Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Princess & The Minotaur. Ongoing.

“I think your girlfriend is looking for you.”

Lee blinked up from his beer into a swirl of dark makeup and shining eyes. "What?"

The girl pointed with her chin. "Your girlfriend's paging you. She looks irritated."

Lee looked over his shoulder. It was only a little before 7 but the bar was crammed with junior account managers and web monkeys venting steam over booze and buffalo wings. Sure enough, Tania was at the table he and his officemates staked out every Thursday evening, waving her arm and calling his name with a frown on her face, though nothing penetrated the downstairs din of the bar or the two pints he'd already drunk. He waved hi and turned back to his drink.

"That's not my girlfriend. I just work with her." Lee didn't know whether to be amused or pissed that now even people outside the office assumed he and Tania were dating. He found the attention flattering, especially since it raised his status among his almost-completely male workgroup. But lately he'd begun thinking of her flirting and attentions around the office as the stink of territorial pissing. What had his dad always said? Better to be pissed off than pissed on.

A lot about work had been stinking to Lee these days, turning their weekly bar runs desperate, and the next morning at the bank, a cluster of hung-over heads bobbing over half-height cube walls, verging on the pathetic. Some Fridays, after a night of beers and depth charges, Lee was pretty sure any verge he'd been toying with was way behind him, up the hill and over the road and into the last town. Would a jump off the edge be any worse than a sour stomach and pounding head?

"Why are you laughing?"

With a flourish half-drunk and half all-out balls, Lee tipped his mostly-fresh pint in the direction of the girl with too much makeup and said, "When she finds out I'm going out with you she'll really be pissed."

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