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“Erin, I have a job for you.”

Eris rolled her eyes and sighed in annoyance. 

Connie had worked with her for two years and still couldn’t remember her name.

“Connie, my name is Eris. Err-ris. Like Iris but with an E. Not Erin.”

“I thought that’s what I said.” Connie shrugged. “I’ll get it eventually. Keep reminding me.”

Eris bit back the snappy retort about branding her name backwards on the woman’s forehead so she would see it whenever she checked her reflection, which seemed to be every minute. She said, “You mentioned something about a job.”

“Yes. We just picked up a very, very rich client with a nice-sized collection. He wants it appraised and cataloged for insurance purposes. I mentioned your name as one of my best catalogers.”

Probably the wrong name, Eris grumbled mentally.

Like every other client Connie had ever referred Eris to, she would have to explain in a professional manner that Erin wasn’t her name and Connie was a flake who couldn’t seem to remember that fact. 

Connie said, “I’ve already sent over Pete, Chad, and Michael so they can start.”

Eris let her head drop against her desk with a loud thud.

“What? What’s that for? You don’t want the job?”

“Connie, the collection has to be cataloged first. The geeks should be the last ones touching them, not the first.”

“They said the same thing, but they went anyway.”

“They probably wanted to get a feel for the collection.”

As if on cue, Eris’s desk phone rang. She picked it up. “This is Eris.”

“Eris, I have a call from Pete for you,” the secretary said. “He said you wouldn’t mind him interrupting.”

“It’s okay. Put him through.”

“Hold, please.”

The phone beeped and music played for a second then Pete’s voice came on the line. “Hey, Eris, this is Pete. Has Connie talked to you?”

“She’s here now.”

“Good, then you know about the new job.”

“Yes. She said she sent you and the rest of the geeks out already and you went. Why?”

Pete laughed. “We didn’t. We called the client and let him know we couldn’t start until tomorrow. Right?”

“I’m almost finished with this last project. Thank God. So yeah, tomorrow sounds about right.”

“Yeah, we just let Connie think we were going out there. We headed for lunch, and now we’re at the shop around the corner for market research.”

“Market research, huh?” Eris rolled her eyes. “You guys are so bad. So, we’re set for tomorrow then. I’ll let you guys get back to it, and I’ll see you there in the morning.”

“See ya.”

Eris hung up the phone then said for Connie’s benefit, “That was Pete. He let the client know they couldn’t start without me, and I’m not available until tomorrow. We’ll be there bright and early.”

“So long as they informed the client, and he was okay with it. This is a very, very rich man.”

“You said that already.”

“He has a nice collection and may even invest in the company if we impress him. That’s why I’m sending you and the best of the geeks… I mean, of the grading department.”

“Connie, just call them geeks like everyone else. You aren’t insulting them. It’s okay. The geeks of the world have reclaimed the word and made it mean something good. Well, not negative at any rate.”

“It’s not professional, and I’d hate to slip and call them that in front of a client. Here”—she placed a file folder on Eris’s desk—“is the client info and the directions to his estate.”


“I mentioned he is rich. People with that much money don’t live in houses. They live in estates or mansions. It’s three miles to his front gate once you leave the highway, and that’s all wooded land with call boxes every few hundred feet.”

Eris flipped open the file and scanned the contents. “You estimated four months, and he’s paying commuting costs.”

“Yes, I insisted on that. His collection is much too large to send here, so you’re going to it. He suggested the group of you simply board there for the duration, but I talked him out of it. There’s too much chance one of you would do or say something unprofessional that might insult him. You know these rich people. They are very sensitive about the oddest things.”

“Uh-huh. Well, the geeks and I will endeavor to uphold the company image and finish our job as quickly and accurately as possible.”

Connie patted Eris’s shoulder. “Good girl. I knew I could count on you. Keep me posted on the progress and have fun.”

Something about Connie’s tone made Eris think she’d missed some important detail, or Connie hadn’t told her something. She would find out tomorrow morning. Hopefully, the feeling was a false alarm and nothing to worry about. Knowing Connie the way she did, Eris would hope her feeling was wrong but prepare for the worst-case scenario all the same.