(This is a continuing series called “Kissing Frogs” posted every Friday. To get caught up, you can click the “Kissing Frogs . . . so far” link at the top of the page.)
“Yes, thank you for calling me back.” said Tracey, trying to ease the tartness slipping into her voice. She’d been trying to reach her representative at the printers since just before lunch the day before.
“Well I was just heading out for the weekend, but I wanted to return your call. How can I help, Tracey?” came the scripted response.
“Are you looking the digital copy of the manuscript that was approved by our in-house proofreaders?” Tracey adjusted her monitor and clicked the tab to bring up the document in question.
“I have the bound hard copy sitting right here on my desk. I’ve already shut down my computer for the day.”
“That’s okay.” answered Tracey, almost brightly, “I’ll wait for you to boot up.”
“We’ve got a friendly wager on this. Which would you prefer, the wheat grass smoothie, or the espresso bean/chocolate chip blended coffee concoction?” Jack was holding a blended drink in each hand, the condensation from the plastic cups dripping from his pinkies onto the laminate top of Joanna’s reception desk. Joey was leaning on the other end of the raised counter, with a grin on his face. Joanna grinned back and reached for the coffee.
Joey’s grin flickered, just slightly, in surprise and Joanna burst out laughing, immediately switching to the smoothie.
“So what was the bet?” she asked, clearly relishing the wheat grass.
“I get to drink a refreshing over priced chilled blended coffee and he gets to watch,” replied Joey, enjoying his high calorie concoction as much, if not more, than Joanna was enjoying hers.
“And if you had lost? If I had chosen the chemical laden, processed beverage?”
“Then he would have had to drink the wheat grass, and I would have gotten to watch,” replied Jack, his eyes twinkling and dimples flashing.
The scripted politeness had been abandoned for barely veiled frustration as Tracey, firmly, but politely, refused to be pushed off to Monday.
“Okay, so before we begin comparing the digital manuscript to the printed book, let’s begin by reading together the promotional synopsis. You read aloud and I will follow along from my copy. Okay? Go ahead.” Tracey felt a brief flashback to her days as a nanny in college.
“Since the suffragists, western women have found their identity trapped between two impossible ideals. These are not the artificially created “feminist” and “patriarchal submissive” categories . . .” the voice on the other end of the telephone connection read quickly and monotonously.
Tracey’s eyes were faithfully scanning the familiar words when the door to her office gently clicked open and Joanna stepped through. The sight of her casual stance caused Tracey’s already fragile temper to reach almost a boil. Andrew was right. This attitude of Joanna’s wasn’t endearing and casual, it was disrespectful, even subversive.
“. . . so using fairytale to combat fairytales . . .” continued the irritated voice, reading at almost double speed, “ . . . Ms. Free addresses both the princess complex and its counterpart the goddess complex . . .”
“That’s fine.” said Tracey, abruptly, not noticing Joanna slip back out of the room. “You can stop there.”