PATRICIA and MR. THROCKMARTEN exchange various workday platitudes.
THROCKMARTEN – Another day another dollar.
PATRICIA – I hate Mondays.
THROCKMARTEN – I am not a morning person.
PATRICIA – Sic semper tyrannis. Also brought you some of my victory fudge.
THROCKMARTEN – No! Hooray! I am a fan of fudge.
PATRICIA has a seat at her desk. She shifts some papers around, then begins to type. MR. THROCKMARTEN has a seat at the edge of the desk. As he talks, PATRICIA continues to type. The two never make eye contact.
THROCKMRTEN – Patricia. How was your weekend?
PATRICIA – Fine. I got a check from Cash to Gold. I didn’t like the amount, so I’m sending it back.
THROCKMARTEN – I bought a blanket with sleeves so that I can stick my arms through AND stay warm at the same time. For instance, I can sit on the couch while wrapped in a blanket but still have a cup of cocoa. Or, I can sit in a chair while wrapped in a blanket with sleeves and still totally enjoy a cup of tea.
PATRICIA – I discovered candy covered sunflower seeds. Yummy.
THROCKMARTEN – That’s… good. Look, I need those affidavits from the Carlson —
PATRICIA – On your desk in triplicate.
THROCKMARTEN — …and the papers from the Allen —
PATRICIA – Filed on Friday with the county assessor.
THROCKMARTEN – Good, good…
PATRICIA – With copies sent to Vanhouten and Stephens, the return receipts filed in accounting.
THROCKMARTEN – OK, OK …
THROCKMARTEN begins to walk away.
THROCKMARTEN – Carry on, then… Great work…
When he has almost made it to the exit, he runs back…
THROCKMARTEN – Who invented—
PATRICIA – Grand Wizard Theodore invented turntable scratching by mistake while trying to turn the volume down on his Technics turntables back in 1975.
THROCKMARTEN – God damn you, you’re the best administrative assistant ever!
PATRICIA finally stops typing.
PATRICIA – Ah, ah, ahhh… I’m a secretary. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
THROCKMARTEN – Right… That thing in my office is not doing what things that do what that thing does, does.
PATRICIA – I’m on it, Mr. Throckmarten.
He watches her leave, and then stealthily goes through her purse.
THROCKMARTEN –(to audience) I wanted to go to art school, but ultimately my parents decided that a grown man should not go to college to learn color theory and foreshortening, but instead should attend a prestigious academy. An academy where I sailed through on my last name while consuming as much alcohol as humanly possible and fucking as many shy and retiring girls with academic scholarships as I could. They all fell in love with me because I was handsome and rich, and I used them all because I was handsome and rich.
I’m an adult now, and I am not at all proud of what I’ve done. As a matter of fact, I am sure that my behavior in college — which was mainly some ass-backwards way to get back at my parents — is the reason I cannot find true love now.
He closes the purse.
THROCKMARTEN – Once, Patricia had a pair of panties in here. I took them. She had to know it was me, but she never let on. That’s professional.
THROCKMARTEN quickly returns the purse, as PATRICIA enters.
PATRICIA – Mission accomplished, sir. The thing is doing stuff again.
THROCKMARTEN – Thank God. What would happen without you, Patricia?
PATRICIA – The world would end, sir.
THROCKMARTEN – Indeed it would. Great fudge, by the by. Great as always.
PATRICIA – Thank you, sir.
THROCKMARTEN begins to leave, then addresses the audience again.
THROCKMARTEN – I know I’m not really in love with her. What I fell in love with was her sincerity. I’ll probably make a move on her and totally compromise our beautiful work relationship all for the sake of some awkward one-night stand that will be more humiliating and sticky than passionate. But, I’m too stupid to think about the consequences right now.
Patricia pays attention to me and knows about me better than I know myself. Whether or not she actually cares is moot, because she is better than anyone I’ve ever actually dated. I don’t love her yet, but I love... the idea of her. Maybe I can learn to love her...
Stories by J'Mel Davidson appear in every issue of Birmingham Weekly. Write to email@example.com.