Authors: Kiki Swinson
Tags: #Fiction, #Erotica, #African American - Urban Life, #African American women, #African Americans, #Drama, #Drug Dealers, #Inner cities, #Street life
“What’s there to smile about, when I just lost my secretary and Steve is about to turn this place upside down?”
“You must be talking about that memo everybody got this morning.”
“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. I mean, what message is he trying to send by saying that his decision to implement the random drug testing derives from the unfortunate incident that occurred yesterday?”
“You know what? When I read that part I had the same reaction as you. Because in all honesty, he knew he didn’t have the right to give any of us the slightest inclination of what went on with Teresa’s situation.”
“You damn right he didn’t! And when I spoke with him a few minutes ago, I wanted to mention it to him, but it was too early to bump heads with him.”
“How is Teresa doing anyway?” Kimberly shifted the subject.
“Under the circumstances, she’s doing okay.”
“What are her plans? Is she going to start looking for new employment?”
“She said she’s going to chill out for the rest of this week and maybe catch up on some things she’s been putting off. But, next week she’s going to start her job search.”
“Well, I sure hope she finds something.”
“She will because I’m going to give her an excellent job reference.”
“Will she be able to get any unemployment benefits?”
“No, she sure won’t.”
“Yeah, it is. But, she’ll be all right.”
“Whatcha think about Mr. Baker ordering everyone to take the drug test?”
“Personally I think he’s just using his authority to shake everyone up.”
“Do you think he’s going to be able to sift out anybody else?”
“I’m not sure. But, I do know that if he does, then he’s gonna walk around here like he really did something major.”
“Have you given your urine sample yet?”
“Not yet. Have you?”
“Yes. I just came from doing it.”
“How long did it take?”
“Not long,” she began to explain. “Katherine gives you a urine specimen cup with your name on it and sends you in the bathroom. And once you’re done, she’ll place it in a clear bag and store it in a locked box, like a first-aid kit.”
“How did you feel once you were notified that you had to take that test?”
“It really didn’t bother me. Why?”
“I just asked.”
“Well, how do you feel about it?” Kimberly asked me in somewhat of a suspicious manner.
“I just feel like Steve has an agenda.”
“What type of an agenda?”
Before I could get a chance to convey my feelings about this whole matter, my telephone started ringing. And guess who it was? Ole Katherine herself, calling me from the teacher’s lounge. So naturally I got a bad taste in my mouth. But what was more overpowering was the urge for me to find out what it was that she wanted.
“Excuse me one minute,” I told Kimberly. And then I went straight into professional mode with Katherine by asking her, “How can I help you?”
“I was just wondering when you would be available to come down to the teachers’ lounge to give a urine sample?”
“With everything I’ve got going on, I can’t really say right now.”
“Well, Mr. Barino and I just realized that there’s only a few more staff members who haven’t given their urine samples, but they assured us that they’ll be coming in shortly. So, I was hoping that you could come on down in the next thirty minutes or so, so we can get you in and out and wrap this up.”
Katherine was really trying to turn the heat up on my ass, but right now wasn’t the time to let her see me sweat. So, I remained calm and said, “As soon as I’m done with what I’ve got going on here in my office, then I’ll be down there.”
Katherine said, “Okay.” She didn’t sound happy.
As I was about to hang up my telephone, I noticed Kimberly getting up from her chair. And after looking at her for only seven or eight seconds, something within me sparked up an idea. So, I hung up and immediately asked her to sit back down, while I got up the gumption to bring my idea to the forefront.
“Listen, I’m about to ask you something that may put you in an awkward position, and it may even offend you. But, I’m in a tight jam and you’re the only person who can help me right now.”
“What is it?” she asked with concern.
“Listen, Kimberly, you have to promise me that what I’m about to tell you will stay within the walls of this office.”
With what seemed like the utmost sincerity she said, “Okay. I promise.”
So, I looked straight into her eyes and gave her an earful. “Kimberly, I smoke marijuana,” I lied, downplaying my use of drugs. “So, if I submit a sample of my urine for testing, then it’s bound to come back positive. And you know what’s going to happen from there. So, I was wondering if you would do me this life-saving favor and allow me to use a sample of your own urine. And before you answer me, just know that I would do anything for it.”
