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2005-12-27 - 10:40 a.m.

I'm back at work today. My job's pretty stupid. It's the sort of job where there are big stretches of down time, with nothing to do. It's all project-driven, and when there's no proposal, you sit around and wait for the next one to come to you. Right now, I'm wrapping up working on a proposal to deliver behavioral health benefits to the employees of the State of Maryland. My boss decided we won't be bidding on the Miami-Dade County Public Schools business because they're just putting the contract out to bid because they have to, because it's all in the laws and shit. And now I'll be working on something for Albertson's grocery stores. Their main competitor is Stop and Shop. They have 8,000 employees. I know more about Albertson's but wish I didn't.

And that's it. Kathleen sits next to me. She broke her leg a few weeks ago when trying to replace a lightbulb above her front door. So she's out for a month or more. Kathleen and Beverly both have pictures of the late Pope in their cubicles. Beverly's a nice lady--a little bossy for my tastes, a real take-charge-at-all-costs type--who has MS and who seems to invite weekly tragedies into her life. I'm not sure if these last two facts are connected, and if I sound like a jerkface, then I am. But she's always got something going on and it takes up a lot of oxygen in this place. Jacqueline's here, and she's fiesty. Or maybe just tired. Those are at opposites. She's getting older and doesn't want to be here. She owns a townhouse that shares a roof with a dickhead landlord, she tells me. She doesn't use words like "dickhead," but fact is that this landlord hasn't fixed his part of the roof and it's letting water seep into Jacqueline's upstairs bedroom and shit, man, it's just fucking shit up. There is one other man in my office. His name is Phineas. Phineas refuses to give a fuck about shit. He does his job with completeness and everything, but he's leaving at 5 o'clock and he told me that he doesn't cry about work, meaning, he's not going to get all worked up about deadlines and printers failing to work at crucial moments. Phineas has seven children. I asked him about buying Christmas presents for them, and he said, "I don't get into all that, son." He calls me "son," but he calls every guy who comes through here "son." Phineas is the man. He plays a lot of games on his computer. I know because every time I need something from him, and go over to his area, he's playing some sort of multi-colored ball game that looks like pinball but with little colored circles that form snakes.

This weekend, while at my parents' house, I watched the "Lazy Sunday" video of Chris Parnell and the new SNL guy probably six times. It's really, honestly, funny. I really like the way they shout the uncoolest of things:

"I want two,
No, six,
No, twelve,

On Sunday, after we opened presents, my dad took me up to his hunting spot. It's about ten minutes from my parents' house, on Dans Mountain, probably a thousand feet up. I'd been itching for something outdoors, and so this was good. He has a big four-wheel drive pickup, and so the icy dirt roads were no problem. When we got in the truck, I picked up this little package. It was about the size of a can of snuff, but still wrapped in its packaging, the kind similar to packaging for batteries, with the cut-out slot for hanging on a wall somewhere. It was called something like Doe Allure.

"Some kind of masking scent?" I said.
"Oh, this is cool," my dad said. "It's just better than the brand I used to use, Doe Estrus." He removed the container from the package, opened the lid, and, using his thumb and index finger, picked up one of the devices.
"You pull this hook thing up here and then you can hang it on a branch."
The cab of the truck filled with the scent.
"That smells like something called Doe Estrus," I said.
"I know," he said. "Kind of stanky, huh?"

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