Written for OLWG#119
Justine picked up the phone on the second ring. Always on the second ring. Pick up on the first ring and people think you’re anxious, let it ring too many times and they get pissed that you are making them wait so Justine always picked up on the second ring. She didn’t recognize the number that came up on caller ID so she used her professional greeting, “Good morning Justine Kiddo speaking, how can I help you.”
She always said ‘how can I help you,” rather than “how may I help you,” because she thought it sounded more sincere, more homey, less pretentious. The last thing that Justine wanted to do was sound pretentious.
“Hey Kiddo, it’s me,” the caller said by way of identifying himself.
Justine brought her hand up to her breast in surprise, “Mr Sullivan?” she asked. The boss had never called her directly before.
“The one and only,” he replied, “Kiddo I tried to get hold of Barry but his line’s busy. I go directly to voice mail when I try either Ruben or Roxanne. What the fuck’s going on there?”
Mr Ramirez and Ms Renata are in a meeting, Conference room two. I’m not sure where Mr Green is. I haven’t seen him yet this morning. Is there anything I can do to help you, sir?”
“You’re really the only one there, Kiddo?”
“Oh no sir, there are lots of people here. Production is in full swing. I’m assuming that they started at 6:30, as usual. Some of the engineers are here and the kitchen staff is working already. I can take a message for Mr Ramirez and give it to him when he gets out of his meeting if you’d like.” Justine paused and waited for Mr Sullivan to speak.
“Yeah, OK, Kiddo. Would you please tiptoe into that meeting and let Roxanne know that I had to call in sick. She’ll know what to do from there.”
“Of course, sir. Would you like me to inform her why?”
“What do you mean, Kiddo?”
“Do you want me to let her know why you’re sick? A cold, perhaps? Food poisoning or a 24-hour bug, some other minor malady? I can.”
“No, that’s OK. Just tell her I’m sick and won’t be in today. If there is something urgent they can call me but I’d rather be left alone if possible.”
“Very good, sir. I can call up Mittagessen and have a nice container of chicken soup delivered. Would that help?”
“No, that’s OK Kiddo but it won’t be necessary. Don’t forget to let Roxanne know. I’m going back to bed now.”
The phone went silent. Justine moved the phone in front of her face and looked at the receiver for a moment. She shrugged her shoulders and pulled her purse, to her lap from its spot beneath the desk.
The prompts were:
- call in sick
- the diary beneath her pillow
- we can share a tic tac