What is the sound of one mage shoving reality? What is the sound of three shoving not quite together? This time, it is the sound of two apartments opening up, weeks before scheduled.
I could never be bound against my will, so I must have given consent sometime in the shadows of my mind.
Decaf coffee, good wine, and an air of confident authority pulled me through the first week. Bosslady wrapped words around me and dragged me forward, bracing herself upright in the classic manner of the very, very drunk.
All this came through in pictures. Bosslady, a few hundred miles remote, patched me in through video chat, sitting at two sides of a desk far separated. We couldn't actually shove papers, but the twin whiteboards with their own cameras and screens helped.
I was made project manager, really, in the absence of anyone else available to take it on. It was my ex who dragged me in.
"Come to the dark side, I mean, California," she said. "We need you."
"What the hell kind of crack are you on?" I asked her, but found some vacation time and came out to what she swore was just a weekend getaway for a little sand and sun, not that I needed much more of either of those in Phoenix.
She swore, but she lied. There I was in my cute bathing suit, flip-flops, and wrap-around towel sarong tied at the hip. We took a detour just as I saw the glint of sea, and California roads are so weird that I didn't suspect a thing until she pulled up in the parking lot beside a low, glassy building.
"All out!" she chirruped.
"The hell?" I said.
"Just gotta grab something. Come on. Let me show you around."
She dragged me through a few hallways. She waved a hand at rooms as we passed. "That's Billy -- the one with the Harley. Marlene -- coffee fetish -- oh, she's not there. And -- my desk!" She pirouetted and delivered the last with a grand flourish of her slender dark hand.
I stared. The room was a pit. Jenny's desk was heaped high with papers, but relatively clear of trash. It was an oasis in the room, which would have been a spacious corner office if only five desks and seven chairs hadn't been crammed inside. I had no idea how many fire codes this was violating. Given that this was California, probably more than ten, which was approximately how many power strips I saw draped over assorted pieces of relatively immobile furniture.
"You work here?" I managed.
"Isn't it grand?" Jenny enthused. "You can just feel the creativity."
I was feeling something, all right. "Have you ever considered finding some kind of ... project manager?" I asked, looking around. Was that actually a pizza box on the seat of that chair, under the colorful cushion?
(this is actually where the husband from “Cup of Time” works.)
Cup of Time -- she starts off small but soon finds herself living backwards.
As Jenny shuffled through the piles of paper on her desk, I couldn't help myself. I darted over to that chair, plucked the pizza box -- easily a week old, if I could believe the receipt on it -- from under the cushion. I glanced around and located the industrial-sized trash can. It was conspicuously empty. I plunked the ancient box inside and went on a rampage.
Jenny yelped, but I ignored her. She was babbling something about not throwing away anything, there were important development notes in those piles, but I wasn't doing anything of the sort.
"This is an empty bag of jelly babies!" I said, dangling the piece of trash under Jenny's nose. "You mean to tell me that these lunatics you work with take notes on plastic bags now? In Sharpie?"
Jenny grabbed the bag from me and examined it on all sides. "Well..."
"Now this!" I said, and picked up a torn-off scrap of paper that had been junk mail. "This is written on, and I have no idea what it is, so I'm not touching it." I placed it back where I had found it. "But that! That! That is garbage!"
Jenny spluttered and flailed, clearly aware that she was wrong, but not about to admit it.