This person entered my head one afternoon while driving around running errands.  She must date back to the days when I filled in for the company receptionist while she vacationed in summer and also all the days I failed to show up on time as her relief person because I was busy doing three other persons’ jobs.  I guess it’s also fueled by the frustration my artistic friends have been feeling lately and the aggravation of my super-talented cosmetologist friend who has been answering phones for health insurance for years (and hating it).  (Yes, that person you pay to stand on her/his feet all day to cut and color and style your locks probably doesn’t have health insurance and if he/she does, she/he is likely paying a premium for it out of his/her pay/tips.)

Andie stopped answering the phones at eleven.  She usually stopped at 11:30 for her half-hour lunch — well, she was supposed to stop at 11:30 for her half-hour lunch, but her relief person rarely showed up before 11:45 and she got yelled at by her boss if she wasn’t at her post by noon so she usually just hit the restroom and the vending machine in the breakroom.

She couldn’t take one more request for a person who’d been smart enough to quit three years before or another nasty demand that she find someone with enough money to go on vacation.  She also refused to interpret another insistance that she both write down the message by hand and transfer the caller to the voice mail system in case she got it “wrong.”

She pondered leaving a note telling her boss she was done or typing up a resignation letter giving two weeks’ notice.  She thought worse of it.  In the end, she just grabbed her purse and walked out into the muggy late-June morning and never looked back. She slipped into her car and vanished into the shimmering heat like a smudge on the horizon, a mirage, a trick of the sun-stroked eye.