just snagged.

Marie wants to know why Steve’s freaking out. So do I. I hope this doesn’t have anything to do with me. Oh, jeez. It’s got to be the international post. I bet he didn’t get it. I bet Sasha Cogan gave it to Christina Spencer.

“He just found out…” Gayle is whispering now. I’m standing stock still now, pretending to be invisible.

“He just found out he’s been fired. Cogan called him into her office first thing this morning.” Gayle’s eyes are bugged out and Marie’s covering her mouth in shock. As for me, I’m taking my chocolate and preparing to skip all the way down the hallway to my office. I’m dying to know if it had anything to do with the porn. Oh, my God. Could I have taken down the king?

The next question is, what’s going to happen to those other two creeps, Burt and Charmaine?

Monday, 9:45 a.m.

I’m back at my desk trying to absorb the news and wondering what this means for the investigation. Will these jackasses finally leave me alone and let me get back to work? I’m about to email Stan Able when Charmaine walks into my office. She looks ashen. Could this be the answer to my prayers? Has Charmaine S. Blith been fired, too?

She stands in the doorway with her hands folded primly at her waist. Staring down at the floor, she dully informs me that the investigation is over and that all my former duties have been reinstated. I will go back to reporting to my direct supervisor.

I can’t help but take the opportunity to take a jab at her: “This must be so hard for you, Charmaine. It seemed like you were really enjoying your new responsibilities.” I feel tremendous satisfaction watching pink blotches appear on her face and neck, a lovely indicator of her discomfort with my comment.

The nightmare is finally over! It was the sort of experience that makes me wonder whether I’m cut out for the corporate world. I was hired to do a job and became swept up in a soap opera that had nothing to do with work and everything to do with sex, power, and bruised egos. A good employee (me) was unfairly targeted, then made to suffer through a bogus investigation. If I hadn’t had the good fortune to catch Steve looking at an X-rated Web site (and hadn’t had a unique connection to Sasha Cogan), I probably would have been demoted or fired. I’m glad it’s over, but I doubt things will ever be back to normal. I’m feeling pretty strafed right now.

The thing is, I don’t want to be here anymore. I don’t want to be anywhere near Burt or Charmaine, or even my boss who retreated like a whipped dog instead of coming to my defense. If the economy was a little better I’d consider looking for another job. But I know there’s nothing out there for me right now. If I had the math skills, I might even go back to school for a nursing degree; there are plenty of jobs for nurses, but not too many for marketing/communications/writing types like me. I might as well learn to be an astronaut. I passed chemistry by the skin of my teeth.

Monday, 5:45 p.m.

I still can’t believe it: I took down a giant! On the way home I stop and pick up a bottle of Korbel and flirt shamelessly with the young guy behind the counter. He has an eyebrow piercing and is wearing a red Che Guevara T-shirt. He eyes the champagne and wants to know what I’m celebrating. I tell him I had a victory at work and I’m throwing myself a little party.

I’m tempted to ask if he might like to help me but, really, he’s just a kid. Then he gives me this knee-buckling smile and he asks me if he can buy me dinner sometime.

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”.

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