NaNoWriMo Day 5

First time yet that I’ve had to stop mid-scene.  For disclaimer purposes, the boss here is in no way based on any boss I am currently working under, or that I have worked under in the past.


8:57 AM. In the break room, Phil poured himself two large Styrofoam cups with the grim stuff that came out of the industrial coffeemaker, and he took them to his desk.

9:07 AM. “Have you tried turning it off and then back on again?”

Young man I’ve tried just about ever’thin’ there can be tried and ain’t nuthin’ works! And I’m gonna tell ya sumthin’ else, and thats–”

Sir, would you be able to just try turning it off, and then back on again right now with me?”

Son, you ain’t listenin’ to me, I done told you that ain’t gonna fix it. I been workin’ with these things for twelve years, you understand? Now you best fix it right now, or I tell you what, I’ll–”

Sir, I understand completely. But would you be able to humor me, just a little? I just need to check off that we’ve tried that before we can continue.”

Well I tell you what, that don’t make any kinda sense, ya see what I’m sayin’? Ain’t no common sense a’tall at work in ya’lls office, is they?”

I see what you’re saying sir, but those are the rules I’m bound to follow. Now if we can try this real quick, we’ll be able to move on and have you up and running again as soon as possible.

Well, all right.

Where’s the goddamn off switch on this thing, anyways?”

On the left-hand side near the–”

My left?”

Who else’s motherfucking left, you hillbilly son of a bitch, is what Phil managed not to say. “Yes sir. Your left.”

Ok, got it, now let’s just see here…”

During the next minute that the customer spent mumbling to himself on his end of the line, Phil noticed his messaging client window was flashing. Alt-tabbing over to it, he saw it was Charlie.

Cpetersen: hey just lisening in,wntd to remind u not to disclose confdntl info t ocustomers. Checklist considered cnfdental by mngmnt 😦

Pwarner2: Any suggestions on how else I can convince this stubborn jagoff to power-cycle?

Cpetersen: Just use your jdgment, remembr best prctices.

Cpetersen: Please dnt call cstmrs names 🙂

Well awright son, I done flipped it back on again, so now can we get on with actually fixing this sumb…Well, I’ll be. Looks like that’s got it!”

Glad to hear it. Anything else I can do for you, sir?” Say no you fucker of Christ please say no just hang up the damn phone…

Well, now as you mention it, I been havin’ this thing with ya’ll’s emails…”


10:15 AM. First pee break. First cup of coffee gone, second taking heavy casualties. As he stood at the urinal, Phil fantasized about murdering seven of the nine callers he’d talked to so far this morning. Imagined strangling them with his bare hands.

That thinkin’ ain’t healthy, boy. ‘Sides, strangling’s harder than you’re picturing.

Phil was about 90% sure that hadn’t been his own thought, but it was inside his head, so his alternatives were either accepting that he was going crazy or radically readjusting his worldview. The human brain is wired to handle this kind of situation, and it rapidly came up with some other things for him to think about, and when that other voice thought damn stupid stubborn peckerwood, you’re outta time and I’m about outta patience, his brain went into emergency overdrive and dredged up five bars of his least favorite Creed song and wedged them into place. In seconds he went from questioning his sanity and breaking down screaming at his reflection in an empty bathroom mirror to forgetting everything other than how much he hated that song, Creed in general, Creed fans, and the majority of the people he’d spoken with today, especially that Arkansas bastard who lied about about having checked his email for five straight minutes and couldn’t be made to understand the difference between his web browser and his operating system.

Fuck Creed,” Phil said as he walked back to his desk.

11:13 AM. He was just wrapping up walking this woman through downloading her new drivers, and praying to whatever was listening that it would fix her problem, when he noticed Charlie was standing behind him. He then saw his IM window blinking and realized that his boss had sent him a message a couple minutes ago.

Cpetersen: when you wrap this call, meet me in cnfce rm 3

Ok, got it.”

I, uh, I think so…”

Fantastic! Is there anything further I could do for you today?”

Well, I guess not…”

Then you have a great afternoon.” Phil spat the closer out fast as he could and disconnected the call before the customer could get a chance to ask anything else. He swapped his workstate to Unavailable (Supervisor Meeting), spun his chair, and slid his headset back around his neck.

Yes sir?”

Hey, Phil, listen, I was hoping to grab a couple minutes, have a quick talk with you, you know, if you’re not too busy.

The call monitor showed they had about 50 people on hold, with an average wait time of 20 minutes.

Uh, sure. If now’s a good time.”

Super. Let’s head over to 3!”

They went down the beige hall and around the corner to the conference room’s door, which looked exactly like every other door in the building except that the plastic name plate next to it said “Conference Room 3.” Charlie pushed it open and flipped the lightswitch inside, which didn’t seem to brighten the room any, just make everything a dull yellow. The light beige walls, dark beige carpet, and particleboard table with a plastic sheet of wood-patterned veneer on it were none of them well complimented by this change.

Charlie sat down in one of the half-dozen chairs and gestured expansively with the legal pad in his hand for Phil to join him. Phil did so with a little trepidation, and Charlie pulled out a pen, flipped down a couple pages into the pad, and made a note, frowning mildly. Phil had gotten used to these sorts of theatrics, and did his best to keep his expression neutral while he waited.

So, you’ve been here about a year or so, yes?”

Eleven months. Yeah.”

That’s a pretty respectable amount of time to be in this position. Lot of turnover by that point, for various reasons…”

Like this job sucking chimp balls, Phil did not say out loud as he kept his face serious and unrevelatory.

In any case, overall your performance is solid. However, there were a couple of points of concern we did have and I was hoping to sort of go over them with you if that’s cool.

And if it isn’t? Again, Phil was successful in keeping that thought inside his head.


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