You’re not there?! It’s me. I really need to talk to you. OK. So. I’m just going to tell you. You’re never going to believe this! My division had a really nasty meeting today, I mean shouting, yelling. Well, after the meeting, a guy from marketing—I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned him to you. He’s sort of a creep. There’s also been some talk lately about his wife having some medical problems or something. Anyway. After the meeting, he suddenly storms into me by the water dispenser. I mean he comes at me full force. Not brushes by or bumps into. Or stumbles or lurches into. He charges me. Charges me! Not with his head down, but straight on. He’s about my height and weight, sort of a wussy man. Well, he thrusts his body, like point by point, against me. Knocks me down. On to the floor. He’s on top of me! Our arms and legs crush together and his glasses grind into my nose. His eyes glare right into mine. Can you believe this?! Well. I yell, “Holy shit! What the hell?” trying to push him off. His nose wrinkles up, his nostrils flare. He looks like a wild horse on a battlefield. I keep yelling, “What is the matter with you? What do you want from me?” I struggle to get up, look for others, but no one’s around. And then?! Do you know what he does?! He bumps me back down. “Bloody hell. What’re you doing?” I wheeze; he’s taken my breath away. Mouth wide-open, he screams into my face, “AAAAAAAhhhhh!” “Goddamn,” I whisper back, “What is wrong with you?” Again he goes, “AAAAAAhhhhhh.” “Tell me what you want,” I quiver. He shouts—I’m not joking—“AAAAAAAhhhhh RAISE!” My God! Can you believe this?! Well. I cower. Completely. Groveling, not even pretending to have any dignity; I mean I’m scared, he’s a crazy man. I whine, “You know how it is. Cutbacks, lay-offs, lean budgets. No fat. There’s nothing I can do. My tail is tied.” I crawl to my feet, back up, let him brush off his clothes, smooth back his hair, straighten his glasses. “Maybe next year,” I say, even managing to smile. “Maybe by next quarter, if revenues are looking good.” I try to touch him, take his hand, but he bristles. He shakes his head and—I’m not kidding—a shudder runs down his body, like the crack running through the Tectonic plates. I smile more broadly. “If I could, I would. You know. I’d crow your successes in the field. I’d feed the fodder. You’d get paid for your awesome ability and availability. I’d do it. If I could.” I just keep talking this crap. I’m stalling, gaining my confidence back. Taking time, I pick lint off my yellow suit jacket—you know the knock-off Armani one. I say, “We’re in this field together, you know, playing the same game, both cock-a-doodle-doing.” Can you believe these words cracking out of me?! But he seems like such a chicken now. He bows, shuffling back and forth, his shoes scratching on the linoleum. He spits out something about investing with retained earnings, outside funding, a debt to equity ratio. I nod, rubbing my head. He finally leaves. I go back into my office, straight to my computer. Fire him. I mean, what else can I do? What do you think HR will say? What do you think the chicken will do? OK. So. Call me.