It was 9am, and Dick moved with purpose down the aisle from his office to the lab. As he passed the empty cubes of his subordinates he felt a grim satisfaction. They are all in the lab, he thought, and that means they are all working. But how hard are they working? And are they doing everything I told them to do? And are they doing it correctly? And are they done yet? And why haven’t they given me a status update? These concerns drove Dick. They ruled him.
When he entered the lab, he was shocked to hear the most obnoxious type of racket coming from Todd’s bench. “Todd, music is not conducive to a professional working environment” he said firmly. “Turn it off. I don’t want to hear music in here again.”
“Now” he continued into the newly formed silence, “I need a status update on the units I requested last night for shipment to Singapore. This is customer critical, and absolutely has to be sent out today.” This was not unusual, everything was critical, and everything had to be done today. He was the type of person who’d send out an email then immediately call to make sure the email was getting the proper attention. Todd had dealt with this for 5 years already, this was like a well worn rut, and he slid right into it without even flinching.
“RJ is on assembly and re-flash duty. I’m calibrating the units. Then RJ will handle the export paperwork. But,” warned Todd, “The paperwork will not be ready for us until after lunch.”
“That’s unacceptable!” Dick countered, his thin lips baring his coffee stained teeth in a grimace that could only be described as impotent. “These units absolutely have to get to Singapore tomorrow!”
“What?” Todd said laughing “That’s not even possible. The units will be in customs by Monday, and they will be stuck there for at least two days.” He could see that Dick was quickly losing his composure, but he’d long lost the ability to care. In fact he’d begun to enjoy watching Dick explode (no euphemism intended).
“OK,” said Dick, strangling his anger, “One of you will have to hand-carry them there.”
“You know I can’t leave the country,” Todd said, “and RJ doesn’t have his passport yet. Nate is in Mexico, and Dino is flying down there tonight to replace him.”
Dick stormed out of the lab, calling Nate on his cell phone. The decision was made. For a mere $8000 extra, Nate would stay in Mexico, and Dino would fly to Singapore, and the units would be there in 24 hours.
Derek, who didn’t work for Dick directly, had been inside a test rack at his workstation making his usual grunts and snorts. He poked his head out. “HUH? Is he a dick?”
By 11:00 Todd and RJ were done, and went to out lunch. Todd drove them to a strip club. When they returned, at 1:30, RJ was smiling like a kid on Christmas morning. “What’s with the 2 and a half hour lunch?” asked Derek.
“Yeah, explain.” Agreed Dino.
RJ couldn’t contain himself, and spilled the beans in all their naked glory. He had seen breasts, dozens of breasts. And lunch was free! All the while Derek made little grunts and moans, and at one point tried to grab RJ’s ass, but as absorbed as he was in his story, he maintained the presence of mind to avoid Derek’s wandering hand. “What?” said Derek, disappointed, “I’m just trying to get in on the action. HOOONK!”
Derek went back to his test rack, and the conversation had nearly returned to normal when RJ received a page. As he read it, his smile faded and a little bead of sweat formed on his diminutive brow. “Dick knows!” he said sourly as he slumped into a chair.
“What does Dick know?” said Todd who had just recently returned to the lab.
“HUY! I like that. What does Dick know? That’s funny!” Derek chimed in from inside his test rack.
“About the strip club.” Said RJ anxiously. His hands were beginning to itch, and he scratched at them nervously. “Shit! I’m fired. He’s gonna fire me for sure. What the hell was I thinking? Why’d you take me there?”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Asked Todd, “How do you know he knows?”
“I got a freakin’ page!” blurted RJ, now beginning to pace frantically. He showed Todd the pager message. It said: “I know what you did for lunch, and it is unacceptable. Dick”
“Whoa! You’d better clean out your desk.” Said Todd laughing.
“This isn’t funny! It’s all your fault!” RJ said accusingly. “Why did you take me there? Oh God, what am I gonna do? I think I’m going to be sick.” Then he ran out of the lab.
Dino couldn’t hold it any longer, and he could hear Derek laughing inside his test rack.
“He is a real idiot!” Todd said looking at Dino. “You sent him that page, didn’t you?”
“Well, Derek sent it.” Admitted Dino. “We figured he might recognize my number, but he didn’t even look.” They had their laughs and gradually returned to work. A few minutes later a haunted RJ returned to the lab. “Hey, uh, Todd,” he stammered, “do you think I’ll get fired?” He seemed to have resigned himself to his fate, or else he just got back from throwing up.
“I don’t know, but you’d better get into his office right now, he wants to talk to you.” Said Todd pointing toward the door.
“Aw crap” said RJ “I can’t.”
“Well you’d better or you’re fired for sure.” Prodded Todd. RJ slowly got up and walked toward the door. It was a long walk. Dino was starting to laugh, and Derek cracked a smile. “Hey, sit down” ordered Todd, having decided that RJ had had enough for one day. RJ stopped and turned around, confusion and a glimmer of hope shining through his previously dead eyes.
“Dude, Dick doesn’t know” explained Dino finally “We sent you the page.”
“You assholes!” said RJ as he returned to the benches fully revived. “You fucking assholes!”
Amidst the laughter that followed Derek said “You totally fell for it!”
“You didn’t even look to see who sent the page” said Dino practically falling out of his chair.
“Yeah, you’re a real dumb-ass.” Said Todd.