Broker’s and the envelope opening machine

This was a follow-up I did to the original “Dearest Cousin” letter…

Dearest Cousin,

Again, I have been delinquent in writing, and I thoroughly apologize, especially given the favor you did for me that short time ago. Fortunately, Mr. Drekson & Ms. Peterson realized that if they were to press charges against me it would mean revealing the entire story in court, and that they were unwilling to endure. The charges were dropped, and enclosed you shall find a check to cover the loan you gave me.

They have hired a new security guard, and now it is impossible for me to bring the cattleman into the office – not that I would probably do so, but still the loss of freedom bothers me. I was so concerned; I engaged a membership with the National Rifleman’s Association. Can you believe it is actually against some silly law to bring a child’s toy into the workplace? What rubbish

But this is irrelevant. I have some news regarding my plight and my new campaign against what I now call the Dirty Duo. I know it is childish to call them this, but it gives me satisfaction. The D.D. and I have reached a tentative agreement. Since they would prefer that the managing directors of our little company did not know about their intimate activities, and since I would prefer not to be arrested again, we have had an uneasy truce.

I have also finally received the job transfer that I have waited so long for. I no longer work in sales, which was never where I felt I belonged. I am sure you agree that such a strong and thorough planner as myself could not be imprisoned in an environment such as sales. So, after some careful persuasion on my part of Mr. Drekson’s boss, Mr. Hartman, I have now been moved to my new position. I am now the Assistant Planning Coordinator for Marketing Development, and now work for the Head of Marketing Coordination Planning and Coordination, Mr. Bruhd (it is apparently German, and is pronounced as ‘brood’) who I must say is a breath of fresh air. Where Mr. Drekson abhorred the idea of enjoying my beloved Broker’s Friend, Mr. Bruhd often joins me when I need some synoptic lubricant. He also uses the same comfortable posture when tackling the extremely difficult problems we are given to solve.

For example, we recently created a new series of highly personalized advertisements that were to be mailed to our customers. Unfortunately, when these advertisements were commissioned there was distinct lack of planning and coordination, with the result that the wrong advertisements were placed in the wrong envelopes. Mr. Hartman came to us looking like a dog who’d lost his bone, and gave us the problem of removing the advertisements from the old envelopes and putting them into the new ones. He told us that there was no one else in the company who he could entrust with this task. I can assure you that my new boss, and his trusty comrade (that would be me!) leapt to the task with fervor – and no small amount of Broker’s!

After a short time, we realized that tearing the envelopes open by hand was unnecessarily bothersome. As we deliberated over this problem, I suddenly realized I had the answer. Ms. Peterson had a machine that could be used to open the envelopes. We could borrow the machine, complete our work faster than expected, and then be praised for finding a swift solution to a very serious problem.

So off we tottered to Ms. Peterson’s desk. Mr. Bruhd and I found her straight away tapping at her computer. He asked for a moment of her time, and she immediately began her annoying habit of fanning the air in front of her face with whatever paper she had in hand. I told you this woman was despicable, and she is annoying as well. Mr. Bruhd explained our predicament several times, and the silly woman still insisted she couldn’t understand what he was saying. So with a little pointing, mime, and sound effects we managed to express our plan.

I have often told you that Ms. Peterson is a difficult, despicable woman, and she maintained that same air with us. Can you believe the woman had the temerity to deny us the use of her envelope opening machine? She actually had the audacity to tell us that she feared it would never be returned and even went so far over the top as to tell us she was unwilling to take the responsibility in the event we were to injure ourselves with it! The gall! The nerve!

As if we had not been insulted enough, she went further to explain that in her mind the task with which we were assigned, the very task that Mr. Hartman told us no one else could do, was too unimportant to be bothered with.

Mr. Bruhd and I were so stunned we simply turned and left to return to our desks. Mr. Bruhd and I discussed these horrible events, and finally came to the conclusion that Mr. Hartman obviously knew the difficulties we would encounter, and that is why he entrusted us with this project. We were his last chance, his final defense! We must not let him down!

