By Deya Diaz

“Let her riiiiiiip”, whispers Brenda. “What?” says Catherine. Brenda smiles. Catherine starts to cough and covers her nose. “Did you just fart, Brenda?” asks Catherine. “And in the elevator?” Catherine continues. “You’re so disgusting”, Catherine says. “Hey! When you gotta go. You gotta go!” says Brenda. Catherine growls. “We need to get off this elevator before I faint. What the hell did you eat today?” says Catherine. “Just five hard boiled eggs!” says Brenda. Elevator opens. Catherine and Brenda walk out. An elderly couple walks in and grills Brenda. Brenda motions over to Catherine. But before Catherine can come to her own defense, the elevator door shuts. “Really Brenda…you’re just sick in the head! Blaming me! Anyway. Let’s go! We have much to discuss”. Brenda and Catherine head on out to Pete & Beets restaurant which is about five blocks from the office. Strolling along the avenue, Brenda waves to someone.

“Hey Eleanor?! What’s cooking’, darling? Asks Brenda as she waves to the hobo passing her on the street. “Who’s that?” Catherine asks.  “Who?” asks Brenda. “Eleanor?!” states Catherine confused. “Oh that?! Nobody”, says Brenda.  “Nobody?! What do you mean? You just greeted her?!” says Catherine. “Look, she’s someone I know from the soup kitchen. That’s all”, says Brenda.  “Soup kitchen? You volunteer?” asks Catherine. “Yes! What’s wrong with that?” asks Brenda. “Oh nothing. I just didn’t peg you for someone who volunteers”, says Catherine. “What?! Just because I’m rich, doesn’t mean I’m selfish Cathy!” says Brenda annoyed. “Sorry, Brenda. I didn’t mean it that way! You—you just caught me by surprise” says Catherine. “That’s very sweet of you! Let me know when you go next time, I’d like to go as well”, says Catherine.  “Really?! Alright Sugar. I will definitely let you know!” Brenda says.

Brenda and Catherine arrive at the restaurant and upon entering, are greeted by the handsome manager, John. “Hello Ladies. Table for two?” he asks. “Three, if you’ll join us!” says Brenda in a flirtatious manner. “I’d love to, but as you know, I have to make sure you’ll get the best service out of this place”, says John and smiles.  Catherine rolls her eyes. Brenda and her flirting are like lungs without air Catherine thinks to herself. John sits Catherine and Brenda by the window and takes their orders.

“So, Cathy, what’s up?” asks Brenda. “Alright, as you know, we are going to be acquiring our competition, where my friend David works” Brenda nods. “But, David texts me and says I need to start looking for a job” Catherine shows Brenda the text from David “… [AND ONE MORE THING, START LOOKING FOR A JOB, BECAUSE YOU WON’T BE THERE MUCH LONGER. BYE].” “I’m confused! Why would he tell you that, when WE are the ones acquiring HIS place”, says Brenda. “Exactly!”, says Catherine. “Have you noticed how funny Mr. Berry has been acting? And why he keeps meeting with us separately and has us working on this secret proposal for he and Mr. Lawrence?” asks Catherine. “Something is definitely not right!” Catherine continues. “You know I heard my Dad on a conference call the other day talking about some investment deal and how both of the companies are playing Chess. I didn’t think anything of it, but now this has got me thinking!” says Brenda. “What if our company and David’s company DD&D is playing chess? Like going back and forth with the investors?” Brenda continues. “Brenda! I think you might be right!” says Catherine. “But why would Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Berry make it such a secret?” asks Catherine. “Beats me!” says Brenda. “Those two are greedy old men. I wouldn’t be surprised if they even care who buys who!” Brenda continues. “Brenda! You’re brilliant!” says Catherine. “I know!” says Brenda. “Wait! What? What about?” asks Brenda. “Our bosses! They must have something to do with the multimillion dollar investment. They are probably playing both sides so that they can also come out on top. Remember you can still be an investor even if you work for the company and I wouldn’t doubt those two have big stock!” says Catherine. “We’ve got some digging to do!” Catherine continues. “Get your Birthday suit ready Brenda, we’re playing Inspector Gadget on their A****” says Catherine. “Birthday suit? Girl it’s not even my birthday! And who’s Inspector Gadget?” asks Brenda. Catherine rolls her eyes. “Brendaline, just get a provocative outfit together, and I’ll fill you in on the rest of the plan!” says Catherine. “Now THAT, I can do”, Brenda says and winks at John who’s coming towards them.

