Move in Mary

By: Deya Diaz

“Well we’re moving on up. To the east side. To a deluxe apartment in the sky….” echoes the cubicle across from Catherine. “Seriously?”, Catherine whispers to herself. Today, Mary Myers moves in to the cubicle near Catherine. Mary is the new coordinator who will be working with Amanda, Mr. Berry’s assistant. Mary, promoted from the mail room. “I already have one rude neighbor. Do I really need another?”, Catherine thinks to herself. “I can see why she is playing the theme song to the Jefferson’s. Her recent promotion is an improvement from the mail room. Catherine puts her headpiece on and dials a phone number. Ring. Ring. Ring. “Hello, you’ve reached David Lionel, I’m not available to take your call right now, but please leave”….Catherine disconnects the call.  This is the 7th time she tries to reach her friend, David, and he won’t answer his phone.  Catherine presumes he is still angry after running into her and coworkers at Bethania’s restaurant yesterday, where they were discussing the merger. “It’s not my fault that the company I work for is buying out the company he works for. I’ve tried to warn him about it, days ago!”, Catherine thinks to herself. “I’ll just have to drop by his house tonight, but first let me text him one more time.” [Dave, I’m so sorry! Please call me back! We NEED TO TALK. Heart U.]. Text sent. Catherine sighs loudly.

“Hey Cat Doll! What’re you doing?”, says her cubicle neighbor, Brenda, who’s hovering over the cubicle wall that divides them. Catherine turns around and says, “Working, Brendaline!”. Brenda’s smile fades. “Sorry, Catherine, I forgot you dislike my pet names for you! You don’t mind it when Mr. Berry calls you other than the name Catherine!”. “That’s different Brenda. He’s our boss! I wouldn’t dare correct him!” Catherine says. Catherine looks over to Mary who was busy unpacking while dancing to the same song. “Great! Now the song is on repeat!”, Catherine huffs and puffs under her breath. “Brenda! Cecilia! Come quick!”, says Mr. Berry from his office. Both Catherine and Brenda run in. “Yes, Mr. Berry?”, Catherine and Brenda say in synch. “What are you a chorus now?”, asks Mr. Berry. “Listen, I’m going on a business trip for the week. I need you ladies to run the office for me”, Mr. Berry continues. “Sure, Mr. Berry, but wouldn’t you want Jorge to look after the office, after all, he is your VP!”, Brenda asks in an almost persuasive manner.

Catherine rolls her eyes.  Brenda ‘hooked up’ with Jorge a few months ago when they had their quarterly company-wide meeting at the Turquoise Sea hotel. Catherine knew of Brenda’s dirty little secret because she caught them while they were entering Brenda’s hotel room. Catherine was staying in the room next to Brenda. Up until this present day, Brenda is not aware that Catherine knew. “Brenda, he works out of the LA office, I’m not going to have him leave their offices just to come here and run the department that I know you two can handle together!”, he says in a sharp tone. “Besides, you are both working on our top secret project and are the one only ones I trust!” Mr. Berry’s voice softened. “Let’s meet around lunch to discuss the tasks of the week. Please have Amanda set up a meeting. Go on now. Skedaddle!”

Catherine and Brenda rush back to their desks. “Catherine, Mr. Berry has something up his sleeve. I just know it!”, says Brenda. Catherine gives her the wide-eyed look and motions over to Mary. “What? She’s not even at her desk!”, says Brenda. Catherine looks over to Mary’s cubicle area and felt relieved. “Brenda, you must keep your voice down! And stop gossiping! One of these days, you are going to get yourself in a whole lot of trouble”, whispers Catherine. “Cat, you would be surprised on the ‘dirt’ and information I have on everyone in this company”, says Brenda. Brenda pauses and states in an even more conniving tone, “Everyone” and looks at Catherine straight in the eyes. Catherine drops the clipboard she was holding on the floor. Brenda begins to laugh. “You’re so gullible, Catherine! She continues to laugh. “I’ll head on over to Amanda and have her set up our meeting with Mr. Berry later”, suggests Brenda. Brenda strolls off.

