Friday, November 03, 2006

Anderson Arrives

Anderson Dunleavy took a deep breath, and entered the office, with a steaming cup of coffee in hand. “Good morning, Ethel.”
“I don’t like you,” she replied.

It was the same every morning. The woman had taken an immediate dislike to him, and wasted no time in spreading vicious rumors about him around the office.

Last week: “Anderson is actually a woman.”
The week before: “Anderson Dunleavy has no first name because his mother gave him the names of both men who could possibly be his father.”

Ethel terrified him, and as he was only a first year associate and in dire need of her favor, he knew he was doomed. Now, without fail, the sight of Ethel caused him to urinate on the spot. He had taken to always carrying a cup of liquid to make it seem like he spilled something instead.

This morning, as he felt the trickle, he quickly poured some coffee on his pants as a cover up. Ethel looked down past her glasses. “Did you just wet the floor?”
“Coffee. I spilled coffee.” Anderson quickly made his exit, past the desk of his assigned assistant, Baird Powell.

Baird was the son of one of the firm’s partners, and was hired in the most egregious case of nepotism Anderson had ever seen. Not only was Baird entirely incompetent, but he was frequently causing Anderson extra work through inexplicable mistakes, and often unspeakable embarrassment.

Unfortunately, that meant Anderson took on more than he really had time for, only leaving the easiest of tasks to Baird. Not that those always went smoothly…

Last week: “You wanted me to send your mother roses? I thought you meant mine. Don’t worry, it was still your name on the card.”
The week before: “The fax wouldn’t go through, so I made it into a paper airplane, but it didn’t go very far. Only till about James’s office.”

Anderson placed his coffee on his large mahogany desk, hung his jacket on a hook, and admired the view of bustling New York City outside his window. He remembered the corporate memo he had to submit to James, which he had asked Baird to make copies of yesterday, and went to check with Baird himself, as Baird had not yet mastered the intercom system, referring to it as “the stupid talking beep.”

Baird usually wore shorts to work, his hair in a pony tail and his goatee moussed into a different shape each day. His cubicle was filled with roller skates, a scooter, a surf board and various other modes of transportation, some more useful than others.

“Baird, were you able to make copies of that memo for me?” Anderson asked with a tone of hope in his voice, despite the fact that Baird was playing Tomb Raider on his computer.

“The memo? Oh shoot. I sent it to India by mistake. But I could give you this lovely afghan instead,” he said, holding up what was indeed a lovely blue afghan. “It was a total mixup. I am just the dumbest person ever.”

Anderson put his head in his hands and actually cried a bit. He knew better than to doubt or even ask why Baird might have sent the memo to India, just as he knew there was no chance Baird had saved the memo in the system, either. He said a bit too angrily and loudly: “Yes. Yes, you are. Without a doubt, you are the dumbest %!@*$ and the biggest moron ever!”

Anderson went white, and quickly ran around the corner to make sure Ethel hadn’t heard him. He came close enough to hear her tell someone out of view, “It’s sad really. Anderson has only one nipple.” He let out a sigh of relief and returned to Baird, who was looking very forlorn.

“Dude. That was harsh,” Baird said.

Anderson suddenly remembered whose son Baird was. “Oh. God, oh. No. I didn’t say you were the dumbest person ever. You said that. I was repeating. I was reflecting back. Oh, God, boss’s son. I need some coffee. Do you need coffee? I’m going to go now.” As he turned to go, he thought of another way to smooth things over. “You know what? I will take that afghan instead. Thank you.”

He walked backed to his office, closed the door, and laid down on the floor, putting the blue afghan over his face. He repeated his mantra:

I am losing my mind.
I am losing my mind.
I am losing my mind.

As soon as he felt calm, he tried to recall why he went into law in the first place. Initially, he had wanted to change the world, and thought of public advocacy. An internship with a human right’s group made him realize that not only was he not a good public advocate, but he didn’t actually like helping people, either. His next internship was at a swanky Los Angeles firm, where he was treated to steak dinners and fine wine each night. He was definitely willing to sell his soul for the money, and at this firm, he had.

