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.

An Affair Worthy of the News

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.

An Affair Worthy of the News

Be faithful to your love and you will be recompensed beyond measure.” -Albert Schweitzer

“What do you think we should do?”

“Make out.”

“Tom”, Gretchen said with exasperation.  “We made out yesterday, now we need to be serious.”

“You think I’m not?  Well if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m always serious about making out.  I am all about serious.  I think we should do some serious making out.”

“Funny guy”, she said.  “But we need to come up with some sort of a resolution here.”

Tom lay on his side looking at Gretchen who was doing the same.  The weather was far too nice to be ignored and the couple had taken a blanket to a small patch of grass.  Tom saw his relaxing day off turning into a, “we need to have the talk” ordeal.  He took his right hand off of Gretchen’s hip and reached all the way around her back.  He rolled her on top of him and locked his arms tightly behind her lower back.

“What are you doing”, Gretchen asked.  A smile eked out of the corner of her mouth, proving that she was only partially resisting.  “We’re supposed to be talking out a plan of action here.”

“I am”, Tom replied.  “I just want to make sure that I have your full attention.  I know how you get distracted.”

Gretchen’s penchant for being distracted was what had caused the two to meet in the first place.  She had decided that the life of a reporter would be enough of a hustle to keep her brief attention span occupied.  The bosses liked her enthusiasm and had asked Tom to show her the works.  Neither of them had meant for anything to happen, but they certainly weren’t complaining at the results.  Tom had started off by showing her the press box at the arena, showing her the best secret places around the city, and generally sharing with her the secrets that came from years of reporting in they city.

In return, Gretchen had let Tom have an outlet for his playful side.  At work he was seen as reliable and professional; one of the true grunts that would work until the job was done.  Gretchen loosened him up.  Whenever she rushed off to explore some new sight in the city, she grabbed him by the hand and took him racing along with her.  Her laugh, the way her long hair bobbed up and down in the loose ponytail as they darted from one place to the next; it was all too much for Tom to resist.  Everything had come to a head at the boxing match.

Despite Tom’s protesting, his editor had enlisted him to help out while one of the sports writers was on maternity leave.  Things were quiet in the features section and the boss assigned Tom the wrestling match.  When Tom started to vent his annoyance to Gretchen over their morning cup of coffee, she excitedly revealed her secret love of the spectacle.  A quick call to the stadium resulted in a second press seat being obtained.

Tom was astounded by the fun he had at the event.  Gretchen was the main reason why.  She reached a level of excitement Tom could scarcely believe.  She screamed and cheered, calling each wrestler by name and crying for such attacks as “the whirlwind of destruction” and “the bang-town boom”.  Tom had tried to understand the actual proceedings for the first half hour, but he ended up watching Gretchen.  She was clearly having the time of her life and she only became more enthralled as the night went on.  Finally, as the victor pinned his weary opponent, the crowd echoed in one massive cheer.  Gretchen clutched her hands in front of her, her tiny hands balled up into eager little fists of glee.  She looked to Tom, unclenched her hands, and lunged at him.  Her right hand grabbed the back of his head and she pulled him close, her lips fiercely pressing against his.

Tom felt her warm kiss send sparks throughout his body.  He hadn’t expected this kind of attack at the arena.  Gretchen pulled away, realized what she had done, and blushed.

“Sorry” she apologized.  “The spandex, the chaos, the crowd”, she gestured around her.  “I guess I sometimes forget to censor myself.  Please don’t be mad?”

The reply came quickly as Tom put his hand through her hair and leaned close.  “I won’t if you won’t.”  Slowly, making sure he was okay, Tom pulled her towards him and the two enjoyed their exchange in the madness around them.

Ever since that night of kissing, the two had been having the time of their lives.  Their different assignments and pre-existing obligations kept them from spending as much time together as they liked, but they managed to sneak in a date or two each week.  If nothing else, they tried to always grab a quick cup of coffee at work.

Work, although it was the reason the two found each other, was also the biggest problem looming in front of them.  Gretchen had stated in her interview that she had big ambitions, and she had meant it.  From the day she sat down in her business suit and answered the questions asked her, the goal had always been present in her mind.  She wanted to be an editor.  She wanted to be the one making the shots and keeping tabs on all the activity around town.  She cringed at the idea of being trapped behind a desk, yet that was a sacrifice she thought she could handle.  That drive and passion was appreciated by the higher-ups.  But the part that they bristled at was the obvious affection that Gretchen had for Tom.

