Drama at 1208 Industrial Plaza

As I write this, I'm bathed in a cold sweat. My mother always warned me this day would come, and I just scoffed. Oh, how I scoffed! "Ma," I chided her every time, "just keep the presents comin' on my birthday and the mittens snapped to my jacket and stay out of my damn face."

The reckoning came just minutes ago. I was sitting here in my spacious office enjoying my favorite lunch, a large pizza with extra cheese and three grilled pork chops on top and a side of salisbury steak with onion fingers and a bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats with strawberries in them. For dessert I was looking forward to a nice half a pie---triple cherry marshmallow with chunk-o-chocolate specks, from Bakey McOven's down the block. But I got full just a little quicker than I thought I would. Hey, it happens. No court in the world would convict me. So I stiffened my right arm, jutted it outwards, and used it to sweep all the uneaten goop off my desk and into the trash, like I normally do---like I've done a thousand times before, and the world always kept spinning with nary a bump. But this time, Madgie buzzed me.

"Sir," she said, "are you there?"

"Yeah," I said, already feeling something was amiss. I swear I have a sixth sense.

"Sir," Madgie said, "starving children in Africa on line four."

I froze. "Are you sure?" I asked her.

"Yes sir," she said.

"How many does it seem like there are?" I asked.

"Many," came her bored reply.

"Many like five, ten, or many like a hundred?" I demanded to know.

"A couple hundred," she said.

Crap. Double crap! Now I'm sitting here in the office staring at that damn blinking green button. What am I gonna do? Why couldn't Madgie have thought a little quicker and told them I was out for the day? God, she's useless!

I mean, how much time can I let pass before they know I'm avoiding them? God, look at that button blink! They would have hung up by now if they were going to. Even my wife gets the message that I'm not in the mood to hear her whine about the cat's diaper after forty-five seconds or so.

Still blinking.

You know what, maybe I'll answer, but I'll do my Spanish voice. That worked with those relentless bastards from Netflix. "No late fees". Yeah, right.

Oh, come on, hang up already!

Man, you live your life a certain way for years and years and you never even come close to getting busted for throwing food away and then one fine day out of the blue the starving African children catch on and want some answers. Could I be any unluckier?

You know what I could do, I could go out the window. Just go right out the window. I'm not proud. I'll get right up on the ledge and push myself out. It's maybe a twelve foot drop. What's gonna happen, the casts on my left leg and wrist are gonna get dirty? Big deal.

Oh oh oh oh oh, it stopped! They hung up! Whooo-hoooooooooo! I win! I win! Nobody works The Stall like I do! Nobody! I gotta hand it to 'em, they really stuck around. Nine minutes and twelve seconds. Dedication. Good skill to learn. There's probably just the one phone over there and maybe somebody else needed to use it. The fates have smiled.

I'm unplugging the fax machine just in case. Just in case, you know, their wee little fingers figure something out.

The day's looking up. Gettin' a little peckish for a snack, if I do say so myself. Feels like a Baskin Robbins afternoon. Think I'll spin me the fabled wheel o' thirty-one and see what Santa brings me.

You can use the computer while I'm gone, but do not open the folder called "Stuff". Seriously.