Dial Tone


Work was what others would consider to be a rough day but she didn’t mind. People walked in crying about this problem and that problem and she just directed them to where their problems could be solved and continued reading her brand new used book. Her comrade at work was not there that there that day, she had taken her Friday off to clean and do things around the house, leaving a very hung over Katryna to man the desk and the phones all day long. Katryna didn’t really mind this either; she had nothing better to do, except maybe sleep.

At some point in the day when it wasn’t quite lunchtime she had gotten terribly bored and did something really stupid. Katryna found a tube of red lip stain inside of her desk drawer. She opened it and, not quite realizing what she was doing, or why; she dabbed- or slathered rather, some of the bright red liquid on her lips and smacked them together. She looked at her reflection in Laura’s compact mirror and the very first thing that caught her attention was her bright, flaming red lips. She tried in vain to rub it off, but knew that her efforts would not get her anywhere because she had made this mistake before. She sighed, shrugged and went back to being terribly bored at her desk.

After getting yelled at by a man named Clarence, she took the giant bottle of germ-x that Laura kept on her desk, and squirted some on her palms. In another instant of terrible boredom, Katryna took some more germ-x and let a glob of it glop on her desk, then took a broken pen and let some ink drip onto the germ-x bubble, just to see what would happen. She was not surprised to find that nothing really happened, no bubbling or fizzing, no chemical reaction, not even an explosion. The ink just sat on the top. Someone called at that moment and Katryna answered to find that it was Clarence calling again to yell some more. Just then, Katryna, in a moment of absolute frustration, smacked her hand on the desk and right onto the germ-x ink blob, causing it to burst. Little beads of ink splattered onto Katryna’s face, and her white shirt, and her chest. After hanging up with Clarence, she looked at her reflection in the compact mirror, and couldn’t help but laugh at her own reflection. There she was with flaming red lips, and little blue dots all over her face, neck, and a particularly dark one on the tip of her already freckled nose.

Pandora radio was playing softly, and Katryna wondered why they have commercials now. Her favorite thing about Pandora was the fact that they barely ever had commercials! That’s okay though, our friend, Katryna didn’t really mind.

It was one o’clock when her head began to throb. Her biological alarm clock rang, telling her that it was time for another café. She wondered if this was just the hang over, or if she really did need coffee. Well, I always need coffee, she thought to herself, as she stared at a client’s mouth watching this giant woman’s hot pink lips smack this way and that, telling Katryna a ridiculous story about how her ex-husband stole her whole entire collection of Disney movies and her coffee maker when he moved out. Katyna wasn’t really listening; she was concentrating on dodging the little spit bombs that were being launched by this over sized woman’s flapping tongue. I really need coffee, she thought to herself after the woman had left.

Katryna walked out of the office and was instantly blinded by the bright Miami sun. Heat waves were vibrating violently from the ground, and tickled her toes. She joined a group of attorneys walking out of the court house, and she couldn’t help but think of the Matrix. They all looked like that “Mr. Anderson” guy. Their cologne was suffocating her, and she wondered why people in Miami feel like they need to bathe in concentrated scents that turn into stench.

She saw a corvette parked on the side of the road and on the bumper was a sticker that said “Hit me! I need the money!” She wondered if this was supposed to be a joke, and laughed at the irony. A group of little people single filed past her; waddling and smiling and talking, and just enjoying the weather. Judging by the fanny packs that most of them wore around their waists, she knew that they were tourists. Katryna asked one of the women where they were from and she said that they were from up-state New York. One of them gave a homeless man five dollars.

She had to struggle through a crowd of Cubans to get to the counter of Diana’s café. She was used to this, and was an expert when it came to getting through a mob of caffeine activated Miamians. The Cuban man in his 70’s, sat on a stool smoking his tobacco, while speaking intently to another Cuban man in his mid thirties. Both of them were wearing guayaberas. Two children squeezed past her, and she enjoyed watching the group of professionals kicking back speaking their Cuban slang while drinking coladas and cortaditos. Some of the men and women smoked cigarettes inside of Diana’s café, which was perfectly fine since all of the windows were open and the doors too. One of the smoking attorneys lit a cigarette for her. She smoked in peace, for the most part. She caught the 70 year old looking down her shirt. She stared at him until he noticed, and when their eyes met, she stuck her tongue out at him and wagged her finger no, no, no.

When she finally got her giant café con leche, she marched back to work. Katryna sat at her desk and drank her café while the down town crazies came in one by one. Her head was still throbbing. One of the crazies pointed out that the road outside was closed.

An hour later, Katryna, being nosy decided to see what the commotion was about. Another jumper. Ay dios mio! But it wasn’t another jumper. There was a camera crew and cars that were way too clean to actually drive the streets of Miami. Katryna stuck around in the hot sun, watching and enjoying. Finally, she was able to ask one of the camera men what this was for and he said that they were filming an episode of Burn Notice. She had only watched that show once; she didn’t watch much TV to begin with. That main actor guy, as she called him, waved at her and flashed a huge, blinding white grin. She waved back and walked back inside.

Waiting for her in the lobby was a massive bulk of a man. He looked really distraught. She sat at her desk and kindly asked him what he needed. He explained his situation to her like this:

“I got married to my partner in Hawaii, and he left me for a transvestite. I need a divorce, but no one will help me. I know that I don’t financially qualify here; I just need someone to point me in the right direction. Mami, let me ask you a lil’ question. Do you think that this makes him straight?”

Katryna stared at him, feeling real sympathy for this man. He was tearing up and his voice was faltering. She did not know what to do but give him the list of phone numbers, and referred him to the Florida Bar. She watched him step into the corvette with the bumper sticker on it.

When the lobby finally emptied out, Katryna started writing this little story. After she wrote her story, she rested her chin on her hands and wondered where she could buy an electronic cigarette for that 12 hour plane ride to Spain, next week.



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