“Hi boss,” she greeted, walking in and draping her handbag on the back of her small secretary’s chair by her desk. “What’s on the schedule for today” She looked at Dan expectantly with a broad smile. Dan smiled back, glad to see her. She was dressed in a black business suit with a frilly blouse and high heels. Her shapely body notwithstanding, her size and higher pitched voice reminded Dan of a little girl playing dress-up and made him feel protective of her in an irrational way. She gazed at him with big brown eyes, head cocked slightly to the right. “You o.k.?” she asked when he did not answer immediately.
“Yeah, sorry. Just thinking about what needs to be done. I’ve been working on the new program proposal. Take a look at what I have so far. Can you read my handwriting?” He handed her the handwritten report he had been preparing. “I’d like to move on to preparing the syllabus for the courses.”
Katie took the papers Dan offered and said, “Geez, your handwriting could use improvement. Buy yeah, I can read it.”
“Too many years taking too many notes too quickly. I’ll be glad to translate anything that’s unclear – if I can read it myself, that is,” Dan replied laughing. “No joke, I sometimes have trouble, so please do ask me. Think of it as a puzzle” he added smiling.
“I’ll type it up. I assume you want this in WordPerfect?”
“Yes, please, Katie. I’ll need to take a copy on floppy disk home to finish it this weekend after I do some required research that needs to be incorporated, but it will really help if you can transcribe what I have so far. Meantime I’ll work on the syllabi and get those to you as I finish them.”
“Okey dokey,” she said in her sweet voice, turning and walking the few steps to her desk to boot up the Compaq. Within a minute or two, she was busily typing, stopping from time to time to puzzle over Dan’s inscrutable handwriting. She was done long before Dan completed the first syllabus for the word processing module, printed a copy of the proposal, formatted a floppy disk and copied the file to it, labeling it as New Course Proposal. She then put the hard copy and the floppy disk in its Tyvek sleeve in a file folder labeled New Course Proposal and placed it on Dan’s desk.
“What would you like me to work on while you complete the syllabi?” She asked.
“Gosh you’re efficient,” Dan replied. “I’ll need the desk copies of the books I ordered to create the weekly reading and self-paced assignments. Would you mind going to see Mr. Chang to ask if the books arrived? They should be here today.”
“Sure. I’ll be right back” She said and left.
Dan reviewed her work and was amazed at how quickly she had completed it and without any errors. She did not ask even once for clarification about his sometimes nearly illegible scrawlings and still managed to get everything right. “Simply amazing,” Dan said out loud, shaking his head and smiling.
As she walked back into the office carrying a cardboard box with the books Dan had been waiting for, she noticed him still holding the documents she had given him in their labelled file folder and smiling broadly. “Is everything o.k. as written?” She asked.
“It’s perfect, Katie. You’re wonderful. I’m amazed you could actually make out everything I wrote without a single question. I don’t know if I could have done that without guessing. But you got it all right.”
Katie responded, “No biggie. I could make out anything that was a unclear from the context. Your writing is not that bad—I’ve dealt with much worse.” She responded, blushing slightly. “So, what should I tackle next?”
“Just take a bit of a break while I finish the first syllabus. Now that I have the books it won’t take me long to do these since I know the subject matter very well.” Dan answered.
“Time goes too slowly if I just sit here like a lump on a log. I’ll do some organizing of the filing cabinets if that’s all right with you. I noticed a lot of files don’t have labels and some just seem to have been thrown in without any thought as to organization.”
“Suit yourself. But feel free to go get yourself a cup of coffee—of just take a break” Dan replied.
“No need. Just let me know when you’re ready for me to type the syllabi as you finish them.” With that, she set to work on the files that Dan knew could use reorganizing. He smiled as he surreptitiously watched her getting on her tippy toes to reach the tallest file cabinet drawer.
“What are you smiling at,” she asked while she continued working.
“Oh, just thinking about tomorrow. I have a great deal to do, but I don’t know what I’d do without your help. I really appreciate having you here. You’re quickly making yourself indispensable.” He looked at her as he said that and noticed her blushing again. Then he felt guilty about embarrassing her and felt his own cheeks grow warm, hoping she did not notice. If she did, she said nothing.
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