Anderson’s reverie was broken by the sound of Mr. Powell Sr.’s voice booming through the hallways. Mr. Powell was hard of hearing, and spoke to everyone, and expected to be spoken to, at high volume.

Mr. Powell: “Ethel, where are my pills?!”
Ethel: “Who do I look like?”
Mr. Powell: “You look like Ethel. Aren’t you Ethel?”
Ethel: “Yes.”
Mr. Powell: “Well, alright then.”

Mr. Powell went back into his office, only to ring Ethel on the intercom, speaking loudly, of course. “Ethel, the doctor will be here at 3 PM to check my prostrate. Send him right in when he arrives.”
Ethel immediately paged Anderson,
“Anderson, Mr. Powell would like to see you at 3 PM in his office.”

Par for the course.

What he wasn’t expecting was the next intercom message. “Anderson, Mary Beiring would like to see you in her office now.”

Mary Beiring, a sixth year associate, had a reputation of getting by on her looks. Anderson had not had much interaction with her until now, and was surprised to be summoned. He roused himself, smoothed his suit jacket, picked up his coffe in case he passed Ethel in the hallway, and headed to Mary’s office, reminding himself not to mention Mary to his wife. She was already upset that he was always coming home so late. No need to add fuel to the fire.

Mary was putting blush on her cheekbones when he knocked and entered.

“Mary, what can I do for you?”
“Hello Anderson, Ethel told me you are going to examine Mr. Powell’s prostrate later today, and I thought maybe you could give me a breast exam.”
Anderson blinked his eyes, and said, “One more time.”
“A breast exam.”
“I’m not a doctor. You can’t have believed for a minute that I’m a doctor.”
“I know. This isn’t a mammogram or anything.”


Anderson found himself in James’s office at 6, as he always did. He admired James’s slick and suave ways, and saw him as something of a mentor, and perhaps protection from Ethel. Usually, they had a drink, talked about sports, and discussed the cases they were working on. James was a consummate professional, and made Anderson feel like he actually was in fact working in a law firm. Today, the conversation began differently:

“James, I think I’m losing my mind.”

James looked up from his papers, and said very firmly, “No. Say nothing like that here. This is the sanctuary zone. You want crazy, you have plenty to choose from out there beyond this door. Any of those people out there we work with. But this room, my office, is the no fly zone. Comprende? Now where is that memo?”
“I believe it’s on its way to India.”
“No. Violation of the craziness rule. We just went over this.”
“But that’s what happened.”
“Lie to me. Make something up. As long as it sounds plausible.”
“I’m not going to lie.”
“For Chrissakes, you went to law school!”
“True enough.”
“You know what? I don’t care. You do not leave here tonight until that memo is on my desk, even if you have to go to India to get it!”


Blogger Elster said...

Fraktastic. Now I have to follow that? Hmmmmmm

6:51 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Great job!

I'm really liking this collaboration. You can just tell how much fun you're having.

I'll be reading.

5:09 PM  
Blogger ~ Sarah ~ said...

I printed out the story to read on Shabbos and I was annoyed that there wasn't more of it!

Quality writing!

I look forward to the next installment :)

6:54 PM  
Blogger Sara with NO H said...

This is excellent! It looks like you guys have acquired many Sara's lol. We've become like the sara(h) trio. I have to agree with Sarah. I'm kinda hooked here. I like, NEED to see th next issue.. Elster, your turn.

8:23 PM  
Blogger MC Aryeh said...

Thanks for the kind words, Elster and the Sara(h)s (sounds like a pop group name)....this WAS a lot of fun to write, glad y'all liked it! Looking forward to what Elster comes up with next...

9:37 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

I'm in, but only if we Sara(h)s get to go on tour. Otherwise you're on your own.

On problem, though. What would Elster do?

5:29 PM  
Blogger Elster said...

WWED? Well, he'd frantically spend time Sunday afternoon getting his post in so it will be ready for a Monday posting. As soon as he gets MC's all important sign off, we can all see what Elster would do.

And yes, sadly I can't quite pull off madcap like MC.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Sara with NO H said...

Elster, you're doing just fine. Since both of you have been plagued I'd say you guys are amazing.

10:12 AM  

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