Rush Hour Face

Rush Hour Face
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  • ISBN-13: 9780385901826
  • ISBN: 0385901828
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books


Cart, Michael


Sharon thought I was Japanese. She was leaning over the front desk using the phone, telling her husband not to bother picking up a Japanese/English dictionary on his way home from work. "No sense buying a dictionary when you can go straight to the source," she said, winking at me. Sharon was my temp contact at Ganesis, and the assistant to the CEO. She was preparing to host an international exchange student from Japan for two weeks, and apparently I figured highly in her plans. The student was due to arrive at Logan Airport the following Thursday, a direct flight from the land of the rising sun. Employees drifted by the front desk and I tried to look busy, but since my only task was answering the phone, all I could do was stare blankly at the cubicle walls. I'd been handling the phones at Ganesis every Wednesday for the past five months. Most temps wouldn't accept a gig that's only one day a week, especially on Wednesdays, since it breaks up the week and puts you out of the running for the majority of available assignments. I took it because I wanted a couple of days at home every week to finish writing the last chunk of my novel. It turned out to be the easiest temp gig ever, so I stayed on with it. Until Sharon said otherwise I considered myself scheduled to come in every Wednesday for the rest of my life. Sharon was in her late forties. She was extremely thin, with buggy eyes that made her resemble a grasshopper. She was friendly in a way that was undeniably authentic but still sounded artificial. It was probably her southern accent. The fact that she assumed I was Japanese didn't help my impression of her. I didn't bother clarifying that I was a Korean (albeit one born and raised in the States who can't speak Korean) the first time because at that moment it felt like less of a hassle to just let it slide. She'd made only a few passing references to my "Japanese" heritage since then, and I figured her thinking this wasn't hurting anybody. It had now been five months, and far too much time had passed for me to correct her because it would make me the asshole for leading her on all this time. Now she was asking me to teach her how to speak Japanese. I realized it was a no-win situation, and I had only one option: come clean. Sharon hung up the phone. "I can't believe my luck." She beamed. "You're a lifesaver." Of course I wasn't, but I couldn't help but blush. "I just want to learn the common phrases so we can get by," she said. "I don't think it would be reasonable to expect to learn more in so short a time." "Teach me something now," she said, poking me in the shoulder. I took a deep breath. "Listen, Sharon, I probably should have--" "What does 'Domo arigato, Mister Roboto,' mean?" she asked. I stared at her. "It's not the type of thing I need to learn, but I've always wondered." I mentally played the Styx video in my head, trying to glean some sort of meaning to the phrase. Tommy Shaw--wearing a silver space suit--stood on my brain and frowned down at me. "Well, first of all, in English it's not Roboto. That's Japanese for robot." "Mister Robot? I never even thought of that!" Me neither. "Do you just love sushi, or are you sick of it because you grew up eating it? I could eat California rolls every day of the week." She sighed wistfully. "I still eat it," I said. She stared at me without blinking. "But I guess you could say the thrill is gone." "Same with me and pizza. Okay, let's get to work." "I'm going to need time to prepare. I'll teach you next Wednesday." "Can you really teach me in one day?" she asked. "We'll see," I answered weakly. She made me shake on it. Her phone rang. She folded her hands as if in prayer and mouthed "thank you" to me as sheCart, Michael is the author of 'Rush Hour Face', published 2005 under ISBN 9780385901826 and ISBN 0385901828.

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