FREE BREAK. (Billiards) An opening break shot in which a wide spread of the object balls may be achieved without penalty or risk.
As originally envisioned, this trip to the bar was supposed to include the whole sales team, including Josh-- who, okay, isn't really in sales, but it feels like he is, because he has a much more hands-on approach to management than Michael ever has-- and if Jim is pressed to admit it, he'd been counting on Josh being there to smooth things over. He doesn't really know these people all that well yet. Josh was his transition guy. When Jan had arranged the transfer, the three of them had gone out for cocktails together; and even though Jim doesn't know Jan very well, and by extension knows Josh even less well, Josh is still his strongest connection to the Stamford office.
Instead, Jim is at the bar with Andy, the wind-up doll who walks like a man, and Karen, who he's pretty sure still doesn't like him. He can handle them, of course-- dealing with people is something that comes easily to Jim-- but he's been handling them all week, and he'd really rather... not. His last Friday night had involved soft porn on Showtime and a pizza that had arrived half an hour late and without any of the toppings he'd wanted, but he's pretty sure that cold veggie pizza and enormous fake boobs on TV were still better than this.
"You wanna know about my first sales job?" Andy asks, continuing a conversational thread that Jim thought they'd dropped out of sheer boredom about ten minutes back. "Educational videos. The stuff they bring out when there's a substitute teacher, you know, like science shit about how elephants mate, or the flight of the bumblebee--"
"I think that's music, not science," Jim says. He catches Karen smirking into her beer across the table, and chalks up a point on his mental scoreboard.
"I think I'd know, Jim," Andy drawls, rolling his eyes. "The thing is, I'm telling you, until you have sold some piece of crap anthroplo-- anthropology video about China or whatever, you haven't felt what it's like to be a real salesman." He leans in, lowering his voice like he's talking about state secrets. "The thrill, you know. The sheer power of convincing someone that they need something that is really not worth the money. Dude. It is..." He inhales, and holds the air for a majestic second, shaking his head slightly as if he might cry. "...Awesome," he concludes, and wiggles his eyebrows. "Better than sex."
"That's... very informative," Jim says, trying not to contemplate what this says about Andy's sexual experience. "Wow. I had no idea."
Andy points his index finger at Jim like a gun and makes a snicking sound with his mouth as he cocks the "trigger" back. "You'll learn, Tuna," he assures him. "Don't you worry."
Karen is immersing herself in the bar menu with far more concentration than a photocopied list of fried appetizers should merit. "You guys wanna order some nachos, or something?"
"Absolutely." Jim grabs another copy of the menu and gives it a once-over. "Ooh, buffalo wings."
"Never get those outside Buffalo, my friend," Andy says. "Stick with the original."
"I haven't been to Buffalo yet." Jim pretends to think about it. "But I live in hope."
Karen snorts. When Jim looks up, she's covering her mouth with her hand, but her eyes are crinkled up like she's hiding a smile.
* * *
Andy's on his third bloody mary and fading fast, if the way he's playing with the celery stick is any indication. "You ever do that thing?" he asks. "With the food coloring?"
Jim is feeling a bit on the sloshy side himself, so this question, while baffling, seems to hold deep significance. "The thing," he repeats. "With the food coloring." He looks at Karen, who is chasing the olive around the bottom of her martini glass with a toothpick. She shrugs without looking up, and he grins, feeling like he's successfully turned another one to the dark side. "Andy, man, you're gonna have to elaborate."
"You know." Andy tries to twirl the celery stick around his fingers like a baton, and succeeds in splattering vodka-y tomato juice on an innocent passer-by who, thank God, is apparently too drunk to notice. "In elementary school, with the celery, and the food coloring, and the... it gets all sucked up in there, you know?" He bites off the end of the celery and stares at the end. "I was just thinking, why doesn't that happen with tomato juice?"
"This is indeed a great mystery," Jim agrees. "You should ask the waitress." Andy has been unsuccessfully hitting on their waitress all night, with a rapidly diminishing rate of success. Jim has discovered, to his delight, that Andy is very suggestible when he's drunk, and has been entertaining himself with this ever since.
