/ Language: English / Genre:antique, / Series: Boy

Boy Meets Girl

Meg Cabot


antiqueMegCabotBoy Meets GirlenMegCabotcalibre 0.7.5218.4.20111a31e7f5-9fe2-422e-86ed-d83665f649b11.0

Contents

Dedication

Begin Reading

Acknowledgments

About the Author

Books by Meg Cabot

Credits

Copyright

About the Publisher

For Benjamin

THE NEW YORK JOURNAL

New York City’s Leading Photo-Newspaper

Kathleen A. Mackenzie

Personnel Representative

Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6891

Ida D. Lopez

Craft Food Services

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

Dear Mrs. Lopez:

Last week, we met to address your continuing job-performance problems related to thegiving out of dissemination of serving of items from the dessert cart you operate in the newspaper’s senior staff dining room. These problems have persisted despite repeated counseling sessions withme my boss Amy Jenkins supervisors as well as staff training programs. Specifically, your refusal togive disseminate serve dessert to certain members of the senior staff has resulted in several written complaints from administrators at thisestablishment paper company.

Mrs. Lopez, your refusal to serve dessert to certain members of the paper’s staff is disruptive to food service operations, and the explanations that you have provided for your behavior are notsatisfactory wholly believable inexplicable acceptable. This letter is being issued as a written warning with the expectation that there will be an immediate and sustained improvement in yourwork attitude food service dissemination job performance. Failure to comply will result in further disciplinary action.

On a more personal note, Mrs. Lopez, please stop refusing to give senior staff members dessert, even if you feel, as you explained to me last week, that they don’t “deserve it.” Which members of the paper’s staff do or do not deserve dessert is not your decision to make! And I would hate to see you asked to leave the food craft services department over something so silly! I would really miss you—and your chocolate chip cookies!

Damn it.

From the Desk of

Kate Mackenzie

To do:

Laundry!!!!!!!!!

Finish disciplinary warning letter to Ida Lopez.

Pick up prescriptions—Allegra, Imitrex, Levlen.

Get new Almay pressed powder compact.

Find new apartment.

Find new boyfriend.

Get better job.

Get married.

Have successful career.

Have children/grandchildren/big retirement party.

Die in sleep at age 100.

Pick up dry cleaning!!!!!!!!!

Kathleen A. Mackenzie

Personnel Representative, LZ

Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6891

kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com

Sleaterkinneyfan:

What are you doing?

Katydid:

WORKING. Stop IM-ing me, you know the T.O.D. doesn’t like it when we IM during office hours.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

The T.O.D. can bite me. And you are not working. I can see your desk from here. You’re making another one of those To Do lists, aren’t you?

Katydid:

It may look like I’m making a To Do list, but really I am reflecting on the series of failures and bad judgment calls that have made up my life.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Oh my God, you are twenty-five years old. You have not even had a life yet.

Katydid:

Then why am I in such mental and emotional anguish?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Because you stayed up too late last night watching

Charmed

reruns. Don’t try to deny it, I heard you salivating over Cole.

Katydid:

Oh my God, I’m so sorry!!!!!!!! Did I keep you and Craig awake?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Please. Craig would sleep through a nuclear blast. And I only heard you because I got up to use the bathroom. These hormones make me have to go every five minutes.

Katydid:

I am so, so sorry. I swear I will be off your couch and out of your place just as soon as I get a line on a studio I can afford. Paula’s taking me to look at one tomorrow night in Hoboken. $1100/month, third-floor walk-up.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Would you stop? I told you, we like having you stay with us.

Katydid:

Jen, you and Craig are trying to have a BABY. You do not need an old college roommate sacking out on your living room couch while you are trying to procreate. You did enough just getting me this job in the first place.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

You more than earn your keep with all the cleaning you do. Don’t think I haven’t noticed. Craig even pointed out this morning that you had dusted the top of the refrigerator. Obsessive much, by the way? Who even looks at the top of the refrigerator?

Katydid:

Well, Craig, OBVIOUSLY.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Whatever. You can’t afford $1100/month on your salary. I know how much you make, remember?

Katydid:

It’s the cheapest place Paula’s found me so far. That isn’t on the same block as a methadone clinic.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

I don’t understand why YOU are the one who had to move out. Why didn’t you kick HIM out?

Katydid:

I can’t stay in that apartment. Not with the memories of all the happy times Dale and I shared.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Oh, you mean like all those times you came home from work to find that, like, one of his bandmates had mistaken the closet for the bathroom and peed on your suede boots?

Katydid:

WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BRING THAT UP AT WORK? You know it always makes me want to cry. I really loved those boots. They were perfect Coach knockoffs.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

You should have thrown his stuff out onto the fire escape and changed the locks. “I don’t know if I can marry you after all, I have to take things one day at a time.” I mean, what kind of thing is that for a guy to say?????

Katydid:

Um, the kind of thing an ex-pothead who is about to land a million-dollar recording contract would say to the girl he has dated since high school. I mean, come on, Jen. Dale can get anyone now. Why would he stay with his girlfriend from high school?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Oh my God, I swear if it weren’t for the T.O.D. watching me like a hawk for any excuse to can my ass, I’d come over there and slap you. You are the best thing that ever happened to Dale, recording contract or no recording contract, and if he doesn’t know it, he isn’t worth it. Do you understand me, Katie? HE ISN’T WORTH IT.

Katydid:

Yes, but then what does that say about ME? I’m the one who went out with him for ten years, after all. TEN YEARS. With a guy who isn’t sure now that he wants to marry me after all. I mean, what does that tell you about my ability to read people? Seriously, Jen, I probably shouldn’t even be allowed to work here. How can I presume to tell my employers who they should and should not hire when I am obviously such a heinous judge of character?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Katie, you are not a heinous judge of character. Your problem is that you—

AmyJenkinsDir:

logged on

AmyJenkinsDir:

Pardon me for interrupting, ladies, but is there or is there not a departmental ban on Instant Messaging during office hours? Ms. Sadler, please get me the blue form on the new hire in Arts. Miss Mackenzie, I need to see you in my office right away.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

logged off

Katydid:

logged off

AmyJenkinsDir:

logged off

Sleaterkinneyfan:

logged on

Katydid:

logged on

Sleaterkinneyfan:

THE TYRANNICAL OFFICE DESPOT MUST DIE

Katydid:

Her home life must be very unsatisfactory.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

logged off

Katydid:

logged off

30’s East Rent Stabilized

A Steal! Studio $1100. No

Fee. Call Ron 718-555-7757

Yo! It’s Ron. Leave a message.

(Tone)

Um, hi, Ron? Hi, this is Kate, Kate Mackenzie. I’m calling about the apartment. The rent-stabilized studio in the East Thirties? Yeah. Please give me a call about it. I can come to look at it any time. Really. Like in five minutes, if you want. Just, you know. Call me. I’ll be at 212-555-6891 until five, then you can reach me at 212-555-1324. And thanks. Call anytime. Really.

If you sprinkle

When you tinkle

Be a sweetie,

Wipe the seatie!

This message brought to you by

The Human Resources Division of theNew York Journal

THE NEW YORK JOURNAL

New York City’s Leading Photo-Newspaper

Features Division

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

Human Resources Division

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

We, the undersigned, of the Features Department of theNew York Journal, are hereby returning this sign, found in the restrooms on our division’s floor. While we realize that this sign is the Human Resources Division’s humorous way of dealing with the complaints of untidiness in the restrooms at 216 W. 57th Street, we find the sign offensive for the following reasons:

We in the Features Department do not “tinkle.” We urinate.

We in the Features Department do not refer to ourselves, or anyone else, as “sweetie.” (exception: Dolly Vargas has on occasion referred to people as sweeties, but not in reference to their hygienic practices)

We in the Features Department do not refer to toilet seats as “seaties.”

A more appropriate step toward maintaining an appropriate standard of cleanliness in our restrooms might be more frequent spot checks by the custodial staff.

Please do not hang signs like these in our restrooms EVER again.

Sincerely,

George Sanchez

Melissa Fuller-Trent

Nadine Wilcock-Salerno

Dolly Vargas

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Amy’s Toilet Signs

Oh, my God, the Features Dept. returned those signs the T.O.D. made housekeeping hang in all the toilet stalls! Too funny! Want to be there when I tell her? Amy, I mean.

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Amy’s Toilet Signs

OF COURSE I want to be there. You know how disappointed she’ll be when she finds out. She says she hung signs like this all through her sorority house, and that the girls loved them. This is gonna be so good. . . .

New York Journal Employee Incident Report

Name/Title of Reporter:

Carl Hopkins, Security Officer

Date/Time of Incident:

Wednesday, 1:30 p.m.

Place of Incident:

NY JournalSenior Staff Dining Room

Persons Involved in Incident:

Stuart Hertzog, legal counsel to theNY Journal, 35

Ida Lopez, Craft Food Services dessert cart operator,NY Journal, 64

Nature of Incident:

S. Hertzog asked I. Lopez for more pie.

I. Lopez said No more pie.

S. Hertzog said But I see the pie right there, give me some.

I. Lopez said No more pie for you.

S. Hertzog said Why not?

I. Lopez said You know good and well why.

S. Hertzog summoned Security.

Security gave him pie.

Follow-up:

Incident recorded, sent to A. Jenkins in Human Resources.

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

Kate—

Thanks for your input re: Be a Sweetie/Wipe the Seatie. However, as I’m sure you’ve seen by now, we have a more pressing concern than the Features Department’s objections to my lavatory signs.

We’ve had another complaint about Ida Lopez, the dessert-cart operator in the senior-staff dining room. It appears the situation is getting worse. Today she categorically refused to give Stuart Hertzog, of Hertzog Webster and Doyle, the paper’s legal counsel, a piece of key lime pie. As you know, desserts in the senior-staff dining room are supposed to be unlimited. When questioned as to her reason behind refusing pie to Mr. Hertzog, Ms. Lopez replied, “He knows good and well.”

Mr. Hertzog, of course, hasn’t got the slightest idea what she is talking about. He has never set eyes on the woman before today.

As Ms. Lopez is currently on disciplinary probation from her last, similar violation, I believe we can begin moving forward with termination paperwork. Therefore, please discontinue work on her disciplinary warning letter for last week’s infraction and begin termination proceedings. Ms. Lopez should be informed no later than today at five o’clock that her services will no longer be required here at theJournal . Please see that Security escorts her to her locker and that she cleans it out thoroughly. Security is not to allow her out of their sight until her keys and employee ID have been confiscated, and she has left the building.

I have been informed by Food Craft Services management that Ida Lopez is inexplicably popular with junior members of the staff. Therefore it would be best if this case were not discussed outside the confines of the department. Please remember that personnel matters are confidential.

I will expect Ms. Lopez’s termination paperwork on my desk no later than 3 p.m. today.

Amy

Amy Denise Jenkins

Director

Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6890

amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com

This e-mail is intended only for the use of the individual to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged and confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you have received this transmission in error; any review, dissemination, distribution, or copying of this transmission is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by reply e-mail and delete this message and all of its attachments.

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Tim Grabowksi <timothy.grabowski@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

Hey, Katie, Ida’s one of yours, right? If so, you’ve got to do whatever you can to get this pie thing with Hertzog straightened out. Ida is the lifeblood of theNY Journal . Without her and her dessert cart, I for one will not be able to go on. And I think I speak for a lot of people here when I say if there’s anybody who does not deserve pie, it is Stu Hertzog.

Counting on you, as the only human in Human Resources (not including Jen, of course) to Do the Right Thing—

T.

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Nadine Wilcock-Salerno <nadine.salerno@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

Say it isn’t so! The rumor mill has it that Amy Jenkins is asking for the head of our best baker on a silver platter. DON’T GIVE IT TO HER!!!!!!!! WE NEED IDA’S CARROT CAKE! If possible, hooked into an IV and attached to my arm.

I mean it, Kate, don’t let them fire her.

Nad ;-)

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Melissa Fuller-Trent <melissa.fullertrent@trentcapital.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

Dear Kate,

I was in the senior staff room today when Ida Lopez refused to serve pie to Stuart Hertzog, the paper’s legal counsel. All I can say is, Mr. Hertzog really was unforgivably rude to Mrs. Lopez, even before she refused to serve him—I mean, he acted like he had some kind of inalienable right to pie—and if you need me to make a sworn statement to that effect or anything, I would be willing to. Only please don’t let them fire Mrs. Lopez . . . her chocolate chip cookies are out of this world.

Sincerely,

Mel Fuller-Trent

Features

The NY Journal

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thethenyjournal.com>

Fr: George Sanchez <george.sanchez@thethenyjournal.com>

Re: Cookie Lady

Don’t fire her.

I mean it. Her gingersnaps are the only thing that keep me sane around here. Besides Mountain Dew.

George Sanchez

Managing Editor

The NY Journal

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Dolly Vargas <dolly.vargas@thenyjournal.com>

Re: That cafeteria lady

Darling, you simply can’t let them get rid of that little dessert-cart person. Her low-fat yogurt muffins are to DIE FOR. I myself have had her cater numerous events, and have received nothing but compliments . . . her carrot cake is simply DIVINE (if not exactly easy for those of us doing the low-carb thing to resist).

And really, if you get rid of her, who are you going to get to replace her? Good help doesn’t grow on trees, you know.

XXXOOO

Dolly

P.S. Thanks for helping to bail me out of that nasty little thing with Aaron Spender. Isn’t it the pits when they go all John Hinckley on you? So glad he took that job withNewsweek, I can’t even tell you! XXOO—D

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Dessert Cart Lady

It is all over the building that the T.O.D. is going to give the Dessert Cart Lady the heave ho for not handing over a piece of pie to Stu Hertzog at lunch today. Is this true?

J

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

It’s true. The T.O.D. says *I* have got to fire her. Today. Jen, how am I supposed to fire that sweet old lady? This has to be a mistake. English isn’t her first language. Maybe there was a misunderstanding. I mean, she always calls me dearie when she sees me in the hallway, and sneaks me chocolate chip cookies, even though as a new hire I am not even allowed in the senior staff dining room. Plus everyone—EVERYONE—at the paper loves her.

Everyone except Stuart Hertzog, apparently.

But he’s a lawyer.A LAWYER. What does that tell you about his abilities as a judge of character? Hmmm?

Oh my God, I wish I had called in sick today.

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Dessert Cart Lady

Amy is such a bitch. You know she’s totally in love with Hertzog, right? Tim up in Computers says he saw them at Il Buco last Saturday, with their tongues down each other’s throats. I mean, she’s all but picked out the china pattern. That’s the only reason she gives a crap about Ida.

I wonder if she’ll change her name when the time comes. If anyone deserves to be Mrs. Stuart Hertzog, it’s the T.O.D.

You know what I heard? Hertzog has a cigar-store Indian in his office. He thinks just because he’s a big shot in his daddy’s firm—like his father before him, and his father before him, and so on—nobody’s going to say anything about how unPC it is, or the fact that he’s such a pedantic phony.

Maybe that’s why Ida wouldn’t give him pie.

All I have to say is, that suit he had on today had to cost three grand, easy. It was Armani.

But it doesn’t matter how well he dresses, he’ll still always look like Barney fromThe Flintstones.

Have you tried reasoning with the T.O.D.? I realize it probably won’t work, but you can be pretty persuasive, when you bat those baby-blues of yours.

J

To: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

Amy, are you really sure terminating Mrs. Lopez is the best idea? I mean, like you said, she is extremely popular with the staff. I have been inundated with e-mails from members of the staff—some of them senior members—asking that she not be let go.

It is possible that Mrs. Lopez might benefit from going through customer-service training again. Maybe if we go ahead with the written warning from last week’s infraction, she’ll straighten up. Like you yourself said at last month’s Staff Relations Committee meeting, termination represents not just a failure on the employee’s part, but a failure on the part of her supervisor, as well!

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

I sincerely hope you are not questioning my authority in this matter, Kathleen. As someone who has less than a year of work here at theJournal under her belt, I would think the last thing you would want to do is question the actions of your direct supervisor—especially while you are still on employment probation.

Ida Lopez has been a continuous problem at this company since the day she was hired. My predecessor was not successful in getting rid of her, but I will be. This time, Ida’s gone too far. I want to see a complete written transcript of your interaction with her this afternoon before you leave the office for the day.

Amy Denise Jenkins

Director

Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6890

amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com

This e-mail is intended only for the use of the individual to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged and confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you have received this transmission in error; any review, dissemination, distribution, or copying of this transmission is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by reply e-mail and delete this message and all of its attachments.

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

It’s no good, the T.O.D. won’t go for it. Oh, God, Jen. Poor Mrs. Lopez is coming down in ten minutes! What am I going to say to her? WHY did I have to be assigned the LZs??? WHY???

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Dessert Cart Lady

That’s it. We’re going to Lupe’s for mojitos after work. Damn the hormones, I need a drink.

J

Journal of Kate Mackenzie

Professor Wingblade in Soc 101 said writing down our feelings would help us organize our thoughts and enable us to approach problem-solving in a rational manner. But I don’t feel very rational. What am I going to do? I can’t fire Mrs. Lopez.

Okay, yeah, she did refuse service to the paper’s chief legal counsel. But I’ve seen Stuart Hertzog in action, and the fact is, like most lawyers—the ones I’ve met, anyway—he’s a pig. Once I had to share a cab with him to an arbitration and he yelled at the cabbie for taking Lexington Avenue instead of Park, even though the cabbie said there was construction on Park. Then when it came time to pay, Stuart wouldn’t give the guy a tip and said that he can’t stand immigrants because they think they know everything and that even if in the cabbie’s native land he was a surgeon, like he said, that didn’t mean he was qualified to navigate the streets of Manhattan in a moving vehicle, and why couldn’t they all (he meant immigrants, I guess) just stay home?

I totally wanted to point out that Hertzog isn’t exactly a Native-American name, which means at one point Stuart’s relatives must have been new to this country as well, and who knows, maybe one of them worked as a cabbie or an omnibus driver or whatever and how would Stuart have liked it if some lawyer in a fancy suit spoke to his great-great-great-great-grandpa like that?

Only I couldn’t say anything like that because Amy was there and she would have fired me. I actually don’t know if you can get fired for saying something like that—right to free speech and all—but I’m sure Amy would have found a way.

I can’t believeI’m the one who has to fire her. Mrs. Lopez, I mean. Whyme ? I’ve never fired anyone before. Well, okay, I fired that porter who tried to feel up that seventeen-year-old lacrosse player who was touring the paper’s offices on that school field trip, but he so totally deserved it—I mean, his defense was that he couldn’t help it because she looked so good in her little plaid skirt. Please! I mean, it was apleasure to fire him.

But this! This is totally different. I love Mrs. Lopez, and really, I don’t blame her a bit for what she did. I mean, they ought to fire Stuart Hertzog, is what they ought to do. I once saw him with a cigar—a CIGAR!—in the 3rd-floor hallway while he was waiting for the elevator, and when Mel Fuller from Features came by and asked him to put it out because she’s pregnant, he just went, “It’s not lit,” which was only half true because it totally had been lit in Mr. Hargrave’s office, it was still smoldering a little, even. Who does that, who smokes cigars inside a public building? And yells at poor innocent cab drivers? I mean, really.

And now Jen wants to go out for drinks and she could be pregnant RIGHT NOW, which means she’ll probably have some kind of flipper baby, and it will all be my fault. Oh my God, I have got to find somewhere else to stay, I can’t keep crashing on their couch. It’s so nice of them, but I can tell Craig is getting sick of having to share a bathroom with not just one woman but two. I could not have timed this thing with Dale worse. I mean, Jen and Craig have been trying to have a baby since they got married, and now that Jen’s on all those drugs—and really, she has to see me all day at work, and then again at home—we never get a break from each other. It’s a wonder she hasn’t cracked. . . .

If I could find a decent sublet I would move out in a second, but I just don’t think I could handle having a roommate I don’t know. I mean, that girl in the share up on East 86th—I admire people with goals and all, but shouldn’t women in this day and age be striving to help improve the planet, or at least their community in some small way, instead of focusing all of their energy on finding a husband? I guess I should be more accepting of other people’s dreams, but really, I don’t think marrying an investment banker is going to solve all of your problems. I just don’t. I mean, it might HELP, in the long run, with rent and everything, but you can’t just go around life being Mrs. Investment Banker. I mean, you have to find where YOU as an individual, not Mrs. Whoever You Marry, fits into the world.

And frankly, no matter how many Upper East Side bars you hit on a Saturday night, there is no guarantee you are going to meet someone decent in any of them. All the bridal magazines in the world aren’t going to change that. I mean, you’re better off volunteering somewhere. At least that way you’ll be doing something to improve the earth, in addition to trolling for a man. So it won’t be a COMPLETE waste of your time. . . .

Oh God, maybe I’m being stupid, maybe I should just go back to him, I mean, it isn’tthat bad, being in a relationship with someone who won’t commit. I mean, lots of girls would die for a boyfriend like Dale. At least he never beat me up or cheated on me. I think he really does love me, and it IS just a stupid societal more. Marriage, I mean.

Except that I distinctly remember Professor Wingblade telling us in Soc 101 that in EVERY civilization in the world—even in places like Micronesia where for hundreds of years they had no contact whatsoever with outside cultures—there issome sort of ceremony where couples in love stand up before their community and pledge their devotion to each other. I mean, essentially, Dale is flying in the face of thousands of years of tradition by saying he and I don’t need to do this to have a satisfying and nurturing romantic relationship. That simply isn’t true.

Which is not to say that if Dale agreed to marry me today, I’d move back in with him tomorrow. I mean, I don’t want him to ask me just to humor me. I want him to ask me because he honestly and truly cannot picture a future without me. . . .

Except that it seems like Dale is incapable of picturing any kind of future at all, except maybe a future where the fridge isn’t fully stocked with Rolling Rock, which is why he always seems to remember to buy more. But me, I don’t think he sees me in his future. . . .

And I’m not even sure Iwant him to anymore, because the truth is, after seeing Jen and Craig and the way they are with each other, I know what true love looks like, and it isso not what Dale and I have, and I think I deserve to have love like that. I think it’s out there, I don’t know where, but somewhere. . . .

Oh God, she’s here.

Employee Interaction Transcript

Employee:Ida Lopez

Personnel Rep:Kathleen Mackenzie

Date:Wednesday

Time:3:15P.M.

KM: Um, just a second here, Mrs. Lopez. I have to turn this thing on . . . um . . . testing. . . . Testing. Oh, wait. Oops. There. I think it’s on. Does that look on?

IL: The little wheels are spinning.

KM: Um, okay. Well, this is Kathleen Mackenzie, and this is . . . is an employee interaction with Ida Lopez. Mrs. Lopez, I’m required by Human Resource policy to tape this session, for both your protection as well as my own.

IL: I understand,carina.

KM: Okay. Well. Thank you very much for coming to see me, Mrs. Lopez. I . . . er . . . I’m afraid I—

IL: Well now, you know there’s nothing I like better than a little visit with my Kate. And just look how pretty you are looking today, in that pink top.

KM: Thank you, Mrs. Lopez. I—

IL: Pretty as a movie star. Skinny as a movie star, too. Too skinny, if you ask me. I don’t know about you girls today, always starving yourselves to look thinner. What’s so great about being thin? You think men want to go to bed with a stick figure? What’s so much fun about that? Would you want to go to bed with a stick figure? No, you wouldn’t. Here, better have a cookie.

KM: Oh, thank you, but really, I shouldn’t—

IL: Shouldn’t what, get a little meat on those bones?

KM: No, I mean, I shouldn’t . . . Mrs. Lopez, you know these desserts are supposed to be for senior staff members only. . . .

IL: I don’t see why, if I made them, I cannot decide who deserves one of my famous chocolate chip cookies, and who does not. And you deserve a cookie. Here.

KM: But Mrs. Lopez—

IL: Look, it is your favorite. No nuts. Of course, most people like them with nuts. I recommend the pecans. Come on. Take a bite.

KM: Mrs. Lopez, really, I—

IL: One little bite never hurt anybody. And it’s not like that good-looking boyfriend of yours will care if you gain a little weight. That one I saw with you in the lobby after last year’s Christmas party. Sorry,holiday party. He seemed like a man who appreciates a woman with a little meat on their bones.

