May 4, 2006

Putting Out The Flames

Posted in Office Hijinks at 7:42 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

In Texas, a person has the right to shoot any person trespassing on their property after sundown. This law, or right or city ordinance or whatever it may be makes the job of repo man the most dangerous in the lone star state.

How do I know this ridiculous tidbit of information? I had a cousin who lived in Texas who wanted to be a repo man. My aunt was beside herself, and while I agreed becoming a repo man lacked the ambition his older sister showed, I didn’t understand the tears. Fortunately for everyone involved, my cousin became a commercial airline pilot instead.

Most days my job does not put me in the line of fire. In fact, more often than not, it is the attorneys I work for who have to worry about getting shot by me. See, I have a very short temper.

We had a brief due to common pleas court, which as you all know closes at five. We had to get co-counsel’s approval as well as approval from the client, but first, we had to finish it. I skipped lunch that day and as I waited for the next round of changes, I thanked our very wise legislators for enacting the Brady Bill and requiring me to wait five days before purchasing a hand gun – I should be settled down in five days.

It was half past three when co-counsel called with their changes. After the changes were made, the client approved the brief. I wonder if they even bothered to read it.

I was printing the good copy for signature when the fire alarm of our building sounded. I went to college, I lived in the dorms, I was aware that for the most part these things turned out to be burnt popcorn. Still, the ear-piercing whine of the alarm sounding just over my head sent me to the fire tower. But first I dropped off the original so that copies could be made and it could be filed. Understandably, the copy services room was empty – after all the building could be on fire.

I walked to the fire tower and joined my co-workers. We laughed and gossiped and complained that even in the fire tower, you could hear the obnoxious siren. Time passed and before I knew it, it was after four. I started to sweat, and not because it was hot in the tower.

I slipped back into the office and into the copy room. I grabbed the brief and started making copies. I wouldn’t ask anyone else to risk their life, but I certainly wasn’t going to risk my job.

I was standing at the machine making copies when a firefighter interrupted my daydream. What my daydream was about is anyone’s guess, because the moment I heard his voice it was quickly replaced with the realization that my falling in love with a firefighter fantasy was about to come true. That is, until I saw the man, who could be my father’s age and looked nothing like the men in my FDNY 2006 Calendar. My shoulders slumped.

“What are you doing?” He asked.

I blinked a couple of times and swallowed the lump in my throat. “Um, this has to be filed in like fifteen minutes.”

“You’re supposed to be waiting in the fire tower.”

“Right. But, see, I didn’t really think there was a fire, and this really needs to get to the courthouse before 5, so I,” he didn’t let me finish.

“Go to the fire tower, please, miss.”

I nodded and left my copying on the machine. As I passed by him I inhaled, looked up at him and said, “Oh my god, I smell smoke. Is there really a fire?”

He just looked at me, then his coat and then me, again.

I smiled. “Right, because you probably wear that when you are fighting fires. Got it. Okay, I’m going.”

I skulked back into the tower, where I bumped into my boss.

“What happened?”

“A fire fighter yelled at me and sent me here.”

“Did it get copied?”

I shook my head.

“Was he hot?” Another girl waiting in the tower asked.

I shook my head again. I guess I’m not the only girl who owns that calendar.

My boss stared at me blankly for a minute. He knew he couldn’t ask me to go back into a burning building to make copies, but he also knew if he didn’t say anything, eventually I would recognize by his silence that something more had to be done.

“Give it a couple of minutes and I’ll go back out there.”

He smiled.

After a few minutes, I stepped back into the office and started down the hall. The door swung open and I was face to face with my firefighter again. I bit my lip and forced a smile.


He didn’t need to say anything more. I turned around and headed back to the fire tower.


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