The Promotion – part 4

Eve’s heart pounded as she walked through the main office, leaving Betty behind to struggle with her self-imposed mess.

Several clerks looked up and smiled or nodded. Without making eye contact with them she quickly made her way to the factory. What will I do?  Just look busy—like I’m supposed to be there.

US Navy 110323-N-BR887-014 David Green new mac...Two large metal doors automatically swung open at her approach. The plant layout of large columns, rows of work stations and one hundred and twelve employees sporting required safety glasses as they rushed between stations and ante-rooms was like another planet to Eve. The din of  manufacturing bounced from metal walls. The air reeked of cutting oil and she rubbed her forearm to ward off the stale air. She scurried to the visitor station to grab a pair of glasses.

With a deep, long sigh, she slowly walked the main aisle and several of the workers looked up with surprise and expectation. Each time she quickly grinned and looked to the next station. She pulled out a sheet of paper and pen to ward off any curious or friendly chatter.

What in hell am I doing here? Okay—okay, think! Ask questions? What questions? Damn. Here comes Phil with someone. “Hi Phil. Can I speak with you a minute?” Eve squeaked.

Phil’s eyes widen as his bushy eyebrows moved up. “Sure, Eve. What’s up? Just finishing with Joanie, here. Be with you in a sec.”

“That’s okay, just a few minutes with you. Sorry, Joanie.”

“No problem, Eve, Phil and I just finished anyway. Got to get back to my station. Bye.”

Duly noted

Duly noted (Photo credit: wsilver)

Phil gestured toward his office and Eve obliged by leading the way. What am I doing? Her heart beat faster, her hands trembled and she tripped over the threshold. Phil grabbed her waist to prevent the fall, but the folders she carried dropped to the floor and papers spilled in a scattered pattern in front and under his desk. “Damn it!” Eve blurted out loud.

“You okay? Your face is red. You want to sit down?”

The flush quickly crept from her cheeks to her neck.  “No, it’s all right. Like a fool, I—I just tripped.  I am a jogger—joggers don’t fall—you know.”

“You’re no fool. A runner are ya? Well there ain’t too many women joggers I know of. I used to jog. Been thinking of taking it up again. Work around here has been pretty strenuous lately—need to do something ‘fore I get myself a heart attack.”

“Oh. Well running helps me solve problems. Kinda,” Eve mumbled as she eyed the remnants of the paper storm. She quickly squatted to reach for the folders. Phil knelt to rescue the papers from under his desk.

“Where do these go? Don’t want to shuffle your papers. Then you’d have to start sorting over again.”

Phil’s a nice guy. Pick up your papers and—take your time. “Thanks Phil. Sorry about this. You, ah, probably have lots of things to do?”

“Well, I can help for a bit. Got to get ready for 11:30.  Supervisor meeting with the front office. You can sit at my desk if you need to sort things out.”

“Thanks. I’ll do that.”

“So. What can I do for you?” he asked.

“What do you mean? Oh—yes. You know, maybe this is not a good time. Let’s do this later,” Eve’s brow furrowed.

Phil stood up, paused a few seconds, checked his watch. “Well, if you want to. Ain’t too important I suppose. Let me know next time. Make an appointment, and I’ll be all yours,” he smiled broadly and winked as he walked to the door. “Better yet! How about lunch? We can talk then.”

“Uh, sorry, I’m booked up then.”

“Tell you what. Let me take you out to dinner. My treat. Been wanting to get all gussied up and go somewhere nice to eat. Say yes or I’ll be hurt.”

“Uh, sorry.”

“For what? Not accepting a date? Bet you don’t go out much. You’ll be sorry you didn’t accept, won’t know what you’re missing. You’ll have a good time. I’ll see to it.”

“What do you mean?”

Movie Theater

Movie Theater (Photo credit: roeyahram)

“A good meal, dance, a movie, a jog… . Whatever you like. We can talk. Get to know each other. Be friends. What do you say? Change your mind?”

Eve’s brow furrowed deeper as heat crept from her cheeks to her neck. “I’ll think about it, Phil.”

“Be back at 12:45. You know how to reach me,” he smiled, lingered a few seconds then walked away.

Eve quietly shut the door, picked up the papers then re-sorted them at Phil’s desk. Supervisors meeting. Betty will be there with her report. What report? Why is Phil stressed about work?

He’s kinda good looking—bet he’s been with Betty… . No. Don’t think like that! He is handsome.

Eve smiled. Thanks Betty.

The Promotion – part 3

English: Female Jogger on Coleman Avenue in Mo...I read somewhere that jogging is a great way to solve problems. Well, let’s see if that works. Lots of traffic—Monday morning is always worse. After a weekend lots of people wake up late.

Wonder if Betty will show up. Five-day weekend. Hah! Three months as a supervisor and she sneaks out like that. Where does she get off doing that? Do I tell George? First thing—you bet! Problem solved.