KM: Oh, well, actually, he and I sort of—

IL: Oh no! You broke up?

KM: Well, yes, a little while ago. I mean . . . we didn’t break up, exactly—Oh my God, Mrs. Lopez. This is the best chocolate chip cookie I ever had.

IL: You know the secret, of course?

KM: Hmmm, wait, let me guess. You melt the butter before putting it in?

IL: No,carina. Well, I do let it sit to room temperature. But I meant the secret to getting a man to commit.

KM: No, what is it?

IL: Find the right man. Yours—the one I saw you with—he’s not right for you. I knew it the minute I saw him. He’ll never appreciate you. He’s too wrapped up in himself. I could tell, because of the way he kept talking about that band of his. He made it sound like his band meant more to him than you do!

KM: (Choking sound) Excuse me.

IL: Oh, here, better have some milk to wash that down. No, don’t go on about how fattening it is. It’s good for you. Helps build strong bones. There. So simple, you really could make them at home. Here, let me write the recipe down for you.

KM: Oh, Mrs. Lopez! Your secret recipe? You can’t—

IL: Of course I can. Now, in a large mixing bowl, beat two sticks of unsalted butter until smooth. Then add one cup of packed brown sugar, a quarter cup of granulated sugar, one large egg, and two and a half teaspoons of vanilla extract. Beat this until very well blended. Then gently beat in half—just half—of a mixture of one and three quarter cups, plus seven tablespoons—this is important—of all-purpose flour, three quarters of a teaspoon of baking powder, one third teaspoon of baking soda, a generous quarter teaspoon of salt—

KM: Mrs. Lopez, really, this isn’t—

IL: Then stir in the remaining flour mixture—but don’t overmix it. Then stir in the chocolate chips and pecans. Drop the cookies by teaspoonfuls—about two inches apart—on greased baking sheets, then bake for eight to ten minutes. Remember to let the pans stand for about a minute after you take them from the oven. You don’t want them to lose their shape. Then use a spatula—you have a spatula, don’t you, Kate?—and put the cookies on a wire rack to cool. See? Easy! Now. Hadn’t you better get on with it?

KM: What? Oh. Yes. Mrs. Lopez. The reason I’ve asked you here today has to do with the incident that occurred this afternoon in the senior staff dining room—

IL: Yes, of course. Señor Hertzog.

KM: Yes, exactly. Mrs. Lopez, you know you and I have met before over a similar—

IL: Yes, I remember. I wouldn’t give any of my peach cobbler to that man from the Mayor’s Office. Oh, your boss was very put out with me that time. That . . . What’s her name again? Oh, yes, Jenkins. Amy Jenkins. You know, talking about food issues? That one has some big ones. I’ve seen your boss down three of my chocolate cheesecake muffins, then head straight to the ladies’ room—

KM:Okay, Mrs. Lopez, that’s great, but that’s not why we’re here today. We’re here today to talk about Mr. Hertzog—

IL: Of course. I wouldn’t let him have any of my key lime pie.

KM: But see, Mrs. Lopez, that’s just it. You can’t, you know, just make arbitrary decisions about who does and who does not get pie in the senior-staff dining room. You have to give pie to anyone who asks for a slice.

IL: Well, I know I’m supposed to. But you’ve had my desserts,carina. You know they are specially prepared—lovingly prepared, even—for very special people. I don’t feel I should have to share them with just anyone.

KM: But see, actually, Mrs. Lopez, you do. Because if you don’t, we get complaints, and then you know I have to ask you to come down here and—

IL: Oh, I know,carina. I’m not blaming you.

KM: And you know, it would be one thing if you owned your own bakeshop or restaurant, and you refused to serve law—I mean, people like Stuart Hertzog. But you’re employed by theNew York Journal,and the paper can’t have you refusing to serve—

IL: Their lead counsel. I understand, dear. I really do. And you warned me about it before. And so now I suppose that boss of yours wants you to fire me.

KM: Mrs. Lopez, you know I—

IL: It’s all right, Kate. No need to get upset. She likes Señor Hertzog. I know that.

KM: If there was anything I could—I mean, was Mr. Hertzog mean to you? Did he say something rude to you? Because if I could just give Amy—I mean, my superiors—a reason why you might have refused to serve Mr. Hertzog—

IL: Oh, he knows.

KM: Well, that’s just it. I mean, he says he doesn’t know.

IL: Oh no. He knows.

KM: Well, maybe if you could tell me—

IL: Oh, I couldn’t do that! Now, you must have Security escort me out.

KM: I’m so sorry, Mrs. Lopez. But, yes, I’m going to have to—

IL: It’s all right. One of them will be the Hopkins boy. He loves my cranberry scones. I’ll have to check to make sure I—Oh, yes, here’s one. It was so nice visiting with you,carina. Let’s see, you’re friends with that nice Señora Sadler. Here, be sure to give her this. My gingersnaps are her favorites, and I know that, with the baby shots and all, she’s very sad. But tell her she shouldn’t worry. She’ll have a nice baby girl by the end of next year.

KM: Mrs. Lopez—

IL: Oh, don’t cry,carina! I’m sure you’re not supposed to cry when you fire someone. Here, we’ll turn this off, so we don’t get you into—

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

Please see me first thing tomorrow morning concerning the recording of your interview with Ida Lopez, which I’ve just finished listening to.

Amy Denise Jenkins

Director

Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6890

amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com

This e-mail is intended only for the use of the individual to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged and confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you have received this transmission in error; any review, dissemination, distribution, or copying of this transmission is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by reply e-mail and delete this message and all of its attachments.

Appetizers

Soup of the Day

$3.75

Oh my God, I am so fired. I can’t believe how fired I am. Why did I have to start crying during the

Guacamole

$3.75

interview? Why didn’t I think to turn the tape off before I started bawling my head off?

Sweet Plantains

$3.75

Why can’t I be like the T.O.D.? SHE would never cry while firing someone. But I don’t WANT to be

Yucca Fries

$2.75

like the T.O.D. I hate her. I should just quit. Now I have to find a new job on top of a new apt. and

Nachos with Cheese

$3.95

boyfriend. WHY IS EVERYTHING BAD HAPPENING TO ME ALL AT ONCE???? And why

Nachos with Jalapenos

$4.95

can I never find my journal when I need it? Which begs the question, where is it? What if

Nachos with Beef

$5.95

Amy or one of the housekeeping staff finds it? And reads it? Then I will be fired for sure. And

Nachos Grandes

$6.95

where the hell is Jen? She said to meet at Lupe’s after work, and so I’m here but she’s not, and now I

Salsa Cruda

$1.50

am sitting here by myself pretending to be jotting important business notes on this menu so that creepy

Quesadillas

$3.50

guy in the corner won’t come over here and start talking to me. Must try to appear like imp. business

Quesadilla Grandes

$6.95

woman with no time for casual flirtation in Mexican restaurant. Oh my God, what if Jen doesn’t come

Mini Quesadilla Grandes

$5.95

and I end up having to eat here by myself and that guy comes over and tries to join me and it turns out

House Salad

$3.95

he’s the vestibule rapist and he follows me back to Jen’s building and pulls a knife on me? Thank

Mexican Salad

$5.95

God I took that self-defense class through the Staff Resource Program. Won’t he be surprised when

Mexican Grilled Chicken Salad

$8.25

I break his nasal cartilage with an upthrust heel of the hand and send it back into his brain stem, instantly

Mexican Bean Salad

$6.95

paralyzing him? Although on the whole I would much rather just meet Jen for drinks like we planned.

Sides

Oh, God, I need a beer. Poor Mrs. Lopez! I guess she is looking for a job now, too. Only she has

Chips

$1.00

a lot more chance than I do of getting something decent. Those cookies were delicious, anybody

Spanish Rice

$1.75

would hire her in a minute, whereas I am totally useless. I can only type 35 words per minute and God

Jalapenos

$1.00

knows I can’t supervise, my people skills are for shit, I can’t even get a decent boyfriend let alone tell

Sour Cream

$1.00

people how to do their jobs. It is such a joke, the paper hiring me, it is just a wonder I have even

Chopped Onion

$1.00

lasted this long, at this point I should just—Oh, there’s Jen, THANK GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dear Kate,

Sorry to leave a note taped up to the door like this (hi, Jen, hi, Craig), but it’s not like you’ve really given me much of an alternative. I mean, if you’d stop screening your calls at work and on your cell and pick up once in a while, I wouldn’t have to pull this stalkery crap. I’ve seriously got to talk to you, I’m going crazy here. You won’t return my messages, and every time I try to reach you at Jen’s, she says you’re out. I know you’re not out, I know you’re probably sitting right there on the couch right now watching freakingCharmed, or whatever.

Anyway, about that whole One Day at a Time thing. Look, maybe we WILL be together forever. Or maybe we won’t. I mean, I’m not omission. I can’t see into the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen.

Why can’t things go back to being the way they were, you know? How come all of a sudden we have to put, like, these labels on things? I mean, like why is it so important to you that I say I’ll love you forever? Why can’t I just say I love you, like, for now? Why isn’t that enough, all of a sudden? It was enough for the past ten years.

Katie, COME HOME. I miss you. The guys miss you, too.

Love,

Dale

P.S. I could really use your advice. The studio’s being really assholish, they’re trying to make us change our name from I’m Not Making Any More Sandwiches to just Sandwich. What kind of name is that for a band? Who’s gonna buy a record from a band called Sandwich?

Hi, you’ve reached Kate and Dale. We can’t come to the phone right now, so at the tone, please leave a message, and we’ll get back to you. Thanks!

(Tone)

Dale, you have got to change that message. I don’t live there anymore, remember? Anyway, about your note . . . Oh my God, I don’t even know why I called. Just forget it, okay? Nothing’s changed, I just—Oh, never mind.

(Click)

Hi, you’ve reached Kate and Dale. We can’t come to the phone right now, so at the tone, please leave a message, and we’ll get back to you. Thanks!

(Tone)

Oh my God, you have got to change that message. It’s Jen, by the way. You remember me, right? Your ex-girlfriend’s best friend? The word is

omniscient,

buddy, not

omission.

Got it? Good. Oh, also, don’t come around here anymore. You just make Kate sad. And no, I’m not drunk right now, but am totally hopped up on hormones, so you’d better be scared, because I swear to God, if I catch you around here again, I’ll—

(Click)

 

(Tone)

Hi, you’ve reached Kate and Dale. We can’t come to the phone right now, so at the tone, please leave a message, and we’ll get back to you. Thanks!

(Tone)

Stupid machine cut me off. I really mean it. Remember that time in college when I threatened to kick the ass of that friend of yours who brought the smack to the house party Kate and I had? Remember? I didn’t care that he had a gun, I wasn’t scared of him. Well, that’s what I’m going to do to you, too, bud, if you keep on. . . . What do you mean hang up the phone? No, I will not hang up the phone, Craig, I happen to be helping Kate. She had a very bad day and I am just—no, I am not making things worse, I’m helping. I happen to be a trained human resources representative, and I’m—don’t you—Give me that!

(Click)

Hi, you’ve reached Kate and Dale. We can’t come to the phone right now, so at the tone, please leave a message, and we’ll get back to you. Thanks!

(Tone)

Dude, it’s Craig. Sorry about that. Jen and Kate went out for mojitos, and Jen just had one, but she’s wasted. You know, she’s on all those fertility drugs, so she gets really drunk on just like one drink. So, sorry, man. I took the phone away from her and hid it in the closet. She should be all right in the morning. I hope.

(Click)

From the Desk of

Kate Mackenzie

To do:

Quit job (unless fired; if fired, see #2).

Start packing up belongings.

ASPIRIN????? Maybe in bottom drawer.

Find new job.

Find new apartment.

Find new boyfriend.

Oh, God, I don’t know, my head is throbbing. . . . Did I call Dale last night? God, I hope not.

Pick up dry cleaning!!!!!!!!!

Kathleen A. Mackenzie

Personnel Representative, LZ

Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6891

kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com

Chelsea/19th betw. 9th and 10th.

Exp. brk. wall, grt. light, elev.

bldg., courtyd. view. $1195, No

Fee. Call Ron 718-555-7757

Yo. It’s Ron. Leave a message.

(Tone)

Hi, Ron? It’s Kate. Kate Mackenzie, I left a message yesterday? About the studio in the East Thirties? Well, I never heard from you. Does that mean the studio’s taken already? Well, even if it is, can you call me back? Because I saw your ad for the place in Chelsea. The one that’s eleven ninety-five? Could you call me about that one? Because I’m really interested. Again, it’s 212-555-6891 until five, then you can reach me at 212-555-1324. And thanks. Thanks a lot. Call anytime.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Does your head hurt as much as mine does?

Katydid:

More. You only had one drink, remember? I had seven. Do you think I’m fired?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

For coming in with a hangover? Whatever. They’d have to fire the whole department. Especially the day after the Christmas party.

Katydid:

No, for crying while I fired Mrs. Lopez.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Oh, please. This is Human Resources. They never fire anybody in this department. Maybe if you stripped off your blouse and started singing “Everybody Wang Chung Tonight” in the mailroom.

Katydid:

The T.O.D. wants me in her office at ten. I will bet you anything it’s to give me a verbal warning.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Would you stop? They are not going to fire you. If anybody’s getting fired, it’s the T.O.D. Did you see all the senior staff members standing around outside the dining room this morning, looking (ineffectually) for Mrs. L’s dessert cart? There are going to be some phone calls today, believe me, when word gets up to the VPs that there aren’t going to be any more chocolate cheesecake muffins.

Katydid:

They’ll just find some other outside vendor.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Yeah, but no one’s muffins can match Mrs. L’s.

Katydid:

True. Jen, I think I have to quit.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

WHAT???????????????

Katydid:

Seriously. I mean, how can I stand by and let them do that to poor Mrs. Lopez? I mean, it isn’t right. She’s a sixty-four-year-old woman.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

A sixty-four-year-old woman who wouldn’t give pie to the head of personnel’s boyfriend, who also happens to be one of the most powerful lawyers in the city, and this company’s chief legal counsel. Kate, you had no choice. Mrs. Lopez brought it on herself. You’d warned her before. It isn’t like she wasn’t aware of the consequences.

Katydid:

Yeah, but maybe I wasn’t stern enough with her. Maybe she didn’t take me seriously. Nobody does, you know. Takes me seriously. I mean, why should they? I’m just like this IDIOT from Kentucky who dated the same guy all through high school and college. Why did I even major in Psych in college? I mean, seriously. I am the worst judge of character of ALL TIME.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Because you suck at everything else, remember? Besides, weren’t we going to help people?

Katydid:

WHO ARE WE HELPING?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Come on. You know you’ve helped a lot of people. What about that girl you hired for the Art Department last month? The one who was so happy when she found out she got the job, she cried and sent you flowers?

Katydid:

So I had one good day. But come on, Jen. We’re not exactly Making a Difference. Like we planned. I mean, remember when we were going to open Jen and Kate’s Free Therapy Clinic?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Yes, but that was before we moved to Manhattan and had to dedicate half of our salaries to rent.

Katydid:

Maybe we should have stayed in Kentucky.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

So we could be spending our weekends eating pork tenderloin at the NASCAR races? No thank you.

Katydid:

I happen to like pork tenderloin. Um . . . Speaking of Kentucky, do you remember if I called Dale last night? I have this dim memory that I did.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

So what if you did? I mean, the goober asked you to, remember? In that stupid note. Seriously, there is something wrong with him. Who leaves NOTES on people’s DOORS in New York City? And what was that slur against

Charmed

?

Charmed

happens to be a very good show.

Katydid:

I know! Witches! Helping people!

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Totally helping people. And killing demons at the same time. In halter tops.

Katydid:

I wasn’t mean to him, was I? When I called him back?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Oh, would you get over it? Who takes relationships one day at a time? I mean after TEN YEARS, three of which you lived together, for crying out loud.

Katydid:

WHY DID I STAY WITH HIM FOR SO LONG????? I’m such a loser.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

You are not a loser. You know who’s a loser? The T.O.D. Did you see what she has on?

Katydid:

Oh my God, I know. The same thing she was wearing yesterday.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

The T.O.D. got some! Did you see that hickey on her neck? She tried to hide it with concealer, but it is SO OBVIOUS. Why didn’t she go home to change before coming in this morning? That is so . . . gross. It’s like she WANTS us to know. Like she’s rubbing it in.

Katydid:

It’s working. I can’t believe the T.O.D. is having sex and I’m not.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

And you so know who she’s doing it WITH. Mr. No Pie For You himself. Oh my God, wait. . . . Did you see that?

Katydid:

See what?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

When she waved her hand just now, talking to Steph at the reception desk. Is that a DIAMOND ON HER LEFT RING FINGER????

Katydid:

ohmygod

Sleaterkinneyfan:

That is the hugest rock I have ever seen. It’s the size of my belly button!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Katydid:

She’s engaged. I can’t believe it. The T.O.D. is engaged.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

MRS. STUART HERTZOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Katydid:

I can’t believe someone asked the T.O.D. to marry him. I can’t even get a guy to agree to admit he might still be going out with me this summer, let alone FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

*I* can’t believe she hasn’t come over here to throw it up in our faces. I mean, that has to be three carats, at least. Although compared to my paltry .5, anything would look big.

Katydid:

Hey! Craig spent what he could afford. It wasn’t easy, picking out a ring on a computer programmer’s salary. A computer programmer’s

starting

salary.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Cool it! I wouldn’t trade my .5 for that barnacle creeping all the way up her knuckle for all the money in the world. I’m just saying—hey, who’s that guy in the suit heading for the T.O.D.’s office?

Katydid:

Her wedding planner? Geez, she works fast.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Is that a SUMMONS he’s holding?

Katydid:

Oh, God, I hope so. I hope it turns out the T.O.D. is being sued for incompetence.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Um, you don’t think it’s the pre-nup, do you?

Katydid:

Oh my God, Stuart Hertzog would SO make his potential bride sign a pre-nup! What is she doing now, can you see? Is she crying? If she’s crying, it’s definitely the pre-nup.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

I can’t tell if she’s crying or not. She’s still reading it. Okay, he’s leaving the T.O.D’s office. Maybe I can . . . Hey, why is he walking over toward YOU?

Katydid:

Oh, n—

ATTORNEYS AT LAW

444 Madison Avenue, Suite 1505

New York, NY 10022

212-555-7900

Kathleen A. Mackenzie

Personnel Representative, Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

Dear Ms. Mackenzie,

Pursuant to Article 29, page 31 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between theNew York Journal and the United Staff Association of NYJ, Local 6884, former employee Ida Lopez has chosen to file a grievance concerning the termination of her employment at theNew York Journal.

You are hereby notified of pending arbitration—in which your employer, as well as you personally, are named as defendants for breach of contract—and during which my firm will be representing you. Please notify my assistant as soon as possible of your availability for a pretrial discovery conference.

Sincerely,

Mitchell Hertzog

ak/MH

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: OH MY GOD

Mrs. Lopez is suing me! ME!!!!!!!!!! After everything I tried to do for her!!!!!

Which, considering she did lose her job, isn’t all that much, I guess. But still. I mean, I TRIED. I warned her plenty of times of what might happen if she didn’t stop refusing to let people have pie.

And now she’s suing me! Can she even have a legal leg to stand on? Did I do something wrong? Oh my God, what if I did something wrong? ThenI’llbe fired too!

Oh my God, this is so like an episode ofCharmed : Whatever you put out into the world comes back to you, times three, good or bad. I fired Mrs. Lopez, and now I’m going to have THREE TIMES the bad luck as I did before.

As if I didn’t already have the worst luck of any girl on the eastern seaboard.

And who the hell is Mitchell Hertzog? I thought the T.O.D.’s boyfriend’s name was STUART!!!!!!!!

Kate

To: Kate M ackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Re: (None)

See me at once.

Amy Denise Jenkins

Director

Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6890

amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com

This e-mail is intended only for the use of the individual to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged and confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you have received this transmission in error; any review, dissemination, distribution, or copying of this transmission is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by reply e-mail and delete this message and all of its attachments.

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: OH MY GOD

The T.O.D. wants to see me at once!!!!!!

Which means I have to have done something wrong!!!!!!!!

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kate

To: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Mitchell Hertzog

Stuart, I have just received a letter from someone whom I can only presume is a family member of yours.

If this is a joke, I have to say it is in highly questionable taste.

If it is not a joke, might I ask why, considering the fact that I had Ida Lopez’s employment terminated at your request, someoneelsefrom your law office will be representing me and my employer when we go to court against this woman for breach of contract?

I swore I wasn’t going to bring my personal feelings into this, but I can’t help it. After what happened between us last night, Stuart—howcould you let something so important be handled by some underling . . . even if he IS a relative of yours?

Amy

Amy Denise Jenkins

Director

Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6890

amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com

This e-mail is intended only for the use of the individual to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged and confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you have received this transmission in error; any review, dissemination, distribution, or copying of this transmission is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by reply e-mail and delete this message and all of its attachments.

To: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Mitchell Hertzog

Amy, darling, I’m so sorry. Mitch was supposed to wait until I’d had a chance to call you this morning before sending that letter.

The fact of the matter is, sweetheart, I can’t represent you or the paper, due to the fact that I am so personally involved in the case. However, Mitch—my younger brother—is an excellent lawyer, one of the best we’ve got, and will do just as good a job as I would myself, I swear.

On a personal note, how could you entertain the idea, even for a moment, that after what happened between us last night, I would ever do anything that might hurt you or your career? When I woke up this morning and gazed down upon your sleeping face, it was as if I was gazing at the face of an angel, and all I could wonder was, what did I ever do to deserve such good fortune? Amy, you are my everything.

I promise you, you’re in the best of hands.

Yours, now more than ever,

Stuart

Stuart Hertzog, Senior Partner

Hertzog Webber and Doyle, Attorneys at Law

444 Madison Avenue, Suite 1505

New York, NY 10022

212-555-7900

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

Mitch, you asshole. What do you think you’re doing? I told you not to messenger those letters to theJournal until I’d had a chance to call Amy. Have you been drinking, or are you just criminally stupid? Or do you just not care?

I’m warning you right now: Fuck up this case and you’re a dead man.

Stuart Hertzog, Senior Partner

Hertzog Webber and Doyle, Attorneys at Law

444 Madison Avenue, Suite 1505

New York, NY 10022

212-555-7900

To: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

Stuie! Nice to hear from you. Isn’t it funny how two people can work down the hall from each other—can come, in fact, from the same gene pool—and yet manage to go weeks without exchanging a single pleasantry?

In reply to your e-mail, I am neither drunk nor, to the best of my knowledge, criminally stupid. It’s true I don’t care, though. Does that bother you? Sorry. But when a little old lady takes on a titan of publishing like Peter Hargrave, aka owner of New York’s leading photo-newspaper, in a breach of contract suit, it’s kind of hard for me to root for the home team, if you know what I mean.

Mitch

P.S. Where were you last night? I called during the Michigan game, but got no answer. I know you never go anywhere except out for drinks with Webber and Doyle, and they’re in Scottsdale with Dad for the golf tourney. Could you, perhaps, have Hooked Up? WithAMY ?

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

I don’t know what Dad was thinking, asking you to join the firm. You’re as big a slacker now as you were when we were kids.

And as for my hooking up, that is none of your business.

Stuart Hertzog, Senior Partner

Hertzog Webber and Doyle, Attorneys at Law

444 Madison Avenue, Suite 1505

New York, NY 10022

212-555-7900

To: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

As for Dad hiring me, you’ll remember that it was right after his heart attack. Clearly he wasn’t in his right mind. I warned him then, but he wouldn’t listen.

So. The hookup. Itis that chick from theJournal,isn’t it?

Stuie, Stuie, Stuie. Have you learned nothing under my tutelage? I thought I told you to stay away from personnel rep types. They’re all psychiatrist wannabes. You really want to get your head shrunk at the same time you’re getting your, um, ego stroked? Not a good idea.

Hey. Balucchi’s for lunch?

