Remember how I wrote about the seamy underbelly of reference publishing? Well, someone sent a link to the head of my company, who promptly canned me. I know I brought this on myself, but that was still mean of you, internet stalker. If I ever find out who you are, I’m going to beat up your neighbor's car while screaming, “This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass!” Here’s how it went down.
Friday morning I was minding my own business, nursing a hangover and working on a writing assignment for someone else (as usual), and my boss came over and asked me if I could go downstairs with him “for a minute.”
“Where are we going?” I asked in a faux-naive tone as I followed him, because duh, we weren’t going to the circus. “The head of the company’s office,” he replied.
Inside, John O’head-of-the-company was seated at his desk looking wrinkly and severe. “Have a seat,” he said, and we did. “It has come to our attention that you’re not happy working here,” he growled.
“Why would you think that?” I asked in a mock naive tone. Then I sat up straighter and saw a pile of papers bearing the mark of my evil words sitting on his desk like a wet spot on the carpet he was about to rub my face in. “We take pride in the company very seriously. One woman just retired after working here for 40 years.” Instead of shuddering, I nodded. Poker face.
“We are going to fulfill your wish and terminate you immediately. Cliff, please escort her to get her things and then off the premises immediately.” He looked at me like I was the Antichrist, his bald, pink, head morphing into one giant dick in my vision. I pictured him reading phrases like “tits and a gunt,” and “step on your dick,” and couldn’t help smiling a little.
“I’m sorry,” I lied.
On the way up the stairs, my boss paused to talk to me. “I don’t want you to write anything about me,” he began. Oh God, he thinks I’m a shit-talking backstabber. He’s right, but it still broke my heart. “What I will say is that this may seem bad now, but it’ll seem less important as you get older,” he continued. Fuck you, Cliff, you still have a job. My boss has only ever tried to help me, so I won’t harp on how he reminds me of Cliff Huxtable with his Cosby sweaters and dad jokes and nice family and upper-middle-class African American role modeling.
He stood there watching me clean out my desk with disappointed dad face. I IM’ed my editor “FUCK! I JUST GOT FIRED!” before copying and pasting the piece I’d been working on in an email to myself. “Uh, I don’t think I’m allowed to let you do that,” my boss said. “I’m just closing everything out,” I shot back. I looked over at my desk-neighbor Maggie, who has put up with lots of my insane grumblings, but who I think at least kind of likes me (if only in the way I like ponytailed Viking guy, i.e., for amusement purposes only), and said, weakly, “I’ll send you an email.” My other desk-neighbor, who always annoyed me with his long, defensive pitches and constant talk of Gogol Bordello, I ignored. He’s totally glad I won’t be there to snark on his shitty music anymore.
My boss helped me carry my things to my car, then told me he’d enjoyed working with me. “I think you’re going to be OK,” he said. “Good luck.” I gave him a cheerful “thanks,” and that was it. I swerved a little on the ice exiting the parking lot, and got off at the wrong exit to get to the BQE.
Back in Brooklyn, I got out near the ghost bike of my dead friend at Union and Ten Eyck. TELL ME WHAT TO DO! I yelled, then started bawling, on the ground, in the snow, makeup running, teeth chattering. Then I calmly walked to my car and drove the rest of the way home, where I slept for a solid eight hours before going out and raging until 7 AM. Welcome to my quarter-life crisis.