I rounded the corner and headed towards my office. Assistant cubicles to the right, offices to the left along the window line. Lynn wasn't at her work station across from my office but knowing her she'd be following me in within a minute. It was 1:15PM and I'd been in meetings continuously since 9AM. Just another day in show bidness. I checked voice mail, "You have 19 new messages and 12 saved messages..." and hung up without listening to any of them. I sat and swiveled the chair to look at intracompany e-mail. I had cleared it at 7:30AM before leaving the house. 76 new e-mails. Crap. Lynn stepped in, "How were the meetings boss?"
"Same as usual," I said.
She had a half dozen pink message slips in her hand. "Here are the ones who dropped out of your voice mail and called me."
I looked through them. Too late to call the London one. I'd work through the East Coast bunch first.
"Didja eat?" Lynn asked.
"Yeah. The exciting cavalcade of cold cuts," I said.
"Want me to make a 'good coffee' run? Something to eat from downstairs?" she asked.
"No. Thanks. But here... knock yourself out. And don't forget your accomplice-in-crime either." I said as I handed her a twenty.
"Woohoo, Dani! Look! Daddy's buying us treats!" Lynn said to my second assistant Dani as they headed to the elevator leaving me without support staff. That's why God invented e-mail and voice mail after all. Another lecture about professional conduct would be forthcoming from their stern taskmaster boss. But, it was nice to be able to please two women with a simple twenty. Designer coffee and a sticky bun or something. Cheap dates.
I sat there wondering how lousy it was to spend twelve hours at the office every day attending meetings, sending e-mails, making phone calls. Life in paradise. Before diving into it all I figured I'd check my private e-mail box. Logging onto my account I went to my mini fridge to get a bottle of water. I hated bottled water but I was attempting to get off caffeine post-lunch-- wanted to see if it was contributing to the sleepless nights. When I walked back to the computer it had finished bringing up nine new e-mails. Glancing through them I saw a couple from my kids, one from Kendra, one from a buddy about our favorite baseball teams, some junk, and then a last one, sent at 3:43 AM Pacific Daylight time that kind of looked like spam. For some reason I opened it first-- just to get it out of the way and have a sense of great accomplishment-- having dealt with one of about 100 e-mails and voice mails from the past four hours. It read:
Mr. William Wilson,
I hope this is reaching the Mr. William Wilson (Wil) who graduated from ______High School in 197_. If it is, you knew me as Jackie Sampson. Maybe you remember going to the horse races in the summer of 197_ when you were working at ______ with a mutual friend, Tim _______.
I think I made a terrible mistake that night and kept some winnings that rightfully belonged to you. My rough calculation is that I kept $2.50 of yours and, with interest, it's probably now worth a cup of coffee give or take a dollar. So, let me know how you would like me to get this sum to you by writing back at this e-mail address.
If this isn't "that" Mr. Wilson, you're welcome for the free entertainment.
When Lynn and Dani came back they shot straight into my office. "Here boss, we got you an iced tea with your own money. Here's your change. Hey, what happened? Bad news?" Lynn said.
"Uh, nothing. I just saw an e-mail from an old friend I haven't heard from in twenty some years and it kind of threw me for a loop," I said.
"Oooooo, kewl. An old girlfriend?" Lynn said enthusiastically.
"No, no. Some guy I worked with on a summer job during college. Hadn't even thought of him in years but, it takes you back, ya know..." I said.
Lynn often talked to Kendra when she called about something regarding the kids. And, although Jane usually called on my direct private line, the simple fact was that she and Lynn were friends. I didn't need Lynn talking to either of those women about an e-mail from an old girlfriend-- especially Jane. Not that Lynn would, she was pretty discreet about business stuff after all. But she had only been in this job for about three months so it was hard to tell how well she kept secrets-- especially from women she liked.
As Dani and Lynn walked out of the office they were grinning at me. They knew damn well I'd heard from a woman. How the hell did they know? Oh well. Nothing I could do about their imaginations-- accurate imaginations as it turned out.
Her last name's still Sampson... hmmmm...