We decided that we would not give up on the machine. We simply had to have one in order to complete the project. We discussed, we planned, we coordinated. Then we went to Ms. Franklin, in purchasing, to besiege her with our request to requisition a new machine of our own. Again, we were thwarted. She carefully explained, after quickly putting out her cigarette, and muttering something about a fire hazard, that she could not authorize such a purchase without Mr. Hartman’s signature, which would be impossible to obtain without Mr. Hartman, who was away on important company business. She further stated, with a serious look to each of us, that even if Mr. Hartman were present, it would be doubtful he would approve it since, as she put it, we’re carrying so much dead wood in this company. Mr. Bruhd and I then realized the real reason why we had been given this important task – there was no one else with the work ethic to get it done in time.

Again we adjouned to our desks to solve the envelope machine problem. It was clear to us now. What we need, we must take. I accompanied Mr. Bruhd to luncheon, where we crafted a plan that was so ingenious that it impressed even me. We would stay late at the office, and when Ms. Peterson and her cronies had left we would sneak into her office and ‘requisition’ the machine ourselves, complete the work, and return the machine with no one the wiser. It was perfect!

Since we would be working late into the night, we felt no obligation to be in a hurry to return to the office after luncheon. After all, important company officers such as ourselves are expected to operate outside the usual rules of the workplace.

When we returned we made good show so as not to let on to our plan. We worked on the envelopes as before, opening them by hand so no one would be the wiser. The hour of the close of business finally came, and before long we had the entire office to ourselves. We waited a few minutes longer to be sure, and then went directly to Ms. Peterson’s desk to take the machine.

It was gone! In its place was a note:

Dear Idiots,

I have locked the machine in my file cabinet, because I knew you would be coming for it. Why can’t you just do your busy work like normal idiots?

The text was written in Ms. Peterson’s usual sloppy hand, which made it very difficult to read, but then Mr. Bruhd pointed out I was holding it upside down. So, she thought we were idiots, eh? We shared a look, and knew our goal was even more important than before!

But how could we unlock the file cabinet? We had no key, and we certainly weren’t locksmiths. Then Mr. Bruhd had a brainstorm – that’s why he’s the boss you know. He had learned long ago from a colleague that a file cabinet lock works on the principle of gravity. If you up end the cabinet, so that it is upside down, the lock fails to function any further and the drawers could be opened.

After clearing Ms. Peterson’s precious trinkets away from the top of the cabinet, we slowly moved it away from the wall. When it was in the middle of the office, we lowered it onto one side, and then slowly upended it – this was extremely difficult as powerful thinkers such as Mr. Bruhd and myself are not built for physical labor. Once we had the cabinet upside down came the moment of truth. We tried the now top (formerly bottom) drawer. It opened! Of course, the contents promptly spilled onto the floor, as the drawer was not of a design to hold its contents while upside down. No matter, we would tidy up later, after the prize was ours.

The next two drawers proved to open just as easily, and to be just as full of files and such, but no envelope opening machine. That left the last drawer. Unfortunately, the drawer was now so close to the floor that even when opened the contents – including the machine – would not be released as they would not fit between the drawer and the floor. I suggested that we put the cabinet onto Ms. Peterson’s desk, in such a way as to allow the drawer to open over the edge of the desk, which would give ample clearance for the items to be removed. We set to work.

It was more difficult than we expected. First of all, it is one thing to up end a cabinet. It is another to lift it, and it was very heavy. After some heaving and ho-ing we finally did get it off the floor, and then discovered that we had broken the chandelier hanging from the ceiling – but we did get the cabinet onto the desk.

The drawer opened, and the machine fell out! It was ours! Now to set about cleaning up. We moved the cabinet back to its original location and started filling the drawers. We could not figure out which files had been in which drawers, but we decided that perhaps it was time for Ms. Peterson to do some ‘busy work’ and put things back the way they were. As for the chandelier, it couldn’t be helped. After all, what reason did Ms. Peterson have to lock up company property?

With the machine in hand we went back to work. Bruhd would feed the evelopes into the machine and I would take the opened envelopes and remove the contents. Then, we placed the correct contents in the correct envelopes to complete the job. Untold hours were saved by the use of the machine. As it was, we worked until the sun had again risen over the horizon and were just finishing when our coworkers began to repopulate the office.

Mr. Hartmann was delighted to see that we had completed the job. He told us that he had never imagined that we would work all night to complete such a task. Ms. Peterson was less amused, and was quite vocal about the damage to her office. We explained to Mr. Hartmann about the machine, and how we had needed it, and how we in fact had worked tirelessly to get it by other means but were unable to. He was tight lipped, but did tell us that we should be more careful in the future. Given that we had devoted ourselves to our work through the entire night, Hartmann told us both to take the rest of the day off to recuperate and to keep us from ‘causing any more trouble’ – that last was added with a chuckle.

