Let's Start from the Top
by Mark Cole
"Good Morning, Mr. Dooley."
I glanced down at my morning script. "Good morning, Mr...." I turned the page, "...Smith. Looks like we'll get those showers this afternoon."
He chuckled and adjusted his reading glasses a little so he could get a better look at his next line. "We sure need them."
I waved at the passing taxi and it pulled to the curb. The driver looked at the clipboard hanging from his dashboard. "Where are you headed?" he read.
"Over to Charlie's place."
He nodded and stared at his script. "That's on Lexington, right?"
I finished my burger and made sure that I left the small piece of roll on my plate that the script called for. Charlie came over and set a glass in front of me. "Scotch, right?"
My eyes sought out my script. "You know it's my favorite."
He smiled and swept up the tip I'd left him. I waited a couple of beats and tossed an extra quarter on the countertop.
"Feeling generous today?" he read out.
"Easier than carrying it around." I told him, "I almost lost it..." I took a quick glance at the script, "twice today."
When I climbed aboard the subway train on the way back to the office, I pushed my way forward until I hit my marks and stopped. I waited until the train lurched to a start, then glanced around for the woman with the red scarf and nudged her carefully. "Sorry about that." I read.
"That's all right," she said, without looking up from her script. "Just the train starting up." she added, her index finger following the words on the paper.
I grabbed a strap and read through the next few pages, trying to memorize them before I got to my stop.
A secretary handed me my afternoon script as I walked through the door. I looked through it as I hurried down the long corridor to J. J. Edwards' office. "Anything new in your department, Joe?" he asked as I stepped through the door.
"Not much." I said with a shrug.
"Good." he said. He smiled and added, one eye on his script, "Anytime there's something new in Accounting, it usually means trouble."
I nodded and held out a sheaf of papers. "At any rate, there's the latest report."
"Thanks." he studied me for a moment as I settled into my usual seat. "Nothing wrong, is there? You look a little out of sorts."
I shook my head. "Nothing major."
"Something on your mind?"