brykmantra @ FlickrBeep. .... Beep. .... Beep. .... Peter stared aimlessly at the heart monitor above his wife’s hospital bed, watching the green lines zig... then zag. Then zig... then zag. It was calmingly hypnotic, especially after five long hours of sitting by her side in the cardiac unit, waiting around for test results.

Suddenly, the steady pace of beeps increased and Peter snapped out of his daze. Looking around, he spotted the culprit: the doctor was in route and was making his way towards the bed. “I just wanted to let you know that we’re still waiting on the final enzyme analysis,” the doctor said as he flipped through papers on his clipboard, “the first tests were… hmm… inconclusive. So, it shouldn’t be much longer.”

This might have brought Peter’s and his wife’s hopes up, except for the fact that the doctor said the exact same thing forty-five minutes ago. And forty-five minutes before that. Suspecting it might be at least another forty-five minutes, Peter got up and headed towards the vending area. He had hoped a Reese’s Cup might assuage the fact that his wife was sitting in the hospital and showing all the signs of a heart attack at the young age of 37.

As he reached down to grab the peanut butter cups from the candy machine, his cell phone rang. Instinctually, he reached towards his hip, flipped open the phone, and put it towards his ear, answering with “this is Peter speaking.”

“So how’d it go?” the voice on the other end questioned.

“Wait,” Peter was completely blindsided and had no idea why he picked up the phone, “I’m sorry, who is this?”

“It’s Deborah Franks,” she said questioningly, “you know, the recruiter? You interviewed my candidate today? I was curious how it went?”

“Look, Deborah,” Peter responded, “now’s just… uhhh… not a good time. I’m actually at the hospital right now, and we think my wife has had a heart attack. How about we table this until Monday, assuming her condition improves?”

“Okay… but surely you can tell me how you feel about the candidate? I mean, he’ll want to know when things are going to happen.”

“Quite frankly,” Peter said, annoyed, “this is the last thing on my mind right now. I’ve been at the hospital all day, and we still need to figure what to do about our kids in day care. Your candidate can wait.”

“But it’s a Friday,” she insisted, “and I hate leaving these go all weekend. It’s not like I’m asking for a decision, just a hint as to how things went and when you’ll decide.”

“We will not discuss this now. I have to go be with my wife.”

Deborah scoffed, “you know, you’re being very rude you know, not answering any of my questions!”

By that point, Peter hung up his phone and walked back to his wife’s hospital bed. In the few minutes he was away, the nurse had carted over an EKG machine and was running yet another test. “Hmmm,” she said in a concerned voice, “we’re still seeing some abnormalities. Now that’s not necessarily bad, but it’s inconclusive. We’ll have to see what the doctor says, but you may want to plan for an overnight stay.”

Not knowing how long she’d be at the hospital, Peter kissed his wife goodbye and headed towards their car so that he could go home and pick up some overnight essentials. As he walked through the parking lot, his phone rang again. More cognizant of the situation, he first looked at the Caller-ID to see who was calling him: it was the in-laws, which was good news, because they might be able to pick up the kids from day care. Peter answered with a more casual greeting.

“Uh, hello?” the caller responded, “this is Jeremy Franks, Director of Finance. Hey listen, did you receive a call from our recruiter, asking about one of her candidates?”

Peter looked down at the phone again. Whoops. The in-laws phone number ends with 7634, not 7364. Not exactly sure why a director of his company was calling him – nor wanting to jeopardize his relationship with a director – he responded affirmatively.

“You gonna hire the candidate or not?” the director abruptly asked.

“I don’t know,” Peter answered, “probably not. Why do you ask?”

“Huh? Probably not? Then why didn’t you tell my wife then!?”

And then it clicked. Deborah Franks. Jeremy Franks. Clearly, he had upset the wife of a director. “Sir,” he played defensive, “I told Deborah that I was in the hospital with my wife, who may have just had a heart attack. It didn’t seem like the approp–”

“You upset my wife,” Jeremy cut him off, “she’s eight months pregnant!”

“I uh… well, I told her it could wait until Monday, given the situate–”

“She told me that you didn’t answer any of her questions!”

“No, I didn’t,” Peter explained, “and the fact of her pregnancy was irrelevant to me, as I do not know your wife and you didn’t mention it the single time. Did I mention my wife is–”

“Don’t get smart with me,” the director barked, “do I need to remind you that I’m a director of this company, and you’ve only been here three months?”

“You just have,” Peter said, and then hung up. He almost immediately regretted doing that, as getting sacked might put his family’s health insurance at risk. Still, he had more important things to worry about, and he just wanted to focus on getting through weekend.

Fast forward two dreadfully long days, and Peter returned to work to face the wrath of a scored director. To his surprise, he faced something else: in his inbox was a letter of apology from his boss, along with a note from the CEO. Apparently, Jeremy’s outrage and blatant nepotism didn’t sit too well with the CEO, and as a result, Jeremy “was moved out of the company.”

As for Peter’s wife, she made a full recovery. And rumor has it that Jeremy found his way to a tech start-up with a role at the “bookkeeper” level instead of the “director” level.

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