Duncan & Paulette: Crash Course

Paulette takes off to Austin for a working trip, forcing Ralph to begin fending for himself again. This time, Duncan isn’t tagging along to show her the sights, but he makes his presence felt by leading Paulette into a revealing conversation. Poor Ralph’s world seems to crumble without Paulette. He is a mortgage trader at Lehman Brothers, or was, and has some news for Paulette that spoils an otherwise productive trip and upbeat week.

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: Sept. 10, 2008, 8:20 a.m., EST

From: Duncan Hastings

Subject: Austin

You’re off to Austin for another client meeting? I had no idea. This company sounds like a tiny boutique, barely heard of outside of the region. Is it going to be a quick trip?

***********************

To: Duncan Hastings

Sent: Sept. 10, 2008, 8:30 a.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: Austin

They are tiny, but growing, and are about to be snatched up by a solid regional firm in Houston. Integrating their systems with their future owners isn’t going to be a snap. I’ll be back Sunday evening. Anyway, my brother gave me all sorts of notes about his old haunts in Austin. He went to law school out there, and was tempted to stay afterward. He had a girlfriend, too. But the New York money won out, so he came back East.

***********************

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: Sept. 10, 2008, 8:35 a.m., EST

From: Duncan Hastings

Subject: Re: Austin

What happened to the girlfriend?

***********************

To: Duncan Hastings

Sent: Sept. 10, 2008, 8:40 a.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: Austin

They broke up. She was all wrong for him—and us as a family. She was brash, loud, and whatever education she did scrape up, it didn’t do much to refine her. She was so uncouth, and despite all those things, she had the nerve to be full of herself. My parents and my brother, too, are more mild-mannered people. He needed someone of substance, but genuine and humble. She wasn’t any of those things.

***********************

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: Sept. 10, 2008, 8:48 a.m., EST

From: Duncan Hastings

Subject: Re: Austin

Good G*d. <<She was all wrong for him—and us as a family>>

With your attitude, that poor girl didn’t stand a chance. Do all Jamaicans treat their potential in-laws like that? You sound like some secret, holy order. The Hallowed Barrows.

***********************

To: Duncan Hastings

Sent: Sept. 10, 2008, 8:58 a.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: Austin

Maybe we are. 😉

***********************

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: Sept. 10, 2008, 9:03 a.m., EST

From: Duncan Hastings

Subject: Re: Austin

Now that I know, does this mean you have to kill me?

***********************

To: Duncan Hastings

Sent: Sept. 10, 2008, 9:05 a.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: Austin

Normally, it would. But if you watch your manners, I’ll spare you. Boarding call has started.

***********************

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: Sept. 10, 2008, 8:34 p.m., EST

From: Ralph Simmons

Subject: Call me later

Hey Ginger, what’s up? I know you’re in a lot of meetings out there, but give me a call when you get back to your hotel. I need to talk to you about something.

***********************

To: Ralph Simmons

Sent: Sept. 11, 2008, 8:00 a.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: The Wedding

No, Ralph, I’m not being unreasonable. Why would you ask me to put off the wedding just because you think your company is going under? It’s not like we’re spending loads and loads of money on it anyway. We are on budget, and the wedding is still a year off. That gives us plenty of time to rebound and do a manageable wedding. Putting it off because of money is just crazy.

***********************

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: Sept. 11, 2008, 8:04 a.m., EST

From: Ralph Simmons

Subject: Re: The Wedding

It’s not crazy, Paulette it’s responsible. I don’t know what’s going to happen to my industry after this weekend. What if I get put out of work?

***********************

To: Ralph Simmons

Sent: Sept. 11, 2008, 8:08 a.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: The Wedding

You don’t have to be a mortgage B.S. trader. There are loads of other things you could do. Wesley is calling me, probably about another round of meetings today. And anyway, I have to call Emma. This isn’t final. I also have a say in this!

***********************

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: Sept. 11, 2008, 8:12 a.m., EST

From: Ralph Simmons

Subject: Re: The Wedding

Why do you have to call Emma?

***********************

To: Ralph Simmons

Sent: Sept. 11, 2008, 8:15 a.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: The Wedding

Her BROTHER DIED seven years ago. In the attack. She’s taking her mother to the memorial.

***********************

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: Sept. 11, 2008, 8:18 a.m., EST

From: Ralph Simmons

Subject: Re: The Wedding

He was never identified, officially. We need to talk. I’ll call you.

***********************

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: Sept. 11, 2008, 9:18 a.m., EST

From: Ralph Simmons

Subject: Re: The Wedding

OK. You keep hanging up on me, so I’ll text. In the first place, stop calling my job ‘mortgage B.S.’ It’s mortgage BACKED SECURITIES. You should know that, because you benefit from it, too.

***********************

To: Ralph Simmons

Sent: Sept. 11, 2008, 9:15 p.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: The Wedding

I DO NOT benefit from that job of yours. Lately, I’ve been the maid, the cook and the one to run the errands, too. When you do take me out, it’s always with your greedy friends and their vapid useless girlfriends whining about how the Bellinis weren’t mixed right. All you talk about is your bonus, or getting a better job on a better desk with a better bonus. And for what? Half the time, you blow me off. This is NOT what you said you would do years ago. You were supposed to be in private banking.

***********************

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: Sept. 14, 2008, 9:25 a.m., EST

From: Ralph Simmons

Subject: Re: The Wedding

I’m sorry I upset you, but I just feel like this is the right thing to do. You should see everyone around here. They’re packing up boxes, drinking beers in the conference rooms. I’m doing the same. Let me pick you up at the airport this afternoon after I’m done. I’ll hire a car for myself and then make a stop to come get you, OK? I can’t stand up for long in baggage claim, but maybe we could snag a porter to help us with your bags.

***********************

To: Ralph Simmons

Sent: Sept. 14, 2008, 9:30 a.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: The Wedding

Nevermind!  I can get home by myself.

***********************

To: Ralph Simmons

Sent: Sept. 14, 2008, 7:30 p.m., EST

From: Emma Billingsley

Subject: YOU CREEP, YOU IDIOT, YOU JERK!!!

Why in the world would you put off the wedding?!?! And I found out what you said about my brother. Not from Paulette. She has too much class. You don’t deserve her. If I catch you in the street with that stupid smirk on your face, I’m going to … **REMAINING COMMENTS DELETED. STRONG LANGUAGE.**

***********************

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: Sept. 15, 10:00 a.m., EST

From: Ralph Simmons

Subject: Re: YOU CREEP, YOU IDIOT, YOU JERK!!!

If you **DELETED** I’m just going to call the police. It’s a matter of course.  I’m the one who’s unemployed, thanks to those bozos in Washington who are just fine with letting the financial system collapse.

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