Mitch

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

You leave my ego out of this, you son of a bitch. Mom’s right: You have no sense of family loyalty. Oh, sure, you took the job when Dad had his triple bypass. But the old guy’s doing fine now. So what are you still doing here?

And don’t try to give me that shit about Dad wanting you around. I bet you haven’t talked to Dad in weeks, just like the rest of us.

Why don’t you go back to defending crackheads and the other lowlifes you seem to enjoy hanging around with so much?

And Amy Jenkins happens to be my fiancée—a word I’m aware you wouldn’t understand, because you’ve never gone out with a woman longer than a single basketball season. I would thank you not to screw up this ridiculous lawsuit against her and her employer—who also happens to be one of our biggest clients, if you’ll trouble yourself to recall.

And I wouldn’t go to thecorner with you, let alone to some chintzy chain ethnic eatery. What the hell is wrong with you? You’re a partner now, you can afford to eat lunch in places that don’t offer a $6.95 all-you-can-eat special, you know. Oh, but wait, I’m sorry, you’re probably saving your money to give away to some bleeding heart Save-the-Crackhead Fund.

Stuart Hertzog, Senior Partner

Hertzog Webber and Doyle, Attorneys at Law

444 Madison Avenue, Suite 1505

New York, NY 10022

212-555-7900

To: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

Touchy touchy touchy! Fiancée, huh? So you’re finally taking the plunge, huh? That’s quite an accomplishment, Stuie. You’re aware that if you go through with it, you might actually have to start sharing your stuff with her? You know, like the remote control, and the SUV, and your wine-of-the-month-club membership, and all of that.

Admit it, you’re just mad because I made Law Review and you didn’t. Come on, Stuie. You’re the one who got into Yale, while I had to make do with a state education.

Congrats on the whole wedding thing. I’m sure you two will be happy. And I didn’t mean it about the bulimia thing. Much.

Mitch

P.S. Have you told Mom yet? I wouldn’t know, see, on account of how Mom’s still not speaking to me over the whole Janice thing. So if you’re hoping to make her regret ever giving birth to me by telling her all the mean things I said about your girlfriend, too bad.

She already does.

Hate me, I mean.

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

Your congratulations are accepted.

P.S. Stop calling me Stuie!

Stuart Hertzog, Senior Partner

Hertzog Webber and Doyle, Attorneys at Law

444 Madison Avenue, Suite 1505

New York, NY 10022

212-555-7900

To: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@freemail.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: You’ll never believe this one:

Stuie’s getting married.

Mitch

P.S. No, this is not a joke.

To: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Mitchell Hertzog

Don’t worry, Amy. It’s all taken care of. I spoke to my brother, and he’s offered us his congratulations. Everything is going to be fine. Mitch just has some issues, because I’m the oldest and—frankly—the best liked by our parents of the four of us kids. That kind of thing can eat away at a person—well, you know that, being in the field you’re in. My sisters—well, my sister Stacy, anyway—have handled it better than Mitch. He has never really lived up to his potential—he has a 165 IQ, but he got lousy grades in school, and didn’t even bother to apply to any good colleges. In fact, he took a year off between high school and college and just roamed aimlessly around the globe, managing to spend his entire two-hundred-thousand-dollar share of the inheritance from our grandfather. I have a feeling he gave most of it away to the Dalai Lama, or some other loser.

He finally ended up at Michigan State and fell in with a bad crowd—you know the sorts I mean: writers . . . artists . . . democrats. He didn’t even join a fraternity. I was as surprised as anybody when he decided to go to law school instead of joining the Peace Corps or becoming a mime or something.

Of course, when he graduated, Dad offered him a job with the firm—familial loyalty, and all of that. But would you believe Mitch had the nerve to turn it down? The guy spent four years working as a public defender (!) before finally agreeing to come work for Dad—but not until the old guy was on his deathbed . . . or thought he was, anyway, since he’s apparently doing fine now, given that he never seems to come in off the links.

Anyway, I can’t say spending all that time with murderers and drug addicts did Mitch’s disposition any good.

But he’s a damned good lawyer. So you can quit worrying and meet me for lunch at Lespinasse, as we planned. I can’t wait to gaze into those sparkling eyes of yours over a glass of Cristal . . . I hope they’re still shining as brightly as that diamond on your finger. . . .

Yours, as ever,

Stuart

Stuart Hertzog, Senior Partner

Hertzog Webber and Doyle, Attorneys at Law

444 Madison Avenue, Suite 1505

New York, NY 10022

212-555-7900

To: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Mitchell Hertzog

Oh, Stuart, that’s so sweet! I knew you’d take care of it. Thank you so much!

And don’t worry about that stuff with your brother. We all have family members we’d prefer to have little to do with. I myself have both a sister and a brother I’m not exactly looking forward to introducing to you. And my parents—well, I won’t get into that.

But there are some family members of mine I’m dying for you to get to know—my Pi Delt sisters! I just know you’re going to love them—they’re really a swell group of gals. A bunch of us are meeting at the Monkey Bar after work . . . PLEASE say you’ll stop by so I can show you off to them. I can’t wait for you to meet them!

Looking forward to our lunch . . . and to proving to you that my eyes are still shining just as brightly as they were last night. . . .

Amy

Amy Denise Jenkins

Director

Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6890

amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com

This e-mail is intended only for the use of the individual to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged and confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you have received this transmission in error; any review, dissemination, distribution, or copying of this transmission is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by reply e-mail and delete this message and all of its attachments.

From the Desk of

Amy D. Jenkins

Mrs. Stuart Hertzog

Mrs. S. A. Hertzog

Mrs. Amy Denise Hertzog

Jenkins-Hertzog

Mrs. Jenkins-Hertzog

Mrs. Amy Jenkins-Hertzog

Mrs. A. D. Jenkins-Hertzog

Stuart, Amy, Heath, and Annabelle Hertzog

 

Heath Hertzog

no

Connor Hertzog

Annabelle Hertzog

Connor Jenkins-Hertzog

Annabelle Jenkins-Hertzog

Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Jenkins-Hertzog

Amy Denise Jenkins

Director

Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6890

amy.jenkins@nyjournal.com

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: OH MY GOD

SO????????? WHAT HAPPENED??????

J

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: OH MY GOD

I don’t know. It’s the weirdest thing. I went into the T.O.D.’s office, and she was . . . doodling. And humming. Doodling and humming, almost like . . .

Like a human being!

She seemed surprised to see me—like she’d forgotten about the whole thing. I asked her about the letter, and she just went, “Oh, that’s Stuart’s brother. He’ll be representing the paper in the arbitration.” Then she SHOWED ME HER RING!

I’m not kidding. She went, “I thought I should tell you before you heard it through the departmental grapevine . . . Stuart Hertzog and I are engaged.”

Then she waved that massive rock—you were right, it IS three carats, she told me—under my nose and went, “Oh, Kate! I’m so happy!” in this very weird voice. Almost like she knows she SHOULD be happy, so she’s determined to ACT happy. You know what I mean?

I didn’t know what to do—genuflect and kiss the stupid thing, or just say congratulations—so I just said congratulations and got the hell out of there.

Oh my God, I still feel unclean. I think I’ll need a bacon cheeseburger for lunch before I feel like myself again.

Kate

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Okay, now THAT is weird.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Are you crazy? Quit I.M.-ing me, she’s gonna catch us.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Hello, you said she was doodling. And HUMMING. Doodling, humming, newly engaged bosses do not pay attention when their employees are I.M.-ing. So did you ask if she’s taking his name?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

No, of course not.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

She will. I can’t WAIT to address my first employee action form to Amy Hertzog. Oh my God, it is going to be great. OH MY GOD, IF THEY HAVE KIDS, THEY’LL BE HERTZOGS TOO!!!!!!!!!

Sleaterkinneyfan:

You so know if she has a boy she’ll name it Connor. It’s like the number-one most popular name for boys right now, and God knows, Amy has to do whatever’s popular.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Totally. And if it’s a girl, it will be Annabelle. ANNABELLE HERTZOG!!!

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Stop it. The guy can’t help what his last name is.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Um, hello, he so can. You think my last name is really Sadler? No, it was Sadlinsokov, until my ancestors got to Ellis Island and wisely shortened it.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

I think Sadlinsokov sounds nice. It has character.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

So . . . admit it. Things are getting good around here. You don’t want to quit anymore, do you?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

For what they made me do to Mrs. Lopez? Yes, I do.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Oh, right. And miss out on all this fun? I know—after lunch, let’s ask the T.O.D. if that’s a hickey on her neck. 10 to 1 she’ll say it’s a bruise from the gym.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

You’re on. But YOU ask. I did it last time.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Deal. Winner buys the bacon cheeseburgers.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Oh, all right.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

logged off

Sleaterkinneyfan:

logged off

Hi, you’ve reached the desk of Kathleen Mackenzie. I’m sorry I’m not able to take your call. I’m either on the other line, or away from my desk at the moment. At the tone, please leave a message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thank you!

(Tone)

Katie, it’s me. Dale. Listen. I got your message. Katie, I know we can work things out, if you’ll just give me another chance. I mean, I’m not saying I can change or anything, but I promise—I mean, it isn’t like there’s another girl, or anything. I mean, well, you know, there’s lots of girls, we’re a pretty popular band. There are girls around all the time. But there’s no special girl. I mean, more special than you. Aw, come on, Katie. You know I’m doing the best I can. But I’m just not the standing-up-in-church-in-a-tux-in-front-of-everyone-and-declaring-my-eternal-love-for-a-woman kind of guy. And you know it! I mean, is that the kind of guy you fell in love with back in Kentucky? Was it? No, it wasn’t. So cut me a little slack, will ya? And come home. I really miss you. Also, I can’t find my Clash T-shirt. Did you take it to the laundry-by-the-pound place? Because it’s like—

(Click)

Hi, you’ve reached the desk of Kathleen Mackenzie. I’m sorry I’m not able to take your call. I’m either on the other line, or away from my desk at the moment. At the tone, please leave a message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thank you!

(Tone)

Kate, hi, it’s Dolly. Listen, sweetie, there’s been some sort of misunderstanding. Well, not a misunderstanding, exactly. It’s just that the new fax boy . . . Well, he and I ended up in what I believe is called a

contretemps

. . . at least in

Bazaar

it is . . . and I’m afraid he might have gotten the wrong idea. And the truth is, darling, I honestly thought he was interested, but apparently, he plays for the other team—I can’t imagine what happened, I used to be so good at telling them apart. Anyway, I think he’s going to file some sort of a . . . What’s it called again, Nadine? Oh, yes, sexual harassment suit against me. But honestly, darling, my hand just slipped. . . . Oh well, anyway. Call me. Maybe we can do lunch tomorrow, and talk. Ciao!

(Click)

Hi, you’ve reached the desk of Kathleen Mackenzie. I’m sorry I’m not able to take your call. I’m either on the other line, or away from my desk at the moment. At the tone, please leave a message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thank you!

(Tone)

Okay, I found the shirt. It turns out Scroggs was using it to keep his cymbals from getting scratched. Anyway. The thing is, Kate . . . Okay. Here’s the thing. I really do love you. You know? And this is a really bad time for you to have, you know, moved out. Because like, we’ve got to make all these decisions . . . me and the band . . . and like, I’m not used to making decisions without you around to like, talk them through. Like I told you, they want to change our name to Sandwich? Well, also, they want Scroggs to shave his head. But I’m like—you know, a bald drummer, that is just derivative. But then these suits, you know, they were all, derivative of what, but like, I didn’t know. I could’ve really used your help there, you know? Yeah, whatever, I KNOW, I HEAR YOU GUYS, I’LL BE THERE IN A SECOND. . . . So. Whatever, Kate. If you could just, you know, call me. But not tonight, because we’ve got a gig. But like tomorrow. No, tomorrow’s no good either. Well, I’ll call you. I’ll—I SAID IN A MINUTE! I really love you, Kate. Stop being such a—

(Click)

Hi, you’ve reached the desk of Kathleen Mackenzie. I’m sorry I’m not able to take your call. I’m either on the other line, or away from my desk at the moment. At the tone, please leave a message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thank you!

(Tone)

Katie, honey? Hi, it’s Mom. Charlie and I have been trying to reach you, but it seems like you and Dale are never home anymore—everything is all right between you two, isn’t it?—Well, of course it is, I’m just being silly, I suppose. Anyway, I just thought I’d try you at work. I wanted to let you know we’re in Taos. That’s right, New Mexico! Oh, it’s just stunning here, sweetie. The view from the lot they assigned us is spectacular—this really

is

the way to see our country, just like the dealer said. Well, love you, and you have my cell phone number if you need to reach me. Love you!

(Click)

Hi, you’ve reached the desk of Kathleen Mackenzie. I’m sorry I’m not able to take your call. I’m either on the other line, or away from my desk at the moment. At the tone, please leave a message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thank you!

(Tone)

Hello, Ms. Mackenzie? This is Anne Kelly, Mitchell Hertzog’s assistant. Mr. Hertzog asked me to call you to try to set up a conference for pretrial discovery concerning you and an employee I believe your company terminated yesterday—Ida Lopez? Anyway, if you could call me back at your convenience so we could set up that appointment, I’d appreciate it. The number is 212-555-7900. Thank you so much.

(Click)

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@Freemail.com>

Re: You’ll never believe this one:

> Stuie’s getting married.

You lie.

What even makes you think I’m going to fall for this? I’m no naive housewife, you know. I mean, I am a housewife, but I’m not naive. I happen to be a good five years your senior, on top of which, we actually do get sarcasm out here now in Greenwich. I know it’s hard to believe, but it turns out sarcasm—and irony, even—have been imported to Connecticut from the city for years.

So quit lying like a rug and tell me why you didn’t call Mom for her birthday. Is it still the Janice thing? Mitch, you have got to let Janice fight her own battles. She’s not just our kid sister anymore, she’s over eighteen, and legally an adult.

Which, if you think about it, is something I should be telling Mom and not you, but whatever, I already told Mom, to no perceptible effect.

Oh, God, I’m as bad as you.

But at least I’m not spreading unfounded rumors about our esteemed eldest sibling. Haven’t I warned you about this before, Mitch? Use your impressive cerebral powers for good and not evil. Stuart is so beneath your intellectual capabilities. Making fun of him is like shooting fish in a barrel, it just isn’t worthy of your prodigious talents.

Now Mom, on the other hand . . .

Just kidding.

Hey, are you coming out this weekend, or what? The kids were asking. And Jason’s been dying to show you this new putter he got. Or something golf related, anyway.

Stacy

To: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@Freemail.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: You hurt me

Attachment: l Ida Lopez

Seriously, how can you imagine, even for a minute, that I would joke about something as deadly serious as the impending nuptials of our esteemed elder brother? I have it in writing from the Stu Meister himself (see attached e-mail, plus quote from it below):

> Amy Jenkins happens to be my fiancée—a word I’m aware you

> wouldn’t understand, because you’ve never gone out with a woman

> longer than a single basketball season.

See. I told you so. You know I could never make up anything that sounded half that smug.He’s getting married . To that harpy from the personnel office at theJournal. Remember, the one he brought to your place for Thanksgiving dinner last year? Who went jogging after we finished, while the rest of us sat in catatonic stupors?

Yeah.That one. He’s marryingher.

Personally, I think there should be a law against strenuous exercise after a large holiday meal. But then, I would never agree to marry a blowhard like Stuie, so maybe it’s just me.

And you don’t need me coming out there to visit all the time. You have your ever-escalating horde of in-laws to keep my nieces and nephew entertained.

Much love,

Mitch

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@Freemail.com>

Re: I am in shock

I can’t believe it. Stuart’s getting married. He’s actually going to share his much-vaulted millions with someone other than his dry cleaner and doorman. How can this be? Has there been a rift in the space-time continuum?

Of course, the fact that he’s marrying someone so heinous explains a lot. Did you know I actually overheard Amy Jenkins telling Mom that she thinks it’s a travesty that Martin Luther King’s birthday was made into a national holiday?

Mom, of course, agreed with her.

Have I mentioned that Jason asked me not to invite Stuart back for Thanksgiving next year? This is apparently on account of the half-hour lecture Stu gave him on the difference between a multepuciano and lungarotti. Jason’s actual words were that if he’d had to hear a second more about it, he’d have lunged at Stu’s rotti.

Which I thought rather witty myself. You know, for Jason.

Speaking of Jason, you’re right: I do love my in-laws dearly. The Trents cannot be rivaled for pure Kennedy-esque familial catfights.

But for self-delusional psychodrama, no one can hold a candle to the Hertzogs. And that’s why it bothers me when you don’t come around more. It’s no fun laughing at Mom, Dad, and Stuart all by myself.

Oh, wait, I have an idea. Why don’t YOU get married? To someone fun. Then she and I can dish the dirt on Mom and Dad when you’re too busy to join me.

Just a suggestion.

Stace

To: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@Freemail.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Nice try . . .

. . . but law is definitely not the field to go into if you’re looking to meet a nice girl. So far the only women I’ve met since graduation are other lawyers . . . and of course the hookers I was defending.

No offense to any female lawyers you might have in your acquaintance, but I kind of preferred the hookers. I mean, at least they didn’t care what kind of shoes I had on.

Mitch

Sleaterkinneyfan:

What do I do???? There’s a message on my phone from Mitchell Hertzog’s assistant! She wants me to call to schedule an appointment for pretrial discovery! About Mrs. Lopez!!!!!!

Sleaterkinneyfan:

So? Schedule an appointment.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

But . . . I’m on Mrs. Lopez’s side.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Better not let the T.O.D. catch you saying that.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

No worries. She’s not even here. She went to go meet the Stepford Wives at the Monkey Bar. I overheard her on the phone with one of them.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Oh, you mean her sorority sisters. That’s right, they meet the first Thursday of every month. I can’t understand how they can bear to tear themselves away from

Friends

. Isn’t Jennifer Aniston like the sorority girl icon of all time, or something?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Hey. I like Jennifer Aniston.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Whatever. Better make the appointment. And leave the T.O.D. a message to let her know you did it. Then let’s get out of here. There’s a sale at Nine West.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

But isn’t my cooperating with the paper’s soulless corporate lawyers tantamount to supporting the dismissal of Mrs. Lopez, an act which grates against every fiber of my being?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

You already lost your apartment. You want to be out of a job too?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Roger. Over and out.

From the Desk of

Kate Mackenzie

Amy, just to let you know, I got a message from Mitchell Hertzog’s assistant, asking me to call to schedule an appointment to give a deposition concerning Ida Lopez’s grievance suit.

So I went ahead and scheduled an appointment for tomorrow morning at nine . . . which of course means I probably won’t be in to the office until after eleven or so.

I hope this is okay.

Kate

Kathleen A. MacKenzie

Personnel Representative, LZ

Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6891

kathleen.mackenzie@nyjournal.com

To: Paula Reznik

— — — — — — — —

Paula, I waited for you for half

CVS Pharmacy

an hour, then I finally gave up

Thank you for

shopping at CVS

and left. You must have gotten

Imitrex $10.00

held up. I tried your cell and

Levlin-21 $10.00

got no answer. Hope you find

Allegra $10.00

this note. I was really looking

Total: $30.00

forward to seeing this apart-

Paid: $40.00

ment, too. Call me tomorrow

Change: S10.00

so we can reschedule.

Thanks! Kate

P.S. Sorry, this was the only

paper I could find.

The East Village’s Number-1 Destination for Live Music, All the Time

Tonight’s Band:

I’m Not Making Any More Sandwiches

Featuring:

Dale Carter: Guitar, Vocals

Jake Hartnett: Guitar, Vocals

Marty Hicks: Bass

Scroggs: Drums, Vocals

I’m Not Making Any More Sandwiches™ appears courtesy of Liberation Music Records

Playlist:

Kate and Me

Random Acts of Kate

In the Bedroom with Kate

I Love U, Kate, for Now

Kate, Y Did U Leave Me

Chasing Kate

Come Back, Kate

Ice Weasels Gnaw My Brain

All songs, lyrics by Dale Carter &

I’m Not Making Any More Sandwiches™

Y Won’t U B With Me, Kate?

Oh, Kate, Y won’t U B with me?

Kate, Don’t U know what U mean to me?

I look at the dirty dishes piling up in the sink

and all I can think

is Kate

U kept the place so clean

Kate, I treated U like a queen

Oh, Kate, U mean the world to me

Kate, Come home to me

Oh, Kate, Y can’t it B

Like it used to B

Because this world ain’t meant for lovers

No, this world ain’t meant for U and me

Because the bureaucrats in Washington, they’ll set off the bombs, so what’s the point, Kate?

We’re all just going to die, anyway.

So, Kate, Y won’t U B with me?

—Dale Carter, All Rights Reserved

Journal of Kate Mackenzie

Dale shoved another one of his songs about me under the door. This one was written on the back of a playlist. Craig found it when he got home today from the office. Seriously, what am I going to do about him? Dale, not Craig. I think eight songs about me is a little much (could “Ice Weasels Gnaw My Brain” be about me, too? No, surely not. I mean, what do I have to do with ice weasels? What ARE ice weasels? Are they real? Are there really weasels that live on ice? What do they eat?).

Oh God, I have got to get some sleep, I can’t be groggy in the morning, I’ve to go get deposed by Stuart Hertzog’s brother. What am I even going to say to him? What if I accidentally let slip that I don’t think Mrs. Lopez should have been fired in the first place, and he tells the T.O.D. what I said? You so know he will, he’s Stuart Hertzog’s BROTHER. Stuart I’m-engaged-to-the-T.O.D. Hertzog. Plus he’s a lawyer. Lawyer + Stuart Hertzog’s brother = mean, evil person with no conscience or soul. He’ll tell Stuart, and Stuart’ll tell Amy, and then I’ll get fired. I’ll get fired just like Mrs. Lopez got fired. Only I don’t belong to a union, so I won’t even have anyone to defend me. I’ll just become a statistic, another member of Manhattan’s homeless, jobless community.

Oh my God, I hate my life. Something has GOT to give. It’s just GOT to.

Deposition of Kathleen Mackenzie

in case of Ida D. Lopez/United Staff

Association of NYJ. Local 6884

vs.

The New York Journal

held at the offices of

Hertzog Webber and Doyle

444 Madison Avenue, Suite 1505

New York, NY 10022

Appearances:

Kathleen Mackenzie (KM)

Mitchell Hertzog (MH)

Recorded by Anne Kelly (AK) for later comparison with stenographer’s transcript

Miriam Lowe, Shorthand Reporter and Notary Public within and for the State of New York

AK: Good morning, Ms. Mackenzie, thank you so much for coming. Please have a seat. May I get you a cup of coffee, tea, soda—whatever you prefer?

KM: Coffee would be good, thanks.

AK: Fine. Mr. Hertzog should be joining us in a second. I’ll just be a moment while I get your coffee. Do you take cream or sugar?

KM: Yes, both, thank you.

(Sound of door closing)

(Sound of door opening)

MH: Oh, sorry, wrong room.

KM: No problem.

(Sound of door closing)

(Sound of door opening)

MH: Wait a minute. You’re Katherine Mackenzie?

KM: Kathleen. Kate, actually.

MH: Oh, Kathleen. Sorry. I didn’t . . . I expected someone . . .

KM: Yes?

MH: Never mind. Nice to meet you. I’m Mitch Hertzog.

KM:You’re Mitchell Hertzog?

MH: Last time I checked. Why?

KM: I . . . Nothing. I just—you’re not—

MH: I think it’s safe to say neither of us is what the other expected.

KM: It’s just that . . . Well, you don’t look anything like your brother.

MH: Thank God. Sorry. It’s the tie, isn’t it?

KM: I’m sorry? Oh, the tie. Is that . . . Rocky and Bullwinkle?

MH: ‘Fraid so. Gift from my nieces.

KM: It’s . . . colorful.

MH: I know it throws people when we turn out to have a sense of humor.

KM: We?

MH: Lawyers. Oh, I see Anne’s got the recorder going already. Where’d she go?

KM: To get coffee.

MH: Great. And here’s the stenographer. So I guess we can start—

KM: Shouldn’t Mrs. Lopez be here? And her lawyer?

