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An Early Bird's Can of Worms

By L. H. Davis All Rights Reserved ©

Humor / Scifi

An Early Bird's Can of Worms

I knew I had overslept before I even opened my eyes. The sweet aroma of rich coffee told me that much and more. Betty never made the first pot before 7:30, so the presentations would begin in less than thirty minutes...and I was up first.

I had stayed up past midnight double checking my work. Mr. Bonner, president of Bonner Architectural and Engineering, was known to be a nitpicker when it came to cutting costs, so I knew he'd dig deep into my estimates. I found a few thousand dollars to cut, here and there, but I felt the numbers in my summary were solid and could stand on their own. However, in hindsight, I should have given the numbers on my alarm clock a second glance, as well.

Fresh out of college, I had only been with the firm for three weeks, and the furnishings for my office had yet to arrive. It was a well respected but small company, so I was still working out of the conference room as I had as an intern the previous year. I considered myself lucky to get the job and intended to do whatever it took to hang onto it. Arriving late for the meeting, which was another of Mr. Bonner's pet peeves, was not an option.

"I don't care how late you worked last night," Mr. Bonner said to me on my second day on the job. "You will be here in this office by eight sharp...each and every morning. Is that understood...Mr. Lindsey?"

"Yes, Mr. Bonner...sir." You old grump, I thought. And your breath stinks, too.

My internal clock always woke me at dawn...each and every morning...but I still couldn't take the chance. So just in case, I dug out Old Faithful, my alarm clock from college. After I peeled off a rather large assortment of beer bottle labels, I removed the old batteries...and the dead cockroach, installed new batteries...without the cockroach, and set the alarm for 6:00 AM. It was pushing 1:00 AM, but I set the time to 5:55 to test the alarm. I leaned back to wait and saw the time change to 5:56, but I must have fallen asleep because I screamed like a little girl when the buzzer went off only four minutes later. Confident all was in order, I flipped the alarm back to "ON" and closed my eyes.

Smelling Betty's coffee, I cringed and wondered, Why didn't the alarm go off? "Because I never reset the time," I mumbled as I opened my eyes. After a quick glance around the well lit room, I knew it was too late, so I slipped my cell phone out of my pocket. Yeah, I even slept in my business suit, minus the jacket of course, which I hung on the back of the door. I don't know, it sounded like a good idea at the time. Anyway, the display on my phone confirmed exactly what I already knew; it was eight o'clock on the dot. I knew that because Mr. Bonner always arrived precisely on time. And I knew for a fact, he was already at the meeting. Scrolling through my list of contacts, I found Betty's number.

"Bonner Architectural and Engineering. Good morning. This is Betty speaking. How may I help you?"

"Betty, it's me."

"Excuse me? Me who? And please speak up; I can barely hear you."

"It's Jack Lindsey."

"Oh! Good morning, Jack. Mr. Bonner is waiting for you in the conference room."

"I know, and I need your help."

"What's the matter, dear? Are you a little under the weather today? Should I tell Mr. Bonner you need to reschedule the meeting for a later date?"

"No, but ask him to step out to your desk for a minute. Show him those new pictures of your grandson, or something...anything. And please hurry."

"Right now? Why on earth would you ask me to do such a thing?"

"Because I fell asleep under the conference room table last night...and I really need to pee."

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