Finding Fidelity – The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades
“Jezuz!” I exclaimed out loud to no one in deadpan alley.
I remembered why I hadn’t eaten, and why I was so fucking hungry—blood draw day for the “corporate wellness program”. Apparently, one is at the pinnacle of health when one has not eaten for at least 12 hours (or longer). I posited that there was a fine line between vigorous and emaciated. I was straddling that line as I pulled up the building floor plans to figure out where the goddam Quartz conference room was. As it turned out, if I began jack-hammering in the center of my cubicle through all of the subsequent floors below me, I’d land dead center in the Quartz conference room.
I opted for the stairs.
The annual bribe for two vials of blood and a litany of measurements required a period of fasting to ensure none of our “numbers” were askew. There were also “activity” and “nutrition” requirements, but simply forking over a pound of flesh (or in my case, 20 ml of blood) would net me half the $1.000 bribe. Lord knows I had a few pounds of flesh to spare. The “activity” and “nutrition” aspects that yielded the $500 balance were a problem for future Jaye.
As there was no chance of being ass-eaten descending the stairwell, I lazily meandered downward. I was passed by a pair of go-getters, and that was fine with me. Since I was descending toward a blood draw, I was in no rush.
The triage for this HIPPA-questionable corporate endeavor was …questionable. There was of course a check-in table where I was treated like Leo at the Mayo Clinic: there were copious amounts of paperwork despite the multipage online questionnaire that was filled out weeks prior. Unsurprisingly, said online questionnaire already covered the exact same questions on the clipboarded paper questionnaire I was handed. The number of times I was asked for my birthdate nearly impelled me to get it tattooed onto my fucking forehead.
As I glanced toward the row of chairs to which I was directed by clipboard-hander-outer gal, I noticed a familiar desirous form occupying the chair nearest to the room full of blood drawers. Custom would dictate that I sit right next to Addy, but the chairs were arranged impossibly close to one another. Occupying the chair next to her seemed tantamount to sidling up to the urinal next to the sole occupied urinal in a bank of a dozen empty urinals.
I rapidly, clumsily, evaluated my options.
I nearly dropped my clipboard.
The clipboard-hander-outer gal asked, “Mr. Holst, are you OK?”
I swung toward her a bit too violently a nodded a bit too vigorously, likely underscoring her concern rather than quelling it.
I swung back around hoping against hope she had not been called into the vampire’s chamber.
She hadn’t. She sat patiently with crossed legs and a black patent stiletto dangling off the edge of the sexy toes of her right foot. Her foot rhythmically bobbed in time to some invisible melody. Unlike most of humanity, she was staring off into the space just beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows rather than space between her pinky and thumb at her phone.
I was struck stupid and hypnotized by her bare foot pumping the black patent leather pump up and down.
I had to go in for a closer examination.
I composed myself to the best of my abilities, which were lackluster at that moment.
I approached the seat next to hers casually.
She looked up for a second, and I returned her glance with an insouciant smirk.
She reciprocated with a half nod, and resumed her thousand-yard stare at literally greener pastures.
I lowered myself onto the seat next to her. As I did, I realized there was no avoiding her prodigious left hip which was spilling over the edge of her chair onto mine.
I decided to venture the connection and lowered myself gracefully, slowly.
She wiggled a bit to the right as my bony hip grazed her luxuriant hip.
“Sorry,” I muttered.
She looked at me for a brief second and smiled the sexiest kissable smile I’d ever know.
I refocused on the clipboard at hand.
She unfocused somewhere in the distance.
I immediately wondered what she was wondering.
Was she lamenting the annoying troll sitting adjacent who’d waylaid her reverie?
Was she pondering the remainder of her bullshit day in corporate American hell?
Was she regretting all of the bad decisions she’d made that led her to this lugubrious scene?
Was she psyching herself up for the needle that was about to pierce her sexy forearm?
Was she dreaming about her dream guy who quite obviously was not sitting next to her?
Was she wracking her brain in a futile attempt to remember her cat’s birthday?
Was she looking forward to an impending vacation in Tahiti?
Was she replaying her entire high school epoch rife with stories, tales, lies and exaggerations?
Was she plotting her escape across the street to Nordstrom Rack during lunch?
Was she thinking about what she was going to binge watch after work?
Was she thinking about what she was going to binge eat after work?
Was she thinking about what she was going to binge drink after work?
Was she plotting her takeover of the entire Finance division?
Was she replaying her entire college epoch rife with sweet sounds coming down on the nightshift?
Was she looking forward to a weekend with her BFF who was flying in from Topeka, KS?
Was she wracking her brain in a futile attempt to wrack her brain?
Was she dreaming about the closet makeover she had saved for and planned for over a year?
Was she psyching herself up for the update meeting she had with her boss later in the day?
Was she regretting not pursuing her dream of a career in photography more vigorously?
Was she pondering whether or not to purchase the matching red pumps?
Was she lamenting the interminable wait to get this ordeal over with?
“Addison Tattersall,” announced a tiny man in pointless blue head-to-toe scrubs.
And with that, her toes disappeared into her black patent leather pump, and her hip grazed mine as she bounded out of her seat to comply with the requirements of the MVT “Pay-for-blood-test-results” program.
I watched her hips as they sashayed into the vast conference room now broken up by slapdash cubicle walls to afford us victims of the corporate blood extraction a modicum of privacy. They were the most perfect hips I’d ever seen…then they were gone.
“Jaye Holst,” announced a squat Smurfette.
Excerpt from Finding Fidelity, a forthcoming novel from Blake Charles Donley