So, off we went to our respective abodes to enjoy our triumph. Now that I have begun to do real work, cousin, you can understand why I feel my future is brighter than ever. I can hardly wait for my next assignment.

Broker’s and the Cattleman

Found some old fiction in the files. I wrote this after reading several Ken Follet novels set in the 15th, 17th and 19th centuries. These books always have plenty of intrigue and family bickering, and in those days people wrote letters. Long letters, in very proper language. Imagine if people still did:

Dearest Cousin,

I am writing to you today to bring you up to date with current events, and to ask a favor, it having been a long time since my last writing, and myself having an extra quantity of time on my hands, and being in need of such a favor.

The last I wrote, I believe I had been expounding on the incompetence of my employer, Mr. Drekson, and my delight at having found a merchant selling scotch of the type suitable for consumption in large quantities, and my decision to reward myself with something I was denied during my childhood – namely one Riflemaster ‘Cattleman’ air rifle.

Well, first of all, let me inform you that Mr. Drekson continues to behave in a most irritable manner as we speak. The man simply lives for it, and I remain convinced that he will not rest until he has crushed the soul of every employee under his tyrannical boot. This is causing some distress in my life, as you know I value the quality of my work and it is impossible to sustain such quality under such conditions.

Since I began my association with ‘Liquor Bob’s’, however I have been able to balance my life quite effectively. As I believe I mentioned, Mr. Bob offers ‘Broker’s Friend’ Blended Scots Whiskey at a most agreeable price, especially by the case. I have laid in an ample stock of same, and began enjoying it thoroughly. Some of my business associates actually had the nerve to comment that perhaps I was enjoying it to too large an extent, but I think they are simply unable to deal with miss-placed jealousy. Many people have a ‘tot of the Scot’ before breakfast, and surely liquor of this magnificence should not be relegated to the evening hours alone.

Even with such considered, last Tuesday I finally was able to obtain from the local sporting goods and firearms chandler the state of the art in repeating air rifles. The Crossman ‘Cattleman’ air rifle can fire a small ‘BB’ shot at an astounding velocity. I found out quite by accident upon testing the firearm in my flat that plaster walls are quite resilient and rebound said shot with remarkable effectiveness. Not to worry, cousin, the shot had expended nearly all of its ‘zing’ before it found a less resilient object – namely me. My only regret is at having selected the ‘rapid fire’ option before discovering this bit of scientific minutiae. Never the less, a bit more Broker’s was the perfect cure.

The fellow gentlemen at work were quite bemused when I brought in the Cattleman to ‘show it off’. I felt that I had not fully repaid myself until I performed this ritual, as my more fortunate friends had as children. Again, my workmates were less amused at my bringing the Broker’s, but I was not taking any unnecessary chances until the firmness of the local bulkheads was thoroughly investigated.

Just as I was ending my demonstration, having knocked Ms. Peterson’s small vase clean off the top of her desk, Mr. Drekson took notice of my presence.

Have I mentioned Ms. Peterson? I don’t recall, and so will fill the gap. Ms. Peterson is a most despicable woman, employed in accounts receivable, where her short, nasty temper and her nasally, high pitched drone are put to good use I am sure. She has no social life, save for a small, yipping rat of a dog that she adores and would no doubt serve the world more satisfactorily as a dish in an oriental restaurant.

That aside, Mr. Drekson, who undoubtedly was raised as an only child, or perhaps was the product of some government experiment, found no humor or nostalgia in my activities, and instead decided to chastise me most severely for wasting the company’s time. Cousin, now do you understand my plight? As if the embarrassment of that alone were not enough, Ms. Peterson had walked over and lay in wait, unbeknownst to me, and as I turned to go to my desk she smote me a blow squarely in a place I shall not mention. Needless to say, I was glad to have brought the Broker’s, as I was in as dire a need of its healing powers as ever.

As I performed my tasks, I began to recognize more fully the injustice that had been done to me. How could Mr. Drekson dare to confront me at such a time? Was he not denied anything as a child? Surely such a disagreeable person could not have had a happy childhood. And the actions of Ms. Peterson! How could such behavior be tolerated from a being that considers itself a lady? To strike a man with such anger and vehemence in such a place as she had was completely unconscionable. She really left me in quite a disabled state, which my so called workmates had exploited to the fullest, by affixing yellow sticky notes with purportedly witty sayings on them to various parts of my anatomy. As I sat I became quite obsessed with the entire affair, and I can tell you the Broker’s abilities were stretched to the utmost during the process.

