Cin was plucked from dreamland at 5:30am by the racket of the clock radio, “Goldman Sachs said that its second-quarter profit fell by 11 percent from the same time last year…” She slapped the radio silent and lay there while the gears in her head came to life with the particulars—who she was, where she had to be, what was on her plate for the day. The Surrey proposal. Cin opened her eyes wide.
Her boss wanted that proposal by the end of today. She slid out of bed and went into fast forward—to the kitchen to start the flow of coffee, to the newspaper to take a quick glance, “As confidence in Lehman’s survival has faded, the chairman and chief executive, Richard S. Fuld Jr., has stepped up efforts to sell the 158-year-old bank…” then she headed to the bathroom to get ready.
On her way out, Cin poured the last of the coffee into her travel mug, swung her laptop case over her shoulder and grabbed her purse. She stepped out, locked the door, heard the ping of the elevator and ran to catch it. She watched the LCD ad panel on her way down to the lobby, “Bank of America, the nation’s leading financial institution and home for all your personal financial needs.”
She hurried across the lobby and out to the street. She snagged a cab and succumbed to the usual barrage of information on buses and buildings on her way into work, “Chase what matters—JP Morgan Chase. Microsoft—where do you want to go today? Capital One—what’s in your wallet? Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline. HSBC—the world’s local bank…”
Cin paid the cab fare, ran inside her office building and onto the elevator. She watched the ad panel on the way to the sky, “Do more—American Express,” and headed down the hall to her office. She slid her laptop into the docking station and was well into the Surrey proposal when the phone rang. “Shit!” she whispered. To answer it or not? To lose this groove or not? What if it’s something important? “Aw, hell!” She stopped typing and picked up the phone.
“Yeah! Hey, Cin! Real quick: my boss is having another of his very exclusive parties at his pad downtown. It’s the usual drill: I’m to invite a friend and keep the party mixed up. Will you come?”
“Oh Christ, Margot…I don’t know…I’ve got to finish this propos…”
“Cin, Cin, Cin. Get your priorities straight, Girly-Q. Samuel Price and other top execs are going to be there! You’ve got to get out and be seen, flaunt your wares, get out of that shit job!”
“I’ll see you at my place at seven.” Click.
Cin sat there holding the phone, feeling the deadness of the connection, her job, her life… What would she wear? What would she say to the execs and socialites that would be there? She was small time compared…
Enough of that. Cin shook her head, snapped out of it, got real. “Just finish the proposal,” she told herself, “let the rest take care of itself.” She put her phone on DND, focused, refused visitors, ate lunch at her desk, put everything and everyone off, got the thing done. It was 5pm. She packed up, grabbed the proposal and dropped it off with her boss’ admin so she wouldn’t have to get into it in person with him.
She was out the door and in a cab by 5:15pm. She was safe. If her boss called her cell, she just wouldn’t answer it. She sat back and watched all the ads fly by, “One client at a time—Morgan Stanley. After dark—Tia Maria. Now there’s a thought—Barclays. Digitally yours—Samsung…” and she imagined her closet, what she would put on after a quick bite to eat and a make-up refresh.
Cin left for Margot’s a little late and ended up showing up there at 7:15pm, cringing. Margo was tapping her toe and fidgeting with her jewelry, waiting, and looking like ten million bucks in her deep red, strappy dress and sling-back, black shoes. “Oh, my god, Margot! Look at you! I shouldn’t have worn pants, should I?”
“Don’t be silly, hon, you look absolutely gorgeous! Now, let’s go!”
They hit the top floor of Margot’s boss’ building right on time and were offered champagne at the door to the living area. Margot led Cin over to a small group of people and introduced her to them all. Then she winked and took off to do her mixing thing.
One of the most forward in the group, Ted Darren, tax counsel for American Express, sized Cin up as a dumb blonde, gave the others a “Watch this“ wink and said to her, “Hello, Cin. Welcome. We were just talking about the economy, specifically about the banking world, and were discussing hints of a credit market thaw. Do you see signs of a thaw?”
Cin looked down nervously for a moment, then lifted her smiling face to them all and answered, “Marginally, yes. I see that banks are lending to one another again, but Main Street’s not seeing it yet. The Treasury’s giving $250 billion to the banks for the purpose of lending, yet it seems they’re going to hold onto it for some time to cover their expected losses. And also to buy other banks! Which the Treasury is actually allowing! That chaps my ass. Stronger banks, that’s what we need, not bigger banks…”
NYC Times Square photo from http://www.experience-economy.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/Times%20Square%20NYC.jpg
Missalister’s “Organic chemistry—garbage in, garbage out,” copyright © 2008, was spun off the Sunday Scribblings prompt “#145 – Organic.” Click here for more on prompt #145 from other Sunday Scribblings participants.