“Tales of a Scorched Coffee Pot” — Chapter 101

Jason McGathey
8 min readJun 18, 2022

After some five odd months working for the guy, they’re beginning to decipher some of Todd’s behavior. Which isn’t to say that this makes it any less weird. One of his first orders of business, right around the time of the kitchen construction, was to tell the once-a-week cleaning lady that her services were no longer needed, explaining to the rest of them that they couldn’t afford it. No backup plan was ever established, however, which means it’s basically implied that the regular office personnel were going to be chipping in to clean up the place. Excepting Todd and Fred, of course, and probably Vince as well.

Most of the other guys have the attitude that they’ll keep the men’s room stocked with paper, and anything else they stumble across that’s needed there or elsewhere, and will clean up after themselves, therefore attempt as much as possible not to make a mess in the first place. But the line pretty much ends there. By default, in this endless game of chicken, this means that either Vicky or Valerie, bless their souls, often either metaphorically or actually throw their hands up in exasperation, and eventually resign themselves to tackling the more substantial cleaning projects. Why either of them would ever feel pressured to clean the men’s room is anyone’s guess — none of the males save Todd would ever dream of asking them to — but something about the prospect of leaving it alone seemingly bothers them.

“You’d think the ladies’ room wouldn’t be so bad,” Vicky once tells Edgar, which might partially explain why she’s willing to clean, “but no, it’s always just as disgusting as the men’s room, and usually even worse.”

He thanks her for doing so, but still, Edgar’s not about to undertake one of these massive cleaning projects himself, not unless Todd comes around and asks him point blank to do so. Thus far, however, he has limited any pointed demands like this to Valerie and Valerie alone. From virtually day one he all but came right out and told her, “mmm, you’re my personal assistant now, that’s your job,” for which the construction of the secretary’s desk made a telling symbol. Therefore, she is tasked with, among other tasks, any of his many Dr. Pepper related requests.

Chief among these is making sure the kitchen refrigerator is eternally stacked with a…