So obsessed I had become, that 5 o’clock, our established quitting time, had come and gone with me still fuming at my desk, although with my head down on top of my arms (this is a position I frequently assume when in deep thought, some think I am sleeping but I assure you that nothing of the sort could be further from the truth). When I became aware of the hour, I began to make preparations to end my day. It was at this time that I heard noises that I knew definitely were not of the sort heard in an office.

Handing the trusty Cattleman, I went on patrol. The sounds in question seemed to be coming from the supplies room, where I knew there was a large table often used for impromptu meetings and so forth (another method I employ to achieve the highest possible quality of work is to lock myself in the supplies room, using the table to more fully explore the method of thought I described earlier). Having checked the Cattleman for operation, and suspecting the worst, I quietly opened the door.

On the table, impaled as a head on a pike, was Ms. Peterson on Mr. Drekson. Her full bosom shook for all the world like a gelatin dessert as she found her pleasures on Mr. Drekson’s manhood. I will not disclose to you, cousin, what filthy oaths and phrases were coming out between them, but rest assured that it was filth of the greatest extreme.

Since they had not heard or taken notice of my presence as yet, I took a moment to study more completely the disgusting wickedness that lay before me. Seizing what I felt was a unique opportunity, I chambered a BB shot and began to take aim. Sensing the movement in her peripheral vision, I assume, Ms. Peterson turned her head and screamed. I don’t think she realized that as she turned, disembarked from Mr. Drekson, and stood, along with Mr. Drekson, who had done much the same from his perspective, that they both presented me with targets of the most desired sort, which I immediately attacked with the rapid fire option of the rifle.

Cousin, you may think me quite disturbed as I tell you the pleasure I enjoyed seeing those two dance under my fire, but I shall not care. Such release I have not known, and will probably not know again. They were not seriously injured I can assure you, the Cattleman, while remarkable, does not posses the power necessary to penetrate.

As I stood there, improving my marksmanship, I had forgotten that the magazine of the Cattleman is of limited capacity, quite limited in fact. It came as a rude shock to pull the trigger that last time (just as the two of them were losing their fear and getting bold) to hear nothing but a ‘click’. Oh well, even so, having not served in the armed services I think I did quite well all the same.

I will not waste your time discussing what happened next, except to say that I failed to flee with sufficient adroitness to ensure my escape.

I am incarcerated at the Regent County Correctional Facility, and would have deep appreciation for any effort you could expend toward my release. My account was insufficient to satisfy the bail bond, and I was hoping you could help. You will be contacted by my Lawyer, Mr. Erikson.

The last one on earth…

It was a quiet night. There were only a few people in the bar as Phil sipped his drink in peace. Eddy, the bartender, was his usual jovial self, and Phil wondered what it was like to be married to someone who made his living by being a friendly, cheerful person all day. It must not be too bad; Eddyâ??s wife seemed happy and well adjusted enough.

Phil wasnâ??t married. In fact, he wasnâ??t even dating. He had recently given up looking — too many weirdoes. It seemed like once he showed a genuine interest in a woman, she just freaked out. Either she acted like there must be something wrong with him, or she absolutely smothered him immediately with questions about marriage and commitment. He just couldnâ??t seem to find anybody normal. Oh well, looking was a pain anyway. After all, he was bound to meet the right lady eventually, right?

Then she came in.

Auburn hair, perfect complexion, and a body built for one thing; whether it was sex or breaking hearts was yet to be seen. In any case, she was beautiful and moved like a cat.

Well, take a good look Phil, â??cause thatâ??s all youâ??re likely to get, he thought. He barely had the thought out of his head when she sat down right next to him.

Lord, why do you do this to me? Phil thought. Here sheâ??ll sit. Me paralyzed until 5 minutes before she has to leave, and when I do finally talk to her, sheâ??ll blow me off like a piece of lint off a designer dress.

They sat. Phil ordered another drink and chatted with the bartender about the latest on the internet. Eddy had just discovered the â??net with his kid, and was excited that he was actually learning something close to the forefront of technology.

