I know the sweetest three words in the entire English language:  “Jan owes me.”

With this whole mess about hiring a new office manager, she’s up to her eyeballs in paperwork.  I’d have guessed that the head of HR would understand how much work is involved in the new hire process.  And I guess she hasn’t made many friends at Corporate, because no one’s giving her any help.  I watched from the hallway as four different people (including Tom) went into her office for something only to run back out seconds later amid a flurry of Jan’s barbed insults.  I guess it wasn’t not going so well.  In steped Miss Order-and-Detail.

“Hello there, Jan.  Wow, that’s quite a pile of paperwork!  I bet you need it all filled out before the new office manager can start, huh?”  Okay, so I was twisting the knife a little.  C’mon.  It’s Jan we’re talking about!

Well, of course she let loose with a new string of obsceneties that do not bear repeating here.  Let’s just say that when she was done, I dangled the carrot.

“Okay, okay.  No problem. I’ll leave you alone.  But I just thought you might appreciate a little help with all those tedious forms.  But if you’d rather I leave …”

“No, no.”  She was all sugar now.  “If you want to help ….”

“Well,” I baited, “I’m very busy, but maybe I could spare a couple of hours to help.”

She seemed about to smear me with more charm, but then stopped, realizing.  Suddenly it was all business.  “Okay, toots.  How much is it gonna cost me for you to do all the work?”

“It’s gonna be expensive.”  She cocked her head slightly.  “You’re gonna owe me one.”  Her shoulders fell.  But all the same, she turned around , gathered up what was unquestionably a massive stack of papers and forms, and handed them over to me.  Taking them from her, I turned to go back to my desk, where I’d plow through them with my usual efficiency and rectitude.

As I left, I stopped in her doorway.  “We have an understanding then, yes?”  The great Jan, knowing defeat when it came knocking on her door, nodded silently.  And so I departed, knowing that I now had one of the most powerful favors in the entire office to call in whenever it suited me.

Oh yes, it’s going to be a very pleasant summer, I can tell already.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a few last forms to complete.

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