“Oh, my God! I mean, I don’t know what to say,” Kimberly replied, as if she was at a loss for words.
“Just say yes,” I responded desperately.
“But, I can’t.”
“Look, Faith, as bad as I want to help you, I just won’t allow myself to get into anything like that and jeopardize my job.”
“But, no one will know.”
“I’m sorry, Faith, but I can’t take that chance,” she said firmly and then she stood up to leave. “But, I do wish you the best,” she said, and then she made her exit.
Watching my only candidate for job security walk out of my office was very devastating. Plus, I was wondering if I had made the biggest mistake of my life by divulging that type of information to her, even though I lied a bit.
Damn, I feel foolish! But, I was beginning to feel more embarrassed than anything, knowing she could hold this over my head. So, what the fuck was I going to do now? Just sit there in my office and pray to God that Katherine forgot that I hadn’t taken the drug test yet? Wishful thinking on my part, I know. So the only other thing I could think about doing was crawling under a freaking rock somewhere.
There, I wouldn’t have to worry about any of the bullshit going on. But, I knew that was a long shot, too. I figured I might as well brace myself and face the music, because I was about to go down a bumpy road.
Locked away in my office, I sat behind my desk and watched the clock on my wall as the hands moved one behind the other. And it was weird because on a normal day, time never seemed go by this fast. But, I figured it couldn’t be anything but my mind playing tricks on me. So, I grabbed a handful of tissue paper from the box placed on the edge of my desk and wiped away the sweat pellets around my forehead. Meanwhile, I got another call. But, this time I was somewhat hesitant to answer, so I let it ring. And after a while it stopped. So, I exhaled and tried to calm my nerves, but that was short-lived when I received a knock on my office door.
“Faith, are you in there?” Katherine yelled through the door.
Hearing her voice made me not want to answer, but my back was up against the wall, so I figured that I didn’t have a choice. “Yeah, give me a minute,” I finally answered and stood to my feet. But before I opened up the door, I scattered paperwork all across my desk just to make it look like I’d been really busy.
“Come on in,” I said.
“Well, I wasn’t trying to stay,” she began to say. “I was just wondering if I could get you to follow me on down to the lounge, because you’re the only one left who hasn’t completed the drug screening.”
“You mean now?”
“Yes, because we’re trying to wrap things up. And you’re the only one we’re waiting on.”
Feeling the pressure mounting around me once again, I wanted so badly to tell her to stick that test up her ass, but I couldn’t. So, instead I agreed to follow her. I mean, what other choice did I have? Because she had no intentions of letting me off the hook whatsoever. That’s just the way this cracker operated.
Now once we were in the teachers’ lounge, I was handed the cup and sent to the bathroom like Kimberly had mentioned. And when I was done, Katherine bagged up my specimen and locked it away in a gray metal box. I began to wonder aloud when she would have the results of the test and she said, “Well, when I leave here, I’m gonna head over to our medical center and drop all of these samples off. So, I will have the results no later than tomorrow morning.”
“Yes. And see, it actually only takes a matter of minutes to test urine for signs of drug use. But, since we don’t have the proper equipment to test the samples with, we have to take it to the lab at our medical center.”
“Well, have fun,” I told her and then I left the lounge area.
I headed back to my office, feeling sick to my stomach. And since I knew that there was no way that I would be able to function properly for the rest of the day, I called Steve and told him that I wasn’t feeling well and that I would be taking the rest of the day off. And when he said that would be fine, I hauled ass straight to my house nonstop.
Thank God it was too early in the day for Eric to be home, because I really needed to be alone. So, once I settled in, I picked up my telephone and called Teresa, who seemed like she was kind of out of it. It was my guess that she was high. But since she was somewhat responsive about some of my issues that I had to get off my chest, I continued to keep her on the phone.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m just relaxing.”
“Been dipping in that candy jar, huh?”
“Just a little.”