The newspaper had a rule.  The rule made sense.  The rule was strict.  And for Gretchen and Tom, the rule was a problem.  The rule stated that no employee should be in a relationship with an employee that could be answerable to the other.  Tom showing Gretchen around town and taking her places; that the bosses could excuse as a professional courtesy.  However two employees out and out dating while one made choices that could affect the other; that they wouldn’t have.  Gretchen had made informal inquiries to Anne, an editor she had grown to respect and like.  Anne explained it as softly as she could; management wouldn’t let an editor date a reporter, even if they weren’t assigned to the same sections.  The company wanted to avoid any and all appearances of nepotism, no exceptions.

Gretchen had tried to have fun with Tom, and that part had succeeded entirely.  The choice they would have to make soon continued to loom over their heads like a giant typewriter.  Any day it was going to fall and one of them might be crushed.  Gretchen warned Tom as they walked towards the park.  A decision had to be made.  She would prefer it to be made today.  Tom nodded quietly; a sign that he was trying to figure out a way to phrase the thoughts in his head.  That was one of the things Gretchen loved about Tom.  His thoughts always came out perfectly formed because of all the time he spent developing and arranging them in his head.  Tom rarely went through drafts or needed revisions; his writings, just like his conversations, emerged from his head ready for their audience.

“Here’s what’s going to happen”, Tom said.  He watched as Gretchen tried to pull away, but he wouldn’t let her.  She pulled her long hair out of Tom’s face, only for it to fall back towards him after she had readjusted it.  “Leave it”, he said.  “Here’s what we will do.  We will continue to fall deeply and madly in love.  It’s that simple.”

“Okay, she said as she ran her thumb against the line of his jaw.  And when I become editor?”

“Then I’ll quit”, Tom said quietly.

“Wait, quit?”  Gretchen broke free of Tom’s arms and sat next to him.  She stared down at him in disbelief.  “You can’t quit.”

“Sure I can”, Tom replied.  “People do it every day.”

“You can’t quit”, she repeated.  “You’re great at your job.  You love it.  You’ve spent years developing all those contacts.  What would you do if you quit?”

“I could still write”, Tom replied.  “I put some feelers out and there’s freelance work available.  Plus, my agent seems to think that there’s a book or two in this noggin of mine.”

Gretchen was stunned.  “You talked to your agent?”

“Well yeah”, Tom said has he sat up.  “You’re not the only one who’s been thinking this out.”

“Do you really want to quit, though?”

“No, I don’t”, Tom replied sadly.  He saw Gretchen was about to argue, so he spoke first.  “But I will.  You and I both know that editor jobs are rare in this city.  The media outlets just aren’t what they once were.  If you think a job is going to open up for you, then you have to seize it.  Period.”

“I don’t want you to have to quit”, Gretchen said.  “You’re good at your job.  You enjoy it, I know you do.”

“Very true”, Tom replied.  “But I enjoy you more.  And I care about your happiness more than a job, no matter how good I am at it.  Of course, if you ask my current editor, he may disagree with just how talented I am.”

“Don’t do that”, Gretchen snapped.  “I hate it when you put yourself down.”

Tom smiled.  “Yeah, I do.  Sorry.”

“You really plan to quit?”

“The way I see it, I have two choices.  I can keep seeing you, keep building on this wonderful stretch of, what, seven months?  Or I can have my job.  My job is interesting, but it isn’t everything.  I’d rather have no one calling me, offering jobs, than not have you call me at the end of the night.  It’s really that simple.  I’m supposed to support you, right?  Cheer for you when you want to have something for yourself?  Well then, consider it done.”

“You”, Gretchen said as she choked up, “are amazing.”

“No, the version of me that’s with you is.  I like myself more when I’m with you.  You make me feel more happier, smarter, and more confident.  Life is better when you’re with me.  It’s that simple.  You make me feel attractive, and it’s not just because you’re so stunning.  Which in case I haven’t told you today; you are.  The sun shining through your hair?  It’s pretty great.”

“You’re not so bad yourself”, Gretchen replied.

“Oh, I know.  I’m kinda perfect”, Tom said as he lay back on the blanket.

“Says the guy who forgot my birthday last month”, she retorted.  Gretchen lay back down and nestled next to Tom.  She put her head on his chest as they watched the few clouds above float lazily by.  A large cumulus in the shape of a sitting camel seemed to wink at her, wishing her the best.

“I did forget”, Tom admitted.  “But I promise to buy you flowers when you get promoted.  I’ll have them delivered to the office.  It’ll be a grand spectacle sure to embarrass you.  Hey, maybe you can use it as a reason to fire me?  Wouldn’t that be a fun story for our coworkers to gossip about?”

