Oh hey, I wrote a second part! For those of you who haven’t read it, click here for Part 1. And now, the continuing tale of Mr. Robert Ericson, Toothpaste Finance Analyst Extraordinaire:
Robert Ericson had a brilliant multi-phase plan to win the heart of the lovely Vanessa Thompson. Phase One involved establishing a relationship with her as a friendly co-worker. He would play it unfalteringly cool, seemingly uninterested in seeing Vanessa as nothing more than another warm body in their otherwise clammy office. Interaction would be minimal – the only times they’d speak was when he’d say “After you” while opening the door for her on the off-chance they’d arrive at work at precisely the same time. His friendly, yet aloof demeanor would tell her that he was most certainly a gentleman, but irresistibly mysterious as well.
After establishing this sexy sense of mystique, Robert would then move on to Phase Two: the casual date. Vanessa would be so interested in this dashing enigma of a man that she’d eventually play coy, walk up to him, and indirectly ask him out, perhaps for some coffee or a movie. “Mr. Ericson,” the Vanessa in Robert’s mind would start, “I seem to have an extra ticket for tonight’s movie. My friend won’t be able to make it, and I hate having to see these things alone. Whatever shall I do?” “Well,” the Robert in Robert’s mind would say without turning, “I suppose I could accompany you, if I have nothing better to do tonight.” He, of course, would have nothing to do that night, and will begrudgingly go out with her. The movie will be mediocre, but the date memorable.
Phase Three is a largely un-detailed scheme of further dates and adventures that somehow end up in marriage, two or three children who thankfully have more of their mother’s features rather than dear old Papa’s, and daily breakfasts sitting across the most enchanting woman he’s ever had the fortune of meeting.
Phase Zero of the plan, the point at which Robert currently was while rehashing the plot in his head, involved a generous amount of groveling. Robert Ericson was not a man known for his pride, and would not hesitate to beg on his knees for his job back. He demonstrated this shortly after Vanessa’s orientation, in Mr. Charles Burlington’s office.
“Mr. Ericson, please,” a rather flustered Burlington requested, “get up off the floor.”
“Not if it’ll help me get my job back, sir.”
Robert rose to his feet and continued his plea. “I can’t lose my job, Mr. Burlington! It’s all I’ve got!” He was leaning so heavily on Burlington’s desk that it started to inch a little bit forward. Grasping the table firmly, Burlington responded, “There’s nothing I can do about it, Ericson. The company isn’t doing very well. We needed to downsize.”
“I understand that, sir, but surely there’s someone else more deserving of being, uh, sized down?” Robert frantically thought of officemates who were doing worse than he. The only name that came to mind was that of the one person he couldn’t stand working with. “M-Morris?”
“John Morris, sir; the fellow in the cubicle behind mine. Number one-eighty-four.”
“We can’t let go of 184. He’s handling three more accounts than you!” Burlington objected.
“Y-yes sir,” Robert stammered, “but they’re small accounts. I can handle them myself, and I’d probably be better at it, too!” Burlington wouldn’t budge. “That’s absolutely ridiculous! What good would it bring the company to transfer four accounts to someone who hasn’t handled any of them?”
It was time, Robert decided, to bring out his ultimate bargaining chip. He hated having to resort to it, but it was the only weapon he had in these negotiations. He disguised the hesitation in his voice as well as he could.
“I-I’ll do his job for less money!”
Burlington flinched ever so slightly, then, as if he had mentally slapped himself back to his senses, he said with a definitive shake, “Money isn’t the entire issue, Ericson. The company is letting even more people go this month. We simply can’t afford to pay so many bodies. We also cannot allow what you’re proposing because it is grossly unethical and is a lawsuit waiting to happen.” He motioned to dismiss Robert, but was quickly interrupted.
“There’s got to be someone I can replace! I’ll do anyone’s job for less! Johnson? Adnani? Carl?”
“You just named three of your floor’s managers.”
“And have the company sued for racial prejudices?”
Burlington flinched again.
Vilhehn Thorsen was the SMILE office’s most eccentric janitor. He was aged, but no one knew exactly how old he was. His intensely wild eyes and the compulsive clenching and unclenching of his right fist scared off any inquisitive minds. He’d mutter the strangest things under his breath, speaking of “momagusaurs” and “the little people in the tree”, among other odd words and phrases. He also had a habit of staring at potted plants for far too long.
Despite the strange behavior, Thorsen was generally harmless. The only alarming incident involving him occurred fourteen years ago, when he screamed like a territorial hobo at an intern who tried to enter his janitorial quarters. It was said that Thorsen came at him so suddenly that the intern immediately unloaded his bladder onto his pants. A meeting was called to discuss a plan of action, and the higher-ups decided to keep Thorsen on board, as they felt his “quirkiness” was well-suited to SMILE‘s off-beat image.
The intern, unbeknownst to Robert, was a young Charles Burlington.
I know it ends abruptly, but I really need to do more work-writing now. I’ll sign this one off a la 60s Batman.
Will vengeance play a role in Burlington’s pivotal decision? Will Robert ever get his job back? Does he really believe Vanessa will give him the time of day? Find out, same next time I get to write about this shit, same where else but this blog!
UPDATE: Whee! Questions answered and questions raised at the brand-spanking-new Part Three!