Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Prologue From "Line 21"

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            “I need an extension.”
            “I’ve already given you two.”
            “Please, I’m asking you as a close family member. You know what I’ve been going through for the past couple of months.”
            He thought about it for a few seconds, gave an audible sigh, and said, “Okay. Because you’ve been the only one in the family who still speaks to me on a regular basis in spite of what I do for a living, I will give you until Friday evening to get me the money. That’s five days from now. Otherwise, I take what they want. Understand?”
            “Perfectly. Thanks a lot, Uncle Rudy. This really means a lot to me. I won’t let you down.”
            “You better not, because I would really hate to do to you what I do to everyone else.”
            Gulping hard, she said, “I promise.”
            “That’s my niece. I’ll talk to you on Friday at my usual place. Take care.”
            “You too.”

            Jeannie hung up the phone and thought about what a mess her life had become. Her company had downsized her about a year and a half ago, and between the unemployment and the severance pay, she was just barely making ends meet. With no permanent job prospects on the horizon, her lazy boyfriend decided to break with her when she told him he had to start paying his own way. Money had gotten to be so scarce that she was forced to take out a loan on her motorcycle. Since her credit wasn’t very good, she had to use an acquaintance of her uncle’s to secure the monies.
            He really didn’t want to do it, because he had a lot of respect for her and Rudy, but by using her natural assets, she was able to wear down his resistance to the point of not only getting the loan, but getting it on her terms. Initially, she made her payments on time, which was due to being able to supplement her dwindling monies with the occasional temp job, but that fell by the wayside and soon thereafter, became tardy with her payments.
            The tardiness finally got to be so bad that her Uncle Rudy had to step in and deliver an ultimatum: money by Friday or face the consequences. She shuddered at the prospect of what would happen if he was forced to do to her what he normally did everyone else who was late with their payments. Still, she was appreciative of the fact that he thought enough of her to give her a five day window to get current with her payments. What bothered her now was how she was going to raise two thousands dollars by Friday evening.
            Sighing, she pulled out the afternoon paper and stretched out on the park bench. As she was perusing the want ads, taking notes and circling potential job opportunities, somebody sat down next to her and began whistling a lively tune. Intrigued, she looked up to see who was whistling and was surprised to find a rather doughy looking young man tipping his baseball cap to her.
            “Hi there.”
            “Hi yourself.”
            “Great day to be out at the park, isn’t it?”
            “Not if you got problems like I do.”
            “Oh? Sorry to hear that. Anything I can do to help?”
            “Not unless you know where I can come up with two thousand dollars by Friday.”
            “Ouch, two k is a serious chunk of change. However, I may be able to help.”
            “Really. By the way, my name is Ken.”
            “Jeannie. So what kind of help could you possibly give me?”
            “Well, for starters, here’s my card.” Ken pulled out a small blue and yellow business card and handed it to Jeannie.
            Jeannie took it and read the contents. “Ken Epee, Line 21 Productions. So Ken Epee of Line 21 Productions, what is it that you do?”
            “I help good looking men and women use the vast potential of their beings to earn the maximum amount of money that they’re entitled to.”
            “Come again?”
            Jeannie thought about Ken’s last comment for a moment, then went wide eyed. “Not on your life. I’m not that desperate. I have morals you know,” and went to hand the card back to Ken.
            Ken held up his hand and said, “I know you do. But sometimes we can reach a point in our lives where we ask ourselves, ‘Am I doing the very best for myself and my family? What can I do to stave off the bill collectors, foreclosure, bankruptcy, welfare?’ If you got the attributes, why not use them to your advantage?”
            Jeanie scrunched up her face and said, “I don’t know, this just doesn’t sound right. It sounds….”
            “Dirty? Of course it is. But if you approach it like a business, then you can rise about the dirtiness and make a good living at it. Look, there are plenty of good looking women like yourself who are doing it in other parts of the adult entertainment industry. Pole dancing, stripping and lap dancing are just a few segments of the industry that people are making a good living at. The movie industry is just another segment that can specialize in whatever turns people on. You’d be amazed at what people get their rocks off on. So why not take full advantage of it? Besides, you said it yourself, you need to come up two k by Friday, and I’m assuming that if you don’t, something bad will happen, right?”
            Jeannie shuddered again, and said, “Something very bad.”
            “Well alright then. Look,” Ken took the card and scribbled an address on the back of it. “Be at this addy tomorrow by nine sharp, and I promise that we’ll find something for you that will maximize what you got, and from the looks of it, you got a lot to maximize. Besides, what do you got to lose?”
            “My self respect.”
            “No, you’ll always have that. Remember what I said, if you treat it like a business, then you can rise above the dirtiness. Don’t let it own you, you own it, and by owning it, you’ll always have that self respect. Nobody can take that from you. Nobody.”
            Jeannie watched as Ken pulled out his cell phone to take a call. Giving her a quick four finger wave, he got up and walked towards the park entrance and in a matter of minutes, disappeared from sight. Sighing, she took the card and read the addy on the back, before sticking it in her jeans and turning her attention back to the help wanted ads.

