I leapt for the elevator, too exhausted from the trek across the parking lot to attempt the stairs. A young woman held the door for me without moving her face from the gossip magazine she was earnestly reading. As I slumped against the hairy cowhide wall and croaked, "Four, please," she looked at me. Popping her gum she asked, "Is George Clooney gay?"
"I'm sorry, what?"
"Is George Clooney gay?" she repeated slowly as if I were an idiot or a foreigner.
"I don't know." I spoke back just as slowly because clearly she was an idiot.
When the elevator door opened I sprang out, not even caring if it was my floor. Down the hall in the gloom, Barbara the Second was talking to our creative director, Diana King. Big-boned and sensible, Diana was absolutely unflappable.
Hey," I said by way of greeting, "Some woman on the elevator asked me if George Clooney was gay?”
"What?" Barbara the Second gasped.
"Is he?" Diana, ever practical, asked me.
"I don't know," I snapped. "Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, we don't all know each other!"
Just then one of the Cerberus approached us.
"Say, Theus," she began in her nasally whine. "I was wondering…do you know any single gay men who like to dance?"
"I'm sorry, what?"
“Do you know any single gay men who like to dance?” she repeated.
“He heard you,” Diana interrupted. “He meant, ‘why do you ask.’”
"Oh! Well now that I'm single again, I'd like a man to go out with—you know, dinner, movies and dancing—I love to dance. But I don't want to have sex so I thought maybe you could set me up with a gay guy."
Barbara the Second's eyes bugged out. Diana rolled hers and walked away.
"Um...let me think about that and get back to you," I said, excusing myself.
Later on one of the Admin Assistants whose biological clock was ticking like Big Ben—each period’s arrival, like a missed opportunity, accompanied by the rhythmic cacophony of Westminster chimes—stopped by my stall. "Hey," she began without preamble. "I just heard George Clooney’s gay."
I sort of wheeled around in my chair. "Whaaaa..?"
"Is every man in America gay? I joined a marching band and a choral group so I could meet men and I have but they're all gay! What's that about?"
"You joined a choral group and a marching band and all the men you meet are gay? Really?"
"I know! That seems unlikely doesn’t it? Do you think they're all like lying to me?"
After half an hour, after several dedicated attempts on my part to expel her from my space, she seemed simply to grow bored and left. As I was about to slip back into sanity and solitude a tweet from a West coast colleague came in and put me over the edge. I packed up my laptop and left.
Rebecca Sunnybrook @GClooney#1Fan
Why didn't you tell me George Clooney was gay?
Missed Episode 2? Read it here.
Read Episode 4, The Workplace of the Future, here.
Copyright © 2016 Larry Benjamin
D I S C L A I M E R
The characters and events described in this blog post exist only in its pages and the author's imagination.