Gretchen rolled her eyes and sighed.  She wanted to be annoyed at his bad joke.  She couldn’t; Gretchen was far too busy enjoying a quiet day with a man who truly loved her.

Dexter and The Desk of Doom

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

Dexter and The Desk of Doom

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” -Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10

Dexter always considered himself a nice enough fellow.  He was pleasant to folks at work, tried to control his temper with customers, and generally didn’t destroy anything within his reach.  All in all, his was a quiet and well-mannered existence.  Little did he know, it would be a simple desk would task him and his patience.

Looking back on the event, Dexter could have said it was Nikki’s fault.  Nikki worked with Dexter and she had a certain effect on him.  Nikki was a very remarkable woman.  She was older, naturally kind, and quite lovely.  There were plenty of women around that had a nice smile, average height, and dressed in a professional, but not off-putting manner.  Though somehow, Nikki pulled it off better than others.  Dexter had befriended Nikki around work and the two made a habit of going for coffee whenever their schedules allowed it.  Most days Dexter just enjoyed her company.  However, there were days when she would laugh just so at one of his jokes when I wanted very much to impress her.  He didn’t want to rush things; theirs seemed to be a workplace friendship.

The desk changed all that.  Nikki had just moved into a new place.  Dexter had secretly hoped that she would ask him to help move so they could at least have some time together without a time clock ticking away.  She hadn’t, but now she had a task just for him.  She had gone shopping at a store and purchased a few things.  Nikki asked if he wouldn’t mind coming over and helping her with some assembling.  Dexter brightened at the opportunity to assist this lovely woman.  They made plans to build and have some dinner at Nikki’s place on Friday night.  “This’ll be fun”, Dexter offered. 

A few days later, work had been finished for the week and Dexter had driven Nikki home.  It had been a rather agreeable commute.  The cars themselves had been rude and plentiful, but that just gave the two more time to talk.  Nikki regaled Dexter with memories of summers in Louisiana as a small kid while Dexter discussed the bike trip across country that had gone horribly wrong.  Soon enough, they were in Nikki’s fifth floor apartment.  She excused herself to change out of her work clothes while Dexter was shown her office.

The box looked entirely harmless.  There was no indication from its rather bland white-cardboard exterior that any trouble would be had.  The only markings on the box were a glued-on piece of paper that showed a simple desk standing peacefully in a model room; flowers and a few perfectly organized notebooks lay about.  The box promised nothing but tranquility. 

Dexter took off his jacket, tossed it in the corner, and laid the box on the floor.  He took out his car key and sawed through the plastic band that held the box closed.  He lifted the lid, tossed it across the room, and was introduced to the pieces of wood that aspired to be a household decoration.  It all looked simple enough.  There were three large planks of wood, a few shorter pieces for the shelves, and a rather unimpressive bag of screws and a few quickly-fabricated, single-use tools.

Nikki reappeared, wearing jeans and a college sweatshirt.  She asked if he needed her help and Dexter confidently replied that he should be okay.  Nikki apparently expected this response for she told him she had started some water boiling and she was going to get dinner started.  He nodded, assured her he would ask for help if the situation demanded it, and then watched her leave the room.  With a sigh, he returned to the task at hand.

At the onset, the task proceeded as planned.  The right desk leg inserted neatly into the top right side main plank exactly as the instructions had stated.  Dexter took a handful of screws and tightened them.  Then he went to work putting the left desk leg in.  Again, everything proceeded fine.  As Dexter started to put the tracks for the sliding keyboard shelf in, the complications set in.

 Dexter stood the desk up and found that the two legs alone didn’t provide much in the way of stability.  However he was sore from sitting in the same position and thought the desk would hold shape long enough for him to screw in the metal tracks.  The cracking sounds that started to come from the right desk leg proved him wrong.  He heard the screws trying to pull free and quickly set the desk flat on the floor.  He looked at the damage, decided it wasn’t considerable, and then went back to work.

The sliding tray was a snug fit, to put it mildly.  When he looked back at the instructions, Dexter found he was supposed to assemble the tracks before he put the second leg on.  He rolled his eyes, annoyed at the inconvenience, and took the left leg off.  After a few minutes of putting the tracks on and adding the supports for future shelves, Dexter reattached the left leg.  Nikki returned and asked how it was going.  She saw the pile of wood taking on a three-dimensional shape and congratulated him on his progress.  Dexter admitted that there had been a surprise or two, but it was coming along.  Nikki went back to the kitchen to stir the pasta.

