All posts for the month July, 2013

Poster child

Published July 16, 2013 by Johanna

Back to the office, I’m still surprised by Sam’s sudden spunk. The kid amazes me, I’m not going to lie.

He actually scares me a bit too, I must admit. I knew how to handle John because he didn’t hide this crazy side I saw in Sam today. John was transparent. John was easy to manipulate – well until a certain point. Sam is a wild card. And like all wild cards, he can achieve great things and also fuck up everything else.

I’m not sure how to deal with that situation. Should I play it by ear? Should I devise a plan that I know will fall apart within the first few seconds?

Bill was amused by Sam’s act but I felt threatened deep inside. Will this kid drive me crazy? Crazier than John did?

Only time will tell, I guess.

The day passes by but I’m too distracted by Sam’s behavior and miss my stop on the subway, ending up thirty blocks uptown. Dude, I’m more bothered by it than I thought. But why? I don’t know this kid. He’s just been introduced to me. And I already had a negative impression of him from the first few seconds. When he shows me his true colors, my reaction is fear? What the heck?

I’m making it worse than it is. Playing stories in my head. Everything will be fine. I thought I was strong enough to deal with that crazy job on my own, but Bill is right. I need help. And Sammy boy will be great.

I received today an email from a girl I met a few months ago. Emily was looking for a job at the time. She passed by the office and came to talk to me because Bill thought I’d make for a great poster child and could share my knowledge with her. No idea how or why I suddenly became an inspiration to people who job hunt. I work twelve hours a day in a place I often despise, and ultimately drank until I lost my mind because of it. I wish I could do something else with my life, but something else in this economic climate doesn’t offer much freedom to be picky. I have too many bills to pay. Money comes and goes but in this world, money is power. Sad but true. Still I don’t consider myself an inspiration to anyone. If it was because of my sobriety I’d understand better. I got nothing to prove. I’ve stopped trying as soon as I set foot in these AA meetings.

My mindset has shifted. Success has taken on a new meaning. If I keep my life, then I’m successful. The rest is icing and the cherry on top. I’m no inspiration. Just a chick with an addiction. My mind drives me wild. Can’t sleep because of all these conversations I have with myself – and these monologues don’t take me anywhere. Like this one. Why do I have to think of Sam instead of relaxing my mind? Watch a movie maybe? All movies are stupid lately.

Like this one. The plot is just pointless. Too many special effects. Too much gratuitous sex. Where’s the imagination of brilliant minds gone? I like to read before bed. But I haven’t found anything that caught my interest lately either.

I should call Julie. Ask her opinion on the Sam subject. She’s a crazy head like me. And her wisdom is unparalleled.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Kiki in the house, what’s up, girl?”

I laugh. “Too many thoughts in my head.”

“Ah. Yes, I know that feeling. Sometimes good thoughts, sometimes bad thoughts.”

I sigh. “I’m obsessing about this new kid at work.”

“What new kid?”

“My minion.”



“I’m confused.”

“I have a new minion. His name is Sam. And I’m scared of him,” I say.

“Scared? Why?”

“I don’t know. I get a weird vibe from him. He’s a wild card.”

“Oh. Yeah. Wild cards are trouble.”

Of course she understands how I feel. If she doesn’t, then who does?

“So what’s my best course of action?” I ask.

“With wild cards? Well there’s none really. All you can do is watch yourself.”

I inhale deeply. “I don’t want to risk anything.”

“Do you think he’s one of us?”

“That’s the problem. He doesn’t drink but I have no idea whether he has an addictive personality.”

“Yeah. I’m sorry I can’t help you more. But wild cards are the worst. They can flip at any moment.”

“That’s alright. You helped even if you think you didn’t.”

“You’re very welcome, honey. Anything else bothering you?”

“Sam is my problem now.”

“Good luck. Call me if you need anything.”

“I will.”



Sammy boy has already become a thorn in my side. If I want to remain the poster child everyone is looking up to, I must stay aware of my possible downfalls. And Sam appears to be one of them.

