Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Outgoing (05/05/11)
TITLE: All In A Day's Work
By Robyn Burke
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I winked. “Lioness on the prowl.” We exchanged snarky looks as Cherrie fluttered away.
I bent back over my desk, humming a tune slightly reminiscent of something a munchkin might sing. Keeping my sense of humor in tact would be the only thing that kept me from developing a full blown ulcer in this job.
The important document to which Cherrie was referring, a slim legal sized white envelope, now rested in my outgoing mail box. We had regular mail pick up every morning at 10. It was now 10:08 which meant a trip to the Parcel and Post across the street. It would mean going on my lunch break. In the dismal rain, mind you, for which, glancing down at my pretty new shoes, I was not prepared to do.
As usual Amber waited until the last minute and then expected everything done yesterday. Honestly, for an obsessive perfectionist, she could be so disorganized! How did Cherrie cope as her assistant? I would gladly take my busy switchboard any day over dealing with the likes of ‘Anal Amber’. However, when Amber was on a tear, everyone in the office suffered.
The jangle of the telephone brought me up short. Shaking away the negative thoughts, I put on my happy voice and spoke into the headset.
“Northwest Coffee Supply, this is Teri, how may I help you?”
“Hey, gorgeous.” The silky voice of Beck Dawson always made me shiver. I glanced around, making sure no one was within ear shot as I sank deeper into my office chair and allowed his sweet nothings to rattle my brain. It would be mush by the time we hung up but this man was my world. The clicking of heels approaching caught my attention and I sat up straight.
“Let me put you on hold while I see if he’s in.” I interrupted Beck’s smooth flow of words as Amber came closer. I pushed the button and searched madly for Ed Cooper’s extension. I knew he was gone and it was the perfect decoy until the coast was clear.
“I’m sorry, he’s not in. Would you like his voice mail?”
Beck knew exactly what I was trying to convey and laughingly declined. Hanging up I glanced at Amber who was glaring superciliously. Oh dear. She was waiting. For me.
“Did that letter go out?”
Her brusque manner gave me pause. What was she talking about? I glanced down at my outbox. Oh! That letter.
“We missed Harry but I can take it over to Parcel and Post on my lunch.” I offered my most engaging smile but it did nothing to remove the scowl on the lioness’ face.
“That letter has to be there by tomorrow morning. I need you to go immediately.”
And will you be answering the phones while I’m gone? I asked silently. Why don’t you ask your assistant? was my second unspoken question.
“Sure…” I spoke slowly, making it plain that her request, while not out of line, was nonetheless an inconvenience. “Let me see if I can get someone up here to cover the phones.”
“Never mind. I’ll send Cherrie.” Her retreat was so swift I felt slapped.
The return of the ringing phone pulled me back into my responsibilities, forcing me to abandon any thoughts about poor Cherrie. The rest of my morning was slammed with calls. Assuming the letter had gone with Amber, the urgency of it faded from my mind.
Upon my return from lunch however… The pile in the outgoing box for tomorrow’s mail was in need of restacking. I like a tidy work space and that includes any file box within an arm’s length of me. As I straightened and sorted (I like the envelopes arranged by size, and I double check that no one forgot to stick a stamp on.) I found Amber’s letter staring up at me and a sinking feeling in my stomach coming down. I didn’t know how this had happened but it had to be remedied. Because if the lioness discovered this blooper, it wouldn’t just be mail in the outgoing box! I stuffed the letter into my handbag and punched Cherrie’s extension.
“ASAP!” I hissed.
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