“I’ll show them ‘plain old Catherine’ alright!” Catherine says to herself. Catherine just finished styling her hair at the Salon with her favorite stylist Marcia and ran home to get dressed for this evening’s company meeting. Catherine picks up her cell phone and realizes she missed three calls from Brenda. “Oh, crap! I forgot to fill her in on the plan!” thinks Catherine. Catherine calls Brenda. “Finally, what the heck are you doing? Drilling a hole in cement? What’s taking you so long? I thought you were going to fill me in on the plan?” says Brenda desperately. “I am. Sorry! I just got caught up! says Catherine. “Ok, here’s the plan, continues Catherine, “First we are going to try and get them highly intoxicated. We are going to let them think we are as well, but really we are just drinking water and pretending that we are drinking. Then, we are going to inject them with truth serum…” says Catherine “WHAT?!! Are you nuts, Catherine? How the heck are we going to do that?”, asks Brenda. “I’m just pulling your leg, Brenda. I don’t have that in my possession.

Anyway, I think by us flirting while they are under the influence, we’ll be able to get them to spill, something! And we’ll go from there!”, says Catherine. “Get ready to use your charm, Brendaline, we must work our magic. Our jobs are at stake!”, continues Catherine. “Honey! You haven’t seen anything yet! You did say to get into my ‘birthday suit’ right? Anyway, I’ll meet you in front of Bethania’s restaurant in about 20 minutes? It will give us time to chat before Mr. Berry and Mr. Lawrence get there. Cool?” says Brenda”. “Ok sounds good, see ya in a few”, says Catherine. Catherine hangs up and starts to get a little nervous as she looks at herself one last time in front of the mirror. ‘It’s now or never’ Catherine thinks. She puts on the red bottom shoes Brenda gave her, grabs her keys and purse and heads out the door.

“Hi Eleanor!”, says Catherine to the hobo she passed on the street. The hobo looked back at Catherine strangely. “Hey, don’t you know Brenda?”, asks Catherine. The hobo continues with her strange look and then suddenly it dawned on her and she smiled. “You mean, Betty?” Now Catherine looks confused. “The girl that was with you earlier today, right?”, says Eleanor. Catherine nods. “Yeah, Betty!” Eleanor continues. “She’s a really sweet gal, gets into trouble sometimes, because of that mouth of hers, but she means well and she’s nice to all of us!”, says Eleanor. “Anyway I have to go. Have fun wherever you are going, you look real nice!”.

Eleanor starts to walk away and Catherine stops her. “Eleanor, would you like to eat dinner tonight? That’s where I’m headed, going to eat at Bethania’s!”, says Catherine. “Oh no! I can’t go there. Looking like this?! They will throw me out of there, Pookie!”, says Eleanor. “What’s your name anyway? I didn’t catch it!” “It’s Catherine”, says Catherine. “Like the street?”, says Eleanor. Catherine smiles, “Yes. My mother was not that creative. My father wanted to name me Caroline. But that was the name of his high school sweetheart. His name is Carlos and my mother’s name is Christina. They both wanted me to be named with a name that starts with a ‘C’ as well. My mother mentioned the name Catherine, just like the street and so here I am named after the street I was raised on.” Catherine chuckles, Eleanor smiles. “Well, nice to meet you Catherine. You should drop by the soup kitchen with Betty, sometime”. Catherine looks confused and then remembers she meant Brenda. Catherine will have to inquire what that is all about. “Well, since you do not want to join in for dinner, how about I give you $10 and you treat yourself to a nice dinner somewhere, ok Eleanor?” Catherine gives Eleanor two five dollar bills. Eleanor looks like she is about to tear. “No one has ever done that for me before”, she says. “Well any friend of Bre-Bet-Betty is a friend of mine”, says Catherine. “Well you take care now and enjoy yourself. Peace be with you!” says Eleanor and darts off.

