I arrive at work in a bit of a stupor thanks to another long night spent manning the phones. Taylor insisted on being on until 3am which meant that my little power nap that I took while Sophie handled the phones did nothing to help me actually catch up on sleep. I rolled out of bed this morning wondering just how long I can ultimately survive on 4-5 hours sleep. There’s no way that one girl ran the phones before me, or if she did, no wonder she quit.
by Sarah Brooke
I needed to talk to Tim at some point about hiring someone else to work part time to answer the phones but with the drama involving Chantal, I don’t want to add more shit to his plate right now. No, for now there was nothing I could do but grin and bear it and hope that my next paycheck would make this all seem worthwhile.
Before opening the door to the townhouse, I take a moment to rest my head against the front door, trying to will myself to perk up enough to be able to talk to the girls in a friendly voice. Taking one long sip from my extra large coffee, I grab the door handle and turn. Nothing. It’s locked. Sighing, I plop down on the step cross legged and start going through my over sized purse, hoping that I remembered to bring the key. The exact moment that my hand finally finds the key I look up and see Tim standing in front of me, hands crossed in front of his chest, looking none to pleased.
“Hello.” he says, his voice deep and unpleasant.
“Hi Tim, how are you?” I look up at him, squinting in the early morning sun.
“I’m just fine. Did you lose your key?” he says, still sounding quite unpleasant.
“No, not exactly. I have it right here.” I say, holding the key up as proof.
“If you had a reasonably sized purse you wouldn’t have had to search for it for so long.” He looks at me critically, one eyebrow raised and before I can stop myself, my eyes narrow at him in agitation. I say nothing and stand, turning on my heel and opening the door with my key. I step into the townhouse before him and kick off my shoes into the closet. He follows me in but keeps his shoes on.
“I’m glad you’re here before the girls, I’d like to talk with you.” He immediately walks downstairs and I take a second to catch my breath before following him. He doesn’t seem to be in a very good mood and I’m not looking forward to whatever this conversation is going to be about. I take my time walking through the hall and down the stairs and when I finally get to the office, I sit in front of him, legs crossed, waiting for the shit that I’m assuming is about to come my way.
“As I’m sure you heard, we had a little problem here yesterday.” he says.
“Yes, I’m aware of that.” I nod my head and wait for him to speak.
“Somehow Ebony found out about what happened and she’s refused to come in today until I fire Chantal.”
“Oh.” I wait, hoping that he continues but instead he leans back and waits for me to speak, eyes staring right through me. “So Chantal isn’t getting fired?”
“Chantal has some serious problems that she is working hard to address. I believe in her ability to get sober and I’ve agreed to send her to rehab and she’s agreed to go.” he says, his voice softening while speaking of Chantal.
“Oh.” I am at a loss. What does he want me to say?
“Ultimately it’s my decision who stays and goes, who is hired and fired. It’s none of the girls business what I’ve decided to do with Chantal. They will work with her and be polite and respectful or they won’t work here at all.” His eyes narrow at me and I nod my head as if I understand. “If Ebony does not show up for her shift tomorrow, she is gone.”
“Okay. Fair enough.” I say.
“And I want you to be the one to tell her this.”
“Me? Why me?” I’m practically squealing. He can’t be serious.
“You act as a manager around here, don’t you? I want you to be involved in the hiring and firing of all our girls. I know you’ve been working hard and that some of the girls aren’t the easiest to get along with. You’ve earned a sizable bonus, at least in my opinion, and you’ll see that on your next paycheck. If you’re not comfortable stepping up to the plate, so to speak, just let me know now.” He stares and waits for me to speak.
“No, no. It’s fine. I’ve just never been responsible for giving someone that kind of news yet.”
“It gets easier every time, trust me. Ebony might think that she is playing a game with me, refusing to come in because Chantal hasn’t been fired, but she isn’t. I’m the boss and what I decide is the law around here. If I didn’t think that Chantal could get better, we wouldn’t be sitting here having this conversation right now.”
I wonder what Dixie is going to think about all this but I say nothing. If she hasn’t spoken out yet, I’m sure as hell not going to bring her into this. “I trust your decision. I don’t know Chantal very well, I just know she can’t behave like that with customers. If there had been clients here yesterday this whole scenario would have played out a lot differently.”
“But there weren’t. We were lucky.” He folds his hands into his lap and looks down at them. “I’m not entirely sure what Dixie is going to think of this whole situation but if she doesn’t show up for her shift tomorrow, she can expect the same treatment as Ebony. I don’t know how they found out about Chantal’s little episode but if Ebony knows, Dixie must know as well.”
