Arriving early to work on Friday, I walked in on a conversation between Housekeeping staffer, Sad Eyes:
and, , a Mailroom lifer.
They were huddled over a printed Firm newsletter, circa 2008, a relic unearthed by Sad Eyes in a bottom drawer of the employee kitchen.
“Oh…look who it is..,” lamented Sad Eyes, pointing at a photo of a youngish man.
“Who?” I asked. I didn’t work there in 2008.
“Benny,” said Return to Sender. “Look. There’s NG, too. Me, Benny and NG. We were friends. We’d hang out and play cards.”
With that, related the story of Benny’s descent into oblivion:
Back then, Benny worked the day shift in litigation support services. One Friday, at the end of the day, Benny left a huge stack of papers for Lazy George to be scanned for one of the attorneys. Lazy George “worked” as the “night staff.”
The following Monday morning, the huge stack of papers remained untouched. Benny was steamed but took the rap. Because that’s the kind of guy Benny was, explained Return to Sender.
In his heart and mind, it seems Benny was nursing a mad crush on
Candy, a secretary in the Firm. So much so, he wrote a song for her.
Which he shared with in the privacy of the Mailroom. This being the mailroom, news of the existence of such a song spread throughout the Firm like a virus.
Of course, got wind of it. She approached Benny and sweetly asked if she could see the song. Hopes high, Benny handed it over.
Unbeknownst to Benny, NG, and , Candy secretly xeroxed the song and then shared it with Judy —
— drama queen and assistant to the Firm’s coke head in residence (“I have sinus trouble” sniff sniff) and future embezzler, a.k.a the Administrator.
At Judy’s bossy insistence, Candy told the head of Human Resources about the song, tossing in a charge of sexual harassment — a law firm’s worst nightmare — for good measure.
(Sidebar: would, months later, herself, be relocated to an office in the Firm’s nether region to avert a catfight between her and a former best friend, Carlotta, as they both competed for the affections of the hot new stud in IT).
But let’s get back to the story of Benny. Benny was outraged over the sexual harassment accusation. He drafted a pages-long letter of resignation, in which he described the injustice in minute detail. He hand-delivered his manifesto to a powerless middle manager, a virtual non-committal human conduit of disaster.
She assured him, “Don’t worry, Benny. It will be okay. I will take care of it.”
She did. And the next thing he knew, Managing Partner Mr. Ed had dispatched two guards who summarily escorted Benny out of the building.
“First he’s accused of sexual harassment and now he has no job!” adds .
Weeks go by. Benny sinks into a deep depression.
Then one night, NG receives a phone call. “This is the police. We need you to come down to the morgue and identify a body. A suicide.”
They called NG because they found his phone number in Benny’s wallet.
NG called . Together, they headed down to the morgue.
“Only four people went to the funeral,” says Return to Sender, wrapping up his story. He shakes his head. “Do me a favor,” he says to me and Sad Eyes. “If I ever collapse while I’m at work, tell them I have a DNR. Tell them I don’t want to be resuscitated because I don’t want to come back this place.”
Translation: deeply regrets spreading the news about Benny’s song and knows there is nothing he can do to fix it.
As for , I’d wager she is sipping mojitos in the Cayman Islands right now, living a life of leisure on the hush money paid to her by the Firm.