Monday, October 15

Business seems to be going well, and I am making steady sales through e-mail. Still weak in person-to-person dealings despite having attended numerous Nyman Group PowerSpeak Workshops. My instructor, Brad, informs me I am often too literal in conversation and need to “lighten up.” Perhaps he is right. I suppose I should have deduced that the “Reading People” portion of the last seminar did not require the purchase of any periodicals. Never will I hear the end of that one.

Still, Brad admonishes me to lighten up? To this I take slight umbrage. I, too, can be light when the situation warrants it. In fact, I already have an “icebreaker” planned for our next encounter at tomorrow’s seminar:

“Did you hear the one about the angry ninja who decapitated his PowerSpeak Workshop instructor?”

I am sure he will find that quite mirthful.

Tuesday, October 16

Was excited to receive new box of business cards today. Upon opening the package and examining a card, however, my joy turned to dismay. Instead of the company template—fall-brown-and-green writing on a lovely beige backing—my deck was printed with italicized white lettering on a jet-black surface, an assumedly “more ninja” representation.

Why do I endure this? Has my job title been changed unbeknownst to me, from “sales associate” to “manager of Swedish black-metal band”? I have made a real effort to assimilate into company culture, only to be singled out at every possible opportunity.

Perhaps it is time to go “ninja casual” and stop wearing the mask. Alas, then I will have to shave daily.

Wednesday, October 17

Arrived at office today to find humongous white banner hanging above reception. In large black words it read: Operation Bring in the Money!

This piqued my curiosity, prompting me to ask salesman Stan about it.

“Pardon me, Stan. What is Operation Bring in the Money?”

“Receivables are getting out of control,” he hurriedly explained. “Too many goddamn customers have overdue invoices, and so, for the next few weeks—or as long as it takes—we’re goin’ after ’em!”

“I see.”

“Actually, we wanted to talk to you about that,” Stan continued almost inaudibly.

“You’ve got … unique talents, Shuruku. There isn’t anything ‘extra’ you could, say, ‘do’ that might expedite the process, is there? You know, ‘extra’?”

Stan ran a plump pink finger across his throat, imitating a sword, then grinned and raised his eyebrows inquisitively.

“Ah, well,” I returned, “no, Stan. My actions are bound by a code of ethics. Gross harm or injustice must threaten the order of the ninja to warrant such a response. I am sorry.”

“I’ve got four front-row tickets to The Lion King this weekend that say you’ll change your mind, buddy,” he teased and walked off.

Already they know me too well! How can I be expected to pass up free tickets to any sold-out theatrical production, let alone the tale of spiritual triumph that is The Lion King? Diabolical Stan Friedman!

You will have your checks by Friday.

Thursday, October 18

Human resources has informed us that we will be switching over to health savings accounts in place of our current HMO. Personally, I am wary of HSAs, for they seem to operate under the frighteningly utopian premise that horrible medical maladies do not befall younger individuals. Although I do not know my true age—I would peg it somewhere around 30 years, give or take 2.5—I am in overall good health, with little reason to worry. But, simply because I am young and healthy, does this guarantee I won’t need, say, an emergency appendectomy? Or that I won’t receive a gaping katana wound through my abdomen? Certainly not, I would venture.

Friday, October 19

Ah, Friday. Doughnut day. I have taken a secret liking to these lard-laden American breakfast delicacies—shameful dietary conduct indeed. For this reason, I must sneak unperceived (who am I kidding?—walk) through the kitchen past throngs of other, fatter salespersons and procure my prized Krispy Kreme lemon-filled glazed. Sweet, tangy delight in every bite.

But there is a problem. The lemon-filled glazed is the favored doughnut of research editor Benjamin as well. Thus, every few weeks or so, like today, when it is his turn to make the trip to Krispy Kreme, the standard three boxes are delivered containing no lemon-filled glazed but rather empty spaces that lemon-filled glazed doughnuts very recently occupied. I suspect research editor Benjamin is a treacherous glutton, and a dickhead.

Though this incenses me, I must remain quiet lest I risk revealing my dark secret. Let Benjamin continue this pastry purloining, I say. He will be sorry one day when he awakens to discover not eyes in his ocular cavities but rather empty spaces that eyes very recently occupied.