|June rushed into the kitchen with the cell phone cradled by her ear, “Yes, I finished the budget plan late last night. Bob...Bob...I have to leave... I'm running late... Yes, I should be there in ten minutes.” She tossed her phone into her purse, grabbed her keys and ran out the door.
Tossing the briefcase onto the passenger seat, she got behind the wheel and turned the key. Nothing happened! Trying again, the engine hardly turned over. Great! Now what? Bob wants me to present the budget plan to the board in twenty minutes! If I don't get there, Stan will gladly step in and do his plan... He wants my job!
Drumming her fingers on the steering wheel, June spotted her teen age daughter’s bike in the garage. Can I ride that bike in high heels, wearing a tight skirt? Sighing, with no other options within her grasp, June walked gingerly over to the bike and groaned out loud, “No basket!”
She made do by hanging her briefcase over the handlebars and straddled the bike as best as she could. Putting one foot on the pedal, she pushed off and wobbled out of the garage. Pedaling down the driveway, she gained confidence, “I can do this!”
Stopping for a car to go by, June noticed it was boring Richard Lake, who thought he was all it in his fancy- smansy Bentley. Groaning when he slowed to a crawl, she straightened her shoulders for his onslaught of teasing.
“Hey June, what are you trying out for, the circus?” His obnoxious laughter could be heard half-way down the block.
Feeling her face grow hot, she proceeded onto her street. Large Elm trees grew thick on both sides of the street, and she hoped they'd block her from some of her other nosy neighbors. June picked up speed as she sailed along as fast as she could, but to no avail…
Sally Newark yelled out some snide remark like, “Get a horse!” Laughing her horrible cackling laugh drew more neighbors out to see what’s so funny. While a few of them looked at June as if she was crazy, others smiled and waved.
“Hey June,” Ann, her close friend, called. “What happened?”
"Can't talk now, I'm late," June waved her off. “See you tonight.”
Reaching Queens Avenue, two dogs gave chase. June could feel her hair follicles standing on end while shivers ran up and down her spine. They’re going to eat me alive! Feeling so exposed to their bared white teeth, she became terrified looking down at their 'hungry as a bear' look. When the Golden Retriever started tugging at the bow on her shoe and the other, a German Shepherd, bit down on her high heel, June almost fell off her bike. She felt her shoe slip off her foot, so she let them have it; at last, they stopped giving chase. Looking back, she noticed they were playing tug of war with her beautiful, expensive shoe. Oh, well, better it than me!
Saying a prayer of thanks, she left them fighting it out. June continue cycling to the next stop sign. As she waited for a Mustang to go by, two teen-age boys in a souped-up car stopped next to her. They gave her the once over and let out a wolf whistle, “Hello Sweet Mama, wanna ride with us?” Shaking her head vigorously back and forth, still trying to recover from the dog incident, June signaled in no uncertain terms with a definite ‘no’ to their offer.
She continued pedaling with one shoe still on. One more block, then she’ll be on Main Street. Turning right, she pedaled past the post office, restaurants and many office buildings until she reached Oak. Coasting to a stop when the light turned red, June waited patiently for it to turn green. Loud whistles from the cars next to her made June jump and she almost dropped her bike. She once again ignored them as best as she could. When the light turned green, she sailed along one more block before turning left onto Oak Street.
This isn’t so bad. Feeling very proud of herself, June started humming to herself and went through a yellow light. She spotted the police car too late, parked at the corner. The cop inside motioned her to pull over.
“You went through on a yellow light," he said as he came to stand beside her.
“Yes, I know! I didn't mean to, but it changed so quickly, Officer.” Great, now I sound like a dumb blond!
“I would suggest stopping on yellow when on a bike,” he warned. “Cars speed through here, you could've been hurt!”
“Yes, I know they do. This won’t happen again.” June promised with a smile.
“Wait here,” he said.
He went back to his squad car and got in. Tapping her foot impatiently, she thought I'll be so late now, what else can happen to me?
The officer came back with a warning ticket. “You didn't break any laws, just be more careful next time."
June gave him a grateful smile, "Yes officer, thank you." She pushed off once more and pedaled the rest of the way to her office building.
June limped into the Federated Mutual Insurance building fifteen minutes late. She went directly to the elevator and pushed the button for the seventh floor. Getting off the elevator she hurried down the hall into the board room. Limping inside, everybody turned to look who came in. There were some surprised gasps, snickers and downright laughter from some of her fellow colleagues, but she pasted on her brightest smile. "Am I too late to give my presentation?"
Her boss, Bob Gunderson, smiled at her, "We've started but...Okay June, what happened?"
“I apologize on how I look... Let’s just say it’s been a bizarre morning. My car didn’t start and I grabbed my daughter’s bike to save time calling a cab. On the way here my shoe got mauled by some dogs, I had some obnoxious remarks and catcalls thrown at me, a cop stopped me because I went through on a yellow light at a busy intersection. As you can see, I didn’t fare too well, but I’m here now.”
“We're so happy you made it; I mean, you always look so all together and perfect all the time, it’s just a little shocking to see you so disheveled,” Amy stated bashfully.
“Actually, I like it. It shows that you are normal after all, you do make mistakes or have bad days,” Stan, who is always so competitive actually smiled.
June looked at the others in the boardroom and asked, “You actually think I'm this way, above it all? I’m normal as everyone else. I have my bad days but I do have to say this morning is the worse. I guess I just didn’t let it show before. I apologize if I come off so perfect, I’m really not. Far from it and I have today to show it. Look at me, I’m a mess!”
Everyone laughed and the tension broke. Bob laughed with everyone else. Clearing his throat, he stated, “This is the first board meeting where everyone's getting along without any arguments. We’ll postpone our meeting until tomorrow. I find we did make a lot of progress today by just clearing the air. June, tomorrow you can make your presentation. Is that alright with you?”
“Oh, yes, thank you, I’ll feel better and more organized,” June gave Bob a grateful smile.
When the meeting adjourned, everyone came up to ask if she’s alright. June assured them that she’ll be fine when she can clean herself up. With the dog saliva all over her foot, her hair all tangled and her clothes in disarray, she felt disconnected. “I’m sorry but I really need to get to the restroom. I can’t take looking like this any longer!”
Everybody laughed good-naturedly while Stan commented snidely, “Hope you won’t change back into an ice princess again.”
“I won’t if you won’t change back into an ice prince,” June shot back.
Oh, oh, all the niceness is gone and these two are back at it again,” Amy shooed everyone back to their offices.
The next day June gave her presentation and Bob liked it immediately, “I can see a lot of thought went into this and I thank you for that. Stan, sorry, this is the budget we’re going with.”
June looked over at Stan and shrugged her shoulders. Happy that all her work didn’t go in vain she gave a big sigh of relief. Today is going to be a good day.