At work today I bump into Ted Bradbury coming out of the copy room. Literally. I’m rounding the corner, entering the copy room just as he’s leaving, and we do one of those shoulder body-checks. It feels like hitting an oak tree. He’s superhuman for sure; if I slammed into a normal guy they’d be on the floor.
“Oh, sorry, Ted,” I say. “Making copies?”
Ted stands in the doorway glaring at me. “Mackenzie,” he says with distaste. He may have well just said, “Dogshit.”
“Hey, you know, we never talk, Ted,” I say. I can’t help myself, some irresistible inner force compels me to fuck with people. “You should swing by my office some time, shoot the breeze.”
“You probably think you’re bulletproof now that Quentin asked you to stay on,” he says, lowering his voice as somebody walks by in the hall. (see post My Meeting with the Supervillains Who Run My Company, 11/7/05) “Well, I got a news flash for you, pal. You fuck up once – just once – and your ass is mine.”
“Are you hitting on me, Ted?” I say, a little too loudly.
Ted’s face glows red. I can hear his molars grinding together as he leans in close. Hmm, somebody uses Scope in the morning - his breath is like minty fresh hate. “Laugh it up, dickhead. You have no idea with whom you are fucking with.”
“I don’t think that’s correct, Ted. I think it should be, ‘You have no idea with whom you are fucking.’”
Ted grabs my shoulder and squeezes a wince out of me. Jesus, what a grip! I feel his thumb dig into my flesh like a railroad spike.
“Laugh it up,” Ted says, smiling.
“Hey guys.” It’s Margo. “Am I interrupting something?”
Ted releases my shoulder and we both turn to face Margo, who looks beautiful today, as she often does.
“No, Ted was just showing me some new acupuncture pressure points,” I say, rubbing my shoulder. “Thanks, Ted. I’ll be sure to try that.”
Ted ignores me and nods cordially to Margo. “Margo,” he says, then eases by and walks away.
Margo and I both go into the copy room. “What was that about?”
“Just rough housing. You know. Guy stuff.”
She looks at me skeptically. “Uh-huh.”
Margo is wearing a tailored grey wool skirt and a cropped jacket with a pink blouse. She’s got cute spikey-toed pink shoes, too.
“Hey, where you been?” I say. “I haven’t seen you in forever.”
“Oh my God, I was so sick last week,” she says. “I was dying.”
“Hey, me too. It was terrible, I didn’t know which end it was coming out,” I say, then immediately regret it. I guess I’m in full-on adolescent mode today.
Margo laughs and does that wrinkling her nose thing that I love. “You are so gross, Mackenzie.”
We chat a little more and she goes along her merry way and I make my copies and think about how perfect she is. Man, my shoulder hurts. That fucker’s got a grip on him. Definitely enhanced or superhuman; something.
Staying true to my adolescent mode, on my way back to my office I drop an inter-office mail envelope off at Ted Bradbury’s mail slot. Inside the envelope is a nice black-and-white photocopy of my hand “flipping the bird.” I am such a child.