Dead End Job: A Louisa Hallstrom Novel(74)

By: Ingrid Reinke

When the elevator doors finally opened and let me off on 29, I made a beeline for the ladies room where I balled up bits of toilet paper and dabbed my armpits, then, hoping to calm my still red cheeks, stood over the sink and splashed a few handfuls of cold water on my face. I half-expected Rocky to come and find me before he left he building, but also realized that this was less likely due to the presence of the ex-wife slash psycho-bitch. But because the morning had already managed to be a disaster of massive scale, I decided it would be better to avoid any unnecessary interaction, so I chose instead to wait it out on the pot for another few minutes until I felt that it was ‘safe’ to go back out and sit at my desk.

When I finally emerged from the ladies room, dry and no longer bright tomato red, the level of activity in the Legal department had pretty much returned to normal. As I walked through the front door to my desk I could hear the one-sided conversations of conference calls over the steady whirring of the printers. No one rushed over to talk to me or welcome me back. In fact, no one even looked my way as I passed by the offices and cubes—I was relieved that even after could always count on my fellow employees to show a comforting level of apathy. Sighing, I put my earplugs in, pulled up the latest episode of trashy reality TV from my online queue, picked up an IM conversation with Amanda, and went about wasting my day away.

Ingrid Reinke lives in Seattle, Washington with her patient husband, Karl. She divides her time between trying to make people laugh and trying not to drink too much wine. She frequently spills things. Dead End Job is her first attempt at a novel, and she hopes to write many more.