MH: This is just a pretrial conference, not a deposition. I’ve found it’s good to get all the facts straight before moving on to any formal proceedings. Less surprises that way. That okay with you?

KM: Sure. I guess.

MH: Great. Like I said, I’m Mitchell Hertzog, and I’m representing theNew York Journal against Ida Lopez, for whom I understand you were . . .

(Sound of papers shuffling)

MH (con’t) . . . a personnel rep?

KM: That’s right. Not for very long. I mean, I just started working at theJournal.

MH: Is that right? When did you start working there?

KM: Last fall. I was a social worker, with the city, before.

MH: Really? But—excuse me for pointing it out—you obviously aren’t from around here—

KM: Oh, no. My accent, you mean? I’m from Kentucky, actually. I just moved here, you know, after I got my degree. Social work.

MH: I see. And if social work’s your thing, New York City’s the place to be?

KM: Well, yes. That, and my boyfriend—ex-boyfriend—well, he’s a musician—

MH: Say no more. Did it work out better for him than it did for you?

KM: I beg your pardon?

MH: The social work thing. I mean, you’re not doing it anymore.

KM: Oh. No. I took the job with theJournal because, you know, working for the city . . . it was kind of depressing.

MH: Sure.

KM: All these people, they don’t have anything, or any way, really, to make things better. And there were these programs, you know, to help them, but—I don’t know—it didn’t quite work out the way I thought it would. I mean, a lot of the programs got eliminated because the city ran out of money, or sometimes my clients didn’t qualify for them for whatever reason . . . and it just seemed like no matter how hard I tried, you know, things never got better, and there was really nothing I could do about it, and I took the job because I thought I could help make a difference. Only it turned out, I couldn’t. So I was going home every night and crying into my chicken in garlic sauce, and finally, it just seemed healthier to quit.

MH: Chicken. In garlic sauce.

KM: That sounded stupid, didn’t it?

MH: Absolutely not.

KM: No. It did. You’re just being nice.

MH: I’m not. I swear I’m not. I’m not nice.

(Sound of door opening)

Oh, look. Here’s Anne with the coffee.

AK: Here you go.

MH: Cream or sugar, Ms.—

KM: Kate. Both, thanks. I . . . oops.

MH: Sorry about that.

KM: No, it was my fault—

MH: Here you go. Now, uh, where were we? Oh, yes. So you quit social work. . . .

KM: Oh, right. Well, my friend Jen got a job there right out of college, and when a position came up in her department, she recommended me. And I’ve been there ever since. I mean, it isn’t my dream job, or anything. We’re not really helping anybody. Well, maybe occasionally. But at least, you know, I don’t go home anymore and—

MH: Cry into your chicken with garlic sauce.

KM: Exactly.

MH: Right. So I take it you inherited Ida from your predecessor?

KM: Yes, I did. From Amy Jenkins. She’s my supervisor now. Ida’s file is, like, three inches thick.

MH: So it would be safe to say that Ida was considered a troublemaker before you even got there.

KM: Not a troublemaker, no. Not everything in Mrs. Lopez’s file is bad. There are letters in there from administrators saying how much they like her. She’s really—wasreally—very popular—

MH: But not with everyone, clearly.

KM: No. Not with everyone. But the people who didn’t like her were people who, you know, nobody else really liked. Mostly just people like Stuart Hertz—

MH: Go on.

KM: Um. No. Sorry. That’s it. That’s all I had to say.

MH: You were saying something about Stuart Hertzog.

KM: No, I wasn’t.

MH: Yes, you were.

KM: No, I wasn’t. I really wasn’t.

MH: Kate, this is being recorded, remember? I can just play the tape back if you want. Also, Miriam’s taking it down. Miriam, could you read back to me Kate’s last—

KM: Well, I was just saying. You know. How everybody at the paper really, really likes Mr. Hertzog. He’s very, very popular.

MH: Kate. This is Stuart you’re talking about. No one likes Stuart. But what specific problem did Ida have with him?

KM: She won’t tell me. When Mrs. Lopez didn’t consider somebody worthy of her desserts, that was it. They just . . . you know. They were cut off.

MH: And my brother being cut off was what? The last straw?

KM: Well, she’d had a number of verbal warnings, and we’d sent her to, you know, customer service training. Several times. But I guess it never really took. But sometimes it takes more than just a couple of training sessions. Some people just need more time than others. It isn’t right to expect every single employee to be exactly the same. I mean, would you want people to expect you to be exactly the same as every other lawyer in the world, Mr. Hertzog?

MH: Mitch. You can call me Mitch. And, uh, it seems to me like some people already do.

KM: Which is not to say that I don’t completely understand why Mrs. Lopez did what she did, because you know, sometimes you give and you give and you give, and people, they just take, and take, and take, and you start feeling like you’re never going to get anything back, and you wait and wait for something, anything, any kind of acknowledgment, even the tiniest crumb, like, “Yeah, okay, I do want to be with you forever and not just, you know, till someone better comes along, and yeah, I’m an ex-pothead and I can only take it one day at a time, but you, I know I want you in my future.” Only it never comes. And the next thing you know, you’re looking at hellholes in Hoboken for eleven hundred a month and landlords named Ron won’t return your calls . . . er. I mean. What I mean is . . .

MH: I think I get what you mean.

KM: What I meant was, you know. Pie.

MH: Exactly. Pie.

KM: Yes. Mrs. Lopez, she’s human. And you know, clearly, she’d like people to show some appreciation for her hard work. But if people just, you know, take her pie and don’t even say, “Hey, nice pie,” they just scarf it down or whatever—

MH: I could see how that would get to be annoying. I mean, if you’re constantly providing . . . pie. And getting no positive feedback—

KM: Right! And what about your future? I mean, how do you know people are still going to want your pie in the future? Supposing they become a famous rock star or something. People are going to be offering them pie all over the place. If they haven’t promised only to eat your pie, well, where does that leave you?

MH: With perfectly justifiable insecurities over your own self-worth.

KM: Absolutely! See what I mean? I mean, it’s no wonder she cracked. Mrs. Lopez, I mean.

MH: Right. Mrs. Lopez.

KM: So you see what I mean, then? It’s wrong to fire somebody because they had one bad day. And without even any warning. I mean, yes, she was on probation, but I think she still should have gotten a written warning first. Just to let her know. And then if she messed up again, we could have fired her. But to just fire her like that, for not giving someone pie . . .

MH: Oh. Yes. Now I see what you mean. So there was no written warning?

KM: No. Just the verbal. Not that I think theJournal was wrong to fire Mrs. Lopez. I mean, I would never say that. I love working at theJournal . I would never say anything to make theJournal look bad.

MH: Don’t look so panicked, Kate. Nothing you say here is going to get back to your employer.

KM: Yeah, but, I mean, the T.O.D.—I mean, Amy. She’s your brother’s fiancée.

MH: She’s not here.

KM: But . . . Never mind.

MH: What you’re saying is that in your opinion, the firing of Ida Lopez wasn’t justified.

KM: That’s not what I said. That’s not what I said at all. Is that what I said?

MH: You said—excuse me, Miriam—It’s wrong to fire somebody because they had one bad day.

KM: Well, it is. And okay, Mrs. Lopez had a bunch of bad days. But only because bad people—

MH: Like my brother.

KM: Oh my gosh. Is that the time? Really? Because I have to go.

MH: Go?

KM: Yes. I have to meet my broker.

MH: Your broker?

KM: My real-estate broker. See, I’m looking for an apartment, and it’s kind of, you know, urgent that I find a place soon, because right now I’m, like, staying on my friend Jen’s—I told you about Jen—well, I’m staying on her couch, but she and her husband, they’re trying to have a baby, so I need to get out of there, and I was supposed to see this place last night but the broker never showed. But then she called and said if I could meet her at eleven this morning she’d let me in to see the place and so I really have to go, or if I can’t go now I need to call her and see if I can meet her after work.

MH: Uh. Yeah. I guess . . . I guess we’re through here. Maybe you could leave your contact information with Anne, so if I have any follow-up questions—

KM: Oh, sure. Thanks. It was nice to meet you. I hope I didn’t say anything—I mean, I didn’t mean to say anything bad about theJournal . Or your brother. I’m sure he’s, you know. A very nice person.

MH: (Indecipherable) Don’t worry about it. I’ll show you the way out.

Hi, you’ve reached the voice mail of Jen Sadler. At the tone, please leave your name and number, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Bye!

(Tone)

Jen! It’s Kate! Oh my God, you are never going to believe—no, I’m sorry. I don’t have any spare change. Anyway, I went to that meeting this morning, you know, at Hertzog Webber and Doyle, and I—No, I really don’t have any spare change, I’m so sorry. What was I saying? Oh, yeah. I met his brother—you know the T.O.D’s fiancée—his brother—and oh my God, he’s so cute . . . I can’t believe I’m saying something like this about a lawyer . . . let alone a relative of Stuart Hertzog’s—Look, here, this is all I’ve got. Take it. Go ahead. Take it. Oh, my God, I’m not sure this is the best neighborhood, and I don’t know where the realtor is, and—No, I’m sorry, I gave all my money to that guy over there. Sorry. I—Oh, here’s Paula, thank GOD. I’ll call you later. Tell the T.O.D. I’ll be back by noon. If I’m not knifed by a crackhead first.

(Click)

Journal of Kate Mackenzie

Oh my God, that apartment was so hideous, I would rather sleep on Jen’s couch for the rest of my life than set foot in a place like that ever, ever again. What is WRONG with this city? It’s like they penalize you if you’re single and can’t afford to pay two grand a month for decent housing. Like it’s not enough of a stigma, not being in a romantic relationship. No, they have to make it a thousand times worse by making every studio apartment in the city be next door to an OTB and look out over an air shaft.

And oh my God, what did I say to Mitchell Hertzog? It’s like I had diarrhea of the mouth, or something, I just kept talking and talking. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I mean, like I don’t have enough to worry about without jeopardizing my job, going around, saying the paper fires people unfairly.

It’s just that he was so . . . cute! Why did he have to be so cute??? And nice . . . He wears ties his nieces buy for him!

Oh, why couldn’t he have been an ogre, like his brother?

Wait a minute . . . he is. He IS an ogre, like his brother. Because what kind of person works for a place like that, a place that takes the side of corporate giants over poor little pie bakers like Mrs. Lopez? What kind of person would work for a place like that?

I know he’s going to tell the T.O.D. what I said. Okay, well, maybe he won’t—And I don’t remember exactly what I said, anyway. Maybe I didn’t say anything so bad. . . .

But somehow or other she’s going to find out, and I’m going to get fired, and it will be all my own fault, and oh my God, I HATE lawyers, they ruin EVERYTHING for EVERYONE and oh, why did he have to be so cute?

To: Dolly Vargas <dolly.vargas@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Kate Mackenzie

I Googled her, but got nada. What do you know about her? Spill it. You owe me, remember?

Mitch

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Dolly Vargas <dolly.vargas@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Kate Mackenzie

Mitch, darling, what a surprise! How ARE you? It’s been ages! I don’t think I ever did thank you properly for getting Julio out of that little jam with Immigration . . . goodness, it pays to be friends with a lawyer, doesn’t it?

Let me see now, about Kate . . . Isn’t that a coincidence? I happen to be VERY well acquainted with her. She’s my HR rep here at the paper.

Look, why don’t I call you in, say, five? I just got my tips done, and all this typing is not exactly good for them.

Ciao for now. . . .

XXXOOO

Dolly

P.S. She really is a doll, isn’t she?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Thank God you’re back. It seemed like you were gone FOREVER. Now tell me about Stuart’s cute brother. How cute is he? He doesn’t have an abnormally large head, does he? It isn’t a family trait?

Katydid:

Are you CRAZY? Stop I.M.-ing. She’s going to catch us. She’s been all over me ever since I got in.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Whatever. I’ll watch her, and if I see her log on, I’ll signal you. So. His head. Cartoonishly gargantuan, or what? How’s his butt?

Katydid:

Totally normal-size head. I told you, he’s cute. I mean, for a lawyer.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Koala-bear cute? Or tie-him-to-the-bed cute?

Katydid:

You are sick. But I might tie him to the bed. If I had one. A bed, I mean.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Butt, please.

Katydid:

I didn’t look at his butt. Are you crazy? He’s a LAWYER. I mean, what does it matter what kind of butt he has when he has a job taking advantage of the disenfranchised?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Since when is Ida Lopez disenfranchised? She’s in a union, she makes more than I do, probably. Now I would like a description of his ass.

Katydid:

What does it matter? It’s not like he could ever be interested in me. I’m such a spaz. I mean, I started going off during my interview on this tangent about Dale. I didn’t say his name, or anything—Dale’s, I mean—but I don’t know. Giving a deposition is WEIRD. It’s so . . . personal. Everyone is looking at you. I mean, he was sitting right there, right across the table. I could have reached out and touched his hand. We DID touch hands at one point, when I spilled my coffee, and we both reached to wipe it off. He has really nice hands. And no wedding ring, either.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

WHO CARES ABOUT HIS HANDS? WHAT ABOUT HIS BUTT?

Katydid:

Okay, okay. Basic stats: height, about six one. Weight, you know, normal for being six one. He looked kind of . . . built, beneath the suit. It was kind of hard to tell. Plus everyone looks built compared to Dale. Nice suit, conservative, but coupled with a tie that had Rocky and Bullwinkle on it. . . .

Sleaterkinneyfan:

You lie.

Katydid:

I beg your pardon, but I do not. Rocky and Bullwinkle, as sure as I’m sitting here Instant Messaging you instead of working on the sexual harassment suit against Dolly Vargas. He says his nieces gave it to him. He’s also got dark hair, kind of on the long side, you know, compared to Stuart’s. I know because I ran into Stuart on my way out. Mitch is taller than Stuart. Also, his hair isn’t thinning like Stuart’s. Or graying. Also, he has this dimple in the middle of his chin. And green eyes. Really. Or maybe hazel. But they looked green. Did I say he had really nice hands?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Butt, please.

Katydid:

I didn’t look at his butt!!!!!!

Sleaterkinneyfan:

You lie.

Katydid:

Okay. I looked. It was roundly supple.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Mmmmmmmmmm

Katydid:

Hey! You’re married! You can’t be mmmming other guys’ butts!

Sleaterkinneyfan:

That’s what

you

think. So. When are you going to see him again?

Katydid:

I’M NOT! HE’S A MEAN CORPORATE LAWYER. I DON’T DATE MEAN CORPORATE LAWYERS. Or anyone, for that matter. My life is in enough upheaval.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

I thought you said he has nice hands.

Katydid:

He does. But what does it matter? You remember how those guys in law school were back when we were in college. The keggers. The loafers with tassels. Please! And this one’s the enemy, remember? He’s out to get poor Mrs. Lopez! I could never date someone who made a living defending the likes of Peter Hargrave against the working-class slobs who are just trying to be treated fairly. No matter how tie-to-the-bed-able he might be.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Liar.

Katydid:

I’m not lying!

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Ladies’ room. Now.

Katydid:

No!

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Now. Someone’s got to slap some sense into you, and as usual, it looks like that someone’s gonna be me.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

logged off

Katydid:

logged off

To: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Courtney Allington <courtney.allington@allingtoninvestments.com>

Re: Last night

Ames, he’s a dream. You are SO lucky. And that ring . . . it’s gorgeous. We have GOT to get together for brunch and introduce our guys. Brad will just ADORE him. And then maybe you two can come to Aspen with us next December!

Where are you honeymooning? You HAVE to go to St. Bart’s. Brad’s family has a villa out there. They rent it out when they’re not using it—twenty thousand a week—but it comes with a full-time maid, cook, gardener, and chauffeur. It was divine, you simply have to go, it’ll be the perfect place to crack out that Burberry bikini you bought at last week’s BARNEY’s sale. I’ll ask Brad when the place is available.

Oh, your hair looks great. Are you still going to Bumble, or have you switched to Fekkai?

Love,

Courts

To: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Heather van Giles Lester <h.vangileslester@vangilesltd.com>

Re: Mrs. Stuart Hertzog (!!!!)

Oh my God, you and Stuart are SO perfect together. He’s tall and broad, and you’re so petite. All that jogging is REALLY paying off, Ames. I can’t believe you’re the same little Ames who packed on all those pounds our frosh year. Then again, you DO have to watch it, coming from a heavy family. How are they, anyway? I hope they aren’t still upset over that whole not-being-invited to graduation thing, are they? I mean, seriously, Ames, how COULD you have invited them? They wouldn’t have fit at the table.

Anyway, just so you know, I went home and Googled Stuart—I know! I’m so bad!—and found out all about Hertzog Senior, and I’m telling you, you have nothing to worry about, the family’s good for ten million at least, maybe even more, if you count the crazy mom’s doll collection. They’ve got a condo in Scottsdale, and another in Tahoe, and a house in Ojai.

Girlfriend, you SCORED!!!

Let’s do lunch next week. Oh, did you hear? Courts wants to throw an engagement party for you. But I’ve got dibs on the lingerie shower!

Kisses,

Heath

To: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Mary Beth Kellogg Sneed<mbsneed@sneedenterprises.com>

Re: Congratulations

Ames, I’m so happy for you. He’s a real sweetie—I love how he told off that waiter for bringing us the wrong year of that merlot (they really DO think they own the city, don’t they?) And your ring is gorgeous. If you want to get matching diamond studs and a pendant, you HAVE to see John at Harry Winston. He’s the BEST.

A few things you might want to consider, though: genetic testing . . . you know, just to make sure neither of you are carriers of anything nasty . . . although I’m sure you aren’t. But you never know.

And secondly—his name. I mean, HERTZOG? See if he’d be willing to drop the OG. There is nothing wrong with being a Hertz, you know. . . . Look at Hertz rental cars.

Just a couple of things you might not have thought of.

Oh, you’re going to be the most beautiful bride! The Pilates is really giving you definition in your upper arms, just like I said it would. I hope you’ll enjoy this, the most magical time in your life. Every girl should be as pretty a bride as you’re going to be, Ames! Let me know if you want help scheduling an appointment at Vera’s. I know her cousin personally.

Toodles,

MB

THE NEW YORK JOURNAL

New York City’s Leading Photo-Newspaper

Features Division

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

Human Resources Division

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

We, the undersigned, demand the immediate reinstatement of Ida Lopez to her post in Food Craft Services for the senior-staff dining room. We feel that her dismissal is detrimental to the temperament and overall well-being of the paper’s staff. Additionally, this morning there were no muffins or scones to go with our coffee. Some of us were forced to go for Krispy Kreme doughnuts across the street. If pastries continue to be unavailable in the senior-staff dining room, and we are forced to continue to leave the building for Krispy Kremes, HR could find themselves looking at disastrously high insurance rates, due to personnel possibly being struck by buses and/or bicycle messengers while venturing from the building in search of breakfast treats.

Furthermore, the saturated fat content of a single glazed Krispy Kreme is approximately 22 grams, twice that of a whole bag of M&Ms. Continued ingestion of said Krispy Kremes could lead to catastrophic health-care costs asJournal employees are felled by diabetes and/or heart disease.

In conclusion, reinstating Ida Lopez as dessert supplier of the senior staff dining room will save the company millions in health-care and insurance costs, and lower the cholesterol and overall discontent of the paper’s staff. Please do what you can to see that Ida Lopez is returned to her post. Thank you.

Melissa Fuller-Trent

George Sanchez

Dolly Vargas

Tim Grabowksi

James Chu

Nadine Wilcock-Salerno

To: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Penny Croft <penelope.croft@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

Ms. Jenkins:

Mr. Hargrave was somewhat disturbed this morning when he went to the senior-staff dining room and found that Ida Lopez, who normally supplies and runs the dessert cart, was not present. He was even more disturbed when, upon inquiring as to the whereabouts of Mrs. Lopez, he learned she had been let go. Surely this isn’t true? You may not be aware of the fact that Mr. Hargrave has quite a sweet tooth, and has become quite fond of Mrs. Lopez’s cinnamon rolls. I do hope you can get to the truth of this matter, and let me know when we can expect Mrs. Lopez back at her cart.

Sincerely,

Penny Croft

Assistant to Peter Hargrave

Founder and CEO of

The New York Journal

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

I just received a phone call from Amy. She is extremely upset. She said she just discovered that you’d scheduled a pretrial discovery conference with one of her staff members.

You deposed one of Amy’s employees this morning without checking with me first? After I specifically asked you to keep me informed on the status of the case, you went ahead and saw one of Amy’s employees behind my back?

Don’t think this is the last you’re going to hear about this.

Stuart Hertzog, Senior Partner

Hertzog Webber and Doyle, Attorneys at Law

444 Madison Avenue, Suite 1505

New York, NY 10022

212-555-7900

To: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

Stuie, you need to relax. You’re going to have a coronary if you keep carrying on this way over every little thing I do. I can give you some breathing exercises I learned from a yogi when I was in India, if you want.

You asked me to take this case for you, and I did. But if you want me to win it in my usual stellar manner, you’re going to have to let me do things my own way.

What’s the big deal, anyway? So I talked to one of your fiancée’s employees without you—or Amy—being in attendance. What, the world is going to end now?

Oh, and when you speak to Dad about me, be sure to bring up—one more time—the thing about how I totaled your Beamer in the tenth grade. Because I really don’t think you’ve run that one into the ground yet.

Give my love to Mom, too, when you speak to her. Which I assume you’re going to do as soon as Dad doesn’t pick up. You know he never answers his cell when he’s on the green.

Mitch

To: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@Freemail.com>

Fr: Margaret Hertzog <margaret.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Your Brother

Stacy, I received a very disturbing phone call from your eldest brother just now. Apparently, Mitchell is up to his old tricks. He is giving Stuart a very hard time about his fiancée. (You did hear that Stuart is engaged? Janice says you told her. God knows no one in this family ever tells ME anything, but why should they, as I’m only their mother? But anyway, Stuart’s marrying that nice Amy Jenkins he brought to your house for Thanksgiving.)

In any case, Stacy, as the only one in the family who has ever had a modicum of influence over Mitchell, I’m asking you—no, telling you—to please try to do something about Mitchell’s attitude. He has upset his brother very, very much. And after everything we’ve been through this year with Janice—did you know she dyed her hairgreen ? And is insisting we call her Sean? As if there were anything wrong with the name we gave her—I am very much looking forward to planning this wedding between Stuart and Amy. If anything should happen to put it in jeopardy, I’ll probably have to be institutionalized. Please don’t allow Mitchell to rob me of the single joy I have left in life.

With love,

Mom

Dear Katie,

Hello! I wanted to say thank you so much for all you have done for me. I know it is not your fault I was fired. So I baked this bundt cake for you. I hope you like it. I have enclosed the recipe. Since I know girls your age don’t bake anymore, I tried to make it simple for you. I think if you try making this cake for any man, he will marry you in a second flat. But not that ex-boyfriend of yours, he is no good for you.

All my love,

Ida

1 pkge instant chocolate fudge pudding mix

½ cup cooking oil

4 eggs

½ cup sour cream

½ cup warm water

1 12-oz pkge chocolate chips, semisweet

1 pkge dark chocolate fudge or devil’s food cake mix (not with pudding added)

Grease and flour a bundt or angel food cake pan (use cocoa instead of flour to avoid white coating on cake).

Mix everything together except eggs and chips. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well. Fold in chips. Put in greased and floured bundt or angel food cake pan. Bake at 350°F for one hour. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Carefully insert a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen cake. Remove from pan and cool completely. Serve drizzled with melted dark chocolate or covered with powdered sugar.

Serves 12.

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Cake

CAKE! Ida left me cake!

Come have some!

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Cake

Um, I think that is the best thing I’ve ever eaten. Why do you get all the luck?

Oh no, here comes Reception . . . It’s amazing how they can smell cake from seemingly miles away. They’re like cadaver dogs, or something. Only they sniff out dessert.

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Cake

THEY ATE ALL MY CAKE!!!!!!!!!

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

Please forward I. Lopez’s personnel file and all of its contents to me.

Please note that in the future, you are NOT to meet with Mitchell Hertzog, or anyone involved in the Lopez case, without myself present as well.

