Mr. Spatz made a deliberate show of looking at his watch while shaking his head. He removed a pen from his shirt pocket and began tapping it on the edge of the clipboard he held. "Well, Mister Jenkins, it looks as if you are late again."
Our eyes met for a moment, and I then looked down toward my ten-dollar pleather shoes, as if to say, yes, I am tardy again, and I apologize for my stupidity and pray for compassion and understanding on your part, oh exalted manager of Peachy Burroughs Terrace, Fine Dining at the P.B. Country Club.
"I cut myself shaving and it wouldn't stop bleeding. I practically bled to death. See?" I said, pointing to my shirt.
Mr. Spatz looked at my shirt suspiciously, raising his eyebrows as if it was an elaborate hoax. I knew that he was filling out an EDF (Employee Disciplinary Form) that would require my signature when finished.
I continued with my excusplanation. "I was trying to get the bleeding to stop, which it wouldn't, and when I realized what time it was I rushed over here and in the process forgot my employee identification card." I put my hand to the cut on my chin. The little piece of TP was gone and it still bled ever so slightly. Mr. Spatz shook his head again, his favorite gesture, as if his world was just filled with one unbelievable disappointment after the other.
"I know you know this, but I'm telling you this so that you will know I know you know this. You are on some seriously thin ice around here, Mister Jenkins. This is your third strike. Normally we terminate employees on their third strike, but in your case I am going to make an exception." Mr. Spatz scribbled on his clipboard as he spoke. "I am not going to fire you. I am putting you on probation. You are a good busboy, you work hard, but you are late for work far too often." Spatz stopped writing for a moment and shot a glance in my direction. He eyed my crotch and shook his head again.