â??Are you into computers?â?? asked the gorgeous woman.

â??Sort of,â?? replied Phil, praying she would not ask what he did for a living. It is generally true that when making an impression on a woman, menâ??s careers have varying success. At the top are things like fighter pilot and brain surgeon. Ironically, also at the top are jobs like being the roller-blade rental stand attendant at the beach, and garbage collector. Next on the list are the skilled trades and white-collar jobs like sales, marketing, and business management. After those come the less glamorous careers, like accounting. At the bottom, below the frost line, are engineering and the computer jobs. Nothing makes a womanâ??s eyes glaze faster than the answer to the question â??Youâ??re an engineer? So, what do you design?â??

â??So what do you do?â?? inquired the woman.

Phil briefly considered lying, but he figured he didnâ??t know enough about fighter planes or garbage to make it stick. He took a deep breath. Well, a half truth is still half truth, right? â??Iâ??m, uh, in production.â?? he said.

â??Really! Do you do scheduling, or assembly, or what?â??

Phil hadnâ??t thought that far. â??Actually, Iâ??m involved a little earlier in the process.â??

â??Oh, receiving?â??

â??Uh, well, uh, design, actually.â?? He could see it happen. The mere mention of the word was having an effect. The dead-fish-eye look was coming — the first tear was already forming. The word â??designâ??, when appended to â??fashionâ??, â??hairâ??, or even â??industrialâ?? was a completely different ball game.

â??Iâ??m sorryâ?? she said, wiping her eye, â??my contact shifted.â?? A popular excuse, Phil thought. She hesitated, â??Do you mean youâ??re an engineer?â?? Phil nodded.

Suddenly, she perked up. â??So, what do you design?â??

So this is the way the night was to be. The answer to this question was the real crux of the matter. If you blow it off, you risk looking like you’re hiding something, or lying. If you answer in depth you risk boring her to death, the attendant charges, as well as alienating the bartender for killing one of his customers. This would not be easy. â??I design industrial process equipment,â?? Phil said, hoping the subject would hit the deck until his other charms could balance its effect. â??Wow!â?? she said, â??thatâ??s really interesting — what kind?â??

A curious woman was the most tragic. Like a monkey that reaches into the coconut to get the prize, unable to remove her hand while holding it, unwilling to let go of it to free herself, she would sit there and ask questions and be polite and be interested until the very life was nearly sucked out of her. She would not realize the danger she was in until it was almost too late. Then, just when she had gotten the knack of nodding at the right times and pretending to understand the language, the will to survive would kick in, and she would think of an excuse to leave. Then she would go home and sleep for three days. She would only be curious once.
So Phil, little by little, told what he was working on, as a way of giving her an opportunity to escape. After all, mothers are too busy lecturing their daughters on safe sex, and how to say â??noâ?? to warn them about this hazard. But she held her ground, and the sad train of events that was now irreversible went on. She nodded. She looked thoughtful. She gave the impression of complete understanding. This one has real stamina Phil thought, wrapping up his spiel. It had lasted only a few minutes, but any engineering discussion has a spatio-converstaional reality of its own.

â??And that is what I design.â??

She looked awestruck. â??That is incredible!â?? she said, pronouncing each syllable of the word separately. â??You must have a ton of stories! Tell me one!â??

Glancing to check her arms for needle tracks, Phil expressed his surprise. â??Not many women find this very interesting.â??

â??Oh, come on. Youâ??re being modest. I canâ??t imagine doing what you do. It must be so exciting! Starting with nothing but a request from a customer and a few ideas — and turning it into something that works. I mean, the challenges! The successes! The failures! If I could do that I would work a hundred hours a week!â??
Now Phil was awestruck. Somewhere in a parallel dimension, Phil thought, Rod Serling must be explaining this to his audience. Eddy stopped washing glasses, and had his head cocked with a look on his face like a guy who was watching someone lock their keys in their car.

She seemed normal. Her eyes were hardly glazed at all, she had no facial twitches, and she didnâ??t even look longingly at the bartender hoping for a rescue. Either she was genuine, or she was fatally bored. Let me explain.

It is often heard, although never confirmed, that occasionally a young woman that has spoken with an engineer early in the evening has actually come back for more once she discovered that only other men in the bar were computer wonks. Fatally bored, she decides to go out with her head held high, facing her nemesis. Sort of like the way death-roe inmates will resign themselves to their fate and finally accept their date with the high voltage hotel.