As Catherine arrives at the restaurant, Brenda grabs her and says, “Cat, there you are! What took you so long?! Our bosses will be here soon!”. “Sorry, BETTY, I got held up”, says Catherine. Brenda looks puzzled. “We don’t have time for games, Catherine. Just because Mr. Berry plays this name game with you, let’s not start that now.”, Brenda continues. “That’s not why I’m calling you Betty?! It seems that Eleanor and the rest of that Soup Kitchen knows you by that name. What gives, Brenda?” asks Catherine. “It’s nothing Catherine. Just don’t want them to know who I really am. That’s all!” says Brenda. “But, why? It’s not like you’re hiding anything tragic. You’re only the daughter of a rich man” “Cat, it’s complicated. We’ll talk about it another time. For now let’s focus on why we are here,” says Brenda. Mr. Berry and Mr. Lawrence walk in the restaurant and spot Catherine and Brenda. “Well HELLO, Ladies. You both look very…” Mr. Lawrence pauses, scans Catherine and Brenda with his eyes and finishes off by saying, “Nice”. Catherine rolls her eyes in her mind and just smiles to be polite, while Brenda gloats with appreciation. “Shall we sit down?” says Mr. Berry. “Yes, yes” says Mr. Lawrence. They order dinner and a few drinks and Mr. Berry begins the meeting by thanking Catherine and Brenda for all of the work they have done with regards to the merger. “I just need a little more information on our finances and some projections”, says Mr. Berry. “If you can add that to the brilliant presentation, we are all set” he continues. “Mr. Berry we do not have access to any of the finances. That’s classified information”, says Catherine. Mr. Lawrence looks at Mr. Berry and then answers, “Have my assistant work with you Ladies”. “Who, Gloria?” asks Catherine. “No offense, Mr. Lawrence, but she’s not competent. And if this is supposed to be some type of secret presentation, it won’t be any longer with Gloria knowing any hint of it”, says Catherine. “You know what? Have Amanda give you access to the files, Catherine”, says Mr. Berry. “Whoa, you got her name right this time!” says Brenda. Catherine kicks Brenda under the table. “Ouch”, says Brenda. And Catherine just stares at her. “Sooo, how about those politics?” asks Brenda.

Two hours after dinner. They all continue to order drinks. Catherine called the restaurant earlier to make arrangements with the waiter to serve water to her and Brenda instead of the vodka and mix she has been ordering in front of her bosses. Catherine is really good friends with Wendy the waiter and informed her that she could not drink because of personal reasons, but did not want to alarm or be impolite. Wendy did not question Catherine since she has known Catherine for years and was always kind to her, thus she agreed to Catherine’s arrangements. “You two have gotten pretty close this past month huh?” says Mr. Berry to Brenda. “Who, Cat and I? Yes. She’s like a sister. Isn’t she gorgeous?” says Brenda as she winks to Catherine. “Uh, yeah, sure, but you’re the model here Brenda!”, says Mr. Berry to Brenda. They start whispering to each other, as Mr. Lawrence grabs Catherine by the leg. Catherine jumps and then remembers she has to flirt her way through this one. “Sorry, Catherine. I thought you wouldn’t mind?” says Mr. Lawrence. ‘Mind? What I want to do is punch you in the groin!’ Catherine thinks to herself but just smiles. “Mr. Lawrence, Brenda and I have enjoyed working on this presentation. Would we be able to be present at your big meeting with the other company?”

Catherine thought that was a bold move, but she had to start the conversation somehow. Mr. Lawrence was too occupied looking down her dress to notice the question and nodded “Sure, sure whatever you want…” says Mr. Lawrence. “Catherine, why don’t we just talk about this in my office? In private.” says Mr. Lawrence with a grin. Catherine is appalled at the rude suggestion Mr. Lawrence is making. But this may be her only chance to find out what is going on with him and Mr. Berry. “Alright, let’s go!” says Catherine. “Excellent!” says Mr. Lawrence. “Hey Ber, I’m heading on out with Catherine here, you mind taking care of the bill for us?” says Mr. Lawrence to Mr. Berry. “Uh, Sure Mr. Lawrence”, says. Mr. Berry as he is maintaining eye contact with Brenda. Brenda was playing with his hair. Catherine wanted to throw up, but, she can never underestimate Brenda. Mr. Lawrence hails a cab to arrive to the offices as quickly as possible.

Mr. Lawrence and Catherine arrive to the 52nd Floor and as they head towards his office, they run into a maintenance worker. Catherine pretends she is going to one of the Cubicles outside of Mr. Lawrence’s office and Mr. Lawrence heads to his office, but the maintenance worker looked at them puzzled and walked away. As soon as the coast was clear, Catherine goes inside Mr. Lawrence’s office. Mr. Lawrence was patiently waiting with his pants down. Catherine appalled with the sight in front of her, faints within seconds.

Stay tuned for the next chapter!

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