To be continued…



Published July 12, 2013 by Johanna

Bill chooses to have lunch at this crazy burger joint around the corner. Lines are always crazy there. I’m not sure whether the burgers are so crazy good it’s worth waiting an hour minimum to be seated, but the human mind works in strange ways I’ve stopped trying to understand a long time ago, especially in New York City. 

Plus Bill always finds ways to cut lines, because he’s an inconsiderate jerk, which works to our advantage so I don’t have to play the elbows and angry stares in order to get seated more quickly.

Sam follows like a scared puppy, and I begin reconsidering whether he’s just nervous or is a scared lil boy on a day to day basis. Hasn’t the kid been living in New York City his whole life? Then why this bullshit? If we were hitting a cornfield in the middle of nowhere, I’d understand better. Unless the kid comes from the middle of nowhere.

“Where are you from, Sam?” I ask as the waitress leads us to our table.

“Um, uh, O-Ohio.”

“Where in Ohio?”

He mumbles the name of a town I’ve never heard of, and I don’t even ask him to repeat himself again. Yep, the middle of fucking nowhere.

Glorious. Who’s this beloved client Bill is so eagerly doing a favor to?

I’ll figure it out soon enough.

“What’s your name?” I ask.

He gives me a confused look.

“Last name?” I add.

“Oh, Rowling,” he says with a timid voice. At least more timid than usual.

Rowling. The software tycoon Rowling?


Now I get why Bill was so eager to hire this kid. Having his father on board would mean millions in revenue for the company. And I get to mentor him? Um. I wonder if he has an older brother.

No time for dating Kiki!! You’re in your first year of sobriety. Yeah, and who ever said I should follow the rules, huh? Stupid rule at that. Plus I know what it’s like to marry money. It never ends well.

We sit at the table and Bill monopolizes the conversation. What’s it going to be about today? Golf? Knicks? The latest sportscar? Can Sam even drive a sportscar?

He probably can drive a tractor.

“How are you doing, Sammy boy?” Bill asks.

Now I’m not sure my boss genuinely cares about my new minion’s well being. But it’s thoughtful of him to pretend.

I feel tired. I can’t remember the last time I sat down for an hour just to have lunch. I never take time to chill. Always on the go, I rush, rush, rush, even when it’s useless to rush. It’s in my nature I guess. What are we going to talk about for one full hour? If it’s work, shoot me now. Bill loves to brag about how he started from nothing and became a super manager in no time. Mostly because he’s a crook, that’s why.

“So Sammy boy, are you excited to work for Stern and Stern?” Bill asks while chewing on fries.

I guess he’s going to talk about work for one hour. Jesus.

Sammy junior takes a sip out of his diet coke. “I’m pretty excited, yeah.”

This kid has the conversation of a piece of wood. I sigh. Why did I think this lunch would be a great idea?

“Miss Kiki over here is one of our best employees. Don’t be scared by her disgruntled attitude. That woman gets the job done,” Bill comments.

I force a smile. “You’re too kind.” I glance at the kid. “Way too kind.” I whisper to Sammy. “Don’t believe his lies… He has a ton of them.”

The kid doesn’t break a smile. Gosh, it’s hard to find his sweet spot. If he has no sense of humor, how am I going to communicate with him? John understood my sense of humor.

Bill laughs. “You’re trying too hard Kiki. I guess the kid is scared of you.”

Sam shakes his head energetically in protestation. “I’m not scared.”

Bill recoils in his seat and bursts in laughter so loud people around us turn their head. “Well the kid shows balls. That’s promising!” he says in between tears.

I stare at the kid, still not sold by his small act of bravery. “Well you might be wise to be a little scared. I can be super scary when I want it,” I say with a stern face.

He stares at me, like he suddenly woke up from a nap. “I’ve seen pretty crazy shit in my life, much scarier than you. So I’m not worried.”

“Oh shit, Kiki!!” Bill keeps laughing his butt off so hard, I think he’s going to fall off his chair.

“You know what, Bill, I think I’m gonna like working with him,” I say and smile at Sam who smiles in return. Nice teeth, I admit.