            Jeannie spent the next couple of hours reading, but not comprehending, the help wanted ads. Every time she tried to take notes or make phone calls, her mind kept going back to the business card that Ken had left behind. Every time she got distracted by that card, she would take it out and study it for a couple of minutes, before returning it to her pocket. The distraction soon got to be so bad that she finally packed up her newspaper and went home.
            Even at home the card was still a distraction, because every time she got to thinking about her current situation, her mind kept wandering back to that card. Finally, six hours after Ken had left his card, Jeannie decided to have a long talk with her symbiont.
            The first thing she did was to make sure that the front door was locked. On her way to the bedroom, she grabbed a chair from the kitchen and placed it in front of the full length wall mirror. She then went to the window and closed the curtains and was about to take a seat in the chair, when her symbiont popped in and started giving her what for over the prospect of doing adult movies.
            ‘So, you think you got what it takes to do adult movies?’ asked her symbiont.
            “Yes. I believe I do have what it takes to do adult movies. After all, I got the looks and—“
            ‘Doesn’t mean a thing sweetie, because you can’t even wear something like a tight T-shirt, because heaven forbid someone might compliment you on your natural assets.’
            “Excuse me? I have you know that I’ve worn tight T-shirts before.”
            ‘In your apartment doesn’t count. It’s out there that counts and if you’re gonna do adult movies, you’ll really have to flaunt everything.’
            “So how hard can that be? I can flaunt them just as well as anybody else.”
            ‘How hard can that be? I can’t believe you just said that. You can’t even get nude in the daytime unless you’re getting ready to take a shower, and as for sex, pfft.’
            “That’s a lie and you know it.”
            ‘Okay. Prove me wrong by taking off your shirt and bra.’
            ‘You heard me. Take off your shirt and bra. Better yet, strip so we can get a good look at that fantastic bod of yours.’
            Jeannie hesitated for a moment, but that hesitation was all that her symbiont needed to prove her point. ‘Loser. I am so out of here.’
            “Oh yeah? I don’t recall asking your permission to do what I see fit with this body of mine. If doing adult movies gets me the money that I need in order to not wind up like one my uncle’s deadbeats, then so be it. Furthermore, I’m gonna prove just how wrong you are about me being ashamed of flaunting it.”
            Jeannie grabbed the chair and flung it out of the bedroom. Giving the mirror a couple of hard taps to get her symbiont’s attention, she then took a couple of steps back and sat on the bed. She then untied her sneakers and threw each one at the mirror. Lying down, she sucked in her stomach and unbuttoned her cutoffs and started to take them off, but then changed her mind and simply kept them on.
            Sitting back up, she untied her blouse and after taking it off, threw that at the mirror. By the time she was ready to take her midriff off, her symbiont decided to reappear.
            “About time you showed back up. So I’m afraid to flaunt it, eh? Well, take a look at these ebony pearls.”
            Sticking a couple of fingers underneath, she quickly pulled off her midriff and showed to her symbiont what had to be the shapeliest ebony pearls that anyone had ever seen. She tapped them a couple of times so as to air them out, then after blowing the mirror a kiss, walked out of the bedroom to spend the rest of the evening getting used to parading around topless without freaking out.
            She first went into the kitchen to grab some leftover Chinese from the fridge, and when she opened the door, the blast of refrigerated air gave her body a major shock, as goosebumps instantly appeared on her arms and chest. Shivering, she grabbed the leftovers and a bottle of beer and strolled over to the living room. Turning on the big oscillating fan, she then sat down on the couch, grabbed the remote and spent the rest of the evening pigging out on leftovers, chilling out to the sensual stylings of 70’s Chicago Soul and finally falling asleep on the couch.
            Around midnight, her symbiont poked her head into Jeannie’s mind to see how she was handling being topless. After observing her latest dream for a few seconds and turning a deep shade of red, she quietly stepped all the way in and took control of Jeannie so that she could get her to bed.
            After a couple of false starts, in which Jeannie kept falling back onto the couch because she couldn’t quite coordinate the legs properly, she finally was able to establish a good rhythm and within a minute had her in the bedroom. It took another minute to get her tucked in and when she felt that Jeannie was back in regular sinus rhythm, quietly stepped out, gave her a kiss on the cheek and disappeared back into her world.

