The Un-Presentable Boss

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

(This story is in response to a post that appeared over on The Living Notebook.  You should check it out; it’s rather interesting.  Regardless, you shall not see “he” or “him” in this entire story.  Honest.)

The Un-Presentable Boss

The conversation of friends is the nearest approach we can make to heaven while we live in these tabernacles of clay; so it is in a temporal sense also, the most pleasant and the most profitable improvement we can make of the time we are to spend on earth.” -Rachel Russell

“Please kill my boss for me.”

“No.”

“Please kidnap my boss for me and take her far away from our office?”

“No”, Janet repeated as she sipped from her coffee.  She had requested a few ice cubes to cool the beverage down, but if they had been added, the cooling assistance they offered was ineffectual.

“Fine”, Lisa said as she took a deep breath and let her shoulders droop in desperation.  “Will you please talk me out of injuring my boss so that I don’t get fired and we all live in a tranquil land filled with sunshine and happy clients?”

Janet put down her coffee cup and looked at her friend across the table.  Lisa had often told her how much she enjoyed her job.  However in the last few months, things had turned sour.  The problems inconveniently coincided with Lisa’s coworker being promoted to her boss.  What little Janet knew of this “Myra” didn’t impress her.

“Is this the same gal you caught photocopying her butt?”

Lisa choked on her cinnamon scone.  She tried to calmly set the pastry back on its little plate with her right hand while she reached for her cappuccino with her left.  The pairing of Lisa’s not being a southpaw and her coughing for air made for some shaky cup-handling.  After a few moments, the caffeinated treat did the trick and she glanced around to make sure that no one was staring at her.

“You know”, Lisa said as she cleared her throat.  “It’s funny that you mention that.”

“Okay, so what happened?  I could use another tale of amusement”, Janet prompted.

“Well we’re all supposed to be working on this new client.  The Big Cheese is tired of being thought of as a family’s pre-sliced choice for lunch sandwiches.  They want to have flair and elegance at the same time.  The Big Cheese wants to be thought of as, and this is a direct quote, ‘The Lexus of Cheeses’.”

“Really”, Janet said as she swallowed her attitude with a gulp of her now room-temperature coffee.  “Well isn’t that precious.”

“Oh so precious”, Lisa agreed.  “Anyways, Myra was put in charge of this account.”

“Myra who used to share a cubicle with you.”

“Yes.”

“Myra who is now your boss.”

“Supervisor”, Lisa quickly corrected.

Janet paused.  “Is there a difference?”

“I like to tell myself there is”, Lisa sighed.  “I just can’t bring myself to call her my boss.  The thought rather horrifies me.”

“She’s still that bad?  She hasn’t stepped up her game in the spirit of meeting her occupational challenge head-on?”

“Oh, I’m getting to that part”, Lisa hinted.  “So Myra’s in charge of the account.  She, of course, selects me to be on her team.  The woman is borderline nutso, but she’s not stupid.”

“Okay.  And you were supposed to prepare some sort of presentation?”

“No, not at first.”  Lisa paused for a moment.  She picked at the scone on her plate until a small pile of crumbs accumulated.  “To be fair, she was making progress.  We formed a group, we brainstormed together; she was being competent.  I started to believe that Myra could actually pull it off.”

“But”, Janet prompted.

“But then we had to submit our presentation to the client yesterday.  Myra had insisted on doing all of it herself.  She said she wanted to prove to everyone that she was a team player and that she had it all under control.  I thought to myself, ‘Great.  I get the night off.  That works just dandy for me.’  It all was going to be just fine.”

“Until it wasn’t”, Janet interjected.

“Exactly”, Lisa replied.  “Yesterday was the meeting.  The Big Cheese folks were hearing from several different companies so they had asked for an early time slot.  We aren’t really morning people, but naturally we wanted this account.”

“Of course.”