Damn. This one came out of left field. Sammy boy isn’t so shy after all. A bit rough around the edges but we shall improve that.

“Do you drink?” Bill asks Sam after he’s recovered from almost dying of laughter.

Sam shakes his head. “Drinking drives people mad,” he says very seriously, and Bill bursts in laughter again.

“Kid, you’re full of surprises today!” Bill says.

I watch the newbie as I sip my ice water. So Sammy boy is a member of the club? Or maybe someone in his family? Interesting. I must have something special to attract all these alcoholics lately. Oh wait. I’m one myself, so maybe that’s why.

Sam glances at me. “Do you drink, Miss Kiki?”

I shake my head. “You said it yourself so nicely, I won’t paraphrase you.”

Bill rolls his eyes. “Oh come on Kiks, you’re on the wagon now? What about your beloved scotch, huh?”

“I’m done.”

“Seriously?” Bill asks.

Sam taps me on the arm. “You know what that means, right?”

I’m not sure whether I like this burst of over friendliness coming from him. “What?” I ask.

“We’ll make a great team!” Sam says with much enthusiasm, way too much for my taste, but he looks comfortable now at least. It didn’t take long to break the mold.

Bill keeps laughing. “Damn I love this kid! Don’t you love him, Kiki?”

I roll my eyes. “Yeah yeah, let’s see how you put that enthusiasm to the test,” I say to Sam before taking a bite of my burger.

To be continued…


Published July 10, 2013 by Johanna

How much is too much? When comes the time when you can really tell when someone has lost their mind?

My boss calls me in his office today.

“Kiki, what’s up?”

Mind me, my boss is twenty years older than me but speaks like a college kid.

I smile. Even I stopped trying to play younger. Maybe I got more self discipline than I thought. Or just don’t wanna sound like a moron. Yes, my boss is a moron. I often wonder how he managed to get where he is but as anything else, this question will probably never receive an answer. Life holds its mysteries. Bill’s successful career is certainly one of them.

“Not much.” Easy way to cut off the friendly convo while staying polite.

Bill smiles. He always freaks me out a little when he smiles. Something that translates nice but pervert. He does that with every girl in the office. At least, I don’t feel special in that way.

Bill shuffles through the papers on top of his desk.

“Kiki I must admit your hours are impressive. But I worry about your health. Don’t you need a break?”

I raise an eyebrow. “I think I’m ok. If I needed a break, I would have taken one by now,” I reply.

He nods. “Nah of course, I’m not worried about you not taking a break.”

“So why am I here?”

He crosses his arms and leans back against his chair. Everytime I see someone cross their arms, I sense trouble.

“Kiki, John has left us. You need another assistant.”

Oh gosh. Another minion? I roll my eyes. “You’re kidding right?”

Bill laughs. “You think I’m joking? Don’t you like bossing people around?”

My turn to laugh. “You can’t replace John. No one is like him.”

Bill winks. “Oh trust me, I found better.”

“You’re kidding,” I repeat.

Bill presses the intercom button on his phone. “Send the newbie in.”

I force a smile. Bill is a nutcase.

The door opens and a young kid enters. He’s probably five foot four, and I give that estimate while sitting down. Skinny, with blond hair and glasses. He looks like he just etched from the egg.

I roll my eyes again.

“Kiki, this is Sam. Shake hands now.”

The kid gives me a dead fish handshake and sits in the guest chair beside me.

“Sam,” I say. “How old are you?”

The kid stutters. “Twen-twenty one, madam.”

“For god sake, Bill??” I glare at my boss who bursts in laughter.

“He’s perfect. You’re gonna mold him into such a perfect little worker.”

I wanna say fuck you to my boss but can’t because he’s my boss. Christ!

“Do you have any experience , Sam?”

I try to keep a calm tone of voice. I’m on the verge of quitting my job at this point. The past few weeks have been very hard on me. I didn’t get much sleep, worked like a beast eighty hours a week. I’m mentally exhausted. Going to meetings is very hard. I stay strong – and haven’t touched a drink – but how long can I keep going like this?

