I’ve been milking a file for the last two hours, visually undressing JustAss, the redhead sitting across from me, while pretending to actually read a totally irrelevant lease agreement.
The end is near.
There are now as many boxes of documents as there are temps working on this project—four.
The first temp to finish their box will be sent home, and the $45-an-hour gravy train will come to a screeching halt.
In a perfect world, JustAss and I would be the last two temps standing.
But “stretch” is the name of the game at this point. The last documents always get the most scrutiny. That’s how temping goes. And every temp knows it.
The end of the project is like a bizarre game of chicken—the first temp who does something useful, loses.
Unfortunately, JustAss isn’t all that calculating. She’s tearing through her file like it’s the first day, maybe because she doesn’t want to be around for that creepy partner to ask her out again.
I’m trying to find a way to tell JustAss to slow down when Boss Lady enters the room. She scans our boxes. Her eyes land on JustAss, who is nearly done. The jig is up.
“Everyone, it looks like we’ll be out of here by four,” she says. “Don’t forget to have me sign you timesheets before you leave.”
Boss Lady heads for the door, but before she leaves the room, I realize that I’ve been undressing a former gunner.
“I’m almost done with this box,” JustAss says. “If you let me work on their boxes, I think we can be out of here even earlier.”
The other two temps glare at JustAss. The fat temp who looks like Willard Scott looks like he could commit murder.
“That would be great,” Boss Lady says as she leaves the room.
We each drag our feet, but it doesn’t matter. JustAss is a document machine. In mere minutes, she chews up work that could have lasted hours. But as the clock nears noon, I prepare to make my stand. If I can hold out until noon, I’ll have enough extra cash in my paycheck for a PS3. There’s no way a smoking-hot gunner is going to get between me and Grand Theft Auto IV.
I remove the last of the documents from my file box, guarding them with my arm. I read at a glacial pace.
JustAss finishes Willard Scott’s last few documents, and then she finds my stash.
We lock eyes. She reaches for my documents.
“I can take care of these,” I say.
“Don’t be silly.”
I close my arm tighter around my documents.
“What are you doing?” JustAss asks.
“Don’t,” I say.
JustAss won’t listen. She makes a play for my documents, leaving me no choice. I quickly tuck them under my sweater and say, “Come and get them.”
“What the hell is wrong with you?”
I’m about to answer, but Willard Scott comes out of nowhere.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” he asks. “We could’ve milked this all afternoon. They can stay as long as they make those docs last, but we’re all done, honey.”
JustAss tries to protest, but Willard Scott gets up and hustles her out of the room.
“See you around,” he says, letting JustAss exit first so that he can admire her behind.
“All ass, no brains,” he says.
I smile at the last remaining temp, a Korean guy of indiscernible age who stinks of gin and chicken nuggets. He doesn’t smile back.
I’m reaching under my sweater to retrieve the documents when Boss Lady returns. I quickly place them back on the table, but the top page is crumbled. She zeros in.
“What the hell are you doing?” she asks.
I start to explain, but she cuts me off.
“These documents are important,” she barks. “You should know that.”
I stammer, trying to find a way out, but she grabs my documents puts them back in the box and tells the Korean guy to finish up.
“You’re done, temp.”
I hand her my timesheet and she crosses out the last hour, putting me $45 in the hole. Then she escorts me to the elevator, and I say goodbye to BigLaw… until the next time.
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.”