The Voice Mail
Shortly after I moved to New York City, my buddy Ken and I had a crazy, wild Sunday night at the clubs. We danced for hours, we boozed, we schmoozed. I met a hundred new guys and most of them hit on me, it seemed.
Ah, to be new meat.
As the night wore on, I cautioned Ken over and over that I had to be at work in the morning. I was still very new at my job, definitely too new to be taking license with arrival times. Each time, Ken nodded, "Right, right. We'll wrap it up soon."
And then we'd go to another club.
Finally, at 3AM, I put my foot down. "This is our LAST drink, OK? As it is, I'm only gonna get about five hours of sleep, maybe!"
And then we went to another club.
This last place ("Gawdammit Ken! This better be the LAST place!") was more crowded than any of the others had been. We weren't there ten minutes, and we'd been hit on by four or five guys. Who were all very hot. Who were all together. Who were leaving for a sex party, and did we want to come with them?
Yes. Yes, we did.
At 4AM we arrived at an unspeakably fabulous Soho loft. I accepted a line or two of cocaine, which I don't even like, just to be sociable, you understand. At 430AM we'd had another drink and were naked in a pile of men on a massive shag carpet in front of a fireplace.
The fucking went on for hours. I think I had three more beers, the last one at 7AM. At 730AM I pulled Ken to his feet and into the main bathroom, which was larger than my apartment.
"Look, I know YOU don't have to be anywhere, but I have a NEW JOB. I have to go."
Ken just laughed. "Oh, yeah..RIGHT. You are going to go in to work now. Completely hammered. Smelling of booze and men. Honey, if you shower for an hour, you'll still be sweating beer and lube for the rest of the day! And plus, you look like hell. You have to call in sick, there's really NO other option."
He was right, of course. I sent Ken back out to fetch his cellphone and waited in the bathroom while I pondered what lie I might tell my boss. When Ken came back, I told him I couldn't think of anything.
"Well, how do you feel?" he asked.
"I feel like shit!"
"And how much sleep have you had?" he said.
"You know I haven't had any."
Ken put the phone to his ear and said "Hello Joe's boss? Joe doesn't feel well and didn't get any sleep last night, so he's not coming in."
He handed to phone to me, "Now YOU do it."
I fumbled with his phone a minute and was very relieved to get the office manager's voice mail. Which made sense, of course, since it wasn't even 8AM.
I left the office manager this voice mail: "Hi Diane, this is Joe. It's about 8am, and I just wanted to let you know that I'm not going to make it in today. I'm really, really sorry, but I'm just not feeling well. I have a headache and I'm all sweaty and I really didn't sleep at all last night. I'll give you a call at the end of the day and check in. OK, thanks. Bye."
I looked at Ken reproachfully. "I hope you're happy. I just had to lie to that fat old bitch and I've only been there for two weeks. Although actually, it really WASN'T a lie, I do feel like shit, which is what happens when you stay up all night doing drugs and fucking lots of strange men."
Ken snatched the phone from my hand and punched a button.
"And NOW, the phone is hung up!"