I thought I wouldn’t miss John but I do. He worked as my sidekick for two years. By far the laziest but also best assistant I’ve ever had. Go figure. Now this mini youngster shows up – and I’m gonna have to teach him the ropes. Back to square one.

“Do you know how to use a copy machine?” I keep going. “How about a coffee pot?”

Bill frowns. “Be nice, Kiki.”

I stand up. This new kid doesn’t have an ounce of courage in him. John would have opened his mouth by now. Said what he wanted me to hear. Convinced me I was wrong and he wasn’t an incompetent loser.

“Bill who is this kid?”

Bill sighs. “I had to make a favor to a client so…”

“Right. The usual. Well that’s great. I guess I’m stuck with him now.”

I glance at the kid who looks terrified.

“What do you got to say for yourself, Sam?”

He swallows a few times and opens his mouth. “Well, m’dam…”

I cut him off. “First, I’m Kiki. No m’dam here.”

He swallows a few times again. “Okay. Um… I’ll be very good. I-I promise.”

I snort. “Is that really the best you can do?” I stare back at Bill. “Is he being serious?”

Bill sighs. “That’s why I need you to train him. Use your iron fist to shape him up!”

I roll my eyes. “Oh lord. This conversation is killing me. May I go back to my office?”

Bill smirks. “Are you bored?”

I nod. “Boredom is an understatement.”

“Tell you what. Let’s go to lunch. We can invite Sammy boy over here. Don’t you think it’s a good idea?”

I glance at the newbie and back at Bill. “That’s not a battle I’m going to win, right?”

Bill laughs.

“Alright let’s do lunch,” I say.

I have enough trying to convince myself everything’s going to be fine when I know for a fact Sam is going to be the biggest pain in my neck from now on. And since Bill isn’t too keen on firing the kid after two hours, I’m gonna have to learn patience. Which is something else I’m not good at.

Can I travel back in time? Just rewind to my early twenties, before I decided to fall in love and go to grad school. Love is such bullshit. You think everything is going to work out but once feelings start shattering because you didn’t take out the trash one night, there’s no going back to normal. You build up resentments, get upset at anything that doesn’t feel right, even sex doesn’t bring any pleasure anymore but becomes a chore like anything else, and gradually, you lose touch with who you are, what you want from life and why you made so many sacrifices if it means ruining the rest of your better years with an inconsiderate selfish asshole who can’t wait to bury you six feet under at the first opportunity. Opportunity that doesn’t involve going to jail for murdering your wife with a serrated steak knife – messy – because he’s also a coward. A huge dick and a coward. What a great combo indeed.

I sigh. So much time wasted in useless arguments and sleepless nights. Sam is far from being my ex-husband but as a minion he’s going to be my bitch. Which means he’s still going to break my balls with stupid questions at least five times a day. And that’s being hopeful. The kid doesn’t look very shrewd. It might be ten times a day.

Gosh. Shoot me now.

What time is it? 11:15 am. Bill usually goes to lunch at 1. What can I do to kill my boredom until then?

Write. I’ve become fond of putting my thoughts on the screen. I’ve gotten used to pouring it all out, until my brain can’t take it anymore. Death by writing. All the resentments of the day vanish and I feel lighter by a ton.

So let’s write about Sam. This little guy who I know nothing about, yet hate with all my guts. Why? Is it because he’s young? John was young. Is it because he has no experience? John knew nothing at first. I had to teach him all the ropes. Is it because he’s a newbie? Probably. I feel like a bully at heart. Not the best behavior for a professional. I gotta grow into a more understanding individual. Learn patience. Stop judging.

Sam looks like a frail little guy who knows nothing about life. But appearances can be deceiving. Maybe he was born an MMA fighter and transforms into the Incredible Hulk at night. What do I know about his extracurricular activities? Squat. Exactly. So is there a good reason to get mad at him just for the sake of getting mad at someone?

Nope. Um. I’m not mad anymore.

I guess lunch won’t be that bad after all.

To be continued…