Cool morning for August. Great jogging weather. Now for a tall glass of o. j. to keep me going. No cinnamon roll—Gotta lose weight.

7:05 AM, George was back. Already in his office—early as usual. “Is the coffee on?” Eve asked. Sandy turned from her receptionist desk pointing to the cafeteria as her other hand picked up the phone. The room bustled with fellow employees and department supervisors as each grabbed a quick coffee before going to their stations. The table was laden with pastries! “What prompted this terrific offering of calories this morning?” Eve laughed. No one responded as they picked through doughnuts, and turnovers. “Aw-w-w, dang, I promised—no cinnamon roll this morning.”

“Ain’t any cinnamon roll here, Eve. So go for it,” Jeff, the assistant manager, grinned as he bit into his powdered, jelly doughnut.

“No. That’s not the point. I promised myself to stay away from… . Well, actually, I meant ‘cinnamon roll’ to be any kind of pastry. You know what I mean?”

Jeff chuckled, “I understand. But c’mon. It’s free! Enjoy! Make you feel guilty as hell, but then you’ll be in good company. George bought ’em. Got to please the boss. Right?”

2006-06-27 - VeganDonuts-0002“Speaking of George, have you talked to him lately?” Eve said.

“Yeah. A few minutes ago. Why?” Jeff licked the jelly from his fingers as he eyed the remaining pastries.

“Oh, just wondered. He mention anything about—Betty?”

“Your new supervisor? Nope. How she doing? She sure looks happy these days. You know, she was the cr… .” Jeff leaned over and whispered, “Uh, don’t repeat this, but she was one bitch of a crabby gal when she worked in the plant. Never happy—about anything. But that seems to have changed since she got that job. How in hell did she become your supervisor? But as long as she’s happy… . Even the way she is, I like her—some looker for her age, the way she walks and talks to us guys—well, I mean, the way she, uh… . Well, it ain’t important, but she sure is something, ain’t she?”

“She sure is.” Can’t believe it! Jeff! Falling for Betty?

The crowd dispersed and very few pastries remained. Eve found a seat at the table—an effort to dismiss Jeff. She inattentively picked up a glazed pastry.

I don’t want to hear about Betty’s charm. What am I doing? A turnover! Blueberry. I can’t put it back. Not sanitary. Well, maybe I’ll eat it instead of lunch. She placed it in a napkin and caught Jeff’s smile as she walked out, “You’re in good company!” Eve nodded without a smile and retreated to her desk.

She turned to the window as a car sped through the parking lot. Betty’s new car. Purchased two days after her promotion. “Got to look the part,” she had said and insisted on showing Eve her “new toy” at lunch time.

My car, old “bondo-buggy”, serves me well and I’ve been here five years. Just how much is she being paid? No matter, I gotta talk to George—later.

High-Heels - Made in Italy

High-Heels – Made in Italy (Photo credit: Fashion Unlimited)

Betty burst into the office with one minute to spare. “Hi, Eve. Got that quarterly report for me? Hope there’s coffee out there! Got to get my caffeine fix! I’ll be back!” She scampered across the hall in six inch heels, and a new suit accompanied by a see-through blouse with a delicate, lacy bra peeking through, emphasizing her cleavage.

Jeff stepped out of the cafeteria as Betty brushed past him. He dropped his sugared crueller and spattered his coffee on his white shirt. “Damn it Betty, look what you gone make me d… ,” he fell silent. Standing in the doorway, he watched her in the cafeteria then barely moved aside as she ambled through the doorway. Betty reached down, picked up his crueller, then slowly pressed a napkin on his stained shirt. He grinned as he took both crueller and napkin from her hand and dabbed at the coffee stain himself. She leaned toward him, just a little, took a bite of his crueller, winked and slowly walked across the hallway back to her desk.  Jeff watched and dabbed, “Have a good day, Betty, don’t spill your coffee on your new blouse. If you do, I’ll be obliged to dab it off for you,” he chuckled.

I see what you mean, Jeff. ‘She sure is something, ain’t she?’ Eve shook her head.

“Got that report ready?” Betty practically sang.

“Uh. Yeah. Somewhat.”

“Oh. Well, that’s better ‘n nothing, I suppose. What you got?”

Eve handed over three days’ worth of printed data from New Jersey. “This is it.”

“Okay. What do I tell George? You got a written report?”

“No. You’ll have to do that yourself.”

“What? Nothing?”

“You got it. That’s your job, Betty. I got my job to do—they don’t pay overtime around here for doing someone else’s job.” Eve sat with her back to Betty and smiled at her calm frankness.

Shucks, I may not have to talk to George after all. That’s a relief. She’ll look like a fool with no quarterly report.

Betty quickly shut the door on her way to her desk.

What is she doing? Eve turned as Eve flipped through the report and began writing on a notepad. With eyebrows knotted, face flushed her hand trembled just so slightly as she lifted a cigarette to her lips. Just then, she caught Eve’s eye, “Eve, I’d like you to… .”