I guess Tim has finally chosen between his two escort lovers. I couldn’t help but wince, thinking of how angry Dixie is going to be when she finds out. Although if I personally had to pick between Dixie or Chantal staying, I’d rather have the crackhead. She at least seemed like she could be nice between her drug fueled outbursts.
I debate between biting my tongue and saying nothing about my own involvement with how Ebony found out about Chantal. Should I shut up about it? No. Probably not. Ebony would likely tell him all about how she found out once she discovers that she is heading towards getting fired. I might as well come clean. “I mentioned it to Ebony, in an offhand way. I didn’t really think that she’d be upset by it. It isn’t really her business.”
“To Ebony, everything is her business. At least in her head it is.” He leans forward in the chair, staring intently at me, hands clasped in front of him. “Sarah, would you do me the favour of collecting all of Ebony’s belongings? Bring them down here, put them in the laundry room or in the corner. There shouldn’t be too many of her things, ask the other girls once they come in what belongs to her. If she does decide to quit, I worry that she might cause a scene. It’d be easier if everything of hers is ready to go. I can bring her her belongings if she doesn’t want to come back here.”
Knowing Ebony, I doubt she will take this lying down. I’m still not sure what Dixie will do and I wonder if I should get her stuff together too but I don’t want to mention it and let on that I know about him and Dixie’s complicated relationship.
“That’s all fine. I’ll work on that today. If she shows up and causes a scene should I be worried?”
He pauses for a minute, thinking. “Syndy, Taylor and Maggie are in today. You won’t be alone. I have to leave in an hour but if anything happens, just call me and I’ll come right back. If Ebony or Dixie show up, let me know right away. It could get ugly but there’s no way to know. Ebony tends to have a flare for the dramatic.” He smirks, possibly remembering some time in the past that Ebony had shown this dramatic flare.
I decide to just go right ahead and ask. “Is Dixie going to be upset as well? Did she not like Chantal for some reason?” I try to play as dumb as I can about his involvement with Dixie and her real reasons for her possible anger about Chantal not being fired.
“That’s a little complicated but suffice to say that her and Chantal were not the best of friends.” He says as diplomatically as he can. “Now, I have some work to do. You’re welcome to use the laptop to place the ads for the girls. Maggie isn’t in until noon today and as far as I know Taylor isn’t starting until one. She has an appointment with a regular at two so book her for a half hour at one if you can, but not for any longer than that. Syndy should be in shortly.” He has already started looking at something on the computer, ignoring me.
“Sure. Sounds good.” I grab the laptop and head back up the stairs, staking out a comfortable spot on the couch. I’m lost in my work when I hear the door swing open. My heart flutters for a second, imagining it’s Ebony or Dixie or perhaps them both, coming to start another fight. I hear the sound of boots being kicked off and a moment later, in walks Syndy. She’s dressed in loose fitting jeans and a t-shirt.
“Hey hun, what’s kicking?” She says, removing the headphones from her ears. I can hear the tune of a pop song playing quietly through the headphones but not enough to make out the song.
“Oh not much.” I beckon her over to the couch and she sits right next to me. I bring my voice to a whisper. “Ebony isn’t showing up for her shift today and Tim says if she doesn’t show up for tomorrows, she won’t be working here anymore.”
“No shit!” Syndy says without lowering her voice.
“I’m whispering because Tim is downstairs.” I say, my eyes wide, finger pointing towards the basement.
“Oh!” She says, laughing. She lowers the volume of her voice. “No way, that’s awesome. So he’s not firing Chantal then?”
I shake my head no. “He’s sending her to rehab.”
“Holy fuck, she must have finally got him wrapped around her little finger.” She shakes her head. “I would have thought he’d pick Dixie if he was going to choose either of them.”
“Why? She’s a bitch.” I say, surprised.
“Yeah, and he can be an even bigger bitch. Chantal is so nice and wholesome.”
I can’t help but laugh. “Wholesome? Chantal the druggie?”
“Nah, she’s cool. Once she sobers up and you get to know her you’ll see. She’s not a bad person.”
I immediately feel bad for shit talking Chantal. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to be a judgmental prick. I’m sure she’s awesome.”
“I really thought she was gone this time. Good for you, Chantal.” She stares off into space, thinking. She turns her attention back to me. “Did he mention anything about Dixie quitting?”
“No, not really. I don’t think she’s made a stand or anything.” I say.
“Oh, I can’t wait to see how this works out. Can you put me on the schedule for tomorrow? I have a feeling some shit is going to go down.” A smile spreads across her face and I can’t help but feel a bit nervous. How exactly is this all going to play out?