“It will be on the 11 o’clock news,” woman calls out of work with excuse hours after apartment fire

Mary Duncan

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*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.*

When I was younger I worked at an international pancake house and became best friends with one of the other waitresses, Amy. After meeting each other and working together for about six months we were joined at the hip and when she offered me a room in her apartment so that I could move out of my parent’s house for the first time, I jumped at the chance.

Amy and I had a blast at work and on our days off together. We did literally everything together - grocery shopped, went to the Laundromat, had dinner together, went to each other’s family’s houses on holidays. We were the closest platonic non-couple you’d ever meet.

The thing that really sucked and annoyed us though, was that we never had time off together on the weekends. We worked all the same shifts, Thursday through Sunday nights, and if there was something going on on a weekend that one or both of us wanted to go to, it just couldn’t happen. Our boss would let one of us take the night off, but not both.

I’ll never forget the night Amy and I came up with an elaborate lie so that we could both have the night off of work. We called in and told our boss that we had gone off-roading in the woods in Amy’s Jeep, had gotten stuck in a mud pit, and were waiting to get towed out but it might be hours.

He was furious with us, but couldn’t really argue because he believed we were telling the truth. Also, at least we called in. Doing a no-call / no-show was an instant firing, and that’s what we thought was going to happen to our coworker Tanya.

One Saturday night Tanya didn’t show up for work. She didn’t call, she didn’t show. My boss tried getting in touch with her, calling over and over, but her phone just rang without being answered.

Finally, Tanya called hours after her shift was supposed to start.

“There was a fire in my apartment building,” she explained to our boss, and he scoffed at her, telling her that’s quite an elaborate excuse for trying to get out of work without calling in.

“It will be on the eleven o’clock news,” she said, and hung up on him.

Sure enough, at eleven o’clock we snuck into the break room and turned on the TV to see Tanya on a stretcher in front of destroyed building, being treated with oxygen for smoke inhalation.

From then on, my boss would believe any excuse people had to call out - as long as they took the time to actually call.

Hi, I hope you enjoyed this story! I am a freelance writing single mom trying to create a better life for me and my daughter through words. If you enjoyed this, please consider leaving a small donation: https://ko-fi.com/maryduncan

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I write about relationships and parenting, life, society, people, and sometimes also beer.

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