“Excuse me, Betty, I have a meeting to go to. I’ll be back later.” Eve pulled out three folders from her desk, quickly left the room and headed for the plant.

Don’t know what I’ll do there, but I want to get away. Two people can play this game, Betty.

The Promotion – part 2

“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.”

English: An office chair that can swivel and b...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.”

“What?”

“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.”

“When?”

English: : A mirror, reflecting a vase. Españo...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 to talk about 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.

Ashtray

Ashtray (Photo credit: @ARRGch)

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!”

The Promotion – part 1

Ashtray

Ashtray (Photo credit: @ARRGch)

Betty? Promoted? She never worked in an office. She doesn’t understand computers. Heck! She probably never saw one. This is 1979, the age of computers! Telecommunications and computing.

“The black phone is not for personal calls, it’s a modem.”

“Oh,” Betty hacked a smoker’s cough as she sat at her newly assigned desk—the former supervisor’s desk. “What’s a modem, Eve?”

Harry up and left for what? A better job? Left me here to manage. I managed for three weeks. I can do his job—Harry’s assurance as he balanced his heavy box of stuff out the door. He had a degree in business and experience in data analysis. Betty’s credentials? Production work in the plant for how many years? How old is she? Her generation never used computers. She’s looks 40-ish.

Eve inhaled, smiled and touched the black phone sitting on her desk. “Modem is an acronym for Modulator/Demodulator. It’s a phone line dedicated to communicate with another modem connected by a network.  We send digitized bits of data from a computer to the mainframe at head-quarters through this dedicated phone. The signal is modulated into electrical signals for transmission over phone lines and it is then demodulated by another modem at head-quarters to receive the digital data.” She sipped her coffee to hide a smirk.

Betty coughed “Oh—I see.  Headquarters. That’s New Jersey. All the way from Maine over to there? By phone? Without talking to anyone? Hmm. It can’t take too long for me to understand all of this computer stuff. I been working production for fifteen years here.  Done some quality control and shipping too for about six years. So I’ll be able to learn how that acronym equipment works. You agree?”

“Ever work with computers?”

“Never.”

“Are you from around here?”

“Yep.”

“So you graduated from a local high school?”

“Uh, not quite. Well—yeah.”

“What is it? Yes or no?”

“I quit when I was sixteen—going on seventeen!”

“So you quit in your junior year?”

“No—freshman,” she mumbled, pulled out a cigarette then reached for the ashtray. Betty bared her teeth as she grimaced. “You didn’t clean the ashtray.”

“I don’t smoke—I don’t do ashtrays.”

“Never smoked, Eve? Or quit?”

“Never. A waste of money. Bad for the lungs,” Eve paused as the plant manager rushed by the door heading for his office.

Betty stood up quickly, “So it is. So—it is. Uh, excuse me, will you? Gotta wash this out before I use it. I hate filth.” Betty pulled her shoulders back, lifting her chin high as she daintily held the offensive ashtray with forefinger and thumb and sashayed out of the office.

“Don’t you think we better get started first—Betty?”

Betty disappeared around the corner.

Eve’s smirk changed to a sneer.

So Harry had a falling out with the manager. Two strong-willed men and the subordinate makes a bad move. Never argue with the boss, Harry.

See what you’ve done to me, Harry? You got a new job, and I got… Betty.

Compose yourself!

Eve used the free time to re-arrange her desk and organize files for Betty. Twenty minutes later, she groaned as she began the day’s data entry due by 2:00 PM, transmitted by 3:00, received and verified by New Jersey by 4:30 then printed on the line printer before 5:00. She gritted her teeth, Where the hell is Betty?

As Eve focused on keying data Betty and the plant manager entered the room. The clock indicated fifty-eight minutes since she left.

“Hello George. Betty. You forget the ashtray?”

“Oh. Uh… I put it somewhere. Maybe I left it in your office, George. Did you notice it?” Betty coughed a chuckle as she placed her fingers over her lips and smiled with chin up and chest out—pointing to the plant manager.

“Oh, bother,” Eve mumbled and returned to the keyboard.

“What, dear?” Betty patted Eve’s shoulder.

2010-02-04 09-42-53 Office Wall Clock - IMG_1560

2010-02-04 09-42-53 Office Wall Clock – IMG_1560 (Photo credit: Degilbo on flickr)

George glanced at the clock and out the door, “I have to go. Eve, teach Betty everything she has to know. She’s got lots to learn. Make it quick. Let me know if you need anything to make it happen.” He dashed back to his office. Betty’s hand rose slightly as if to touch his arm, but she immediately retracted its movement and stuffed the errant hand in her silk, slacks’ pocket.

“I’ll be back. Got to find that ashtray so I can wash it.”

What on earth… ? She’s been here for two hours and hasn’t done a thing. “We got lots to do,” Eve shouted as Betty disappeared around the corner once more.