The phone rang, so Delta answered it.

“What the hell happened today, Delta?”

It was Charlie, and he always skipped the pleasantries. Both of these men, in fact, were often direct in their manner to a fault. Charlie was calling from his cell phone while in his car. He was probably less than five minutes away from the office, but chose to call instead of just waiting until he got there. Why? Because he was incapable of driving without talking on the phone. Delta was sitting in his office when the phone rang, jotting down voicemails and responding to emails. Charlie’s tone implied he knew more about the meeting in question than he was letting on.

“What do you mean?” Delta asked. “You know I hate loaded questions.”

“Today…in your meeting…what happened?” Charlie replied.

“Uggghhh. Nothing happened. It was a perfectly normal and uneventful meeting. There, I answered your question. Just tell me what you know, Charlie.”

“Alright, don’t get upset with me. I’m just trying to help.”

“I’m not upset. I’m just tired. It was a long meeting. But, again, nothing bad happened.”

“Well, you’re not going to believe this then.” Charlie said.

“What?” Delta said.

“Well, Bravo told Alpha that you had a horrible meeting.”

“WHAT?”

“Yep. Bravo sent Alpha an email from his boysenberry during the meeting. He told him that the clients were upset. He told him that you were difficult. Bravo totally threw you under the bus, dude.”

“Fucking Great. That’s just what I need. What a fucking asshole. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” Delta blurted out.

For Delta, this kind of language, in the office and/or on the phone, was definitely outside the norm. Six months earlier Delta had enacted an office policy forbidding profanity. The profanity had gotten so bad up to that point that slips were being made in mixed company. Before it spilled over to conversations with the clients, Delta had instituted a monetary penalty for any profane utterances. Charlie had been the worst offender before the ban. In true Charlie fashion he had embraced the new policy by trying to pay with a hundred dollar bill…thereby paying in advance…which, obviously, defeated the purpose of the penalty. Delta throwing the profane language back at Charlie in this instance was certainly ironic. But, that the curse words were so quick to come to the surface was even more telling. Stress was taking it’s toll on Delta.

“Delta, I’m sorry to have to be telling you this. I wish it weren’t true. I wish he didn’t do this kind of shit.”

“I know. I appreciate you telling me. Was there any more? What else did he say?”

“Let me start at the beginning.” Charlie said.

For the strangest of reasons, the clients had scheduled two meetings in the same city on the same day. Meeting One was the special one. Big Heads from all over had flown in to attend. Alpha, the Big Head for Charlie and Delta’s group, had been at Meeting One with the Big Head Clients. Charlie had also been there to help shuttle people and run the equipment during the meeting. Meeting Two was the normal monthly meeting. That’s where Delta and Bravo had been that morning. Alpha was senior to Bravo, who in turn was senior to Charlie and Delta. Charlie was more senior than Delta and had known Alpha and Bravo longer. So, essentially, there was a senior man at each of the two meetings and a junior man at each meeting. It was all very logical. It’s doubtful that the clients even noticed this clever piece of planning.

“I was taking Alpha to the airport after our meeting ended. He was sitting there in the passenger seat checking email on his boysenberry.” Charlie began.

(Boysenberry was Charlie and Delta’s code name for the ubiquitous email device that every large cranium person they knew HAD to have in their hand at all times. Charlie and Delta were glad to not have one.)

“He and I were talking about business and the meetings and the weather….small talk. He then said, ‘Oh, here’s an email from Bravo.’ He read it and then chuckled. I asked him what was so funny. He said, ‘Bravo says Delta had a horrible meeting. He said the dealers were upset and that Delta had been difficult.’”

“That’s it? That’s all he said?” Delta asked.

“Yes. I wanted to ask him why he thought that email was funny. I wanted to ask him if he had gotten any emails like this before. But, I didn’t. I figured he’d think, if I did, that I was pumping him for information and would just tell you. So, I changed the subject.”

“Well, he has to know you would tell me anyway. He’s surely wise to how this shit works. Do you think he believed the email?”

“I don’t know. I doubt it. The chuckle makes me think that he knows it was bogus. Come on, dude, everybody knows that your meetings go well.” Charlie said.

“Thanks. You didn’t have to say that. Fuck. Why does Bravo have to do this shit all the time? Even if you’re right and Alpha doesn’t believe it, the whole thing is still stupid.”

“Job justification, dude. He can send emails to Alpha telling him that it’s a good thing he was there to save the day and appease the client. He can make himself look better by making you look bad. He’s done it for thirty years and Alpha buys it, even if he doesn’t believe it.”

“I know. You’re right. Those two will never split. They are two fucking peas in a pod. Thirty years of lying to clients…lying to each other…lying to their wives…for what? So, they can fly around the country and pretend to be important and fuck with people’s lives and careers.” Delta said.

“Yep. Two peas in a pod. And, as long as those two are running the group, we won’t get promoted. Hey, I’m entering the garage now. I’ll see you in a couple of minutes.”

“OK. By the way, nothing happened in the meeting. But, Bravo was itching to get out of there early since he had a tee time. That the meeting went long was probably why he sent the email. He’s fucking with my career because he missed a tee time.”

“Yep…that’s probably it.”

“Out.”

“Ya, out.”

Two days later, Bravo finally made an appearance in the office. Delta needed his signature on some paperwork and decided to ask him about the meeting too.

“Thanks for the signature, sir. These will get sent out today.”

“Great. Great. Make sure Florida knows they are on the way. She’s been on me for a couple of days to get them submitted.” Bravo said.

“Sure. Not a problem. Hey, one quick thing…do you have any thoughts on the meeting the other day? Anything you think could have been handled differently?”

“Nope. I thought it was a great meeting. Great job.”

File Under: AND AND AND

Copyright (c) 2005 The Jamoker. All rights reserved.

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