“How do you like my new hairdo, Eve?”
Platinum? It had been a different blond with streaks of other coloring. What is that called? Frosting… . No—frosted! Coloring to cover little grey hairs. Grey hair? Hair turns pure white, not shades of white.
“Looks nice, Betty. The color is perfect for your complexion. Nice cut too—makes you look— younger.”
Betty’s eyes widened as she smiled. She reached for her compact mirror from her new sequined purse, fingered a few locks and tilted her head side to side with eyes fixed on her reflection. “I been wanting to do this for years. After my promotion, I took the plunge to have it done. It nearly took a month to get the appointment at Chez David’s. She glanced at the clock and wriggled in her padded, swivel chair. “I wonder when George will be in.”
“Is he expecting you? Is there a problem with the report or your computer? If there is, maybe I can help.”
“Oh! No, Eve. Everything is fine. But since you mentioned it, there is something I’d like you to do for me. I want you to analyze the hard copy, verify the information and tell me what it says and stuff. You know—what you think about it and the recommendations I should make to George. Stuff like that.”
“I said, I want you to… .”
“I know what you said.”
“Oh. Then just do it and let me know what you come up with. I have to go. I’ll be back in a little while.”
“ !” Betty frowned as she stepped to the mirror, which she had installed near the office door her second day as supervisor. She slowly pulled her shoulders back, raised her chin, tugged her sweater down over her chest and walked out the door.
How can she ask me that? Do her work too? When will I have time to do my job? And she’s paid as a supervisor? She’s been here three months. Her performance is dreadful. Most of the time she talks about her ex-husband who works in the other office. They’re friends—so she says. Not from my perspective. What did he see in her? Well, she probably was a looker when she was young—still is, I suppose. And she works that to her advantage. Stop it! Get to work—your work. Betty can go to hell!
George arrived late and suited for a party or a barbecue. Loud, colorful shirt, open collar, sandals, great tan, new haircut.
What is this—new haircut day and no one told me? No briefcase. Maybe he isn’t staying. Vacation with his wife? Maybe entertaining a new client at the beach. We are near the ocean and that makes sense.
Soon Betty returned to the office with a broad smile. As she reached for a cigarette from her desk drawer she giggled, “How are you doing on the report?”
“Betty, we have toabout that.”
“I know, but I forgot to tell you, I have to leave early today. So we’ll talk after I get back. I’m meeting an old girl-friend I haven’t seen in years! Flying in from California. We just have a ball together. Can’t let her down. You know what it’s like. So, we’ll talk after.”
Just then, George rushed by, smiled, waved, spoke with the receptionist and left the building.
After I acknowledged his greeting, I turned to Betty who quickly picked up her purse, pulled a large L.L.Bean bag filled to the brim with packages and what appeared as a champagne bottle from under her desk. She dropped her unlit cigarette into her ashtray, now filled to the brim with old butts, and rushed toward the door. “Got to go or I’ll be late. See you Monday!”
“What? See me Monday? That’s—five days. A five-day weekend!” I stared at her desk reflected in the mirror. An old girl-friend? Bet they’re drinking buddies! Does George know about this? She waited for him to leave so she could skip out. That’s why she wants me to do her work so he won’t find out and fire her. She should be fired. I’d fire her. No, George, I don’t want to help Betty that much.
“We gotta talk, Betty, we gotta talk!”