At one point she knew when her eyelids were getting heavy and would be impossible to keep them open. Soon as she realized this, Phoebe changed positions in her chair. Exhaustion ran through every vein of her body, but she was determined to get through this very long day.
“…And furthermore, we have seen a seventy percent improvement in the turnaround time…” the co-owner of P&B Communications LLC, Madeline Porter said into the speakerphone across from Phoebe to Lansing’s FIA office. Her heavily made up face was picture perfect.
Unlike Phoebe, who stuck to eyeliner and a light shade of lipstick, Madeline prided herself on covering every centimeter of skin from her hairline to almost her collarbone. Phoebe couldn’t imagine the job the woman had to do every morning and every night.
“I do commend your staff on the fine job, Madeline, but there are reports that we are still missing,” Leslie Cross, supervisor of the Lansing FIA office said over the speaker.
Madeline motioned for Phoebe to begin taking notes. “How many?” Madeline asked.
There was a brief silence, before Leslie responded with, “Seventeen to count. Phoebe has done an excellent job as your new manager finding the other two hundred.”
Phoebe immediately straightened herself at the mention of her name and looked at Madeline trying to seem as alert as possible. Looking through her folder of many notes, she pulled out a specific list. “Leslie, I spoke with, Kyle, your assistant yesterday. Eight of those aren’t on our system. Five of them were partial dictations that were dumped and the rest were purged off our system due to the time delay. I know this is an inconvenience for your doctors, but we have found over eighty-five percent of the reports that were lost due to the system shut down.”
This was an old subject. Three days before she was hired the recording network had shut down due to severe electrical power outage. The server was literally struck with a bolt of lightening frying the main drive. What had saved them was that the back up hard drive had dumped all of its files onto the C-drive of the tower, due to current pulses directing the information in the wrong direction. It was supposed to dump it back in the main network hard drive to replenish it.
The day had been saved when Phoebe went in the C-drive by mistake thinking it was the main network and recovered all the information. She never told anyone it had been a mistake, she just said she had a hunch.
The prior manager had been fired two days prior for losing the majority of reports from another account and mismanaging the office.
Madeline Porter immediately promoted her to office manager and Phoebe had benefits for her kids.
Next, Phoebe was aiming for a car, but needed every paycheck to pay her bills her ex-husband had decided to run up using her name and other personal information. Phoebe was just lucky she had never given Daniel Newby their children’s personal information too or he would have tried to make their credit bad like he had done hers.
After the meeting was over, Madeline wanted to discuss other things, but Phoebe had millions of other things to do. Still she sat there and took notes while Madeline rattle on about things. When that was over, Phoebe immediately got back to work. Simon poked his head in her office at lunchtime. “Eat yet?”
She looked up at his innocent yet charming face and smiled, “No, but I had some peanut butter and fruit?”
“For lunch? Are you still on that diet?”
“No pain no gain,” she said, now concentrating on her computer screen as she answered as many emails as possible. “Yes, I’m practicing control over food, plus that was all I could grab this morning.”
“How about some soup, my treat?” he suggested.
“I guess. Make sure it’s not tomato and bring me wheat crackers, not saltine.”
He winked a light green eye at her and disappeared.
She sighed sitting back and dialing her home. Her mother, Patricia Green answered as expected. “Hi Mom. I’m going to be working late again.”
“Again, Phoebe? I thought we agreed to a three day a week late hour. This is number five this week and I know she’ll make you work the weekends.”
“I know, but this is important, Mom.”
“It’s always important.”
Phoebe sighed not able to give her mother a good excuse. “I promise I won’t do it again, but you know how I’m trying to catch up from the last manager, who was the one responsible for not doing their job and I want to make a good impression to Ms. Porter.”
“I think you have gone above and beyond making a good impression to your boss,” Patricia snipped more to herself. “Alright, I’ll pick up the kids. You be careful and if you need me to pick you up, just call. Don’t take the bus home if you don’t have to, Phoebe.”
Phoebe wouldn’t dare use her mother for just a ride home from work when she could catch the bus right in front of her home from Downtown Detroit where she worked.
As she replaced the receiver and got back to work, she was glad her mother was there for her. They were best of friends more than anything.
After Daniel left her six months ago – six months after she had the twins – to go his own way since there wasn’t any more money from her father’s inheritance left. Phoebe had been distraught over being left alone. He had simply been using her, yet that had been her life story.
Mike, her high school sweetheart, had used her for the car her father had gotten for her in high school. When Mike had wrecked the car, he left her.
Harris, a college sweetheart, just needed a place to stay for free and someone to pay for all his music equipment. After that he left.
Daniel, who had convinced her to marry him, had used the twenty thousand dollars she had gotten from her father’s trust fund after college expenses were paid for had used it to buy his car, his clothes and new women, then left her.
That had been the last straw for Phoebe. She had decided to hell with men and devoted her time to raising her children. No other man would ever use her unless she got something in return for her own self.
Deceptive Nights – Chapter 1 (2005) Sylvia Hubbard