“Everything ok, Ladies?” says John. “It is. Now that you’re here!” says Brenda. John gives Brenda a piece of paper that looks like a bill and walks away. Brenda smiles. “What?” asks Catherine. “Forget it. I don’t even want to know!” Catherine continues. “Cathy darling, whatever do you mean?” says Brenda in an innocent tone and winks at Catherine. Catherine knows Brenda all too well. Brenda and John are going to have some fun tonight for sure. Catherine sighs. Might as well as she needs to be happy for the adventure we are going to embark on Catherine thinks to herself. But first, I must contact David and get his side of the story. Catherine begins to text David… [Dave, I’m so sorry! Please call me! We MUST TALK. It’s urgent. Heart U.]. A few minutes later David responds, [FINE. AFTER YOUR MEETING WITH MR. WHAT’S HIS FACE, BUZZ ME. BYE]. Catherine smiles. He’s mad, but at least he’s responding Catherine thinks to herself.  Another text comes in. [HEART U 2]. Catherine smiles. Catherine is about to respond when she noticed the new text came from Brenda and not from David. Catherine shoots her an evil glance. Brenda laughs. “Sorry Cat, thought that would cheer you up!” says Brenda. “You’re such a pain you know that Brenda! And the name is Catherine. Not Cat!” Catherine growls.

A tap on the window startles both Catherine and Brenda. Mr. Berry waves from the window and motions that he is going to come in. Brenda and Catherine give him a fake smile and motion to him that it is fine. As Mr. Berry walks in, a waiter trips and the juice that the waiter was carrying falls all over Mr. Berry. “You nit wit!” Mr. Berry says. “I demand you be fired!” Mr. Berry continues. “Now now, Mr. Berry, it was only an accident” says Brenda. “We were just finishing up, let’s head on back to the office and clean you off”, says Catherine. “I will be fine girls. And Yes let’s head back”, Mr. Berry snarls. “Lunch is on me. So sorry about that. Your next visit will be on the house as well.” Says John to Mr. Berry. “You mean lunch was ON ME!”, Mr. Berry darts back. Brenda pinches Mr. Berry. Mr. Berry jumps and says “Alright, Mr. I’ll be back to cash in lunch tomorrow. Let’s go ladies” as Mr. Berry motions to Catherine and Brenda to move along. As they arrive back to the office and enter the elevator. Catherine smiles and thinks to herself. ‘Let her riiiiiip’. Brenda looks at Catherine and Catherine smiles and almost in a whisper mouths the word “Karma”.

“Welcome back ya’ll! How was lunch? (to Catherine and Brenda)… And Mr. Berry what the heck happened to you?!” asks Mary.  Mr. Berry gives Mary the evil eye. “Nothing. Any new messages, Mary?” says Mr. Berry. Mary nervously replies, “Just one message from Mr. Lawrence. He says it’s urgent to please call as soon as possible.” Catherine glances over to Brenda. Brenda was in the middle of cleaning her desk. Since when does Brenda clean her desk? Thinks Catherine. “Thanks Mary, could you dial him for me. I’ll take the call in the office”, says Mr. Berry. “Ladies.” Says Mr. Berry and nods as a farewell.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Lawrence? I have Mr. Berry on the line for you….” says Mary.  Mary hangs up and walks away.  Catherine is tempted to pick up the line to overhear the conversation between Mr. Berry and Mr. Lawrence. Catherine sees that Mary is busy chatting with the mail clerk who was dropping some mail off. Catherine tip toes to Mary’s cubicle and listens in on the call” Mr. Berry says, “Yes, everything is going according to plan. No one suspects a thing. The girls? I have them wrapped around my finger. They have no idea what’s in store.” Mr. Berry laughs an evil laugh. “Good work Berry! I’ll meet you for dinner with those girls and make sure the pretty one is there! She’s rather, uh, tasty!” laughs Mr. Lawrence. “Who, Brenda? Yes she’s quite the lady! I’ll…” says Mr. Berry. “No, not that one. The other one. Catherine is it?” Mr. Lawrence asks. “Ohhhh plain old Catherine?” asks Mr. Berry.  Mr. Lawrence says “She’s not plain at all. If you see the potential…anyway, just make sure she’s there!” says Mr. Lawrence. Mr. Berry rolls his eyes.

Mr. Lawrence can be quite the pervert, but Mr. Berry does not argue and says “See you later Mr. Lawrence.” Catherine gasps. Disgusted she darts up and heads for her desk, when Mary pops up and asks, “Catherine, what were you doing at my desk?” Catherine turns red. “Oh, she was helping me look for my earing!” Brenda chimes in. “But you have both your earrings on Brenda!”, says Mary. “Did I say earring? Oh I meant ring. I lost my diamond ring that my Dad gave me. It holds sentimental value”, says Brenda. Then Brenda starts to pout. “If I don’t find that ring, my Daddy will think I don’t love him and….” Brenda continues on with the story while Catherine picks up the phone and dials a number. “Hey Marcia! Yes, can I swing on by? I need to get ready for a dinner meeting I have tonight. Yes! It’s an emergency. Get all of your tools together. I will be there in 15 minutes. “Brenda. Mary. I have to run along to a, err, um, an appointment. Tell Mr. Berry I will see him later for the dinner meeting”, says Catherine. “Brenda. I will see YOU later. Remember what I asked?” asks Catherine. “Yes! Provocative. Got it!” Brenda winks. Catherine darts out.

Stay tuned for the next chapter!

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