Please also note that as an employee of this corporation, you are forbidden from accepting gifts and/or food items from current or former clients. It is simply a matter of ethics, Kate. Kindly refuse Mrs. Lopez’s cakes in the future.

Amy Denise Jenkins

Director

Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6890

amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com

This e-mail is intended only for the use of the individual to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged and confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you have received this transmission in error; any review, dissemination, distribution, or copying of this transmission is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by reply e-mail and delete this message and all of its attachments.

Katydid:

Get this! Even if he didn’t think I was a complete spaz and asked me out, I couldn’t go. The T.O.D. says I can’t meet with Mitchell Hertzog again unless she’s present!!!!

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Please. The T.O.D. can’t even find last year’s salary-increase recommendations. You really think she’s going to know if you’re seeing some guy?

Katydid:

Still. Where does she get off? Also, she said I can’t take any more cakes from Ida. If she makes me any more, that is.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

In the ladies’ you said you weren’t interested in Mitch that way anyway, so what do you care? Except about the cake. That I can understand.

Katydid:

I’m not. Interested in him. I mean, why should I be? He clearly thinks I’m this huge Kentuckian loser, the way I was dribbling on about . . . oh my God, chicken in garlic sauce. CHICKEN IN GARLIC SAUCE!!!!!!! I was going on and on about it. What is WRONG with me???

Sleaterkinneyfan:

You know, the really amazing thing isn’t that you dated Dale for ten years: It’s that you two ever got together at all. With your self-esteem issues and his addiction to hallucinogens, you two so should have been voted Least Likely to Hook Up with Anyone, Ever.

Katydid:

Hey! Come on!

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Sorry. It’s the hormones. I swear. But seriously, Kate. This is the first guy whose HANDS you’ve found attractive since you realized Dale wasn’t Mr. Right after all. That has to mean something. I say, go for it.

Katydid:

Go for WHAT? I told you, I am ethically opposed to everything Mitchell Hertzog stands for. And besides which, he thinks I’m a spaz, and Amy says I can’t see him again without her permission!

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Oh my God, haven’t you been listening to a word I’ve said? Amy Jenkins is T.O.D., not G.O.D. She’s not capable of tracking your every movement—

AmyJenkinsDir:

logged on

AmyJenkinsDir:

Ladies. Have I or have I not spoken to you about Instant Messaging during business hours?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

logged off

Katydid:

logged off

AmyJenkinsDir:

logged off

Sleaterkinneyfan:

logged on

Katydid:

logged on

Sleaterkinneyfan:

I hate her.

Katydid:

She’s the one with the self-esteem issues.

THE NEW YORK JOURNAL

New York City’s Leading Photo-Newspaper

Amy Denise Jenkins

Director

Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6890

amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com

 

MEMO

To: All Administrative Staff, All Divisions

Fr: Amy Jenkins, Director, Human Resources

Re: Internet Code of Conduct—Statement of Company Policy

Reminders:

Access to the Internet and the availability of e-mail has been provided for the benefit of employees of theNew York Journal and its clients. It allows employees to connect to information resources and is a communication tool. Its purpose is for employees to conduct official company business, or to receive technical or analytical advice. E-mail may be used for business contacts and for inter-office communications. Every employee of the company has a responsibility to maintain and enhance the company’s public image, and to use the Internet in a productive and professional manner. The following guidelines have been established for using the Internet and inter-office e-mail:

Acceptable Uses of the Internet

Employees accessing the Internet are representing theJournal . All communications should be professional. Reading reality-show recaps onTelevisionwithoutpity.com is not a professional use of the Internet. Ditto rating people onhotornot.com. Use of the Internet must not disrupt the operation of the company network. It must not interfere with productivity. Employees are responsible for seeing that the Internet is used in an effective, ethical, and lawful manner.

Communications

Each employee is responsible for the content of all text, audio or images that they place or send over the Internet. Fraudulent, harassing, or obscene messages are prohibited. All messages communicated on the office network should have your name attached. No messages will be transmitted under an assumed name. No abusive, profane, or offensive language is transmitted through the system. Employees who wish to express personal opinions in e-mail may not do so using the Company system, nor during Company time under their own usernames.

Harassment

Harassment of any kind is prohibited. No messages with derogatory or inflammatory remarks about an individual or group’s race, religion, national origin, political party affiliation, physical attributes, work performance, or sexual preference will be transmitted via the Company’s network.

Violations

Violations of any guidelines herein may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Internet Code of Conduct—Statement of Company Policy

DO YOU THINK SHE’S TALKING ABOUT US?????

I think she’s talking about US.

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Internet Code of Conduct—Statement of Company Policy

Well, I highly doubt this was directed at Peter Hargrave.

Doesn’t she realize she is slowly draining the life from us, until soon we’ll be nothing but dried husks, formerly known as personnel reps?

God, I wish she’d get hit by a bus.

J

P.S. You should go out with him. If he asks. Soulless-lawyer-for-corporate-raider thing aside. He had on a Rocky and Bullwinkle tie. Rocky and Bullwinkle!!!!

To: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@freemail.com>

Fr: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Mitch

Stacy, I know you have some—though not much—influence over Mitch. Still, that’s more than I can say about anybody else in this family. Except for maybe Janice. But the last thing Mom wants is Janice talking to Mitch any more than she does already. Did you know the guy actually told her that a good way to keep her bhang from staining her dorm-room carpet is to Scotchguard the rug before she moves all her stuff in? What kind of person SAYS that to their nineteen-year-old sister?

It’s no wonder she had to move back home.

Anyway, I would appreciate your talking to him about this case with the pie lady at theJournal . I asked him to take it because I’m personally involved. But Mitch seems to be . . . well, taking it far too seriously. To explain: I mean, he’s already dragging Amy’s employees into depos. He had a pretrial discovery conference with one of them this morning, and failed to notify either Amy or me: Amy and I didn’t know anything about it! Worse, I think . . . I’m almost sure . . . he’s interested in her. The employee. Not Amy.

You know that look he had in his eye when he came home from Kuala Lampur? Remember?

Well, I saw that same look in his eye when he was escorting the young lady in question out of Dad’s conference room today.

Stacy, you have to do something. If he starts messing around with this girl . . . Well, let’s just say Amy’s job is already on the line because of this mess. Apparently, Peter Hargrave, the paper’s owner, was a big fan of this pie lady’s muffins, or something. But how was I to know that? The woman was completely incompetent, and rude besides.

But if Mitch starts messing with this woman from Amy’s office . . . it won’t be just Amy who could lose her job. Dad’ll probably have another coronary. I’m not kidding, Stace. The last thing Webber and Doyle are going to stand for is one of Dad’s kids sticking his you-know-what in the company ink. . . .

So talk to him, would you? Tell him you don’t think it’s a good idea for him to start seeing anyone right now, with things so up in the air with Janice, Dad’s heart condition, my wedding, and so forth. Remind him that it isespecially unethical to start seeing someone who happens to be involved in one of the cases he’s trying. Particularly THIS case. Which could get very, very ugly.

Thanks, Stace. I knew I could depend on you.

Love,

Stuart

Stuart Hertzog, Senior Partner

Hertzog Webber and Doyle, Attorneys at Law

444 Madison Avenue, Suite 1505

New York, NY 10022

212-555-7900

To: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@freemail.com>

Re: Mitch

First of all, Janice didn’t “have to” move back home. Mom and Dad made her move back home, okay? They made her leave school, and for a reason that is so ludicrous, I don’t even want to get into it with you.

Second of all, I will not be drawn in to whatever petty fight you and Mitch are having today. I’m sick of it. I have my own problems. Like how my son positively refuses to use his potty. Okay? Finding diapers big enough to fit a thirty-pound kid? THAT is a problem. Mitch making google eyes at your fiancée’s employee? Not my problem.

Besides, what makes you think this is going to be like that time in Kuala Lampur? Mitch was nineteen when he lived in Kuala Lampur. That was ten years ago. I think he’s matured a little since then.

So . . . I guess I should say congratulations on the whole wedding thing. So. Congratulations. Are you two planning on a big ceremony, or what? In the city, or here in Greenwich? Or at her family’s place? Where’s she from, anyway?

Stacy

To: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@freemail.com>

Fr: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Mitch

Stacy, you know how I never told on you that time you locked me in the trunk of Mom’s Mercedes?

If you don’t do something about Mitch, I will be forced to take more drastic measures.

And if you think Mom’s going to leave you her antique Madame Alexander doll collection when she hears about that—especially considering the fact that I had an ear infection at the time—well, you’re delusional.

Stuart

P.S. About the wedding, we’re still working out the details. But definitely not in her hometown (she’s from Texas) as she no longer speaks to her parents, due to a falling out back when she was in college.

Stuart Hertzog, Senior Partner

Hertzog Webber and Doyle, Attorneys at Law

444 Madison Avenue, Suite 1505

New York, NY 10022

212-555-7900

To: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@freemail.com>

Re: Mitch

I never wanted Mom’s stupid Madame Alexander doll collection in the first place. I don’t know where she ever got the idea I did.

P.S. How can someone who works in Human Resources not have spoken to her family since she was in college? I mean, isn’t she supposed to be some kind of expert in human relations? To have gotten her job in the first place? And she can’t even keep the lines of communication to her own family open?

Who is this girl anyway? Dr. Laura?

To: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@freemail.com>

Fr: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Mitch

All right, you might not want the Madame Alexander dolls (a collection appraised at over $50,000, but fine, if you don’t want it, you don’t want it).

But I assume you still want Mom to look after Haley, Brittany, and Little John when your anniversary rolls around next month. Weren’t you two planning a little April-in-Paris getaway? I wonder how willing Mom’s going to be to take in the grandkids when she hears how you wouldn’t help me out with Mitch. . . .

I guess you could leave the kids with Jason’s parents. . . . Oh, but wait. Isn’t his father in jail? And his mother . . . Where is she again? Biarritz? With her third husband? Or is it her fourth? And didn’t he just turn twenty-five?

Stuart

P.S. Amy happens to have numerous very loving and warm relationships. Just not with any of her blood relatives. But she gets along great with the families of many of her sorority sisters. Many of whom I met at the Monkey Bar last night, and who are eagerly looking forward to our wedding. Unlike, I might add, my own relations, whose congratulations have been perfunctory, at best. Janice still hasn’t even called.

Stuart Hertzog, Senior Partner

Hertzog Webber and Doyle, Attorneys at Law

444 Madison Avenue, Suite 1505

New York, NY 10022

212-555-7900

To: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@freemail.com>

Re: Mitch

I hate you.

P.S. So does Janice.

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@Freemail.com>

Re: Stuart = Satan’s Spawn

So. Heard from Mom and Stuart already. Sounds like you’ve had a busy day.

Stacy

To: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@Freemail.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Stuart = Satan’s Spawn

Busy, and profitable. There are times when I really, really love my job. Today would be one of those times.

Mitch

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@Freemail.com>

Re: Stuart = Satan’s Spawn

I heard. Stuart did happen to mention that you deposed one of Amy Jenkins’s oppressed flunkies this morning. I take it it went well. Stuart seems to think you found the flunkie . . . ahem, worth your valuable time. True? False? Or do you plead the Fifth?

Stace

To: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@Freemail.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Uh-oh

Stuart’s making you ask, huh? God, he’s transparent. Well, you can tell him from me that I found his fiancée’s employee most agreeable.

That ought to kill him.

Mitch

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@Freemail.com>

Re: Uh-oh

Oh my God. The last woman I heard you describe as agreeable was that stewardess you met in Kuala Lampur. And remember how THAT turned out?

Stace

P.S. Stuart’s not the one I’m worried about. It’s Dad, actually.

To: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@Freemail.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Uh-oh

Yes, but I am older and wiser now, and no longer prone to be impressed by surgical enhancement.

Mitch

P.S. Since when does Dad care who I find agreeable? Since when does Dad care about anything except making par?

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@freemail.com>

Re: Uh-oh

Oh my God. You HAVE got it bad. What’s her name?

Stace

P.S. Um, does a triple bypass just eight months ago ring a bell?

To: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@freemail.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Uh-oh

Her name is Kate.

Tell Jason I went ahead and reserved an 8 a.m. tee time tomorrow for us at New Canaan. If you’ll deign to let him out of the house. And I don’t care if it’s snowing, we’re still going.

Mitch

P.S. Tell Stuart to mind his own business.

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@freemail.com>

Re: Kate

Screw tee times in New Canaan. Get back to the girl. I’m a housewife with three kids, one of whom still isn’t potty trained. To me, romance is a quickie once a week while the kids are glued to SpongeBob SquarePants. If I’m lucky. Now spill it. What’s she like? I thought you hated MBA types.

Stace

P.S. I did. He threatened to tell on me about the Mercedes thing.

To: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@freemail.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Kate

No, I hate other lawyers. Besides, she isn’t an MBA. She’s a BA. In social work. And thanks for sharing that SpongeBob SquarePants thing. Because I really needed to know that about my big sister.

And in answer to your query, from what I could tell during the incredibly brief interlude we shared this morning in Dad’s conference room, and what I have gathered from a former client of mine who happens to know her, Kate is kind and pure of heart, and recently broke up with her no-good rock-musician boyfriend, and likes chicken with garlic sauce.

Oh, and she’s blonde. And from Kentucky. And probably about as unlikely as any girl I’ve ever met ever to date a lawyer—especially one who works for a client like Peter Hargrave. Hope that helps.

Tell Jason they swear to me that the snow on the seventh green is melting. Also, if you want, I’ll come over afterwards and teach Little John how to pitch. Just so he doesn’t embarrass himself when he starts kindergarten, throwing like his dad. I mean, like a girl.

Mitch

P.S. The Mercedes thing? Again? Oh, what, and Mom threatened not to leave you her dolls?

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@freemail.com>

Re: Kate

Um, Mitch, not to burst your bubble, but Little John is two. Okay? He isn’t going to start kindergarten for at least three more years.

But of course you’re welcome to come by anytime. Fair warning, however: Jason’s brother—Little John’s namesake—and his wife Mel will be over in the afternoon with their new baby. I know how you tend to feel baby-overload if there is more than one set of Pampers in the room at a time, so I wanted to make sure you had time to prepare yourself mentally.

I know—why don’t you ask Kate to come along? She probably doesn’t like lawyers because she’s never really known one. Once she gets to know you, she’ll warm up to you. And what better way to show how sweet and cuddly lawyers can be than to see one in the bosom of his family? She could take the train up, and you can pick her up at the station after your golf game and bring her here. Then we can break out those expensive bottles of wine Stuart had his assistant send us for Christmas, and toast him and his bride-to-be. And it’ll be really fun because Stuart and Amy won’t actually BE here.

Come on, it’ll be great. Say you’ll invite her.

Stace

P.S. I’ll be sure to pass your assessment of my husband’s throwing skills on to him. I’m guessing he’ll be immensely flattered.

P.P.S. Yes about the dolls.

To: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@freemail.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Kate

Nice try, but if you think any guy is going to bring a girl he’s only met once in a professional setting home to meet his family, then can I just say that you have been out of the singles scene for a very, very long time? No offense, Stace, but I think you and Jason need to dump the kids on Mom and grab a weekend in Miami or something. The whole quickie-during-Spongebob thing has warped your idea of what romance actually is.

Allow me to assure you that the chances of my bringing any girl out to meet you and Jason and the kids . . . not to mention some of your many in-laws—even decent ones like John and Mel—before we’ve even—

Well, you can forget about it.

And now I have to go over to the offices of our future sister-in-law to inquire of her, in person, why she hasn’t returned any of my assistant’s calls asking her to schedule an appointment for her pretrial discovery conference.

And if I should happen, upon my way there, to run into Kate, you’ll undoubtedly hear all about it from Stuart, who’ll get it from Amy, so why should I trouble myself?

See you tomorrow.

Mitch

P.S. Really, Stace. You’ve got to stop letting them push you around. I’ll take care of the freaking kids while the two of you are in Paris next month. Okay?

P.P.S. Yeah, I knew. Mom’s been talking about it nonstop. You think I am not aware that she’s holding canceling on you like an anvil over your head? Relax. The kids love me. We’ll have a blast. And that whole thing with Little John’s first word—look, I told you, it just slipped out. The guy came at us from out of nowhere. It’s a wonder we weren’t killed. And wouldn’t you rather your son’s first word be of the four-letter variety than some boring Mamma or Dadda thing? Wouldn’t you?

New York Journal Employee Incident Report

Name/Title of Reporter:

Carl Hopkins, Security Officer

Date/Time of Incident:

Friday, 3:30 p.m.

Place of Incident:

NY JournalLobby

Persons Involved in Incident:

Dale Carter, no affiliation with the paper, 26

Mitchell Hertzog, outside legal counsel, 29

Kathleen Mackenzie, Human Resources, 25

Nature of Incident:

D. Carter attempted to enter building to give large bouquet of roses to K. Mackenzie. C. Hopkins stopped D. Carter at security desk and told him to wait for K. Mackenzie to come down to sign him in.

K. Mackenzie, when contacted, said would not come down.

C. Hopkins told D. Carter to leave.

D. Carter would not leave.

D. Carter said would wait until K. Mackenzie exited building for the day.

C. Hopkins informed D. Carter that no loitering in lobby allowed.

D. Carter again said would not leave.

D. Carter sat down in middle of lobby.

C. Hopkins contacted K. Mackenzie. Told K. Mackenzie that D. Carter would not leave.

K. Mackenzie came downstairs.

K. Mackenzie asked D. Carter to leave.

D. Carter said would not leave until K. Mackenzie listened to his new song.

D. Carter began to sing song (Why Won’t You Be With Me, Kate).

M. Hertzog entered building.

M. Hertzog approached K. Mackenzie.

M. Hertzog asked K. Mackenzie if there was a problem.

D. Carter finished song.

K. Mackenzie said Nice song now please leave.

D. Carter said would not leave until K. Mackenzie agreed to move back in with him.

M. Hertzog said I think the lady asked you to leave, now go.

D. Carter said Mind your own business.

M. Hertzog said Are you for real?

D. Carter said Try me and find out, Suit Boy.

K. Mackenzie told D. Carter if he did not leave she would notify local precinct and have D. Carter arrested for trespass.

D. Carter said did not care and would not leave until K. Mackenzie agreed to move back in with him. Also said would hit Suit Boy (M. Hertzog).

K. Mackenzie directed Security to notify local precinct.

Local precinct notified by C. Hopkins.

D. Carter began new song (Kate, Why Did You Leave Me)

Officers from local precinct arrived.

D. Carter finished song.

Crowd in lobby applauded.

D. Carter put under arrest by officers from local precinct.

D. Carter removed from premises by officers from local precinct.

Crowd in lobby booed.

K. Mackenzie requested D. Carter be listed as Persona Non Grata at 216 W. 57th Street.

PNG form filled out by C. Hopkins (see attached).

Follow-up:

Incident recorded, sent to A. Jenkins in Human Resources.

THE NEW YORK JOURNAL

New York City’s Leading Photo-Newspaper

Security Division

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6890

MEMO

To: All Personnel

Fr: Security Administration

Re: Persona Non Grata TheNew York Journal

Persona Non Grata Notification

Please note that the below-named individual has been classified as Persona Non Grata in 216 W. 57th Street as of the date of this notification, and will continue to remain so indefinitely. This individual is not to be allowed on or near the premises of 216 W. 57th Street at any time during the term of above sanction.

Name: Dale C. Carter

SS#: Unknown

Description: (place copy of ID picture if possible)

White male, 26 years of age

6 feet, 175 lbs

Blond hair, blue eyes

Seeks contact with Kathleen Mackenzie,

Personnel Rep, Human Resources, 3rd floor

This individual is not deemed dangerous, however, is prone to cause disturbances by singing and refusing to vacate premises when asked. Contact Security immediately upon sighting of above individual.

Journal of Kate Mackenzie

Oh my God, I can’t believe it, I am totally MORTIFIED. I can’t believe Dale did that. That seriously has to be the most humiliating thing that has ever happened to me in my life . . . except for maybe when I accidentally walked in on Jen and Craig going at it in the kitchen the other day. . . .I seriously need to find another place to live.

But anyway. About today. And in front of Stuart Hertzog’s brother, too! I mean, he saw—and heard—the whole thing! Suit Boy! Dale actually called him that! He was just trying to help, and Dale called him Suit Boy!

He must think I’m a complete whack job now.

Or worse, he’s probably feeling sorry for Dale. He’s probably thinking I’m this cold-hearted bitch. “The guy wrote this great song about her and she won’t even give him a second chance. Well, I certainly won’t make the mistake of asking out someone as mean as she is.”

God! Like I ever even had a hope that he might. Ask me out, I mean. I mean, look at me! I’m sitting in a phone booth—A PHONE BOOTH—in the lobby, hiding from my coworkers . . . and from him. What kind of freak does that? Hides in phone booths? I mean, besides Superman?And he doesn’t hide in phone booths. He changes clothes in them. Only don’t ask me how, there’s barely enough room in here for me to move my pen, let alone put on a leotard.

Oh God, WHY can’t I ever just behave like a normal person in front of cute guys? Why? Now any hope I might have had of passing myself off as a savvy career woman—not that I probably lost all chance at that during that depo I gave him (chicken in garlic sauce? What was I thinking???)—in front of him is totally gone. Not that I ever thought the two of us—I mean, Mitchell and I—God, it’s so weird to think that he’s Stuart Hertzog’s brother.

Still, I mean, there’s no denying the guy is cute, and I thought, well, I just thought, you know, if I saw him again, maybe . . .

Oh God, I don’t know what I thought.

But I certainly never thought I’d be standing next to him in the lobby of my place of employment while I was listening to my ex-boyfriend singing about his heartache over my leaving him.

And now, frankly, whatever I thought is completely moot. I mean, cute, high-powered lawyers—even ones with Rocky and Bullwinkle ties given to them by their nieces—don’t ask out girls whose lives are in COMPLETE AND UTTER DISARRAY, like mine.

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: What just happened downstairs

Please shoot me.

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: What just happened downstairs

Okay, normally I would be saying you are making a mountain out of a molehill, but this time, I think you really do have something to worry about. Is it true he really SANG?

J

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: What just happened downstairs

Oh yes, he sang. Jen, what am I going to do?

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: What just happened downstairs

It IS kind of funny. I mean, if you look at it in a certain way. That Mitchell Hertzog should happened to have walked in at that very moment . . .

It’s just so . . . you.

J

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: What just happened downstairs

Oh, ha, ha, I’m laughing. WHY is it that I can never seem to project a cool and put-together demeanor, like Amy, in front of the people I most want to impress? I mean, do you have to have been born without a soul like the T.O.D. in order to achieve some semblance of professionalism in the workplace? Is that it?

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Why it is that you can never seem to project a cool and put-together demeanor

I don’t know, but here’s your big chance. HE just walked in. And may I just say, your description does not do him the slightest justice. I wouldn’t have known him, if it hadn’t been for the tie. The guy is HANDCUFF-to-the-bed hot!

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: He who?

What are you talking—OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!

What is he DOING here?????????? Why is he going into AMY’s office?????????

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Mitchell Hertzog

I don’t know what he’s doing here—talking to the T.O.D. about the case, probably. But this is your big chance to show him you aren’t the world’s greatest spaz. Get up and go make some copies, or something. Shake that booty you’ve worked into such perfect shape running up and down the stairs to my apartment. Thank GOD you wore a skirt today. . . .

GO FILE SOMETHING!!!!!!!!! He’s coming out of her office . . .

Go!!!!!!!!!!! NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Mitchell Hertzog

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Tim Grabowksi <timothy.grabowski@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Mitchell Hertzog

Jen, my spies tell me that Stuart Hertzog’s brother is in the Human Resources offices at THIS VERY MOMENT. Also, that he was somehow involved in the incident in the lobby not too long ago, involving Kate Mackenzie and her ex. We have a bet going here in Computers that he’s going to ask Kate out, because there is nothing more appealing to a heterosexual male (or so I’m told) than a woman who needs rescuing. And if there was ever a woman who needs rescuing, it’s Kate.