“Well, guess what that candy is about to do for me?”
“Take my damn job!”
“Take your job!” she said with uncertainty. “Take it how?”
“I had to take the fucking drug test this morning.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Hell no! I’m not kidding! Because as soon as I walked into my office this morning I’ve got a damn memo sitting on my desk, telling me that every teacher and staff member must take a fucking drug test today.”
“Get the fuck out of here!” Teresa screamed. “So, what did you do?”
“What do you mean, what did I do? I couldn’t do shit but give Katherine a damn urine sample.”
“She was there?”
“Yeah, that bitch was there. And she worried me to death.”
“So, who wrote the memo?”
“Steve wrote it. And knowing how sneaky that bastard is, he probably had his dumb-ass secretary type it up yesterday, right after our meeting.”
“I believe that too. But, did he take the drug test himself?”
“He said he did. But, I couldn’t tell you for sure.”
“He probably didn’t, wit’ his fat ass!”
“You’re probably right. But, whether he did or didn’t, I’m the one who’s going to be getting my walking papers tomorrow.”
“Don’t let ’em fire you! Just quit on their ass! Shit, you’ll have a better chance at getting another job if you do it that way. ’Cause if you hold out and let them get rid of you, then you’re gonna be out back.”
“Well, you know what? At this point it really doesn’t matter, because I’ve already given them my urine sample. So, even if I decided to quit, they’re gonna to find out about my drug use anyway.”
“Well, what are you going to do?” Teresa wanted to know.
“I’m not sure. I guess all I can do is wait.”
“Are you going to go into work tomorrow?”
“Do you think I should?”
“I wouldn’t. Shit, let ’em call you so they can save you the embarrassment.”
“You’ve got a point there, but I’ve already experienced an embarrassing moment today.”
“You will not believe this, but because I was under so much pressure this morning, I played myself by asking Kimberly Lawson to let me get a sample of her urine, so I could use it to take my drug screening. And of course, she told me no, after I poured my fucking heart out to her. But, what’s really bothering me right now is the fact that she can hold this confession of mine over my head.”
“You got that right! But, what in the hell possessed you to even set yourself up to ask her something like that? She ain’t your friend, for real!”
“I know. But, when I kept getting phone calls from Katherine telling me that she’s trying to wrap the drug testing up, I got a little desperate.”
“Well, you should’ve told Katherine to stick that drug test up her ass and quit!”
“Well, it’s too late for that. What I need to do now is figure out how I’m going to tell my husband why I got fired from my job, and hope that he doesn’t try to divorce me behind it.”
“Girl, that man ain’t going nowhere. He loves you.”
“Well, he hasn’t been acting like it lately.”
“That’s because you haven’t been able to spend a lot of time with him.”
“Well, after tomorrow, that won’t be an issue anymore.”
“And that may be true, but I wouldn’t tell him I got fired.”
“Because he’s going to want to know what happened.”
“So, what would you tell him?”
“Just tell him you quit because it was putting a strain on y’all marriage.”
“Yes. That’s exactly what I’ll tell him. He’ll believe that.”
“Well, then you’ve got your answers. Now, all you’ve got to do is let this whole thing play out.”
“Easy for you to say.”
“You’re right about that.” Teresa chuckled. “So, whatcha getting ready to get into?”
“Nothing. I’m just gonna lay back and watch some TV.”
“Stop acting like an old lady and come on over here, so I can cheer you up.”
“And do what? Get high?”
“You might as well. I mean, what the fuck you got to lose? Your job is already up in smoke.”
“You got a point there.”
“Well, come on over then, so I can help you take your mind off that bullshit!”
“All right. I’ll be over in about thirty minutes.”
To save myself from the embarrassment of Steve and Katherine walking me off the job, I called Steve at home bright and early this morning and told him I wouldn’t be in to work today because I was still feeling a little under the weather. He told me that it must be something going around the office, because he wasn’t feeling that well either, so he wouldn’t be going in himself. I immediately told him to take it easy and that I hoped to see him tomorrow. He extended the same courtesy and then we said our goodbyes.