“I wake up at six a.m. to a text message from Myra.  ‘Call me.  9 1 1.  Emergency.’  I freaked out that something had happened.  Nope, she simply wanted to see me before the presentation.  You know how irresponsible I can be and how I wasn’t planning to come in early to check in with her.”

Janet laughed at Lisa’s sarcasm.  She had no doubt of her friend’s dedication.  Drinking the last of her coffee, Janet waited for the good part that she knew was coming.

“So we meet up.  She spends half an hour talking about how she was up all night.  She’s bouncing off the wall from all the espresso that is overloading her system.  I caught something about PowerPoint and pictures, but it was all pretty jumbled.  The woman could not stand still.  Eventually, she came out with it and asked if I would be the one to give the pitch.  I wasn’t thrilled that I didn’t have time to go through her slides.  Whether I liked it or not, I figured it was better for me to fumble my way through than for this ball of psychotic jitters to try to form a coherent sentence.  We were supposed to meet the cheese-ians in four minutes and I wasn’t about to show up late.  I decided I would do my best and that’s all there was to it.”

“She forgot the presentation?  The memory stick got erased?  Nobody remembered to reserve a room?”  Janet’s curiosity had gotten the better of her.  “I can feel little waves of trouble rocking the ground of your story here.  What’d she do?”

“I was about two-thirds through and they were actually responding quite positively.  They were nodding their heads and they seemed to agree with us.  I didn’t have every single bullet point down; though it didn’t seem to matter.  They liked our work.”

“And?”

“And then I advanced the slide to an image of a butt.  Picture, if you will, a six-by-six foot screen completely covered with a woman’s naked butt.  In a font that was probably as big as my head, the caption read, ‘Grade-A, 4-Star, Quality Goods!’”

“Wow.”  Janet’s eyes conveyed the shock better than her vocabulary did.  She didn’t know how to respond.  Lisa saw the lack of response and continued.

“From what she told me later, it was a college joke.  I didn’t care enough after the meeting to listen to her explanation.”

“Wait”, Janet interrupted.  “You’re sure it was her butt in the picture?”

“Oh yes”, Lisa replied.  “Myra got a tattoo when she graduated from high school.  It’s a very recognizable tattoo.  She made a point of showing it to me in the lady’s restroom one time.”

“You didn’t tell me that”, Janet laughed.  “Freeeak.”

“Pretty much”, Lisa shrugged.  “This is who I work with.”

“Hold on, what happened in the meeting?  They must have walked out.”

“Not so fast there, Missy.  That is where my brilliance saved the day.”

“How?”

“I gulped.  I cursed to myself.  Then I looked at the room.  They were, needless to say, less than impressed.  Something clicked in my brain and I spat out, ‘That’s our Super Bowl spot.  The follow up picture will feature your product.’  I made up something about, ‘The Big Cheese- Everything else is just crass.’  They chuckled nervously.  They obviously didn’t love it because it was a picture of Myra’s butt.  Still, they loved enough about the rest of our presentation to give us the contract.”

“Really?”

“They asked that we not pursue the butt-shot angle.  I guess they don’t feel like it suited the luxury/ high-class vibe they’re going for.”

“How non-innovative of them”, Janet joked.

“Indeed”, Lisa replied.  “And now I would once again ask you to kill my boss.”

“How’d that picture get in there?”

“She tosses all of her photos into one folder on her computer.  She picked the wrong one and was too blurry-eyed from her lack of sleep to tell the difference.”

“Dang”, Janet replied.

“Yes”, Lisa answered.  “My boss is truly an expert.  An expert at what, I don’t know.  Yet she assures me that she is paid well for her expertise.”

“The company’s fortunate to have you around”, Janet commented.

“They’re fortunate I still have my calm demeanor”, Lisa sighed as she ate the last of her scone.  “It’ll all work out one day.  Right?  Maybe?”

Janet only raised her hands in the classic, “what can ya do” gesture.

“Ugh”, Lisa replied.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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