(c) 2012 by GBMJr. All rights reserved

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Customer Service That Seriously Bites My Junk

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New Year's weekend 2011. Saturday December 31st to be precise.

Being in a shitty mood due to the fact that my friend (to whom I'm forever grateful for) told me about a little something that happened earlier in the week, the absolute last thing I wanted to deal with was someone telling me no.

So while I was out making a food stop at the local supermarket to pick up something for dinner, the wife calls and asks if I could pick up a prescription for the son at CVS on my way home. Naturally I asked how much was it going to be, simply because his meds have high co-pays (brand name + no generic = high co-pay), so naturally she told me that it would cost me an Andrew Jackson.

None too thrilled about this, I nevertheless agreed to pick up his prescription.

I walked up to the pharmacy and said I was here to pick up a prescription for my son. They asked for what, I said I had no idea for which one, all I was told that it was on hold and ready for pick up.

A couple of minutes came and went and they said that they couldn't find the 'script. So I called up the wife to tell her that and she said they had it on hold since Thursday (two days ago). So I relayed this to the pharmacy tech.

Another couple of minutes went by and I get called over to the drop off window. The head pharmacy tech proceeds to tell me that because the doctor wrote the 'script with refills, by federal law they weren't allowed to fill it and that I needed to get another 'script.

I went ballistic.

I slammed my hands on the counter (wrong move) and basically said something like this: "What do you mean I have to get another prescription?! How the hell am I supposed to get another prescription on a Saturday? What the hell am I supposed to do when my son runs out of his meds?! You guys knew about this error since Thursday and yet you didn't have the fuckin' intelligence to call us about it?!"

Her response to my wrong move was to step away from the counter and ask me if she should call the police because she was feeling threatened. Imagine, her asking me for permission to call the police.

I continued going ballistic, mostly because this was the second time in one calendar month that CVS pulled this bullshit. Last time was Thanksgiving weekend and I was forced to purchase six pills totaling $40 so that my son would have a particular med through the weekend until we were able to talk to his doctor on Monday.

Her response to my continuation of going ballistic was to ban me from ever having a prescription filled there.

My parting shot before storming out of there was, and I quote: "Go fuck yourself."

I spent the next couple of hours at home waiting for the police to show up. Fortunately for me, they didn't. However, during those next two hours, the wife (who is the voice of reason whenever I go this ballistic) was on the phone to Caremark (the company that handles the prescription plan for the State of Connecticut, which is actually a subsidiary of CVS) and to the doctor on call trying to get things straightened out.

I will admit that my response was seriously over the top and wickedly inappropriate, but the reality of the situation is that CVS sat on an incorrect prescription for two days and didn't think it was necessary to call us to let us know that there was a problem with it, thus creating a potential serious medical issue that was completely avoidable.

Overall it was a pretty tense weekend, but the son and us came through remarkably unscathed, which made us proud.

There was a decent ending to this predicament. They eventually filled the prescription, I was able to get Caremark to send me a claim form, we filed a complaint against this particular CVS with Caremark and we're moving all of his prescriptions to a 24 hour CVS located in the next town.

My friends, this is a good example of extremely poor customer service. Having a customer go nuclear because you didn't make a simple phone call to let him know that there was problem with a prescription of a highly regulated narcotic and instead waited until the holiday weekend to tell him shows everyone that you have serious issues in performing the duties of your job.

However, I will give major props to Caremark for effectively handling this particular situation and taking the time to work with us in a good faith attempt at solving the issue at hand.