So. Dish. What’s the verdict? Don’t let me down, darlin’, I got a fifty riding on this. . . .

Tim

To: Tim Grabowksi <timothy.grabowski@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Mitchell Hertzog

Could you be more gay? Actually, he apparently came in to have a little powwow with the T.O.D. She looks pretty upset about it, so it must have been about Ida Lopez. You know she’s been getting grief about that from the 25th floor. In fact, she’s on the phone right now, probably to her fiancé, complaining about his brother’s cavalier attitude.

Mitchell just came out of her office and bumped into Kate, who was on her way to the copier. They are exchanging pleasantries.

Will that win you your fifty? Wait, were you for or against?

ComputerGuy:

SPILL! What’re they saying now?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Tim! Is that you?

ComputerGuy:

Who else would it be? No time for pleasantries. Of course I couldn’t be more gay. I AM gay. Now what are they talking about? Has he asked her out yet?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Oh my God. You computer people have no life. Okay, wait, let me just lean over here a little. . . .

She’s apologizing for the lobby scene. He’s saying, “You mean guys don’t show up in your lobby bearing roses and singing love ballads to you every day?”

ComputerGuy:

Ooooooooooooo. Is it true he’s over six feet tall and has a full head of hair?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Yes. And I should add, he’s quite buff. For a lawyer.

ComputerGuy:

WHY ARE ALL THE GOOD ONES STRAIGHT?????????

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Now Kate’s laughing. Oh, God, she’s nervous as hell. She keeps tossing her hair.

ComputerGuy:

Hair tossing is good. What now?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Shit! Kate’s 4:30 appointment just walked in. Dolly Vargas.

ComputerGuy:

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Oh, yes. Like a heat-seeking missile, Dolly’s already got Mitchell in her sights . . . she’s centering on him . . . oh yes, and going in for the kill.

ComputerGuy:

Abort! Abort! Don’t just sit on your ass, Sadler! DO something!

Sleaterkinneyfan:

What am I supposed to do, Tim? Dolly’s the Style Editor. She’s wearing stiletto boots with a freaking Prada leather trenchcoat, and knowing Dolly, I can’t promise you she has anything on underneath it.

The guy is going down. . . .

ComputerGuy:

Our fair Kate will prevail! Because she is modest and cares about others. . . . Aw, hell, because Dolly’s pushing 40 and starting to look it.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Wrong! He’s leaving. With Dolly.

ComputerGuy:

No!!!!!!!! Has a date with our fair Kate been secured?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Ew, Dolly’s taking his arm. She is escorting him to elevators!

ComputerGuy:

HAS DATE BEEN SECURED?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Can’t let you know till after Kate’s meeting with Dolly. . . . No . . . wait . . . Kate’s looking this way. She’s signaling. . . .

ComputerGuy:

WHAT?????? DON’T LEAVE US HANGING HERE.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Negative. That’s a negative. He did not ask her out. Repeat. He did not ask her out.

ComputerGuy:

The horror. Oh, the horror.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Hey, we tried, okay? We’ll get him next time, champ.

ComputerGuy:

Next time? I can’t go through this again. Oh, God, I need a Campari.

I am actually moist beneath the pits.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Dolly is returning from elevators. She has a sly, cat-who-swallowed-canary look on her face. . . .

ComputerGuy:

Are you surprised? We all know she swallows.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Ew! This conversation is over.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

logged off

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Dolly Vargas <dolly.vargas@thenyjournal.com>

Re: You

Katie, sweetie, it was LOVELY seeing you this afternoon. I didn’t know you were friends with Mitch Hertzog. Isn’t he a lamb? He helped me out of the most horrendous jam with one of my exes. . . . I met him at a benefit for heart disease. Mitch, not the ex. Hertzog Senior’s a longtime Heart Association benefactor . . . although more, I think, because he’s hoping to benefit from the research himself more than because he actually wants to help others. Mitch is the black sheep of the family—amajor disappointment to his parents, from what I understand. You know, he worked for a few years as a public defender. He tried very hard to give all manner of horrible people the vigorous defense they so badly needed but could not afford. Something about giving back to the community.

Still, in spite of that little lapse in judgment, he’s yummy. SO unlike his loathsome older brother. Did I tell you Stuart Hertzog once nearly got into a fistfight with a city councilwoman at a Trent (of the Park Avenue Trents, darling—Stuart and Mitchell’s sister is married to one) fundraiser? A FISTFIGHT, darling . . . something about the New York City school system, I can’t remember what. I think Stuart felt like, since he didn’t have kids, why should he pay so much in taxes for upkeep of the public school system? So the councilwoman told him because the schools were educating today’s children to be tomorrow’s doctors, and didn’t he think he’d need healthcare in his old age, and Stuart said over his dead body would he ever go to a doctor who’d received a public-school education. Well, you can see why she wanted to hit him).

Anyway, darling, why didn’t you TELL me that you and your scruffy little musician had broken up? I feel just awful, regaling you daily with stories of my own romantic conquests, never knowing that you were sitting there the whole time with your poor little heart all broken to bits. Is it true he caused that ruckus in the lobby today? I thought at the very least we’d had a bomb threat. But how perfectly ROMANTIC (if what I hear is true) that yummy Mitchell came to your rescue! Well, Mitch and the paper’s crack security staff, anyway.

And what is this I hear about you sleeping on various people’s couches since you left the little parasite—I mean, Dale? Sweetie, you’re insane. Come stay with me and Peter! We have plenty of space—there’s a guest room and everything. And you needn’t worry . . . Peter’s hardly ever there. He’s got shared custody with the kiddies from the first wife . . . or maybe his second . . . well, anyway, he’s only in our little pied-a-terre a few days a week. The rest of the time, he’s in Scarsdale with the junior Hargraves. It’d be a THRILL to have a roomie. We can have oodles of girl talk, order in horrible fattening foods, and watch Candida Royale videos all night long. . . . Oh, say YES!

You can move in tonight. Peter’s got some school function to attend with one of the kiddies. Let me know when you’ll be coming by, so I can tell Xavier (the doorman, sweetie).

XXXOOO

Dolly

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Tonight

Listen, DON’T GET UPSET, but Dolly Vargas has invited me to stay at her place for a few days, and I think I’m going to take her up on it. You and Craig deserve a break from houseguests. I mean, from what I saw in the kitchen the other day, you guys really need some privacy. . . .

I’ll come home with you to pick up my stuff, then be out of your hair by 9, I SWEAR.

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Tonight

Are you INSANE? You’re moving in with DOLLY VARGAS???? Jesus, Kate, I know our couch isn’t all that comfortable, but aren’t you going a bit overboard? I mean, the woman was wearing a MINK VEST the other day. INDOORS.

I can understand your being tired of all the Ramen and wanting some lobster bisque, but really, Kate. Do you honestly think she’s going to let you sit through an entire episode ofCharmed without asking you a half million times if she looks fat in whatever new outfit she’s planning on wearing to whatever fabulous party she’s attending that night?

At leastI let you get your daily dose of Alyssa Milano without interruption.

Come on. Stay. I know East End is tempting, but really, everybody here on West 83rd loves you, too.

J

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Nice Try

Come on. You know having me constantly underfoot is putting this total crimp in your baby-making. And I am perfectly aware of the fact that it’s NCAA championship time, and that all Craig wants is his couch back.

Besides, maybe if I’m not there, Dale will stop, you know, terrorizing every delivery man who walks into your vestibule. And Dolly’s got a doorman, so even if Dale finds out where I’m staying, it’s not like he’s going to be able to get into the building.

Really, Jen, it’s just better for everybody, all around.

Well, except maybe for Dolly.

Is the T.O.D. still crying? Has anybody figured out what Mitch said to her?

Kate

To: Craig Sadler <csadler@terminator.com

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Tonight

Oh my God, you have got to do something!!!! Kate is threatening to move out! She’s throwing herself on the mercy of the paper’s Style Editor, Dolly Vargas. Dolly Vargas, who is sleeping with the founder and CEO of the paper I work for. While I’d like to think she’s moving in with Dolly in order to subtly hint to Hargrave that he should hire back Ida Lopez and can the T.O.D., I can’t help feeling she’s doing it because our couch sucks so much.

E-mail her and tell her she’s NOT getting in the way and that you want her to stay.

PLEASE?

J

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Craig Sadler <csadler@terminator.com>

Re: Kate

Um, why would I want to do that? Convince Kate to stay, I mean? Don’t get me wrong, I like Kate—of all your freaky friends, she is the ONLY one I could stand sleeping on my couch for the past four weeks.

But, Jen. It’s been a month. I know Kate doesn’t have much money and the NYC real estate scene is crazy. I am not blaming Kate AT ALL for not having been able to find a decent place to live. But I would really, really, really, really like to have my couch back.

And our privacy.

Come on, Jen. We’re trying to make a baby here.

And frankly, this stuff with Dale? Getting REAL old, Jen. I mean, I had limited patience with him back in school, when he was always leaving those pizza boxes lying around and scratching his balls in front of everyone—like because the guy’s a musician, he has some right not to act like a civilized human being.

The constant phone calls, notes slid under our door, harassment of our neighbors until they buzz him in, and, though you and Kate were at the movies at the time, his singing “Ice Weasels Gnaw My Brain” from the street at the top of his lungs? Not cute, gifted musician or no.

Let her go. Maybe she’ll be able to convince this Hargrave guy to give YOU the T.O.D.’s job. Kate can be very persuasive, when she pulls that corn-fed Kentucky farmgirl thing.

Kate moving out is a GOOD thing, Jenny. Remember that. It’s a GOOD thing.

Craig

From the Desk of

Kate Mackenzie

Hi, Amy. Your phone seems to be on send all calls. Tried knocking, but you didn’t answer. Just wanted to let you know that I met with Dolly Vargas re: the Hector Montaya thing, and she’s agreed to go through the sexual harassment workshop one more time. Hopefully third time will be the charm, and it will stick!

Hope you have a good weekend, and see you on Monday. And I’m so sorry, again, for what happened in the lobby this afternoon. I promise it won’t happen again. At least, I don’t think it will. Well, I hope it won’t.

Kate

Kathleen A. Mackenzie

Personnel Representative, LZ

Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6891

kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com

To: Mitch Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Dolly Vargas <dolly.vargas@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Kate

Well, darling, it’s all settled. She’s coming over tonight. I feel positivelygiddy with self-congratulation at how easily I managed it. The girl is simplydesperate for 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

I guess a month in someone’s living room can do that to a person.

So tell me the truth—you owe me that much, because you know it isn’t every day I open my doors to a human resources representative, even if sheis a perfect treasure, with her “you all’s” and “fixin’ some suppers”—are you in love with her? Because I understand you only just met her, so maybe things are moving a little fast, even for me.

On the other hand, I perfectly understand the attraction. There’s nothing a big hulking man like you finds harder to resist than little damsels in distress like our own Mayberry miss. Speaking of hulking . . . You’ve been working out, haven’t you, sweetie? Don’t try denying it. Are you still on that paraplegic basketball team, or whatever it is? The one where you pretend like you’re in a wheelchair and play ball with all of those boys who reallyare in wheelchairs? Well, let me just say, it’s working, you’ve got some real upper-body definition going on under that Tweety Bird tie or whatever it was you had on. I wish you’d ask Peter to join your little team, or whatever it is. He needs a hobby, poor thing.

And God knows, he could use the workout.

God! This is so FUN! Promise you won’t break her heart, though. Because that would be a real buzz kill. Kind of like when Peter brings his kiddies over.

Oh, God, I’ve got the Prada show. Ciao for now.

XXXOOO

Dolly

To: Dolly Vargas <dolly.vargas@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Mitch Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Kate

There is no licentious motive behind my request that you offer Ms. Mackenzie a place to stay. She merely seems like a person who needs a helping hand . . . andwhose hands are more competent thanyours, Dolly?

Thanks again.

Mitch

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Amy

Just what are you trying to do, anyway? You had no right to go to Amy’s office today and attempt to intimidate her like that. She is a sweet young woman, not one of those hardened criminals you’re used to dealing with. She will schedule an appointment with you for pretrial discovery when I say she can . . . and that will be when she is good and ready to, and not before.

And what is this letter you keep going on about? Amy keeps impeccable records, so whatever this letter is you keep nagging her about, I’m certain it’s in that pie lady’s file.

God, you are SUCH an asshole. I really thought Stacy might have been able to get through to you, but I see now that you’re too far gone.

Which is a pity. You had real potential.

But now I know you’re just as depraved as those pimps and murderers you helped put back out on the street.

Stuart Hertzog, Senior Partner

Hertzog Webber and Doyle, Attorneys at Law

444 Madison Avenue, Suite 1505

New York, NY 10022

212-555-7900

To: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Amy

That’s funny. I thoughtyou were the depraved one. After all, aren’t you the one who made your fiancée fire a woman, merely because she wouldn’t give you a piece of pie?

Ms. Jenkins seems to be somewhat nervous concerning her case against Mrs. Lopez. I understand that while a verbal warning was issued, a written letter of warning, however, was not. I believe that, according to her collective bargaining agreement, the delivery—and acknowledgment—of such a letter is necessary before steps toward permanent dismissal can be taken.

But Mrs. Lopez says she never received such a letter. Strange, isn’t it, that she was fired anyway?

And not to spoil your illusions, sporto, but your “sweet young girl” can fight her own battles. She has a mouth on her like a longshoreman. She actually called me a fucker, if memory serves. . . . Oh, and wait, it does, since I taped our brief but oh-so-illuminating conversation in her office.

Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if I played this tape for Mom? Oh, yeah! I’m going to give Mom a call right now!

Love ya

Mitch

aka The Fucker

Hello, you’ve reached the Hertzog residence. Margaret and Arthur can’t come to the phone just now. Please leave a message, and one of us will be happy to get back to you.

(Tone)

Mom? Hi, it’s Stuart. Listen, I just want to say . . . Well, Mitch says he’s going to call you, and I just want to make sure you know, before he does, that the tape he says he’s going to play for you . . . Well, it’s fake. It’s a fake, and—

(Click)

“Hello?”

“Mom?”

“No. It’s Sean. Is that you, Stuart?”

“Yeah. Janice, let me talk to Mom.”

“Mom’s not here. And I’ve asked you before. Don’t call me Janice. It’s Sean.”

“Okay, Sean, whatever. Just tell Mom when she gets home—“

“Hey, is it true?”

“Is what true?”

“About that Amy girl.”

“You mean that I’m marrying her? Yeah, it’s true. And I hope, Janice, that you’ll join us on our special day—“

“No. I mean about her calling Mitch a fuckhead.”

“Janice. Is the answering machine still recording?”

“Yeah. I think so.”

“Hang up the phone, Janice.”

“The name is Sean, I

told

you.”

(Click)

To: Jen Sadler <sleaterkinneyfan@freemail.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <katydid@freemail.com>

Re: Paradise

Hey. It’s me. I’m e-mailing you, and on a WEEKEND. That’s because I’m e-mailing you from Dolly’s laptop at her place, and she has DSL. Oh my God, you guys would DIE if you saw this place. Dolly lives in a penthouse, overlooking the East River. You can see BOATS going by. BOATS.

And that’s not all. She’s got THREE bathrooms—THREE—and three bedrooms, each the size of your living room, and a living room the size of your whole apartment, and a terrace—aterrace —the size of your building’s roof. This place is SO NICE.

I mean, not that your place isn’t nice. Because it totally is. Your place is nice and comfy and lived in. I mean, seriously, that beanbag chair is way comfier than any of the chairs Dolly has.

But the cool thing about Dolly’s place is that, you know. I’m not in anybody’s way. Not even Dolly’s. Because she’s never even here.

Well, I mean, she’s here now. I can hear her shower running. But I don’t know what time she came rolling in. She went to some big party last night. She wanted me to come, too, but I have to admit, I was kind of more interested in her TV. Jen, she’s got a 50-inch plasma screen with HD and three hundred channels! And that’s just in the living room! In my room, there’s a 36-incher, and even though it isn’t HD, it’s still flat-screen. I found channels on it I’d never even HEARD of.

I know what you’re probably saying. That I should have gone to the party with Dolly. I mean, she even offered to let me borrow her clothes. She had a leather halter top all laid out for me. Just like the kind Alyssa Milano wears.

But I don’t know. I just didn’t feel like going to a party with a bunch of people I don’t know. I know style editors do it all the time, but human resources representatives? Not so much. So I ordered in chicken in garlic sauce and watched the Travel Channel. Yeah! A whole channel, devoted to travel! Did you know that in Thailand, you can hail a public bus like you do a cab here in New York? Well, you can. You just stick out your hand and they stop for you. Could you imagine if we tried that here, with the M1? They would just mow us down.

Ooops, Dolly’s coming out of her room. I mixed up a big batch of pancake batter, so I can fix her breakfast. I figure it’s the least I can do because she’s been so nice to—

Oh, wait a minute. That’s not Dolly—

To: Kate Mackenzie <katydid@freemail.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <sleaterkinneyfan@freemail.com>

Re: Paradise

Oh my God, you can’t leave me hanging like this. WHO IS IT?

Also, although you clearly aren’t missing us, we’re missing you. Craig’s first words when he stumbled out of the bedroom this morning were, “What? No pancakes?”

See? You’re missed.

So. Spill. Did you just have breakfast with PETER HARGRAVE, founder and CEO of the esteemed publication for which we work?

Tell me the truth: boxers or briefs?

J

To: Jen Sadler <sleaterkinneyfan@freemail.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <katydid@freemail.com>

Re: Paradise

Um, no, I did not just have pancakes with Peter Hargrave. Because Peter Hargrave was not who just came wandering out of Dolly’s bedroom. The person who just came wandering out of Dolly’s bedroom was someone I’ve never seen before. He was about our age, with shoulders out to here, and probably one of the more attractive men I’ve seen in a while. Like model attractive. Which, if you like that kind of thing, can be nice. I guess. Although I wouldn’t want to go out with someone who was prettier than me.

He just went, “Uh, hi,” when he saw me . . .

AND THEN HE LEFT!!!

Just LEFT!!!!!!!!!!

I do not want to cast aspersions on Dolly’s reputation, but I think . . . well, I think Peter Hargrave might have some competition.

Oops, here’s Dolly. Explanation hopefully forthcoming.

Katie

To: Kate Mackenzie <katydid@freemail.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <sleaterkinneyfan@freemail.com>

Re: Paradise

WHO WAS HE?????

And I just want to apologize for the fact that Craig and I were unable to provide you with plasma screens, the Travel Channel, your own bathroom, and a river view. Not to mention strange, broad-shouldered men wandering through the apartment on Saturday mornings.

Now. WHO WAS HE?????

To: Jen Sadler <sleaterkinneyfan@freemail.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <katydid@freemail.com>

Re: Paradise

Um, Dolly doesn’t appear to know his name. She just calls him Skiboy. Because he is a skiing instructor.

She met him last night. SHE MET HIM LAST NIGHT!!!!! AND SLEPT WITH HIM ALREADY!!!!!!

I don’t want to sound like some girl from Kentucky, but excuse me, what happened to getting to know someone before getting horizontal with them? She could have at least found out his NAME, for crying out loud.

But when I mentioned this to Dolly, she just went, “Who cares about hisname , darling, when he’s got thoseshoulders?

And so Skiboy I’m afraid he is destined to remain.

I asked Dolly what about Peter Hargrave, and she told me she and Peter have had an open relationship ever since his third marriage.

Dolly really likes my pancakes. After this we are going jogging (!) around the reservoir in order to keep our girlish figures. Then we’re going to some new opening at the Met. Want to join us?

Katie

P.S. Really, your place is much better than Dolly’s. All she has in the fridge is champagne and yogurt. Really. I had to use Better Butter to make the pancakes, so they are a bit runny.

To: Kate Mackenzie <katydid@freemail.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <sleaterkinneyfan@freemail.com>

Re: Jogging

Um, thank you for the invitation, but I am trying to get pregnant, remember? The last thing I need is for my uterus to fall out, which is always what I fear is going to happen whenever I go jogging.

Have fun with your new little friend. Craig and I will probably just go to the movies, or something. Not all of us can lead glamorous jet-setting lives with Skiboys trailing in and out of our penthouse.

J

P.S. Dale left four messages on the machine and finally settled for throwing a can of Del Monte peaches with a note wrapped around it onto our fire escape. Do Del Monte peaches have some kind of symbolic meaning for the two of you? Or do you think he just couldn’t find a brick? Anyway, near as I can decipher—his handwriting is execrable, I suppose because he’s a musical genius, or whatever—the note says:

Katie, sorry about what happened at your office. Please don’t be mad. I swear I’ll never do it again. But I really need to know: Have you seen my bowling shoes? You know, those ones I accidentally wore home from Chelsea Piers that one night? Because I really need them for a gig. They go great with my plaid pants.

Love always,

Dale

P.S. Who was that guy in the Bugs Bunny tie, or whatever it was, who kept looking like he wanted to hit me? Is he like your new boss or something? What happened to the T.O.D.? Anyway, I don’t like that guy very much. That’s all. Dale

Such a charmer. Hey, maybe Dolly’ll share Skiboy with you! Have fun at the concert.

J

What is the sound of one hand clapping? What is the weight of a single grain of sand? The answer is: Equal to my interest in the message you are about to leave.

So make it short.

(Tone)

Mitch. Oh my God. It’s Stace. I never in a million years expected him to just stop by like that. I mean, he’s never done it before. It must be

her

influence. I was totally at a loss. Trust Stuie not to think he has to call first. I mean, who wouldn’t want the great Stuart Hertzog to grace them with his presence? Anyway. What did he say to you, exactly, out in the garage? Jason said he walked in while he was putting his clubs away, and you two were going at it. Jason says he never saw anybody who looked more like he wanted to take a swing at someone. Stuart, I mean. At you. Oh . . . No, sweetie, I don’t know where Mermaid Barbie went. Did you leave her in the hot tub again? Check there. . . . Anyway, it was great to see you. You look good. Call me back so we can talk bad about her.

(Click)

What is the sound of one hand clapping? What is the weight of a single grain of sand? The answer is: Equal to my interest in the message you are about to leave. So make it short.

(Tone)

Mitchell. This is your mother speaking. I don’t know what kind of game you think you’re playing with your brother, but I can tell you I for one do not find it very amusing. Stuart is extremely, extremely hurt. I want you to call and apologize to him. It’s bad enough that you’re sullying Amy’s reputation by implying she dismissed this muffin lady wrongly or without just cause. But just what, exactly, did you mean today when you asked her—in front of your sister, and her in-laws, and everyone, if I hear correctly—if the Pi Delts were going to perform any sort of initiation rites on Stuart? Were you implying that Pi Delta is some sort of Satanic group? Just because no Greek society would ever accept you as a member is no reason to malign the organization. Especially given that your own father was a Delta Upsilon. I am tired of having to clean up your messes, Mitchell. I want you to call your brother and apologize not only for the slight against Amy, but also for making up this ridiculous rumor that she called you a nasty name. So I want you to say you’re sorry. That’s all. Just pick up the phone and call your brother and say you’re sorry. Don’t think your father isn’t going to hear about all of this, if you don’t.

(Click)

What is the sound of one hand clapping? What is the weight of a single grain of sand? The answer is: Equal to my interest in the message you are about to leave. So make it short.

(Tone)

It’s Sean. Dude, you are in so much trouble. I’ve never seen Mom so pissed off. She says this is the last straw. She says you’re always putting her in the middle, and that she feels like she has to make a choice between you and Stuart, and she’s choosing Stuart, because she says you’re mentally unstable. Oh, and did Amy Jenkins really call you a fuckhead? Dude, that is just

so

sweet. Call me.

 

(Click)

What is the sound of one hand clapping? What is the weight of a single grain of sand? The answer is: Equal to my interest in the message you are about to leave. So make it short.

