Eastern Standard Tribe – Day 39 of 64

“Come on,” Art said. “Hang that up. Let’s talk about this.”

She shot him a dirty look and turned her back, kept on ranting down the comm at the dispatcher.

“Linda, don’t do this. Come on.”

“I am on the phone!” she said to him, covering the mouthpiece. “Shut the fuck up, will you?” She uncovered the mouthpiece. “Hello? Hello?” The dispatcher had hung up. She snapped the comm shut and slammed it into her purse. She whirled to face Art, snorting angry breaths through her nostrils. Her face was such a mask of rage that Art recoiled, and his back twinged. He clasped at it and carefully lowered himself onto the sofa.

“Don’t do this, OK?” he said. “I need support, not haranguing.”

“What’s there to say? Your mind’s already made up. You’re going to go off and be a fucking idiot and cripple yourself. Go ahead, you don’t need my permission.”

“Sit down, please, Linda, and talk to me. Let me explain my plan and my reasons, OK? Then I’ll listen to you. Maybe we can sort this out and actually, you know, come to understand each other’s point of view.”

“Fine,” she said, and slammed herself into the sofa. Art bounced and he seized his back reflexively, waiting for the pain, but beyond a low-grade throbbing, he was OK.

“I have a very large opportunity in Boston right now. One that could really change my life. Money, sure, but prestige and profile, too. A dream of an opportunity. I need to attend one or two meetings, and then I can take a couple days off. I’ll get Fede to OK a first-class flight—we get chits we can use to upgrade to Virgin Upper; they’ve got hot tubs and massage therapists now. I’ll check into a spa—they’ve got a bunch on Route 128—and get a massage every morning and have a physiotherapist up to the room every night. I can’t afford that stuff here, but Fede’ll spring for it if I go to Boston, let me expense it. I’ll be a good lad, I promise.”

“I still think you’re being an idiot. Why can’t Fede go?”

“Because it’s my deal.”

“Why can’t whoever you’re meeting with come here?”

“That’s complicated.”

“Bullshit. I thought you wanted to talk about this?”

“I do. I just can’t talk about that part.”

“Why not? Are you afraid I’ll blab? Christ, Art. Give me some credit. Who the hell would I blab to, anyway?”

“Look, Linda, the deal itself is confidential—a secret. A secret’s only a secret if you don’t tell it to anyone, all right? So I’m not going to tell you. It’s not relevant to the discussion, anyway.”

“Art. Art. Art. Art, you make it all sound so reasonable, and you can dress it up with whatever words you want, but at the end of the day, we both know you’re full of shit on this. There’s no way that doing this is better for you than staying here in bed. If Fede’s the problem, let me talk to him.”

“Jesus, no!”

“Why not?”

“It’s not appropriate, Linda. This is a work-related issue. It wouldn’t be professional. OK, I’ll concede that flying and going to meeting is more stressful than not flying and not going to meetings, but let’s take it as a given that I really need to go to Boston. Can’t we agree on that, and then discuss the ways that we can mitigate the risks associated with the trip?”

“Jesus, you’re an idiot,” she said, but she seemed to be on the verge of smiling.

“But I’m your idiot, right?” Art said, hopefully.

“Sure, sure you are.” She did smile then, and cuddle up to him on the sofa. “They don’t have fucking hot tubs in Virgin Upper, do they?”

“Yeah,” Art said, kissing her earlobe. “They really do.”

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. (To tell the truth I don't even really care if you give me your email or not.)