Breakfast and a Cigarette: A Novella in Four Directions
(page 10 of 15)
Monday: nothing happens. Much time is used for telling weekend stories. Some of the fascinating subjects include movies seen, game scores, in-law horror tales, and romantic highlights (note: in case of marriage in excess of one year, food, furniture, and baby highlights may be substituted). The same stories must now be typed and emailed. Monday also includes the big two-hour “catch-up” lunch with friends. The most ambitious compile a “to-do” list for the remainder of the week, assuaging any guilt that may inadvertently surface toward the end of the day.
Tuesday: same as Monday.
Wednesday: the most pressing business is attended to, often merely postponing till the following week the most serious and energy-draining meetings, conferences, or deadlines. This massive amount of work is offset by hours of TV talk and celebrity news. Wednesday is also a good day for a few cocktails after work to help bridge that unbearable gap between weekends.
Thursday: phone calls are returned, often at lunch time, to avoid reaching the other party, thereby reducing the risk of tying up the afternoon with any obligations. Thursday is also marked by a flurry of phone calls and emails in preparation for the impending weekend, i.e. reservations, invitations, etc.
Friday: morning is the perfect time to compare notes on the upcoming weekend and make sure you won't be running into any of these people while you're not actually getting paid to be in the same room with them. If you're back by four o'clock from the big pre-weekend lunch, that's the time to sit back and start calling some old friends or co-workers you haven't spoken with for a while. And of course, you just might uncover a job lead.
Saturday and Sunday: included here because of the amount of time spent whining about the demands of work.
Ray walked north on Highway One hypnotized by the monotony of putting one foot in front of the other. His mind wandered back to his last day at the paper.
“Waldron! Waldron—get in here!”
Ray slowly made his way to the fishbowl, his editor's cramped office that overlooked the newsroom. Moe Grabowski, his boss and city desk editor, was a lumpy, bug-eyed, balding, booze-bloated pile of late middle-aged corporate servility. He constantly fidgeted with a stubby pencil and scratched his prickly-pear whiskers with the back of his hand between barks.
“Ray, where the hell's that story on the senator's daughter?”
“I don't have anything yet. No one's talking. The cops, the hospital, they're all playing dumb.”
“Let me get this straight, Ray. Senator Tortelini's 17-year-old underage daughter drinks herself into a stupor, endangers the lives of three of her friends and then kills herself trying to drive her car up a tree —and you've got nothing?”
“I'm working on it. I may have a friend of the girl.”
“What about the family?”
“Goddamn right the family. That fuckin' sleaze bag calls me up looking for publicity every time he helps a goddamn old lady across the street. Now suddenly he's shy? That's bullshit, Ray.”
“I want the family goddamnit! Who was this girl? And I don't want her goddamn first grade report card or whether or not she was on the fuckin' yearbook staff!”
“I called but they're all very insular. It just happened last night. They're still in shock.”
“Insular! I don't give a shit if they're frozen in fuckin' Arctic pack ice! Talk to them Ray! Talk to them!”
Back in his cubicle, Ray finally succeeded in reaching a friend of the Senator's daughter on the phone.
“Hi Meagan, this is Ray Waldron at the Ledger. I'm really sorry to hear about your friend Diana. I heard you wanted to talk to us about her.”
“Yeah, I guess so. I just don't want you to say awful things about her. She was an awesome person. Everyone loved her. I mean really loved her”
Breakfast and a Cigarette, Part III continues...