(Tone)

I would thank you to keep your opinions on the Greek system and my engagement to yourself, Mitch. You don’t need to be sharing them with Stacy’s in-laws and everyone else in Greenwich. Nobody’s interested in your observations on the traditions of my fiancée’s sorority. Furthermore, your assertion that Amy did not follow proper protocol when dismissing that idiot pie lady is completely absurd. As director of Human Resources, Amy can hire and fire whomever she chooses. I think you’re forgetting just which side you’re working for in this case. You are being employed by Peter Hargrave, NOT Ida Lopez. I’d thank you to remember it. And don’t you ever, ever waltz into my fiancée’s office and demand to see paperwork, as if she were one of those common criminals you used to defend and with whom, I’m told, you still occasionally socialize. Amy is a far better person than the sort you’re used to, and deserves to be treated not just as a law-abiding citizen, but as a future member of your family. Understood?

God, I ask you to take on a simple case of wrongful termination, and you manage to turn it into some freaking conspiracy against the working man—my God, Mitch! Just do the job you were asked to do and stop overthinking everything, as you are so wont to do. Some people just deserve to lose their jobs, you know! Unless you want to be one of them, get off Amy’s case. And don’t even TRY to say that I couldn’t get Dad to let you go if I wanted to. We both know who Dad’s favorite is, and it’s not you, buddy.

(Click)

To: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@freemail.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Today

Tried to call but your line’s been busy. This wouldn’t have anything to do with Haley and Brittany’s discovery of the Powerpuff Girls’ hotline, would it?

Anyway, sorry to have caused tumult at Finca Trent. I don’t know why Stuart got so bent out of shape. All I meant was that, back at U of Michigan, the Pi Delts had this practice of stripping naked any man who became engaged to one of their own, and leaving him chained that way to the Pi Delta sign in their sorority house’s front yard, for the ogling of passersby. I just wondered, you know, if Amy’s Pi Delt sisters were going to perform a similar act on Stuart, for the benefit of New Yorkers. I merely suggested that Stuart might be stripped and chained to theNew York Journal sign outside 216 West 57th Street. I don’t have the slightest idea why that would upset her so much. Do you? I mean, if you can’t take the heat, hand back the lavaliere, is what I say.

Tell Jason I had a good time on the greens today . . . well, what you could see of them, beneath all the snow. Maybe going golfing in March isn’t the best idea I’ve had recently.

Won’t be around if you call later, I’ve got to go to some benefit at the museum for Dad. Can’t say I mind, really. Rubbing shoulders with people who have more money than they know what to do with beats hanging out with people who can’t stop talking about how adorable it was when little Taylor spat her ubby across the church at Richard Junior’s christening.

No offense.

Mitch

aka The Fucker

Welcome to the opening of the Gregory Shearson

French Nineteenth-Century Drawing Collection

at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Why did I come to this? Oh my God, I’m so bored, I think I’m going to die. I mean it’s not like I

Entertainment provided by

the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

 

would rather be back at Dolly’s watching the Travel Channel, because I wouldn’t. At least, I don’t

Gregory Shearson’s collection touches on many of the trends in French drawing of the time: the heroic Neoclassicism of David; the refined classicism of Ingres; Delacroix’s expressive Romanticism; the richly textured landscapes of the Barbizon School; Seurat’s luminous sheets of shaded crayon; and the jewel-like watercolors of Paul Signac and Henri-Edmond Cross.

 

think I would. I don’t know. If I were still with Dale, I’d be sitting in some smoky bar in the East Village right now, waiting for him to go on. Correction, I’d be running around the apartment, helping him find his bowling shoes, since the band wouldn’t be going on until after midnight, and no way would Dale be ready to go by now. And I’m not saying I wouldn’t rather be here, because this is way better than your typical East Village bar, I mean, no one smoking or asking if they can smell my hair. But I don’t feel like I fit in, even with Dolly’s borrowed duds.

The selection captures another facet of the taste of a great American collector famous for the range and depth of his interest in the history of European art.

 

I mean, first of all there’s the fact that my hair is way bigger than anybody else’s here—but Dolly said it looks good curly. Iso should have blown it out. And second of all, well, I think I am the only person here with less than ten grand in my 401K. I might be the only person here who even HAS a 401K—besides Dolly, I mean. I seem to be the only one here without a DATE. I mean, Dolly didn’t exactly mention she was meeting up with Skiboy here. But there he was, waiting for her, right by the red carpet. And can I just say, his shoulders look even BROADER at nighttime.

This exhibition was made possible by

a grant from the Gregory Shearson Foundation.

 

Okay, one more champagne, and I am out of here. Where is that waiter? Where—OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD, WHAT ISHE DOING HERE?

AND WHO IS THATWITH HIM? Oh my God, Mitchell Hertzog is here with a date. A DATE! Oh, and look at her. Just look at her. SHE had a blow-out. SHE didn’t take the advice of the style editor for theNew York Journal. She looks great. Well, if by “great” you mean seven feet tall and a hundred pounds. She actually looks like a praying mantis, if you ask me.

Oh God, why did I eat all those leftover cold sesame noodles for dinner?

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center program

 

Maybe I can slip out before he sees me with my hair like this. If I get behind that pillar

Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in A Major,K. 581. . . . . . . . . . .Mozart

and slither over to the coat-check thingie, I can probably make it. Oh please God let me make it

Sextet for Clarinet, String Quartet and Piano. . . . . . . . . . .Copland

NOOOOOOO! He’s seen me! What do I—

Quintet for Two violins, Viola, Cello, and Piano in F Minor, Op. 34. . . . . . . . . . .Brahms

Journal of Kate Mackenzie

Why is it that every time I see Mitchell Hertzog I manage to make a total and complete ass of myself? If I’m not dribbling along about chicken in garlic sauce, I’m dealing with my lunatic ex-boyfriend or acting like I know something about art and classical music, when clearly, CLEARLY, I do not.

And he looked SO nice, too. I mean, really, really, really nice, in his tuxedo. He looked SKIBOY nice. Seriously, even Skiboy’s shoulders paled in comparison to Mitchell Hertzog’s.

He acted nice, too. He was all, “What are YOU doing here? I would’ve thought a girl like you would have something better to do than hang at a thing like this.”

Like I was too glam for the place, or something. Ha, I wish. I told him I’d just come to keep Dolly company, on account of her having an extra ticket.

He looked around for Dolly, but of course she had gone off with Skiboy. The two of them were behind the cellist with their hands down each other’s pants.

And then, me, idiot girl I am, I can’t leave it at that. Oh, no. I keep foaming away at the mouth:

Me: Oh, yes, well, Dolly and I, we go way back. In fact, right now we’re roomies, can you believe it?

Him: Roomies? Really? How did that happen?

Me: Well, you know, I’m between apartments right now, and Dolly, she has that big penthouse, way up on East Eightieth and East End Avenue and I don’t know, she asked and I jumped. . . .

LAME LAME LAME LAME I’m sure the Praying Mantis is a better conversationalist. At least until she bites his head off after they’re done mating (it’s praying mantises that do this, right?)

Then he went, “Well, it’s probably good you’re in the penthouse. That way your musical friend might find it a little harder to serenade you. Since you don’t seem to find his serenades all that appealing.”

Dale! God! I’d managed to forget all about Dale. I’d managed to forget for a minute there that the last time I saw this man, I was begging the NYPD not to use their nightsticks on my psychotic ex.

“Oh,” I said, trying to sound all—what’s the word?Je ne sais quoi, I guess. I’m sure the Praying Mantis would know. “That. Yes. Thanks so much for your help with that, by the way. Um, Dale and I, we, well, we broke up, and he’s not, um, taking it well.”

And he went, “So I gathered. Listen, if you need anything, any kind of legal help with that, a restraining order, or something—“

Oh my God! He wants to help me get a restraining order! Against Dale! I mean, I probably should. Only I don’t want Dale to go to jail. I just want him to go away.

But still. Like if I ever needed a restraining order, I’d go to HIM! I mean, Hertzog Webber and Doyle charge like five hundred bucks an hour, or something. Maybe even more. I could use up my entire savings account for what this guy charges in three hours.

But I swear to God, there I was, standing there thinking, “If I don’t take him up on his offer, he’ll think maybe I’m not serious about breaking up with Dale, and then he’ll never ask me out.”

Mitchell Hertzog, I mean.

Yeah. That’s what I was thinking. About Mitch Hertzog. While I was standing there talking to him at an opening to which he had CLEARLY BROUGHT A LONG, BLONDE, SLINKY DATE! Who was staring right at me from over by the Ingres (which she did not exactly not resemble, if you get my drift. I wonder if Ingres used praying mantises as models for his subjects)!

God, I am pathetic. Give me a guy in a tux—even a guy who is clearly taken—and all I can seem to think about is sharing the SundayTimes and strolls through Central Park.

So then, just to make things REALLY awkward and lame, I laughed all breezily and went, “Well, you know, ha ha, I’m on a human-resources-department salary, I really doubt I could afford you.”

Then Mitchell said the nicest thing. I mean, seriously, the nicest thing. He said, “I’d be happy to do it at no charge. Why don’t you stop by my office on Monday and we’ll talk about it? Say, lunchtime?”

But then he added, “I know a great place for chicken in garlic sauce.”

I have to admit, for a minute I was so shocked I just stood there staring at him, probably with my mouth hanging open. I was trying to figure out what to do—whirl around and make a beeline for the door, or tell him where to get off—when it was like he realized I wasn’t laughing and he poked my arm and went, “Whoa. Joke. That was a joke. What, they don’t joke in human resources?”

And the thing is, the last thing I want to do is fall for a lawyer. And I seriously don’t want to get a restraining order against Dale—I mean, he isn’t a threat to me—my ego, maybe, but not my body.

But Mitch just smiled so nicely when he said the wordjoke, and he seemed sincerely to want to help me, and, well, hepoked me. Like a friendly poke. How many lawyers give people friendly pokes? I mean, really?

And I will admit that maybe all of that—and the fact that the Praying Mantis was glaring so hard at me—caused me to, I don’t know, lose my head all of a sudden. Because the next thing I knew, I was promising him I would do it, I would have lunch with him on Monday, even though he’s a lawyer and his brother is the most heinous man in the world and he has a seven-feet-tall, hundred-pound girlfriend already and the T.O.D. SPECIFICALLY SAID I WAS NOT TO SEE MITCHELL HERTZOG AGAIN UNLESS SHE WAS PRESENT!

Except that I’m not meeting him about Mrs. Lopez. I’m meeting him about Dale. Which is, you know, totally unwork-related. Well, except for when Dale shows up at my workplace with a bouquet and a new song for me. But whatever.

I just thought that was the sweetest thing—I mean, this very high-powered lawyer, offering to help me with my stupid, boring problem. . . .

Well, I practically started crying right there on the spot. If he had offered me a lease on a studio apartment for nine fifty a month, utilities included, within walking distance of my office, I could not have been more touched.

And then of course, I had to go and ruin the moment by saying, “Well, okay, yeah . . .” and then because he was still standing there and I was still standing there and Miss Praying Mantis in a Dior wraparound evening dress was also still standing there, having seen the whole thing—you know, her date make a date with me, even though it wasn’t really a date, because it was lunch, and work-related—for him, anyway—I couldn’t just leave it, I had to be all, “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?”

And Mitchell looked kind of startled—really, like he’d forgotten she was even there—and went, “Oh, of course. Clarissa, this is Kate Mackenzie. I’m working with her on a breach-of-contract arbitration. Kate, this is Clarissa Doyle.”

And then the Praying Mantis came slinking over and stuck her creepy overlong Ingres-like hand at me and went, “So nice to meet you. You must be with Substantiated Oil, then,” and I went, “Um, no. TheNew York Journal. Mitchell—I mean, Mr. Hertzog—I mean, Mitchell—is helping us with a wrongful termination suit.”

Which of course caused the Praying Mantis to just look at me and go, “Breach of contract, you mean. There is no wrongful termination in the state of New York.” And then she looked at Mitchell from beneath her eyelashes—she must spend a fortune at Sephora because they were super long . . . her eyelashes, I mean—and then there was one of those embarrassing silences, during which I guessed that Mitch must have met Clarissa through work.

And then I put two and two together, and remembered that the name of Mitch’s firm was Hertzog Webber and Doyle, and that Clarissa had to be the Doyle. Ora Doyle, anyway. And then I thought how happy, you know, it would probably make everybody, if she and Mitchell got married, because then they could start a little lawyer empire, like France, or something, and then, I don’t know, the thought of it made me wish I hadn’t drunk so much champagne, because suddenly I got a very bad headache, which I guess Mitch must have noticed, since he went, “Are you all right, Kate?”

I said I was, because, you know, you have to lie about that kind of thing, and then, to deflect the attention off me, I asked him how his family liked Amy, although I almost called her the T.O.D.

“Uh, everyone seems to like her just fine,” Mitch said. “Are you sure you’re all right?”

“Just peachy,” I said. I couldn’t believe those words came out of my mouth. But there they were, floating like a bubble over my head, like in a Peanuts cartoon. It was as though even Clarissa was stretching her Praying Mantis neck to look at them.

And of course that only made my headache about ten times worse, and the damn Brahms didn’t help much, either.

Then it was like a nuclear bomb went off inside my head, because who should I see standing not twenty feet away but Stuart Hertzog and the T.O.D.!!!!

I about swallowed my tongue. I mean, if the T.O.D. caught me fraternizing with Mitch, after expressly forbidding me from doing so, I would be demoted to the mailroom quicker than you could say Staff Assistance Program. . . .

I don’t think Mitchell saw them, but he saw my face, and all of a sudden, he went, “Kate, you look done for. Let me get your coat and a cab home. Clarissa can tell Dolly you decided to go on home without her.”

To which Clarissa replied, looking more like a Praying Mantis than ever, “Yes, of course I will.”

And even though I was all, “No, it’s all right,” he got my coat tag from me. I have to say, I didn’t exactly fight him on the whole getting-me-out-of-there, and-fast thing. We managed to slip right by the T.O.D. without her even noticing (she was busy picking at an hors d’oeuvre and I think mentally tabulating how long she’d have to work out on her treadmill before she’d burn off all the calories in it).

Anyway, next thing I know, Mitch and I were standing in the drizzle in front of the Met, and he was flagging down a cab for me.

“It must be the champagne,” I said lamely, because I didn’t want to admit that it was the sight of my boss that had caused me to go green around the gills. Because, you know, after all, my boss is his future sister-in-law, and even if he will eventually find out for himself how heinous she is, I can’t be the one to tell him. “Really, I’m not used to it. And Dolly and I went on a run around the reservoir today, and I’m not used to that, either, and . . . It must have been the champagne.”

And then Mitch said, “Really? I thought it was the crowd, myself. I can’t stand all the glad-handing.”

And then a cab pulled up, and Mitch opened the door for me and put me inside and told the driver where to go. Then he looked at me, and went, “See you on Monday, Kate.”

I had time to say only, “See you on Monday, and thanks—“ before he shut the door on me. And then the driver took me home.

And so now I’m lying here—Dolly and Skiboy aren’t back yet. Maybe they won’t come back tonight. Maybe they’ll go to his place. Though I can’t imagine Skiboy’s place is better than Dolly’s—and I’m wondering to myself . . .

Well, just how did Mitch Hertzog know Dolly’s exact address, anyway? Because he did. He gave it to the cab driver.

I wonder if HE ever wandered around this place in his tightie whities.

No. Surely not. He is definitely a boxers man.

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Clarissa Doyle <clarissa.doyle@hwd.com>

Re: Your little waif

Well, haven’t you gone all Galahad. Your little Lady Elaine is adorable. But you ought to tell her it isn’t good form to leave the ball before midnight. She missed all the fireworks between you and Stuart. What WAS he so upset about?

I can’t say much for that creature he’s marrying. She looks like somebody shoved a Manolo Blahnik up her ass.

When you can drag yourself away from Cinderella, sweet prince, do you think you could give me a call about the Brinker-Hoffman case?

C

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Haley and Brittany <WELUVBARNEY@trentcapital.com>

Re: You

Uncle Mitch! We had fun yesterday. You should come over more often. We really liked how red you made Uncle Stuart’s face, when he was yelling at you in the garage. Can you do that again, next time you come?

So Uncle Stuart is marrying that lady? Mom says she’s going to be our aunt Amy. She’s okay, except she wouldn’t try any peanut butter M&M chocolate chip fudge cookies. They were good—you ate five, remember? But she said she was on a special diet, and couldn’t eat something called carbs. We told her we didn’t put any carbs in our cookies, just M&Ms, but she said M&Ms were carbs.

Uncle Mitch, what’s carbs?

Well, that’s all. Thank you for the Barbie video, we put it on and turned it up REAL loud this morning, just like you said. You were right: Daddy does look funny when he runs downstairs screaming with his hair all standing up.

Love,

Haley and Brittany

(and Little John, too little to work the computer)

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@freemail.com>

Re: You

Heard from Stuie this morning. He says he saw you at the museum last night with Clarissa Doyle. Tell me you two are not dating again. I thought you guys figured out you were completely incompatible way back in 9th grade, when she deflowered you behind the pool house.

Naughty.

Stace

Hi, you’ve reached Kate and Dale. We can’t come to the phone right now, but please leave a message at the tone, and we’ll get back to you.

(Tone)

 

Hi, Katie! It’s Mom again! You never returned my call. I just wanted to let you know, Charlie and I are in Sante Fe. Sante Fe, New Mexico. Oh, it’s just lovely here, you and Dale have to come visit us sometime. The air is so—

“H-hello?”

“Hello? Dale? Is that you? It’s Carol, Dale.”

“Oh. Mrs. Mackenzie. Hey. How’s it going.”

“Did I wake you, Dale? I’m so sorry. The time difference. Let’s see, it’s noon here, which means it must be . . . three in the afternoon there. Dale, what are you still doing in bed at three in the afternoon?”

“I had a gig last night. I didn’t get home till five.”

“Oh. I see. Well. Is Katie there? Let me talk to Katie, and you can go back to sleep.”

“Mrs. M., Katie moved out.”

“What?”

“Yeah. Like a month ago.”

“Katie moved OUT?”

Yeah. I thought . . . you mean, you haven’t heard from her?”

“No. No, not since Colorado. Right, Charlie? Didn’t we talk to Katie in Denver? But that was only last week, and she didn’t say anything about—“

“She probably didn’t want to worry you.”

“Oh. Oh, dear, you’re probably right. Well, what happened, Dale? Did you two have a fight?”

“Yeah. I guess so. I don’t know. She started talking all crazy about marriage, and wasting the best years of her life, and wanting a commitment and shit. But you know, Mrs. M. I gotta take it one day at a time.”

“Well, of course you do, Dale. You don’t want to be tied down, any more than I want to be tied down, or Charlie. That’s why we’re driving cross-country, never staying in any one place too long. But you know, Katie’s always been a little on the conventional side. She never liked it when we traveled, not even the time we went to Disneyworld.”

“Yeah. She said she wouldn’t go on tour with us. If we ever get a tour, I mean.”

“Hmmm. That sounds like Kate. Well, tell you what, Dale. Give me her number. Is she staying with Jen? I’ll give her a call—“

“She

was

staying with Jen. But Jen said she moved out. So now I don’t know where she’s staying.”

“Wait a minute. You don’t know where Kate is?”

“No. And Jen won’t tell me. On account of how I did something kinda dumb the other day. I mean, I thought it was the kinda thing Kate’d want me to do, kinda romantic and shit. But I guess she didn’t think it was so romantic, since she had ’em call the cops on me. . . .”

“Just give me Jen’s number, Dale. I’m sure Jen’ll tell me where Katie is staying. And Dale, really, try not to take this too personally. You and Katie were meant for each other. I mean, you haven’t been together since the eleventh grade for nothing, now, have you?”

“Naw. I guess not. Okay. Jen’s number is 555-1324. That’s 212. And Mrs. M.?”

“Yes, Dale?”

“If you talk to Kate, tell her . . . tell her I love her. I mean, I can’t be who she wants me to be—’cause I can only be myself. You know? But I still love her.”

“Of course I’ll tell her, Dale. That is just so sweet—“

“And can you ask her where she put the coffee filters? ’cause like, we can’t find ’em anywhere. We’ve been using a pair of Scroggs’s socks, and socks don’t make real good coffee filters, it turns out.”

“Of course I’ll ask her, Dale. Love you. Buh-bye!”

“Bye.”

 

(Click)

To: Kate Mackenzie <katydid@freemail.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <sleaterkinneyfan@freemail.com

Re: Your mother

Bad news: your mom just called. She finally reached Dale, and he told her you two split up. She sounds really upset. I told her I don’t have your number, but that I could get it. I said I left it at work. A little fib, I know, but hey, it doesn’t hurt anyone, and it buys you some time.

So. What do you want me to do? I tried calling you, but the line’s been busy for hours. What are you guys doing over there? Pranking all the eligible bachelors in New York?

J

To: Jen Sadler <sleaterkinneyfan@freemail.com

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <katydid@freemail.com>

Re: My mom

Aaargh. I knew she’d figure it out sooner or later. She LOVES Dale. I am never going to hear the end of this one.

I had to take the phone off the hook, because Dolly and Skiboy are still asleep. Or at least, they’re still in her bedroom. With the door closed.

Whatever, you don’t have to give her this number. She can call me at work tomorrow. I mean, now that the cat’s out of the bag.

So. Did you and Craig have fun without me this weekend?

To: Jen Sadler <sleaterkinneyfan@freemail.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <katydid@freemail.com>

Re: Peter H Alert!!!!

Peter just came in! I’m serious! And Dolly is still in bed with Skiboy! I’m doing my best to distract him—he seemed a little surprised to see me here—but I’m running out of stuff to do. I already showed him how I can play “Slave for U” on Dolly’s baby grand.

Now he’s poking around, looking for the mail. Any second now, he’s going to burst in on Dolly, and then there’ll be murdered Skiboy everywhere! Or at least an awkward silence. What do I—-

Too late.

To: Kate Mackenzie <katydid@freemail.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <sleaterkinneyfan@freemail.com>

Re: Peter H Alert!!!!

DON’T LEAVE ME HANGING HERE!!!! WHAT HAPPENED????

To: Jen Sadler <sleaterkinneyfan@freemail.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <katydid@freemail.com>

Re: Peter H Alert!!!!

Well. Guess what? It turns out Skiboy is MY boyfriend. Who knew?

At least, that’s Dolly’s story, and she seems to be sticking to it.

Though what MY boyfriend was doing in DOLLY’s shower is a mystery—but apparently not one Peter Hargrave feels necessary to get to the bottom of. He and Dolly are currently snuggled up on the couch, reading the SundayTimes and making fun of it. Skiboy kept shooting them dirty looks until I finally told him I had to go to Pilates (!) and kissed him good-bye.

I don’t know how much longer I can take this. I mean, Peter Hargrave OWNS my place of work. Can I really go around lying to him like this?

I guess, for free rent, it’s a small price to pay. Still, I snagged the Real Estate section, and am going to hit the streets in a bit. There are a lot of studios I can afford, it turns out . . . in NEW JERSEY!!!!

TTYL

Kate

East 94th St.—rent-stabilized studio,

no fee, no appl. fee, no ba.

Steps from Central Park,

prewar building, hi ceils,

windows in kit. & bath,

live-in super, $1395 imm.

212-555-9966

Taken. Of course.

1 AVE/OFF HOUSTON NO FEE

BRITE AND AIRY STU $1095

All units have marble bath,

HWF, new appl.’s and video intercom.

Call Armand 212-555-1790

Fee.

27th St. East, charming studio $1395

Recent Renov. Hi ceils, large closet,

hwd. flrs, all appl.’s new,

OPEN HOUSE TODAY

call for appt. 646-555-0650

Taken.

Ave. A off Houston low fee,

500 sq ft studio, $1300

hwdflrs, sep kitchen, D/W

call 212-555-0003

LIES! ALL LIES!!!!!!!!!!

Oh God, I hate everyone. Wish I was dead.

To: Kate Mackenzie <katydid@freemail.com>

Fr: Dale Carter <imnotmakinganymoresandwiches@freemail.com>

Re: Us

Hey. Scroggs’s brother is letting me borrow his computer. I’m still allowed to e-mail you, aren’t I? I mean, I know you won’t take my calls. And I guess you don’t like me dropping by your office, either.

