Book Excerpt

From “Last Day”

The first thought that went through my head when Mr. Crawford told me I was being laid off was “I wonder how many office supplies I can fit in the trunk of my car.”  It wasn’t that I really needed anything, but it was never too early to think about Christmas presents.  I thought I remembered my mom saying something about needing a new stapler.

The layoff really wasn’t that surprising; the company had just lost a big account and there had been rumblings for weeks that layoffs were imminent.

On Thursday afternoon I was called to the conference room.  Mr. Crawford was sitting at one end of the long table and he smiled when he saw me.  That’s when I knew I was doomed: Mr. Crawford never smiled at anyone.

“Greg, this is the hardest part of my job…” he started after I had sat down.

That’s when I tuned out and began thinking about moving my emergency road-side kit.  I did hear him say “asset to the company” and “thanks for your hard work” and I think he called me “champ” at one point.  All I knew was that at the end of the next day, I’d be out of a job.

I wasn’t really that upset; when I had started it was supposed to be an entry-level job.  Three years later I was still in the exact same position with little chance for advancement.  Still, losing a job wasn’t the most pleasant experience.

On my way home that night I picked up a case of beer to “celebrate” my impending unemployment.  My roommate Steve, always looking for an excuse to inebriate, decided to join me.

“It’s actually pretty cool,” he said after taking a hit from his Sponge Bob bong.

“Yeah, not having any money or insurance is cool,” I said.

“No, man, not that. Think about it. It’s like if the doctor told you you had six months to live, you could do stuff you’d always wanted to but never did. It’s the same thing for you at your job. Piss in the coffee pot, blow up the mailroom. What are they gonna do, fire you?”

I was skeptical at first, mostly because Steve hadn’t held a steady job for as long as I’d known him, but after about eight beers I began to see what he meant.  He suggested I write a list of things I should do on my last day.

“Like you could make a copy of your ass, man,” he said and started giggling.

That got me laughing. “Yeah. Oh, wait. Mitch Jeffries did that at last year’s office party.”

Steve looked confused. “What? How did Mitch Jeffries make a copy of your ass?”

Although I tried for sometime, it was a question I couldn’t answer.  After a few more beers I passed out.  When I woke up the next morning, with quite a headache, the list, and most of the evening, had been forgotten.

As I poured myself some cereal, I thought about just not going in to work.  But then I realized I needed to clear out my desk and collect my last paycheck.  That’s when I remembered the list.  I wasn’t even sure I’d managed to write anything but when I went back into the living room there it was, stuck to Steve’s forehead.  He didn’t budge as I peeled it off.

My handwriting was surprisingly legible; apparently I had to be drunk to write neatly.  The first item was “make a copy of Mitch Jeffries’ ass.”  Suddenly the evening started coming back to me.  I had forgotten that Mitch had left the company a couple months earlier so there wasn’t much chance of accomplishing that one.

The second item on the list was much more interesting and I grinned when I read it: have sex on the table in the conference room.  I currently wasn’t dating anyone so I wasn’t sure this one was doable (pun intended) either.  As I stepped into the shower, I wondered who I could call.  Unfortunately the best candidate, Clarissa, was on vacation in Thailand.  If ever there was someone I could call for kinky, spiteful sex, it was her.