Smells Like Temp Spirit

Bitter Temp Guy Columns, Lawyer

The supervising associate, a.k.a. Boss Lady, is a pretty woman with an olive complexion who never thought her JD would grant her dominion over a team of hopeless losers.

Somewhere Boss Lady took the wrong step inside BigLaw. Maybe she fouled up an important brief or just failed to suck up to the right partner.

She should be buried in motion practice or destroying an opposing witness on cross. But instead, she’s trying to explain to a sleepy-looking temp standing next to me that he shouldn’t come to work smelling like gasoline.

“Sorry, I spilled gas on myself when I was filling up this morning,” Smelly Temp says.

His explanation doesn’t help the smell, which has already made two temps puke.

“Can you change?” Boss Lady asks.

“But this is my shift,” Smelly Temp protests.

Boss Lady just glares at him. It’s the kind of glare that says, “How dare you turn me into some kind of glorified Wal-Mart manager. I graduated magna cum laude from Stanford and made Law Review at UVA. I AM BIGLAW, AND DON’T YOU FORGET IT, MISTER!”

“I can’t have you smelling like gasoline,” Boss Lady says. “You’re making people sick. You’re making me sick.”

“But I need the hours.”

“You need a shower,” A nauseous-looking thirty-five-year-old Korean temp says.

“You smell!” another temp shouts, opening up the flood gates as twenty temps begin to yell.

You stink! Clean yourself up! 

“I think they want you to leave,” Boss Lady says.

But instead of giving into the crowd, Smelly Temp turns the work stoppage into a bizarre game of chicken.

“I’ll leave if I can stay on the clock,” he says.

“No chance,” Boss Lady counters.

The shouting continues, as the pungent smell of petroleum begins to seep in my digestive track.

“I’m going to be sick,” I tell Boss Lady, who tries once again to shame Smelly Temp into leaving.

“I need the hours,” Smelly Temp says. “I can’t afford to miss work.”

“Seriously, this guy is making me sick, you’ve got to do something,” I say.

Boss Lady stands between me and a trash bin, and I stumble toward it, ready to heave.

“It would be cheaper to pay me to go home and change,” Smelly Temp says, folding his arms in stoic protest.

Boss Lady shrieks, demanding that I find a restroom. Then she looks at her temps. We have nothing better to do but shout. Shouting breaks the boredom. Smelly Temp has become the must-see event of the day, and Boss Lady knows it. Worse, she knows that nothing will get done until Smelly Temp takes his gasoline stench home. She has been beaten.

“Be back in one hour, Smelly Temp.”

“With pay?” Smelly Temp asks.

“With pay,” she says.

Smelly Temp gets up, points a fleshy finger at me and says, “Witness.” Then he leaves to change his clothes on BigLaw’s dime.

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