But the thing is, Kate, I gotta talk to you. I mean, this is really messed up. I’m not used to not having you around. It’s like . . . weird.

And okay, I know I screwed things up, but I think you’re being a little harsh with this whole moving out thing. I mean, come on, Kate. You’re my—what’s it called—my lodestone. I can’t think about anything but you. It fully blows. I mean, remember when we were back in Luxor and we were all dreaming about coming to New York, how great it was going to be, and all? Well, I realize it didn’t turn out to be all that great, but Kate, it still can be. Tomorrow the guys and I are signing our record deal. We’re gonna be RICH, Kate. But it’s like I can’t even get jazzed about the bling, because you won’t be there to help me spend it.

I know I can’t give you what you want, Kate, but we could still have a really, really, really good time. I mean, the record company, they own a place in Baha. BAHA, babe! Think about it.

Well, anyway. That’s it. Peace out, and don’t let the man keep you down.

Dale

To: Dale Carter <imnotmakinganymoresandwiches@freemail.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <katydid@freemail.com>

Re: You

Touchstone, not lodestone. Baja, not Baha. And you can’t spend bling. Bling is what you spend moneyon .

Dale, trust me on this. I have come to the conclusion that I am just not cut out to be a rock musician’s girlfriend. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be instead. But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t involve going to Baja. I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it is. The sooner you accept that and move on, the happier you’ll be, Dale.

Love,

Kate

To: Devon Hildenbrandt <devonhildenbrandt@hildenbrandtindustries.com>

Fr: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Re: The earrings

Devon, you’re a goddess. Thanks so much for the loan of your sapphires for last night. They looked perfect with my Barney’s shell.

Sorry I missed you at the soiree, but the place was packed. Did you see who WAS there, though? The supermodel Vivica! Although I thought she looked a little bit fat in that dress, didn’t you?

Anyway, I had a blast . . . except for the fact that I caught a glimpse of one of my employees there . . . one I’ve been having particular problems with lately. She’s apparently all cozied up with Dolly Vargas, the style editor. You know, it can be a little aggravating . . . I’ve worked at theJournal for almost five years, and I’ve never been asked out for so much as a cup of coffee with any of the editors, let alone anyone else on the staff. Well, I guess it just goes to show, you can pick your friends, but not your coworkers. Still, it’s a little irksome. She’s only been working for me for less than a year, but already she knows more people than I do.

But whatever. Like I was saying, thanks for the loan of the earrings. Fair warning: I’m going to be asking for a similar pair from Stuart for our first anniversary. They should go great with the sapphire cocktail ring I’ll be expecting after the birth of Stuart Jr., LOL!

I’ll see you at next week’s cocktail hour—it’s at Pop downtown, right? I’ll get your sapphires back to you then.

Kisses,

Amy

Amy Denise Jenkins

Director

Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6890

amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com

This e-mail is intended only for the use of the individual to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged and confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you have received this transmission in error; any review, dissemination, distribution, or copying of this transmission is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by reply e-mail and delete this message and all of its attachments.

To: Stacy Trent <IH8BARNEY@freemail.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Clarissa

What Clarissa and I did or did not do in that pool house is none of your concern. I went to the opening the other night because her current flame—some investment banker—is out of town, and she asked me to go with her, and as Michigan wasn’t playing, I thought, why not? I like art as much as the next guy.

So tell Mom not to get her hopes up. There’s not going to be any double wedding for me and Stuart.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a week’s worth of Travel Channel to catch up with.

The Fucker

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Dress Code

Kate, as I’m sure you’re aware, we at theJournaldo try to maintain a professional demeanor.

That said, I don’t feel that the skirt you’re wearing this morning is quite an appropriate length for the office. Please see that it is taken out of the weekly rotation from this day forward.

Amy

Amy Denise Jenkins

Director

Human Resources

The New York Journal

216 W. 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

212-555-6890

amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com

This e-mail is intended only for the use of the individual to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged and confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you have received this transmission in error; any review, dissemination, distribution, or copying of this transmission is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by reply e-mail and delete this message and all of its attachments.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

The T.O.D. says my skirt is not appropriate officewear!

Sleaterkinneyfan:

NO!!! What is wrong with that skirt? I’ll admit, it’s a bit on the short side, but I think you look adorable! The T.O.D. is just jealous because she doesn’t have the guts—or the imagination—to wear anything shorter than knee length.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Either that or she just straight-out hates me. Dolly loaned this skirt to me. It’s Dolce and Gabbana! Suede!

Sleaterkinneyfan:

I know how you are about suede. And joy of joys, no one has peed on that one. Unless Skiboy . . . No, that is going too far. Any particular reason you are clad in Dolly-wear today? Or did she stop you at the door and force it on you?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Well, I AM having lunch with Mitch Hertzog. But it is a BUSINESS lunch.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

I have bad news for you. That isn’t a very businessy skirt. Are you sure Dolly got the part about its being a business lunch?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

I explained to her that Mitch and I are meeting to discuss taking out a restraining order against Dale—

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Oh. Well, in that case, it all makes sense. That looks like a restraining-order skirt if I ever saw one. But back to this lunch. When did this happen?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Oh. When I saw him Saturday night at the opening.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Describe.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Nothing to describe. He was there with a girl. A very pretty girl. She looked like a praying mantis. And she’s a Doyle, as in Hertzog Webber and Doyle.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Oh. Still, he’s having lunch with you, not her.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

A BUSINESS lunch.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Ergo, that ultra-businessy skirt.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

SHUT UP! Is it really that slutty? Will you trade skirts with me?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Are you kidding me? Then I’ll have to take a restraining order out against Rob the copy guy. Hey, did you get a load of the T.O.D.’s earrings?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Yes. They are blinding me. A gift from Stuart, perhaps?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

You know it. I can’t believe he’s giving her that kind of stuff, and they aren’t even married yet. It’s not even her birthday! You know the last present Craig gave me? A scale. Nice, huh?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Hey, the last present Dale gave me was a drumstick. He said it was Flea’s. But I’m not so sure.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

How was the apartment hunting?

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Well, if I had ten grand in my savings account for first and last month’s rent plus a security deposit, I’d be golden. But since I don’t, I guess it’s just going to have to be me, Dolly, Peter, and Skiboy. At least until I get my tax refund—and the lease runs out on my place with Dale, and I get my half of the deposit back. And I’m able to hock one pair of peed-on suede boots and my very valuable collected works of the Bangles.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Ouch. You know there’s always room at Chez Sadler.

Sleaterkinneyfan:

Thanks. You’re the best. I—Uh-oh, phone call. More later.

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: My mother

I thought mothers were supposed to be sweet and supportive, and love you unconditionally. In fact, I distinctly remember Professor Wingblade telling us that mothers are the ONLY people who can be counted on for unconditional love.

So how come MY mother, instead of feeling badly for me that my boyfriend refuses to commit, is yelling at ME for putting too much pressure on him? I swear to God, my own mother likes my ex more than she likes me.

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Your mother

That’s just because she hasn’t seen you in that skirt yet.

No, seriously, your mother is currently driving across the country in an RV with a man ten years her junior who likes to whittle bird whistles. Okay? Like you’re really going to score points with this woman for breaking up with your soon-to-be-rock-star boyfriend. Did she tell you that you should have just let yourself get “accidentally pregnant” and then you’d have been set for life? Ten to one she did. Is this the sign of a woman playing with a full deck?

J

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: My mother

YES! Oh my God, did you get struck by lightning, or something? Because you’re clairvoyant.

Like I would want to get a husband THAT way. Like having a husband is even that important to me. I mean, you can be a fully rounded human being and not be married, you know. In fact, remember how Professor Wingblade told us that the overall happiness level of marrieds vs. singles was higher in singles? What does THAT say to you?

Oh, sorry. I forgot you were married there for a second.

But I’m just saying. It isn’t because I want to be married that I broke up with Dale. It’s because if he doesn’t love me enough to want to marry me, then he doesn’t love me at all.

Or something like that. Know what I mean? God, I HATE talking to my mother, she always gets me confused.

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Your mother

I get what you mean. Hey, shouldn’t you be meeting your lunch date round about now? It’s almost 12:30.

J

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: My mother

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m late!

Oh my God, I knew I should have made Jen switch skirts with me, I must look like the biggest slut in the world, it’s no wonder he took that call on his cell and has been out in the restaurant lobby

South Sea Shark’s Fin for Two

$19.95

for so long, he’s probably embarrassed to be seen with me, and who can blame him, I look like Alyssa

Crab Meat Asparagus Bisque for Two

$8.95

Milano onCharmed or whatever. He’s probably scared of me, oh God why did I ever

Fish Maw Chowder

$8.95

say I would have lunch with him? I mean, he’s a LAWYER, after all, and I’ve always sworn . . .

Fish Filet in Broth for Two

$7.95

but he’s just sonice, and the chicken in garlic sauce IS really good here, and I’m sure his call must

Chengdu Wonton in Broth

$3.50

be really important, and he DID look really annoyed when he saw who it was on the caller ID.

Hot and Sour Soup

$3.50

Probably it’s about a really important case or something. I hope it’s not that Clarissa girl, I really don’t

Chicken Corn Egg Drop Soup

$3.50

think he’d have taken it if it was, although maybe, who knows? It’s kind of funny, I really don’t think he likes Amy all that much. He says people who exercise that many times a day scare him, which is good

Pan-seared Dumplings

$4.95

because God knows I could barely move yesterday after that run around the reservoir the day before.

Steamed Vegetable Dumpling

$4.95

Not that it was much of a run considering the fact that Dolly stopped every 60 seconds to talk to

Spareribs

$6.95

someone who was going by, God she knows everyone in the world, it seems like. Plus he likes the

Fantail Shrimp

$6.95

Travel Channel, which means we already have something in common, not that we like it for the same

Cantonese Roast Duck

$5.95

reason, he likes it because he’s been to all those places, I like it because now I don’t have to go, since I

Shanghai Vegetable Spring Roll

$2.50

saw it already on TV. But still that’s something, anyway, more than I had in common with Dale, except

Chilled Noodles with Spicy Vinaigrette

$4.50

that we grew up together and both like, you know, sex. And he was the nicest boy in the whole school,

Stir Fried Chicken with Lettuce Taco

$6.95

and the only one who was even remotely interested in anything besides football. And he’s

Sichuan Pork Dumpling with Chili Vinaigrette

$4.50

not a businessy type of person (Dale, I mean), because I don’t know if I could be with someone who is

Fried Taro Toast

$3.95

always worried about the bottom line or whatever, at least Dale was in a creative profession. Not like I’m going out with Mitch Hertzog, or anything. I mean, I WISH. It’s just lunch, for God’s sake. To talk about taking a restraining order out on Dale.

Only he’s SO NICE—Mitch, I mean—and he smells good, too, and he has on a Spiderman tie today. He says his nieces gave it to him, too. God, I hope it isn’t serious between Mitch and that Praying Mantis girl. OH MY GOD

IS THAT SCROGGS????

To: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Lunch

Please let me apologize one more time. I AM SO SORRY ABOUT YOUR SUIT. I don’t know what came over Dale, I really don’t. I guess he thought we were out on a date or something, ha ha! Well, you know he’s a little unstable. But really nonviolent. Except toward suits, apparently.

PLEASE, you’ve got to send me the dry-cleaning bill. I owe you that much at least.

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: You

What happened????? You look white as a sheet. Did one of those video voyeurs get a shot up that skirt of yours as you were coming down the steps outside the building? Because we can track down the guy and have a blanket party on his head if you want. I know people who can make it happen.

J

To: Jen Sadler<jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie<kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: What happened

Oh, just the USUAL. I made a complete and utter fool of myself. WHY can’t I EVER pass myself off as a cool-headed businesswoman? WHY???

Of COURSE we were having a perfectly nice time—well, except that he got this call in the middle of the meal, but whatever, it was probably some multimillion-dollar deal he’s working on, or something—when who should come in to the restaurant but DALE, and the whole rest of the I’m Not Making Any More Sandwiches crew, and he starts making this big deal out of how I’m there, like it’s kismet or something, only he kept calling itschism, and then Mitch walked up and was like, “Sorry about that,” and sat down across from me, and next thing I knew, Dale had thrown the entire platter of chicken in garlic sauce on Mitch.

So there I am, lamely trying to wipe it off him, which meant, of course, that I actually had to touch him, although it was through a napkin, but can I just take a moment to say hubba-hubba? I mean, I could FEEL his muscles through all the stir-fried rice. How does a lawyer get all built up like that? I mean, Dale plays guitar, but you know, his chest practically caves in and he mostly looks anemic. . . .

But anyway.

It was just mortifying, all right? What do I DO??? I made Dale apologize, but you could tell he didn’t mean it. And I guess I can’t really blame him, we WERE talking about taking out a restraining order against him, but really, it’s all Dale’s fault. I mean, Del Monte peaches? Who DOES that?

What do you think I should do? Send flowers? Or candy? That seems sort of . . . not right. For a guy, I mean. What would you do? I mean, if it had been Craig. And you two weren’t married. But you still thought he was way hot and wanted him to like you. Even though he’s a soulless corporate drone. Who likes Spiderman.

I mean, I e-mailed him, but it doesn’t seem like enough. Know what I mean?

I really, truly wish I were dead.

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie<kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler<jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: What happened

You did the right thing. Believe me, if this guy is interested, he’ll forgive you.

But what about Dale? Are you going for the restraining order or not? Seems like YOU’RE not the one who should file for it. Mr. Muscle should.

Could you tell if he had a six-pack?

J

To: Jen Sadler<jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie<kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: What happened

The restraining order! Oh! I forgot all about it!

Definite six-pack. The guy is cut.

Oh my God. I can’t believe I just wrote that.

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie<kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler<jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: What happened

God dammit. Blondes really do have more fun.

J

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Mitchell Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Lunch

You don’t owe me anything. Look, really, don’t worry about it. How were you to know the label would pick THAT restaurant, out of all the restaurants in Manhattan, to take your ex-boyfriend’s band to lunch after signing their big deal? It IS midtown, and there ARE a lot of record companies in Manhattan.

And I thought he comported himself very well, after the initial surprise.

The garlic sauce will come out.

If anyone should be apologizing, it’s me. I am so sorry about that horrifically long phone call. It’s just that my little sister is home from college, and there’ve been some issues between her and my mother, and somehow, I always seem to get caught up in the middle. . . .

Anyway, if you’d really like to make it up to me, we can try again. How about dinner Friday night?

Let me know.

Mitch

P.S. Actually, considering what happened today, I think it might be safer if we were to eat in. My place okay? I make a mean shrimp scampi.

P.P.S. Want to give me a clue as to why your ex’s band is called I’m Not Making Any More Sandwiches? Not that I’m aching to go out and buy their new album. Just curious.

To: Mitch Hertzog <mitchell.hertzog@hwd.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Dinner

I would love to have dinner at your place, if you’re sure it’s not too much trouble. And you have to let me bring something. Dessert all right? Thanks for asking . . . and for being so understanding about Dale.

The reason his band is called I’m Not Making Any More Sandwiches is because Dale used to work in the only bagel shop in downtown Luxor, Kentucky, where we both grew up, and people used to come in all the time and ask for bagel sandwiches—you know, like ham and cheese on a bagel, or peanut butter and jelly—and Dale didn’t think that was right, because he thinks bagels don’t make good sandwich bread, because they’re too thick and you can’t get a good bite without scraping your gums or whatever, so he went on this kind of strike and would only put traditional things on the bagels, like smoked salmon and cream cheese, and the manager got mad and asked him what he was doing, and Dale yelled, “I’m not making any more sandwiches,” and so they fired him—unjustly, he felt.

Anyway, the local newspaper heard about the bagel controversy, and they ran a big front-page story on it, along with a big photo of Dale. The caption read,I’m Not Making Any More Sandwiches . And the phrase just caught on around town, and so the guys in the band, to capitalize on the modicum of celebrity Dale had, started calling their band that, and the name just stuck.

Wish I could chat more, but I have a staff meeting to attend. Talk to you later!

Kate

New York Journal

Human Resources Division Staff Meeting

Agenda:

Oh my God, could this be more boring? I can’t believe the T.O.D. dragged me from an e-mail from Mitch for this.

—K

Review of Unlawful Harassment Policy

The Company is committed to providing a work environment free of unlawful harassment.

So. Mitch, is it now? You like him!

—J

Company policy prohibits harassment because of sex (which includes sexual harassment, gender harassment, and harassment due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions)—

Shut up.

You do. Admit it.

—and harassment because of race, religious creed, color, national origin or ancestry, physical or—

Hedid ask me over for dinner on Friday night.

—mental disability, medical condition, marital status, political affiliation, age, sexual orientation—

OVER for dinner? SEXY. It had to have been the skirt. It couldn’t have been the garlic sauce down his pants, now could it?

—or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local law or ordinance of regulation. All such harassment is unlawful. Prohibited unlawful harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following behavior:—

Shut up. God, I hate this. By the way, I said I’d bring dessert. Can I have your lemon-bar recipe?

Does Mitch really strike you as the lemon-bar type? I think he’s more seven-layer cookie, myself.

Verbal misconduct such as epithets, derogatory jokes or comments, slurs or unwanted sexual advances.

Seven-layer cookies are too heavy.

For what? For a little apres dinner—

Visual misconduct such as derogatory and/or sexually oriented posters, photography, cartoons, or gestures, including those accessed or sent via e-mail.

SHUT UP!

How did you know what I was going to write?

Physical conduct such as assault, unwanted touching, blocking normal movement or interfering with work because of sex, race, or any other protected basis.

Because I know you. God, this is so BORING!

You’re telling me. Why is she wearing tan pantyhose? Are we all supposed to believe she went to Aruba for the weekend, and only her legs got tan?

Threats and demands to submit to sexual requests as a condition of continued employment, or to avoid some other loss, and offers of employment benefits in return for sexual favors; and—

She must have run out of nude ones. And I know for a fact that she didn’t go to Aruba for the weekend.

—retaliation for having reported or threatened to report harassment.

I saw her at the Met Saturday night.

If you/one of your clients believe you/he/she have/has been unlawfully harassed, provide a written or verbal complaint. Your complaint should include details of the incident(s), names of the—

Do you suppose she and Stuart went home afterwards and had torrid sex?

Ew! Thanks for the visual.

—individuals involved, and names of any witnesses. The Company will immediately undertake—

Well, that must be the only reason he likes her, right? She has no other redeeming qualities. I mean,she’s a power-hungry, back-stabbing, two-faced uber bitch.

—effective, thorough, and objective investigation of the harassment allegations. If the Company determines that unlawful harassment has occurred, effective remedial action—

The B word! You can’t use the B word on the staff meeting minutes! My God, what’s wrong with you, Jen?????

—will be taken in accordance with the circumstances involved. Any employee determined by the Company to be responsible for unlawful harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary—

Well, you know it’s true. It has to be the sex. She must just give BJODs all day long.

—action, up to and including termination. Whatever action is taken against the harasser will be—

Wait . . . what are BJODs again?

—made known to the employee lodging the complaint and the Company will take appropriate—

Oh, my little Kentucky innocent. Blow jobs on demand.

—action to remedy any loss to the employee resulting from harassment. The Company will not—

EW!!!! Would you stop???? Besides, it’s not like he’s such a great catch himself. I mean, he’s no George Clooney in the looks department, and does he even HAVE a personality?Or a sense of humor? It’s not just anyone that Mrs. Lopez refuses to serve pie to, you know. She’s very discriminating.

—retaliate against you for filing a complaint and will not tolerate or permit retaliation by management, employees or coworkers. The Company encourages all employees to report any incidents of harassment forbidden by this policy immediately so that complaints can be quickly and fairly addressed.

Yeah, well, so’s Amy. And she is not the type to get engaged to anybody worth less than a million a year. I mean, you got that kind of money coming in, you can overlook any bald spot and inordinately small unit.

Would you stop??? Not in the middle of trust games!!!!

I hate these frigging trust games. What the hell are they supposed to establish?

Um. That would be trust. Amongst your coworkers.

Please. I wouldn’t trust Amy to warn me not to cross the street in the path of an oncoming bus. Do you really think I’m going to trust her to catch me as I fall backwards?

That’s not the one we’re doing today. And besides, we’re supposed to be learning them so that we can go around to the different divisions and have them do it. You know. Little trust workshops amongst the staff.

Please. Can you imagine doing the lap sit in Features? George Sanchez would crush everyone beneath his massive girth.

As a Human Resources representative, Jen, you are not supposed to show bias against weight-challenged individuals.

Whatever! George just needs to lay off the Krispy Kremes. Which he wouldn’t be half so tempted by, if the T.O.D. hadn’t fired Mrs. Lopez. Wait. WHAT did she just say we’re supposed to be doing?

Oh my God, you so need to be off those hormones. We’re supposed to be dividing up into groups and building shelters for ourselves—

Don’t even tell me. Using those old back copies of theJournal she’s got lying over there?

Yes. But we aren’t allowed to use tape or scissors.

Motherf******!

JEN!

Seriously, this is the stupidest—

Uh-oh, she’s dividing us into groups now.

I’d better be in your group, or—

To: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Stuart Hertzog <stuart.hertzog@hwd.com>

Re: Ida Lopez

Sweetheart, I have done everything I can to prevent it, but the fact is, I simply can’t get you out of a pretrial discovery conference with Mitch. He is insisting that it be sometime this week, and so I thought tomorrow would be best. . . . That way we can get it over with. And you don’t have to worry, because I’ll be right by your side the whole time.

He wants Kate Mackenzie there, as well. God knows why. I’ve given up trying to second-guess my brother. He is, not to put too fine a point on it, a freak of nature. If it were not for the fact that I remember our mother being pregnant with him, I would suspect he was adopted. I promise you none of the other Hertzogs are like Mitch.

Well, except for possibly my sister Janice. But she’s young enough that hopefully any defects in her character can still be cured.

But like I said, he is a fine, fine lawyer. Remember, I love you, and would never let anyone or anything hurt you.

After the depo, I’ll take you to lunch, anywhere you want to go.

All my love,

Stuart

Stuart Hertzog, Senior Partner

Hertzog Webber and Doyle, Attorneys at Law

444 Madison Avenue, Suite 1505

New York, NY 10022

212-555-7900

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Trust Games

Told you we’d trounce those losers.

J

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Trust Games

Yeah, but, Jen, we’ve known each other since college. The Reception staff turns over every six months. Did you really think they were going to have their house up faster, or that it would be more secure than ours?

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Trust Games

Come on! They’re younger than we are! And we kicked their asses! Even when Amy came by and tied that scarf around your head, we STILL beat them. With one of our team members BLIND!

And what about the Budget staff? Some of them have worked together for YEARS, and we still beat them. WE RULE!!!

J

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Trust Games

I’d forgotten about this competitive side of yours. It’s been a while since we played Scrabble, I guess. It isn’t really a very attractive trait, Jen.

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Trust Games

Who cares? WE WON!!!!! I am telling you, it is only a matter of time until we take over this place, you and me. It’ll be Kate and Jen’s Free Therapy Clinic in no time! Just you wait and see!

J

To: Jen Sadler <jennifer.sadler@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Trust Games

Um, yeah, okay, CALIGULA.

I just got a call from Amy. She wants me in her office STAT. She actually said that. What does she think this is, anyway, an emergency room? Is she defibrillating a heart in there, or just filing people’s 1099s?

I hope we open up Kate and Jen’s Free Therapy Clinic soon.

Kate

To: Kate Mackenzie <kathleen.mackenzie@thenyjournal.com>

Fr: Amy Jenkins <amy.jenkins@thenyjournal.com>

Re: Tomorrow

To review what we just discussed, tomorrow morning you and I will appear at 9 a.m. in the offices of Hertzog Webber and Doyle to be further deposed in the matter of Lopez vs. theNew York Journal. You will be dressed in a professional manner. You will answer all questions put to you in a truthful manner. You will not, however, say anything that could be construed as not reflecting positively on your employer.

This is a serious matter, Kate, and I am counting on you to handle it in that way, and not allow whatever personal feelings you might have for the employee involved to cloud your better judgment.

Amy