Either way, Phil didnâ??t have any compunction about torturing those who had given up a chance for escape and started with the stories.

Engineering stories come in two basic varieties. The first is the Great Invention: â??There I was, with only a few weeks left in the schedule, and then it hit me! The biggest development in the industry in the last 10 years!â?? The second is the blunder, which also comes in two varieties: The Unexpected Phenomena, and the Big Mistake. The Unexpected Phenomena involves a project going bad because of some law or effect that no one had anticipated (who ever heard of â??torsional resonance?â??). The Big Mistake happens because someone was careless, stupid, or the victim of bad luck: â??What he forgot was that the thing was wired for 220 volts, not 110, and he plugged the motor in and BANG!â?? The former is usually forgiven because most people involved with the project would have pointed it out if they had thought of it, and nobody can think of everything. The latter is usually not forgiven, because it is the sort of thing that nobody else is interested in, and the sort of thing the designer should have been thinking about while he wasnâ??t thinking about the unexpected phenomena. Since the Big Mistake is painfully obvious once discovered, and since it makes the victim look very stupid, it generally make the best story. Also, since it usually involves something going â??bangâ?? or â??crashâ?? it is often funny.

After an hour or so, Phil was slowing down and running out of stories. Catherine excused herself to powder her nose.

Phil contemplated his unbelievably good fortune. She laughed at every story that was funny. She immediately grasped the significance of every great discovery. By the end, she was predicting what would happen halfway through. This woman had managed to learn more about engineering in two hours in a bar than Philâ??s boss had in four years of school plus 20 years of experience. His mind boggled at what must be wrong with her. She came back from the bathroom.

Now it was his turn. â??What do you do for a living?â?? he asked. She was a surgical nurse at the naval air station in the city. She enjoyed her work, and told a few stories with little prompting. And, she was single.

â??You must know a lot of pilots and surgeons,â?? Phil said.

â??Assholes. Every last one of them. They think they are so impressive. But what do they really do? Pilots drive airplanes. Big deal. Anybody can drive a car, how hard can an airplane be? And surgeons? The way they talk they created life! They do one simple procedure and then sit in the locker room and stretch for three hours like they just pushed a bus up a hill. Frankly I donâ??t see what the fuss is about. I mean itâ??s not like being an engineer, for Peteâ??s sake.â??

Phil blinked, it is getting better and better! She must have a flaw — a hidden, terrible flaw. Slowly, Phil started to check her out.

But it just wouldnâ??t surface. Owned her own house. Parents lived in a different state. No recent bad relationships (â??Iâ??m so tired of getting restraining ordersâ?? was one young womanâ??s whine). No unreasonably strong opinions. Politically and religiously moderate. No drugs. No strange medical problems. Compared with what heâ??d met lately, this was perfection incarnate.

Phil felt the impact of what he had stumbled onto. There was no denying it any longer. A single woman who actually found engineers interesting. Who was a ball to talk to. Who had a life. And whatâ??s more, was in all other respects perfectly normal. She must be the last one on earth. But what to do? If the guys at work find out thereâ??ll be bloodshed over her. No, I must keep her a secret! Phil thought. His mind started racing. Iâ??ve got to move fast. If the others catch wind of her itâ??ll be all over. The last one on earth! Iâ??ll tell my friends after we get married.

â??So, what do you think of marriage?â?? Phil asked.

Catherine looked like sheâ??d just noticed a dent in her new car. â??Uh, I donâ??t know. When I meet the right guy I guess I would be interested,â?? she said, very slowly.

â??Great! Do you want a big wedding or a small wedding? I think Iâ??d like a small wedding, you know, just a few friends. What about kids? I havenâ??t really decided. How long do you think people should go out before they get married? Do you believe in love at first sight…?â?? Phil rambled on enthusiastically.

What on earth is the matter with me? Catherine thought. Why is it that every nice guy I meet either thinks there must be something wrong with me or starts shopping for wedding rings before he knows my last name!
Catherine gulped the last of her drink and got up. â??Uh, I just forgot…Iâ??ve got an early meeting tomorrow. I have to go. It was nice talking with you.â?? The last was added as she bolted to the door. God, she felt tired.

â??Well, I hope to see you again! Whatâ??s your last name?â?? Phil yelled. She had already left.