“H-H-Hello. N-n-net Talk Connect. I’m M-M-Mark Fits. How-How can I help you?” CLICK. Dial tone.
That was the third person that hung up today. Mark knew he was going to get in trouble. The only thing that gave him any sort of happiness was that he could see Cindy from his desk.
Cindy Collins was beautiful. She started working at Net Talk Connect two months ago. She was friends with everyone. She had long blondish brown hair. Every day, she wore a dress to work. Mark looked forward to seeing her each day. He thought she was pretty every day, but on the days that she wore her blue dress, she took his breath away. The blue dress drew attention to her big blue eyes. Her eyes were sparkly and kind, just like Cindy. He could look into her eyes and…..
RING. RING. RING. Back to reality.
“H-H-Hello. N-n-net Talk Connect. I’m M-M-Mark Fits. How-How can I help you?”
An older voice female voice answered, “This is Betty. I’m having trouble with my phone. Can you help me?” Mark felt an instant connection. This older woman’s sweet frail voice reminded him of his grandmother. Plus, it helped that older people seemed to be more patient in dealing with his stutter. Mark spent a half hour talking to Betty. He knew that he was supposed to only spend 5 minutes on a call, but Betty needed the help. She didn’t know anything about her new phone.
As he was finishing up the call with Betty, Mark could see The Jerk out of the corner of his eye. The Jerk was Drew Williams. He was a young hot shot that was hired last year. He was tall, handsome and successful. In just one short year, he had already been promoted twice and had won 3 sales awards. In comparison, Mark had been with Net Talk Connect for 13 years. He hadn’t won a single award, been promoted, or even received a raise. Mark wasn’t bitter though. He would have been happy for Drew if Drew wasn’t …well…Drew.
Drew was now sitting on the corner of Mark’s desk. “Hey Marky boy. I h-h-heard you on your last call. W-W-What’s our time goal for helping our callers?” He was being loud. I could hear people start to giggle as he was making fun of my stutter. Then he leaned over and said quietly, “I’m going to be your boss and I can’t have you bringing my numbers down. You’re either staring at Cindy or stuttering through your calls. You have no chance of being successful with either. Just quit, so I don’t have to fire you.”
As he left my desk, he headed straight for Cindy’s desk. He gave me a wink. I couldn’t hear what he said to her, but she laughed. I thought Cindy was nice. How could someone as nice as her like someone like him? Couldn’t she see what a jerk he was?
I was still thinking about Cindy and what she could possibly see in Drew while I unlocked my front door. “Lucy. LUUUUUUCCEEEEEE. Where’s my pretty girl?” Lucy came running towards me and planted a big wet kiss on my face. Her breath smelled like kibble, but she was the best friend a guy could ever have.
Lucy is my 5-year-old golden retriever. I rescued her from the pound after parents moved way. Lucy was the only one I could talk to without stuttering. I told her about my day and THE JERK. She growled. She didn’t like Drew either. Lucy was a very good judge of character. I fed Lucy dinner and took her a short walk before I had to leave for book club.
It was Wednesday night and that meant two things - pizza and book club at Scott’s house. Scott and Andrew are my two best friends. We met in 5th grade and have been friends ever since. We all like the same stuff science fiction and books. We take turns picking a new book to read each week. Sometimes, Scott or Andrew won’t finish the book that week. Scott didn’t finish this week. To tell you the truth, I don’t think he even started it. He spent all night talking about his new girlfriend. That was fine until he started asking me about Cindy.
“How’s it going with Cindy?” asked Scott. I gave him a shrug, but he wouldn’t let it go. “We should go out on a double date.” said Scott. I broke down and told him that Cindy didn’t even notice me. Even worse she liked The Jerk. “Wait, you mean she likes that awful Drew guy? She’s not the girl for you.” said Andrew. I told them what happened at work that day and how she laughed when Drew went to talk to her. Scott said, “That doesn’t mean anything. She could have laughed just to be nice. You need to talk to her.”
Next week, I was back at work. I still hadn’t gotten up the courage to talk to Cindy. I got an email to come to the bosses office. When I walked into Mr. Nelson’s office, Drew was in there. Mr. Nelson started talking about the company and how great Drew was doing. “I was really surprised that you didn’t take Drew up on his offer for help you last week.” Wait what did he just say? Mr. Nelson continued, “You know I’ve been receiving several complaints about you.” NO. THIS COULD NOT BE HAPPENING! Then I heard it. “I just don’t think you are cut out for this job, we’re going to have to let you go.” I don’t know how The Jerk did it, but he got me fired. I had lost me job and any chance I had of ever dating Cindy.
I went home and sat. I couldn’t do anything. I even skipped book club that week. I just couldn’t face my friends. I gave them some lame excuse about feeling sick. I did nothing for days.
I woke up on Saturday morning to Lucy licking my face. She started barking. It was a nice warm sunny day. I knew I wasn’t going to get out of it. I hadn’t walked Lucy longer than to the corner and back for the past three days. She needed to go to the park. I took a shower, threw on some clothes, grabbed the leash and headed out the door.
Lucy was running. The closer we got to the park, the faster, she went. At some point, I tripped and dropped the leash. Lucy was gone. How could I have lost my job, my best friend and the girl of my dreams all in the same week? Things couldn’t get any worse.
As I was searching for Lucy, I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Are you looking for someone?” The voice sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place it. I was too worried about finding my dog. I answered, “Yeah. I can’t find my dog Lucy. She got away from me and now she’s lost.” Just as I heard the words, “I can help.” I realized where I knew that voice. I turned around and there she was. It was Cindy. She was holding a leash with a golden retriever of her own. “This is Duke. We’ll help you look.”
We walked through the park, yelling “Lucy.” Duke must have spotted her first, because he started barking. Then I heard the ducks quacking and the splashing. Lucy was in the pond chasing the ducks. As soon as she saw me, she came running back. I was so happy, but before I could stop her she shook. Pond water went flying all over me AND Cindy. I was worried that she was going to be mad, but then she started laughing.
“I’m so sorry. Let me make it up to you. Can I take you to dinner for helping me find me dog?”
Did I just do that? I asked out Cindy. Wait...I asked out Cindy and I didn’t stutter.
She smiled and said, “No. Let me take you out. I need to thank you for helping my Grandma Betty with the phone I just bought her.”