The office buzzed with activity. Post lunch and post, post lunch coma was a magic hour for work. Some used that time to complete tasks started in the morning and get things done before leaving for the day while others spent their time trying to look busy for the next three hours until it was time to escape.
Frank Tate was a master of Looking Busy. He stared at computer screens, moved from one end of the office to the other with seeming intent, but his true stroke of genius was the Paper Walk. This involved moving from space to space with papers in hand and acting as if you were either on your way to deliver them or back from an important meeting with a new set of marching orders.
Frank clicked at his pen and shuffled through his latest stack of paper ploy, but stopped when he rounded the lobby desk.
Frank was transfixed and caught like a deer in headlights by what he saw before him. His jaw slowly dropped as he slowed to a snails pace and brought the stack of papers up as if reading them to mask his obvious staring. . He felt his heart skip and, for a moment, thought that this was the heart attack his doctor had warned him about for months. He looked around, then stopped by an empty cube and pretended to read.
Sonnie Fong swayed by the copier and sang something – he couldn’t quiet make it out. He moved closer, still holding the copies he had made and marking them with a pen as if editing, but he was just killing time. The hip movements hypnotized him. The song drew him in. She was a siren. He was sure of it now. This wasn’t appropriate behavior for the office –this lurid leering of his – but neither was a samba by the copier wearing something like Sonnie was wearing.
Her black skirt clung to her demure hips as she swayed. Her light blouse was sheer enough to make out the white bra she wore under it. He bit his bottom lip, sighed a blissfull sigh and moved closer to the swaying figure before him.
Sonnie moved her hips and softly cooed out, “When I saw you first the time was half past three…When your eyes met mine it was eternity…By now we know the wave is on its way to be…Just catch that wave don't be afraid of loving me…The fundamental loneliness goes whenever two can dream a dream together….” She held the printer like it was a dance partner and moved along with her little song.
“Enjoying the show, Frank?” The disembodied voice ran over Frank's spine like someone dripped ice cold water down his back.
Frank screamed. He actually screamed. It was a child's scream - something from the back of Frank's throat. His round body squatted slightly as if the flight mechanism was about to kick in and send him running out of the office for safety.
This was followed by the sound of Sonnie screaming. She spun around to face the embarrassed, red faced Frank Tate and his boss, Ron Marks. “WHAT was that about? You nearly gave me a friggin heart attack!" Sonnie's eyes narrowed and anger became very apparent. Her head lowered slightly like a bulls right before it charges - Frank's red face a sad, red cape substitute. Her impulse was obviously fight.
“Frank was just catching the wave, weren’t you, Frank?” Ron Marks placed a hand on Frank’s shoulder and squeezed. Ron's spash of Cool Cat Cologne caught in Frank's nose and burned. Ron’s smug face beamed. He thought himself charming, funny, and smarter than pretty much everyone else in this office of his. He was “The Man”.
“That song," Frank stammered. "I was going to ask you what it was,” Frank tried to keep eye contact, but broke after a moment and looked down at his crumpled fistful of papers.
Sonnie stared blankly. “The Wave,” she growled. Her eyes were cold and cruel. "Do you have my report yet, Frank?"
Frank smiled a wide, stupid smile. "I was just going to tell you - I have them right here." He raised the mess of papers in his hand.
"Thanks." Sonnie stared dismissively. "Maybe reprint it first. A copy that's not wrinkled and covered with your flop sweat would be nice.”
Frank waved the papers again, glanced at Ron, then moved off quickly leaving Ron giggling.
"Coffee?" Ron said as he smiled at Sonnie and adjusted his tie. His phone purred and he instantly forgot about talking to Sonnie, leaving her talking to herself as he snatched the phone from his pocket and pressed it to his ear. “Ron Marks,” he said in his official tone.
Sonnie – used to this after years of this sort of treatment - turned and faced the copier again. She jumped when Ron’s shrill, high-pitched yelp slammed into the back of her head like breaking glass.
“WHAT?! JESUS! When did this HAPPEN?!” Ron paced and ran his free hand over his head, yanking at the hair in back when hand completed the mad scalp scramble. “Vandalism? No shit vandalism!”
A few heads popped up out of cubes like Muscats on a prairie sensing danger. They saw it was Ron and popped back down into their cubes before his blind rage had them working more long hours.
“Ron?” Sonnie moved to Ron and folded her arms. “What happened?” She feigned interest.
Ron ignored her. “Ok…yes…I’ll be right there.” He ripped the phone away from his head and came close to throwing it across the office. Veins popped in his forehead. Sonnie thought he may even be crying.
“What HAPPENED, Ron?” Sonnie frowned. She’d give his a little slack, but her patience was wearing thin.
“Some FU-.” He stopped short, drew in a breath, and started again using a more office friendly tone. “Someone broke into my HOME and SMASHED EVERYTHING!” He kicked at the air. “Smashed things all over. Baseball bat. Killed all my fish! Set my BED ON FIRE!” Ron’s face flared. It looked like his eyes were going to burst from his head. Sonnie wished they would.
“That’s horrible. Is Kate ok?” Sonnie tried not to smile. She coughed and shook it off.
“She’s fine. She wasn’t there or something. DAMN IT.” It was obvious that Ron had not even thought about his girlfriend, Kate, or her well-being in the situation.
“Why would someone want to do that to you, Ron?” Sonnie cocked her head to the side and sighed furrowing her brow. “So wrong. Sorry to hear it. Crazy world.” She tried to keep from laughing and wondered if she was convincing.
Ron stormed off. “I’m out for the rest of the day,” he blurted out over his shoulder.
“I’ll let everyone know,” Sonnie said softly as she watched Ron storm off around the corner. “You dumbass.” She giggled to herself and basked in the visual of some wondrous soul bashing the hell out of Ron’s possessions. His beloved fish and that ridiculous tank whose base cost could have fed five families for a month. His gaudy bedroom where – she shivered – Kate would give herself over to that self centered scumbag.
A vicious smile crossed Sonnie Fong’s face as she snatched her copies from the machine and made her way back to her office. She felt bad for a moment and thought of what it would be like if someone did that to her home. The momentary feeling of guilt passed. “He had to have done something to get someone to that state. Guess there is Karma.” She grinned to herself and moved down the carpeted hallway on soundless high heels.
Frank walked up at the same time Sonnie reached her office door. He held a small, neat stack of papers in front of his chest and managed to smile without vomiting. “Got that report redone for you.”
Sonnie stopped in front of him and stared for a moment before taking the proffered papers. Karma, she thought.
“Thanks, Frank.” Sonnie smiled in earnest.
Frank couldn’t speak without croaking – he knew it. He released the papers and nodded with a smile turning quickly and moving off down the hall to avoid doing something else that would enrage this…Goddess. Maybe later he’d kill a goat in her name. Light a fire and dance around it or something.
Frank stopped. He knew he should have walked faster. He turned and faced Sonnie. “Yeah?”
“I have a few MP3’s of that Wave song I was singing on my laptop. Want me to email them to you?” Sonnie flipped through the report absently. “There are a ton, but I have a few of the better….you know…versions.” She looked up and her eyes were soft. She didn’t want to lead him on, but also didn’t need Karma rearing it’s ugly head and smashing up her home.
“Um…sure?” Frank smiled. “That would be nice. Yes, please.” He stopped himself from gushing.
“I’ll send ‘em.” She waved the report. “Thanks for this.” She slipped into her office.
Frank smiled. “Cool.” He smoothed the front of his shirt, glanced around to see if anyone was around to witness this monumental event, then moved off back to his side of the office feeling a bit better about himself.