Lap Dance in Ukrainian

21 Mar

In the late afternoon, in the office of Travel Agent Magazine, my friend Samantha comes by my cubicle and hands me a print-out.

“Take a look at this,” she says.

It’s a long string of e-mails between our editor-in-chief and the head of Human Resources. The e-mail discusses the virtues and faults of a dozen editors, and which ones should be fired tomorrow. The editor-in-chief was dumb enough to print the document and then forget to pick it up from the printer. Samantha had found it and made copies. Her name is on the list. So is mine.

Human Resources writes: “You can’t cut Rogers- his byline is all over the magazine.”

This comment gets no positive reply from the editor and I can sense my head is on the block.

That night, instead of driving straight home to tell Ann, I head to a strip club in Dover run by the Russian mob. There’s no sense in sharing things with my wife – she’s hopeless when things get tough. Ann would spend the night crying and worrying. Instead, I watch girls from Kazakhstan and the Ukraine totter around in six-inch acrylic heels, dancing to J-Lo’s “Jenny on the Block.”

The next morning in the office, I get a call. “Mark, can you come up to Human Resources?”

Then it’s done and I’m actually feeling pretty good. I’m one of eight that get the boot. Samantha’s one of them. Some of the remaining editors look at me strangely, including Adam the poet, who says, “Man, you’re taking this well.”

I clean out my desk and then I’m gone.

(2003)

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