Adding the sliding tray to the desk filled Dexter with confidence and he felt sure that the desk would stand on its own much better this time.  He lifted the desk so that its legs stood on the floor.  Suddenly, the left leg started to excuse itself.  Dexter rushed to lay the desk back on the carpet, but the leg was too fast for him.  It gave the same cracking noise as before, but this time from another screw.  Once again flat on the floor, Dexter discovered what had gone wrong.  When he had put the leg back on, he had accidently used one of the shorter screws instead of the long ones and the leg had pulled it loose.  He replaced the screw with the right size one, reassessed the damage, and continued on. 

Had the desk been a one layer piece of furniture, things would have ended well enough.  The desk would not have been perfect, but it would have functioned.  However, much to Dexter’s chagrin, there was a second level.  There was to be a shelf that allowed for compartments along one side and over the top of a computer monitor.  Nikki came in and asked how much longer he needed since dinner was ready.  Dexter, beginning to feel frustrated, was conflicted.  He could probably use a break, and he certainly didn’t want to keep Nikki waiting, but he knew if he stopped he would never want to return.  He knew it was especially true with Nikki as his conversation partner.  “Would you mind if I took just a little more time with this?”

After Nikki had excused herself to go pay some bills, Dexter shifted up a gear.  He looked at the instructions with fierce intent.  He laid out all the pieces that he would need for the second phase of his mission.  He stayed kneeling over his work on the floor, determined not to assemble the two pieces until he was sure that the top shelves were all combined and stable.  Twenty minutes later, everything had gone according to plan.  To be safe, and since it was her furniture that he was building, Dexter called in Nikki for a little help.  She hurried in, happy to be of some assistance.  The two of them pushed the pieces together and got ready to affix the top shelves to the lower half.  It was then that Dexter realized that he couldn’t get to the screw holes with the top shelf fully assembled.  He would either have to undo the top part entirely, or take off the legs and the sliding shelf for a third time. 

Dexter felt his vein pop out of his forehead.  Whenever he had a customer that overly irked him, underwent long periods of exercise, or had to talk to his brother on the phone, the vein appeared over his right eye and shot up to his scalp.  The vein was in full bloom.  He decided that the main plank and its legs had suffered enough, so with a quick swear word he started to take apart the top section. 

“Do you want to take a break?”  Nikki’s voice was calm and understanding, but Dexter didn’t respond.  She reached over and put her hand on his shoulder.  Surprised at the soft touch, Dexter stopped and looked at her.  “Dexter, it’s fine.” she commented.  “It’ll be fine.”  Dexter sighed, felt his jaw unclench, and relaxed.  The hand on his shoulder made him want to work harder, but less frantically this time.  He nodded to Nikki, gave a small smile, and turned back to the desk.

In no time at all, the two had finished the desk.  Dexter had some scrap pieces of wood in his car and he offered to go down and use them to reinforce the lower pieces.  Nikki said that she appreciated the thought, but insisted that they eat dinner first.  The two laughed and talked, sometimes forgetting the pasta entirely.  They joked about the desk, did their best to forget about work, and found themselves still talking at nine o’clock.  Nikki went to the window and pulled the curtains back.  Dexter took in a marvelous view of the last moments of sunset.  The city and the lake below them were lit up in a wonderful orange-pink glow that offset the surrounding areas of darkness.

Dexter got up and went to the window to join Nikki, but found that she walked back to the kitchen.  Dexter thought that he had misread a social cue and wondered if he should apologize for crowding her.  But Nikki returned with two wine glasses in her hand.  She gave one to Dexter, took a sip from her glass, and let her head rest on his shoulder.  “Thanks for coming over tonight”, she said quietly.  “I like having you here.”

“Thanks for being patient with me.  Sorry my construction skills are little… um…”

“Creative?” she offered.

“Something like that”, he replied.Image

“We’ll call it practice”, Nikki said kindly.  “We still have one more to go.”

“Wait, what?”  Dexter was confused.

“Yeah, no one’s going to look under that desk.  It’s the dining room table that will be out here for people to see.”  Nikki pointed to an imposing box taking up half of the opposite wall.  “Remember, I said I had some tables I’d like help with; plural.  I could have built that little desk myself.”

Dexter felt like he was going to cry.  Then an idea struck him.  “What if I come over tomorrow?  Then we could spend the day, take our time with it; maybe talk a walk after?”

Nikki lifted her head off Dexter’s shoulder and smiled.  “I think that’s a pretty solid idea.”

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