The next thing Joe knew Misty was calling to him from the bedroom where he could hear the music from the clock radio playing lightly. “Joe? Are you out there? It’s time to get up.” Joe remembered getting half way through “Space Jockey” before finally falling asleep.
He shook his head and squinted at his watch. Seven oh seven, late for him. “I’m up, I’m up!” he replied with far more enthusiasm than he felt. Two nights in a row of limited slumber was at least one too many in Joe’s eyes but the day was calling, ‘Here I come, ready or not!’ and Joe knew better than to argue with the inevitable. He unsteadily slipped off of the couch and back to the master bedroom.
Joe had planned to get out of the apartment around 7:30 rather than his customary 8:00 so that he could clock in a half hour early or so in order to make up for his planned early departure from work. He would have to hurry if he wanted to keep to his goal.
Misty hopped in the bathtub while Joe shaved and performed his usual morning ablutions in preparation of his work day. He caught a quick glance of his gorgeous wife’s unclothed posterior as she slipped behind the curtain to shower and as always was amazed at the intensity of emotion that washed over him as he basked in her incredible beauty. She was an incredible gift in his life and he hoped to always remember that. He said a silent prayer that they never take one another for granted. He prayed that he always found her to be the heaven sent partner and foundation for his future whom he always loved, honored and cherished until death do they part. Momentarily his mind reverted to the Truttas and he shook his head in bewildered befuddlement that anyone could be as disparaging of his wife as Zakerery was.
“Sweetie!?” he yelled over the noise of the running water, “You’re going to have to make your own coffee this morning, I’ve got to get out of here.”
“You’ll have to make your own coffee,” he repeated loudly.
Misty turned the water off, opened the shower curtain which momentarily revealed her equal pleasing anterior before grabbing an extra-large bath towel off the rack and wrapping herself in it and said, “Say that again, please. I couldn’t hear you.” She then grabbed the standard size bath towel and wrapped it around her chestnut brown, shoulder length locks and began to get the majority of the water out of her hair in preparation for styling it and blowing it dry.
“I said I’m going to have to scoot out of here toot sweet so I won’t be able to make you coffee this morning. Sorry.”
“No worries, I’ll grab some at work. Were you going to drink me, too? Couldn’t sleep last night, huh?” she asked with a smirk on her face.
“What? Oh, yeah, got it! I won’t be able to make coffee for you, little miss smarty pants, not that you’re wearing any by the way. No, I couldn’t fall asleep. I read about a hundred pages of Heinlein and then finally drifted off.”
Misty stuck her tongue out at him and said, “Sorry. Don’t worry about the coffee, I’ll get some at work. What’s the rush? Is there a fire?”
“Only in my heart for you ma’am,” he replied with a bow. “I just wanted to be sure to get to work early to make up for leaving early, you know?”
“You know what, you’re alright no matter what those other people say about you. ‘Get in early to make up for leaving early,’ no wonder I married you. Go team!”
Joe leaned over and kissed her on the lips. “I’ll let you know how things go today. Wish me luck!”
“Good luck, Jay-Kay! Knock ’em dead!”
“Love you, sweetie! I’ll see you tonight!” Joe grabbed a couple of bagels and threw them in one of his oversize bike-bags along with the leftovers from last night’s plethora of poultry that Misty had packed in Tupperware for his lunch today. He added a belt and a pair of dress shoes to the bag.
Joe preferred to ride his brand new red Allez racing bike to work but today he grabbed his old Trek 412. He moved Misty’s beautiful red Super Sport out of the way, leaning it against his Specialized Stump Jumper Sport mountain bike, which sat next to the Cannondale M800. Good thing they didn’t ever have overnight company because the spare bedroom was definitely too full of bikes to make a hospitable place to sleep! He grabbed the Trek because it was outfitted with a rear rack and he would need it to accommodate the panniers.
He painstakingly rolled up the dress pants, shirt and tie he had laid out the night before and carefully placed the bundle in one of the side bags hanging from his bike’s rack along with a lock and cable and the manila envelope that held his resume and the names, telephone numbers and addresses of his former employers and references. He walked the bike through the door, hollered over his shoulder, “G’bye!” and carried it to the bottom of the stairs.
Even though the Trek wasn’t as built for speed as his Allez and despite being tired from two consecutive nights of inadequate sleep he made record time getting to work. He easily got over to the turn lane at Trowbridge just as the light illuminated the left turn arrow green allowing him to sail through the intersection without pause. Adrenaline and optimism trumped fatigue in his eager young body and he arrived at work early enough to have to knock on the locked back door in order for J.T. to let him in.
After a short pause the door opened and to Joe’s surprise John swung the door open in place of J.T. “Well, you’re certainly early this morning! We were just talking about you!”
“Uh, good things I hope?” he responded, rolling his bike in. “I’ve got to leave early today so I thought I should come in a little early to make up for it. That’s okay, right?”
“Okay? No, I’d say it was perfect, though next time you should probably let J.T. know when you’re going to unilaterally change your work schedule, okay?”
“Uh, yeah, absolutely. Hey, if you don’t want me to clock in early I won’t, I was just trying to help get the repairs reigned in, you know?”
“No, no. No problem this time, I really appreciate you coming in early, just let J.T. know next time, ‘kay?”
“Sure, sure. I will.”
“Once you’re in why don’t you come find us in the office? We have a couple things we want to talk to you about,” John said waving a goodbye as he walked back to the office.
Joe wasn’t thrilled with the news that two of his three bosses wanted to talk to him. Early on at his new job one of Joe’s coworkers had turned in his two weeks notice only to be fired the next day by John. Joe hadn’t gotten the negative vibe that would portend such a fate awaiting him but he couldn’t help think about it as he quickly prepared for work.
He unpacked his bags, hung up his clothes on hangers, put his food in the fridge and took a huge bight from his bagel along with a gulp of water from his water bottle. Once he felt that his things were safely stowed and out of the way he clocked in and walked to the open door of Challenge Dunwoody’s office. He knocked, poked his head in while remaining in the hall and asked, “Did you want to see me now, or later?”