Andy gives Jim a deep and thoughtful nod, like he's admiring Jim's vast wisdom, and starts waving across the room at the waitress. "Amy! Oh, Aaaaaaaamy!" he sings.
"Get us drinks, too," Jim reminds him, finishing off his beer. Karen shoots him a look from across the table, but he can't quite translate this one.
"Amy!" Andy taps a neat little rhythm on the table as their waitress approaches, clearly busting out all his best moves. "Amy, Amy, beautiful Amy, why doesn't tomato juice stain the celery like food coloring does?"
Amy the waitress looks at Karen, who holds up her hands as if to say that she's not responsible for this one. "I don't know," she says cautiously, waiting for the punch line. "Why?"
Andy deflates. "I... dunno, I thought you would." He lifts his eyebrows and sucks his lips against his teeth, an expression that Jim is beginning to learn means oooh, anyway, moving on. "Okay, well, we need... another one of these--" he lifts his bloody mary and tips it in Amy's direction-- "for me, and another one of whatever he's drinking for him--"
"Molson," Jim supplies.
"--Yeah, that. And..." Andy gets an evil little smirk on his face. "For the lady, we'll need a bottle of Cristal, please. Chilled, no glass."
"Andy," Karen says in a tired tone that indicates she's heard this one many times before. She looks at the waitress and shakes her head. "Just some water, please."
"Karen, Karen, Karen," Andy chortles as Amy walks away, looking like he would be hooking his thumbs under his suspenders if he were wearing such things. "Do I know you or do I know you?"
"Once, I said that once." Karen looks over at Jim "It was a joke. I was drunk. End of story."
Andy waggles his eyebrows. "The lady has extravagant tastes."
"The lady ought to kick your ass."
"Now, now," Jim says, using his best fatherly voice, "let's just take a moment to think about good things. Like kittens, and bunnies, and marshmallow peeps."
"Dude." Andy shakes his head in wonder. "That's so gay."
* * *
They leave Andy face-down on the table, quietly singing "Dancing Queen" along with the jukebox, and Karen racks up a game of pool while Jim watches. "Does he always sing in falsetto like that?" Jim asks.
"Yeah. You get used to it." There's one ball missing, and Karen checks each pocket methodically before locating it halfway around the table. "He's not that bad, really, he's just, you know. An idiot."
Jim laughs. "Believe me, I know the type." He checks out the selection of cues, picks one, weighs it in his hand, and decides that it will do. He turns around and finds Karen smirking at him. "What?"
"You were singing."
"No I wasn't."
"Seriously. You were. Own up, Halpert, you probably have ABBA's Greatest Hits on your iPod."
"I do not," he insists.
"Right. Prove it."
Jim is just drunk enough that this sounds like a fine idea. "Okay, fine. Hold on." He digs around in his pocket, unearthing his iPod under his keys and a crumpled piece of paper.
"Whip it out, big boy," Karen teases. "This I've got to see."
"The mouth on you," Jim says in surprise. "Good gracious." He hands the iPod over and watches her check through it. "Need any help, there?"
"Nah, I've got one of my own." She looks at it critically. "How much memory do you have on this thing? Sixty gig?"
"Pff. Mine's bigger." She grins, flashing a look at him through her eyelashes.
"Wow. Karen Filipelli with the penis size reference." Jim shakes his head. "I am learning so much tonight."
"You're not the only one," Karen says, and holds out the iPod triumphantly. "Can you hear the guns, Fernando?"
"Hey, now, it's just the one song," he insists.
"I never said I didn't have anything by them, I just said I didn't have their greatest hits."
"This is, in fact, one of their greatest hits."
"And yet singular, not plural."
"Just as well," Karen concludes, handing his iPod back. "Considering the rest of the stuff on here, I was starting to think you were a real music snob. If you didn't have any ABBA, I would've had to write you off completely."
"Oh, thanks. So I'm acceptable, then?" he asks.
"Yeah." She gives him one of those lopsided smiles, the ones he's starting to think are kind of endearing. "Yeah, you'll do."