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz goes Catherine’s cellphone. Catherine enters her password and sees that David finally texted her back. [WE NEED TO TALK…MEET ME FOR DINNER TONIGHT AT 6, AT MY PLACE. NO EXCUSES! I’LL CALL YOU LATER. BYE]. Catherine smiles. ‘David always texted with capital letters. One would think he were screaming or trying to make a point. But, that was how he normally texted, except for the ‘NO EXCUSES’ part. “Was he really yelling at me?”, Catherine thinks to herself. She dismisses the thought. David finally answered and that is all that matters. Catherine texted back [Ok Dave. See you tonight! Heart U]. Catherine and David always ended their texts ‘Heart U’, but he didn’t this time. Catherine figures David is still angry with her. Catherine sighs.

“Are you alright, Catherine?”, asks Mary as she walked back to her desk. “Yes, I am fine, just prioritizing the tasks of the day, before the lunch meeting with Mr. Berry”, says Catherine. “Oh yeah! Mr. Berry asked me to tell you and that Brenda girl that he is moving the meeting after work for dinner at 6.”, says Mary. “Ya’ll have meetings after work around here? My husband would kill me if I claim I have a work dinner to attend”, Mary continues. “He doesn’t believe that a 9 to 5 job can go longer than that. You know what he told me the other day?”, Mary continued to ramble on, while Catherine was in the middle of texting David to tell him there is a dinner meeting and if they can meet for lunch instead. “Isn’t he funny?”, asks Mary. “Who?”, says Catherine, who was caught off-guard. “My Husband!”, says Mary. “Oh, yeah, he is…”, Catherine trails off. She notices her phone buzzing. “Excuse me, Mary”, says Catherine.

Catherine read David’s reply.  [YOU KNOW WHAT CATHY, IT SEEMS LIKE YOU KEEP DODGING ME. EVERY TIME WE ATTEMPT TO MEET YOU HAVE ‘SOME’ MEETING TO ATTEND. FORGET OUR MEETING AND FORGET OUR FRIENDSHIP]…[AND ONE MORE THING, START LOOKING FOR A JOB, BECAUSE YOU WON’T BE THERE MUCH LONGER. BYE]. Catherine is confused by David’s text. What is he talking about? We are the ones acquiring his company and will be fine. Catherine thinks to herself. “Right?” Catherine thinks as she second guesses herself. In that moment Mr. Berry walks by Catherine and into his office and before he shuts the door, he smiles at Catherine in an almost evil manner.

Catherine smiles back, nervously, and gets up from her desk and walks over to Brenda and Amanda who were whispering to each other. “Yeah, she’s so weird”, says Brenda. “Who is?”, Catherine interrupts. “Mary!”, whispers Brenda. “There is definitely something about her!” Brenda continues. Catherine rolls her eyes. “Can I steal Brenda from you Amanda?”, ask Catherine. Amanda smiles, “Of course you may, Catherine. You know Brenda doesn’t mean any harm”. “Oh I know Amanda. Brenda can be quite the jokester”, says Catherine. “We’ll speak later. Oh! And By the way, Mr. Berry changed our lunch to dinner, can you reserve dinner for three at Bethania’s? Thanks!”, says Catherine as she whisks Brenda away. “Dinner?”, asks Brenda surprisingly. “Yes. Dinner.

Something is not right Brendaline! Something is going on and we need to get to the bottom of it!”, says Catherine. “Oooooh a mystery. I love it! Let’s put all the pieces together, like they did on that game “Clue”, or was it a show?… Ok let’s!”, says Brenda happily. “Let’s? What ya’ll talking about?”, Mary interrupts. “Let’s…. go outside for some….lunch”, says Catherine in a reassuring manner. “You want to join us, Mary?”, asks Catherine as they walk out quickly. Mary shouts over, “No thanks. My husband made me some delicious lunch. He made Rice and beans and some fried chicken. But tha…” Mary’s last words trailed off because Catherine and Brenda were already at the elevator hallway. “What was that all about?”, asks Brenda. “Nothing Brenda! I didn’t want Mary joining us. I was just being polite. We’ll discuss everything over lunch. Alone!.”, says Catherine. “OK, let’s head on over to Pete & Beets restaurant! You know their manager, John? He is so cute!” Catherine rolls her eyes and presses the elevator button for Lobby. As the elevator doors are about to close. Mr. Berry approached and shouts, “Hold it!”. But it was too late. The elevator doors closed shut. ‘That was close’, Catherine thinks to herself.

Stay tuned for the next chapter!

CCC Is a fictional comic relief story dedicated to those who work in an office cubicle.