Fiction Friday, Daren Chapter 5

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Welcome to the ongoing saga of whatever story we are telling right now It’s Friday. Let’s do something else for a few minutes…

“Hello,” Briana answered sleepily.

“Hi boss, it’s Daren. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, especially since I have to wake you up to deliver it, but there’s something wrong in the equipment room and I’m afraid it’s too hot for the equipment. I don’t think it can wait until morning, let alone through the weekend and I thought you should know.” Daren swallowed. That went well, actually. Less babbling than he expected. If Daren was his own boss, he wouldn’t be upset at Daren. He might even offer Daren a raise. Probably not, though.

“I was afraid of that,” Briana grumbled. “The fan didn’t help enough, did it?”

Daren was so glad he hadn’t mentioned the fan yet or he might have ended up back-peddling to justify his comments as to the questionable veracity of that plan. “Oh, you set that up? I’m sure it helped some but the boxes collapsed.”

“Ugh. So much for creative thinking on the fly. Too much fly and not enough creative. Or thinking. Was anything damaged?”

“Just the fan. It was noisy, but that’s about it.”

“Serves it right,” Breana scoffed. “Saves me from having to shoot it myself. I can’t believe I thought that might work.”

Daren laughed. “You asked a room-fan to cool the boiler room of a steamship—you know that, right?”

“No, Clyde did, I just took his word for it without engaging my brain because it was one more thing on a Friday afternoon and I didn’t want to deal with it.” Breana cleared her throat. Clyde was the building manager. He was not an Engineer, nor a designer. He wasn’t even really a real estate investor, he was the grown son of a real estate investor who would hopefully be passing the company to his daughter soon. She had to be an improvement, sight-unseen. “I told him something was wrong with the AC or the ducts because the office was fine but the equipment room wasn’t and he said the best he could do was Monday. The fact that I got him to come to the office at all was a miracle, so when he carried in that fan from his truck I rolled my eyes but I let it go.”

“So, now what?” Daren asked. “Calling Clyde will go to voicemail—it always does—so he won’t even hear it until it’s too late. Is there some emergency clause that lets us call someone and take it off of the rent or something?”

“Right. I’ll submit those receipts into the bottomless round bin next to Clyde’s desk. Besides, who do you call for something like this? If there was water on the floor I’d call a plumber, sparks from an outlet is the electrician. The guy I call for the AC is Clyde because it goes through the entire building and not just our office, and the AC is cold, just not in that room.”

“So, who are we going to call?” Daren tried to sound serious, but the joke was obvious.

“Oh, hardy har, Mr. Midnight. Later than. Wait, why are you even there?”

“Working was working, so I kept doing it.”

“Well, your lack of a social life probably saved us, so thank you. Maybe you can take an extra day off next week or something.”

Daren beamed. It wasn’t a raise, but he’d take it. “We have that maintenance contract for the equipment. The problem isn’t the equipment, but I think our Engineer would want to know anyway, and he might have a suggestion.”

“Good call. Can we call now, though?”

“It goes to his cell. He works in tech. These things happen. If he isn’t taking night-calls, I’m sure he diverts the calls after hours. Either he’ll pick up because he’s available or it will go to voicemail because he isn’t, and either way it doesn’t really bother anyone.” Daren didn’t mean to pause for effect, but the pause was effective nonetheless. “I think we have to call now.”

“Fair enough,” Briana said. “But I don’t want to take advantage of Phil. If there’s any after-hours charges or whatever, fine.”

“You know Phil?”

Briana smiled—Daren could hear it through the phone. “Everybody knows Phil. Where have you been?”

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