“Hello, operator. I need the police. I was kidnapped by a lunatic and taken to a hotel. I managed to escape, and I’m in the stairwell. I don’t know the name of the hotel but it’s near the Seattle skyline.”
“Oh, my. Are you hurt?” the operator asked. Her matronly voice was filled with concern.
“Not really,” I said, forgetting the blow to the head. Probably because I’d taken a blow to the head. “But the guy is definitely a lunatic. I’m not saying he should spend his life in prison for this, but a short stay in a nice cushy mental institution would probably do him a world of good.”
“Can you describe him to me? Is he white, black, Hispanic...”
“He’s Christian Grey.”
There was a long pause at the other end of the line. “Christian Grey the hot billionaire who uses his enormous wealth to fight world hunger? The man with the giant yacht with a landing pad for his helicopter. Time Magazine’s sexiest billionaire under thirty Christian Grey?”
The operator hung up.
I sighed and started to dress myself while skipping down the steps two at a time before I dialed again. A younger voice answered. “911. What’s your emergency?”
“You have to help me. I was kidnapped by Christian Grey.”
“Yeah, and I’ve got Tony Stark tied up in my closet,” she said before she hung up too.
I tried again. This time a man answered. “911, what is your emergency.”
“Please help. I’ve been dragged against my will to a hotel penthouse somewhere near the Seattle skyline.”
The man groaned. “By any chance, does this have anything to do with publishing mogul Christian Grey.”
“Yes!” I screamed. “Do you get a lot of these calls?”
“Only from you.” He said in a curt voice. “These lines are for emergencies only. You do realize there are people with legitimate life and death emergencies and they can’t get through while you tie up lines with your prank phone calls?"
“This isn’t a prank!”
“Suuuure it’s not,” he said, and hung up.
I sighed and continued rounding down the stairwell until I was nearly to the ground floor. It was no use. Nobody was going to believe me. The sad fact of the matter was that when it came to lil' ole me vs. a famous billionaire, nobody was going to err on the side of the girl who works at Party City. And it didn’t help that millions of women would mortgage their houses to bid on his used Kleenex on ebay. Why, he could probably cut me up me and serve my corpse for dinner and the papers would report me as the crazy woman who climbed into Christian Grey’s oven.
I finished dressing and made one last call to Peter Footlong. Seeing how this was mostly his fault, the least he could do is give me a ride home.
Shari popped open another bottle of white Zin as I described my harrowing adventures to her. She was dressed in a pair of old jeans and a white top and was placing things into boxes in preparation for her move to NY. With her family contacts and her 4.0 gpa, she’d managed to land a job with the New York Times, pending our upcoming graduation. Since I had neither credentials nor influential friends, my post graduation plans involved staying as quiet as possible in the hopes that Shari’s family would forget that I was still living there without her.
“So you kicked him in the balls and ran out of there?”
“Good for you,” she laughed. “I wonder if this is going to help or hurt our chances in the contest.”
I gave her the stink eye. “You dropped out, remember?”
She shrugged. “That we did, but Christian Grey seems to have selective hearing when it comes to us breaking things off.”
“Isn’t that the truth.” I said and reached for more wine.
“By the way, you got a letter from Seattle Independent Publishing.” She said. "It’s on the end table."
I picked up the embossed envelope from the highly polished walnut under Shari’s tiffany lamp. “Must be another rejection letter. If it were an offer, they would have called or emailed.”
“Yes, but weren’t you telling me that the Jack Hyde guy who interviewed you was a real strange guy?”
“No,” I said as I tore it open. “I said he gave me the creeps. There’s a difference.”
Shari stopped and raised an eyebrow at me, so I explained. “The guy’s in his forties and married, but he hovers around some barely legal intern named Ana and stares at her ass whenever her back is turned. Nothing weird about that. But he’s not someone I could see myself working for either.”
Shari smiled as she taped a box shut. “Hey, seeing as how he’s already got both a wife and a girlfriend, you’re probably safe.”
“Well I’d say it’s a moot point since, in his words:” I whipped out the letter. “Dear Fannie: It was a geniune pleasure talking with you. In light of your impressive interview and qualifications we would like to offer you a starting salary of $75,000--”
I froze as Shari started jumping up and clapping. “Oh, Fannie! You got the job! Congratulations. When do you start?”
I read the letter again just to be sure I wasn’t seeing things. “I’m not.”
“Huh? You’re going to turn it down?”
“Absolutely. This is way too weird. Since when can a small press outside of New York pay its entry-level editors that sort of money? Even the big New York houses don’t pay their entry level editors a living wage and I mean, think about it: they have Seattle and Independent right in the name of the company just in case someone might be confused into taken them seriously." I crumpled the letter. "This can’t be on the level, it’s probably a front for some drug ring.”
Shari pouted. “So you’re not even going to check it out? It could make for an interesting article at the very least.”
I shook my head. “I think I’ve had enough excitement for the month already.”
I was wrong. I did end up working there. But in my defense, I had some pretty good motivation.