You Know How it Goes
Written: 3-21-02
Quickwrite For "Writer's Cramp"

"Ok." Joe thought to himself, "Big day today. Calm down... that's right... breathing... In... and Out.... In.... don't forget Out.... yes..." He stood in front of his mirror coaching himself. Dressed in a blue shirt and slacks, with a tie, he looked mismatched, as his disheveled hair and unshaven five o'clock shadow was a far cry from the normal "business man" face one would expect on his shoulders. The company's bathroom had no combs or razors handy, so the best he could do was fill his hand with water, slap it on top of his head, and then attempt to smooth down the unruly hairs. Even after his patting and pinching, the hairs stood up like electrical wires, or snakes ready to strike.

Glancing at his watch, which read 11:05, Joe straightened his tie, and made a face in the mirror. He stuck out his tongue. He smiled. He laughed. He gave his "suave" look. Each time examining the results.

"It's just lunch." He told himself, "Just lunch."

Another voice in his head cried, "Yeah! Lunch with the CEO: No big deal? Yeah right!"

Joe grabbed his briefcase, took one last cursory glance in the mirror, and gulped.

"Hey Joe!" A voice called from the doorway.

Joe turned, seeing Todd, the new guy in marketing. Todd, always a little bundle of joy and happiness, looked a little disgusted by Joe's appearance.

"Hey, Joe, wanna use my razor? I always bring one with me everywhere I go. Yep, I always like to be prepared because you never know, eh? Eh?" Todd nudged him with his elbow.

Joe mumbled a reply and took the electric razor. Without any shaving cream, he took a little soap and made the best lather possible, which wasn't much of one, and slapped it on his cheeks. He plugged it in, put the razor to his skin and, immediately, "Ouch!"

"Woah, there buddy. Be careful!" Todd said cheerfully. He went into one of the stalls.

Joe took careful swipes across his face, the buzzing jarring his teeth, until finally only right under his chin remained. He brought the razor up and... everything went black!!... "OUCH!"

"What happened? Did the power go out!" Todd glanced around worredly, "What happened to you?"

"It shorted out! Damnit! It burned my finger!"

"The emergency lights are on! Thank goodness! Aren't you thankful? I am so thankful!" Todd gushed.

"Yeah..." Joe sucked his finger hurredly.

"Here, I have a bandage. I always like to be prepared. I think it's a good thing to be prepared, don't you, Joe?" Todd handed Joe a bandage, "Because you never know, eh? Eh?"

Joe mumbled, taking the bandage. He applied it to his burnt finger, noting the Muppets characters on it, and he rinsed off his face. Looking at his watch he exclaimed, "Oh my God! I'm gonna be late! Thanks Todd!" And he was out the door.

* * * * *
"Ahhh! Here he is!" Spencer, Joe's boss, rose to greet Joe in the restaurant. He motioned toward the man sitting next to him, "This is Mr. Hamilton. Joe, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Hamilton, Joe."

"Nice to meet you." Joe said quietly, slipping into the booth.

Mr. Hamilton roared with laughter, "Call me Ted, please, Joe! Ha ha ha! Good lad!"

"Alright, Ted." Joe affirmed, shaking Mr. Hamilton's hand.

"Uhhh, I'll have the steak, medium rare, with a side of mashed potatoes and an ice tea, no ice." Spencer said to the waiter.

"Can I have the roast duck with a side of potato salad?" Mr. Hamilton said jovially to the waiter, "And for this lad--"

"The same."

"So Joe! Spencer here says you're quite the worker! Is that so!?"

"Yes sir. I absolutely love my work. My wife is always complaining that I work too much. Well she just doesn't understand that it's like a hobby for me."

"Well then I should pay you less if you enjoy it so much!" Mr. Hamilton joked, slapping Joe on the back and roaring with laughter.

"Hehe, good sir."

"Here are your potato salads and your mashed potatoes. Your main dishes will be coming shortly." A waitress set down the plates in front of the men.

Joe grabbed a fork and began to dig into his potato salad, just mixing things up in it a bit. He watched Spencer tell Mr. Hamilton about the recent projects, wondering what Mr. Hamilton thinks of him.

"Hey! Mine's got too much mayo!" Mr. Hamilton complained. "Joe, mind if I trade with you?"

Before Joe could reply, Mr. Hamilton switched the bowls and started to chow down on the potato salad.

Joe grabbed his fork again, this time it hurt! He looked down. His bandage was gone! Frantically, he looked around, and his eyes fell on the bowl of potato salad Mr. Hamilton was busy eating.

"Oh no," He whispered.

Joe watched, helpless, as a spoonful of potato salad, with a Muppets bandage on top was shoveled into Mr. Hamilton's mouth.

"Joe, you're a great worker, but unfortunately we have to eliminate some costs. You see, because you're so good, you also highly paid. I'm sorry Joe, but, we're gonna have to let you go." Mr. Hamilton said through mouthfuls.

Dumbstruck, Joe let his head fall to the table... but it landed right in his bowl of potato salad.

Joe groaned.

An important lunch...a bandaged finger...a bowl of potato salad...a power outage...your story is about having a bad day.


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