The supervising associate wants to know why I’ve only reviewed half as many documents as the other temps, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want to hear that my snail’s pace can be attributed to my obsession with the thongs Swiss Miss has been wearing to work this week.
“You need to get into gear,” Task Master says at the end of my shift. “What’s with you?”
I tell him that I’m having trouble focusing, which is technically true because no temp can really focus on the steady stream of mind-numbing documents BigLaw belches out everyday.
“Trouble focusing?” he asks, his voice thick with incredulity.
“Yeah,” I say, knowing that it’s not the monotony of my day that has me falling behind.
“Don’t bullshit me.”
I nod my head, and debate the merits of explaining that I can’t take my eyes off the whale tail created by Swiss Miss’ ill-fitting slacks and her penchant for dental floss-style underwear.
“I’ll do better tomorrow,” I say, hoping that I will, but knowing I won’t—not if Swiss Miss wears another thong.
“That’s not good enough,” he says. “I need a reason. I mean if you’re sick or if you don’t understand the assignment. But I need a reason. Otherwise, I’ll have to let you go.”
The reason is that I’m a sucker for public displays of lingerie. I lose all focus when confronted by frilly lace panties and silk unmentionables. The sight of her thong, the arch of her back and the tantalizing promise of an ass that hasn’t been turned into cottage cheese by years of humping a BigLaw desk are better than HBO.
“You’re getting along with the other temps, right?”
I can’t even picture the other temps. When I close my eyes, all I can see is that whale tail—two strips of soft fabric arched over the kind of ass only girls at TTT law schools have.
“The other temps are fine,” I say.
“Okay,” he says with a sigh. “Speak now or never.”
“You’re really going to fire me?” I ask.
“Yeah,” he says. “You’re not getting your work done.”
I look over at Swiss Miss’ chair. I squint, trying to visualize her whale tail one last time.
“One of the female temps wears thongs to work,” I say. “It’s very distracting.”
“Doesn’t seem to be bothering the other temps,” he says.
I point to Swiss Miss’ workstation and then back to mine. “I’m the only one who can see.”
“So, your excuse is that you’re a pervert? You spend half your day ogling this woman’s ass, and you think that’s a reason I should keep you?”
“It’s not her ass, it’s her whale tail,” I say.
“You know, when you can see a woman’s thong riding up over her slacks,” I say. “It’s called a whale tail.”
“Where do you get this stuff?”
“So, what do you want me to do?”
“You could fire her,” I say.
“Just like that,” he says. “Throw her under the bus?”
“She’s going to distract the next temp you put in my chair,” I advise.
“You really want me to fire her for wearing a thong?”
No, I’d like you to leave me be so that I can get back to studying a killer whale tail.
“I guess so,” I say.
“So, it’s kill or be killed?”
I stare at Task Master and try to determine if he’s a moron. The associates they put in charge of temps usually aren’t that bright, but this guy is unbelievable. Of course, it’s kill or be killed. Temping is an every-man-for-himself proposition.
“I’d like to have my cake and eat it too,” I explain. “I’d like to pull down a good salary and spend my time at work fantasizing about the support staff. But I’m a temp, and sometimes that means making tough choices. So, if it’s between staring at her whale tail or paying my rent, I’m going to have to go with rent.”
“Maybe you should’ve thought of that before you slacked off,” Task Master says.
“So, you’re firing me?”
“Looks that way.”
Task Master takes my badge and escorts me to the elevator.
We ride down in silence.
When we reach the lobby he points me to the door. I take three steps before I decide to make a bad situation worse.
“Just so you know, I did manage to get a fair amount of work done on the night shift.”
“I know,” he says.
“Well, there were no distractions at night.”
“The girl with the thong was running around drinking beer with that temp who looks like Bea Arthur,” I say.
It’s a lie, and I hate throwing Bea Arthur to the wolves, but when one temp is sent back, the agency blames the temp. When a group of temps get returned, the agency blames the client and just sends in the next batch.
As I walk out of the building, I leave a voicemail at the agency about how difficult this particular firm is.
The next day, TemPimp calls me back, grumbles something about the assholes at the firm that just sent me and a handful of his temps packing, and then tells me I have another interview next Monday.
Kill or be killed.
Temper(a)mental is written by a real legal temp. He has a license and a law degree. We checked. He’ll continue to post his “thoughts” in between doing “your work.”