Happy birthday Kiki

Published December 5, 2012 by Johanna

It all begins around the corner of the last cubicle. I get to work, the usual ten thirty am, pretending I’ve been in the building for an hour. Running around in circles, my speciality. John is early, headset in place, morning smile and one gallon of Red Bull mixed with Gatorade a few inch away from his computer mouse. John has been working with me for three months now. He has a crush on me, he’s also younger thus impressionable. I’m the damaged goods type, not really a match or a keeper his little twenty-two-year old heart would sustain for very long. This kid is smart though. Always a funny joke to tell. He lives to make me laugh. Usually I grunt, but when it comes to him, I make an effort. Don’t wanna pass for a bitch.

Today is also my birthday by the way. Am turning the big 3-0 – standing ovation anyone? I’m single but was married once, so I qualify for the divorcee title and therefore have entered the emotionally unstable but not afraid of commitment category. A big plus in a town like NYC. But, John always says he’s better off as a man just because there are five times more desperate females and chances are, I’ll end up single no matter which category I’m in. Bad trade? At least, I didn’t have to fight for the bathroom this morning. Can’t say the same when you gotta share your studio apartment. John lives with two other roommates. He usually glares at me when I make that comment. He still has a view of the Manhattan skyline from his kitchen. Good point.

Aw, John is such a heartthrob. Everyone on the floor adores him. I do too, but as his superior I must crack the whip every once in a while. Gentle whip, but a whip nonetheless. Since it’s my birthday, I expect John to give me a card. A cake would be nice too but I’m not demanding. I walk to John’s cubicle and lean against the one side of the separating wall, knocking a few times to make a right impression. He doesn’t hear me, too busy talking on the phone to a customer. Sales pitch. The usual speech I heard a million times, and don’t care to listen to a million times more. I wait patiently, checking my nails because I forgot my phone in my office. Note to self – I should always have my phone with me.

John finally turns his head around and notices me. Eyes wide, big smile, he talks to me in sign language to let me know he’s about to close a deal. Yeah, yeah, I’ve seen that face before. Right when a guy thinks he got me after buying me a beer. I don’t budge. Stern expression, perfect serious stance, all I do is tap my fingers on the edge of the separating wall to show my impatience level is increasing by the second. John stops smiling. He faces his computer screen and opens a Word application.

“I love your hair color, when did you get it done?” he types, and then smiles again like a five-year-old standing by an ice cream truck.

I raise an eyebrow. “Really?” I whisper.

He frowns. “Well fine, I won’t compliment you anymore. Nice touch on the skinny jeans by the way, is it Friday yet?” he continues writing.

I scowls. “Put this one on hold, I got somewhere to be in five minutes,” I say a bit louder.

He nods, delivers the regular “Let me get back to you on this” and pushes the hold button on the phone.

“Okay, what’s up?” he asks, his eyes moving back and forth from my ass to my face, and I know exactly he’s checking me out in my purple skinny jeans but pretends he just being nice and polite. I ignore him and look at the ground.

“You forgot.”

I look back up. His expression has morphed into pure terror. The whip will be cracked in 3, 2, 1…

“What did I do? Something I missed on the checklist?” he blurts.

I huff. “Not quite, but close. You have the memory of a pigeon. Maybe all the weed you smoke dug too many holes in your brain…”

“Shhh, come on, you know it’s a secret!” he whispers, and tries to look more horrified.

I brush the air with my hand. “Cut the crap. What day are we today?”

He checks the calendar pinned on the cork board next to his monitor. Realizes the page is still set for October. Quickly shuffles through the calendar and sets it for December. Throws me a glance full of hope, but I crush his joy in two seconds.

“Yep, at this rate, your brain’s full of crevasses,” I say with a slight smirk.

He sighs. “Crap, I knew it. You’re gonna give me a bad review, and my bonus is gonna sink.”

I poke him in the shoulder. “Who cares about your bonus? Dude, it’s my birthday today. You forgot, so lunch’s on you. And coffee. Meet me at 1 pm in the lobby.” I quickly check my watch. “I’m late. Gotta go. Love the tie today, looking good!”

Thumbs up, I don’t give him the time to respond. I dart away from his cubicle, leaving him helpless, a priceless expression of utmost content mixed with despair painted all over his freckled face, and a customer on hold whom I seriously hope hasn’t hung up after two minutes of the atrocious Christmas music the company has decided to use because it’s holiday season, you guys!

John’s great. He’s my minion. And he better not screw up lunch plans because I intend today to be special.

Very special.

To be continued…

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