I peeled my head off my desk to stare at the man- men? No, a single man, just seeing double from the lack of sleep- standing in front of my desk with a thin, legal-looking file held by his side. What a contrast from my messy bun that probably fell apart in my impromptu sleep, drool on my keyboard, sweatpants, and bleary-eyed confusion.
“You have a threat to sue for your Model E name, Ms. Montelow. Apologies for interrupting your… nap,” he offered, his voice as highbrow as his suit.
“Which… company?” I slurred, shuffling around trying to find a clock to see how much time I wasted asleep. 11:20 in the morning? I'd slept a full 9 hours and wasted so much work. AND my brain had to take at least an hour to get back up to speed. I groaned.*
“Ford,” he replied succinctly, and I held my face in my hands, trying to function.
“Call it something else in the mean time, maybe 3 in a stylistic manner, and please tell Ford they're killing sex,” I offered. We'd already produced Model S and Model X cars, it was only appropriate.**
“Not as a legal professional, but rather as a human being,” he began, “you need help. You're working yourself to death, and you should stay around a few more years to see your company grow.”
He then walked out of my office.
I stood there for a few seconds, blinking, thinking…
I looked back at my clock, and over to the calendar. It hadn't been 9 hours. It had been a day and 9 hours. I didn't remember having all these bottles of 5 hour energy scattered all over my floor. There were cups from Starbucks and take out boxes from a buffet that I hadn't cleaned up for eight days. I'd sat coding and planning, having only gotten up to piss out the pure caffeine I'd been drinking for weeks. I don't think I'd eaten in three days, since I'd gone to a buffet and stocked up when I'd brought back those Starbucks cups. I hadn't showered in… four? Five days?
I bolted back to my computer and opened a browser. Local Psychology College Degrees. Psychology Colleges. Professors. Phone Numbers. UCLA.
“Professor Koeman at UCLA, Psychology Division. How may I help?” I didn't pay attention to her peppy open voice and instead answered in the least frantic voice I could manage.
“Yes, I'd like a list of all your graduating students, top 15%.”
“Who are you?”
I skimmed through files of potential graduates, threw out 'stably employed', honed in on nutritionist minors, and found only four that might work. I called them up, shaky-handed, and explained my proposal: someone to keep me from going over the edge while I was running two huge businesses. One hung up right on the spot (how rude), and one politely declined, but the other two decided to come in and analyze my offer.
I thanked them so much I might have scared them. I then grabbed the PA system and announced:
“Dearest employees, this is your CEO, Montelow speaking. Unless you've knuckled down and are in the midst of an engineer's high, take the day off. I don't expect my employees to work any more than I do, and since I'm pretty sure I should have been checked into a hospital since yesterday, I've decided that there's a need for a rare day off. Don't expect any more than this.” I hung up and hobbled to the nearest person I could find, prompting them to take me to a doctor or at least call an ambulance.***
Two grueling days passed before I could get away from that workless place and set up my interviews for my surveyor. Or, companion. Whatever.
The first one that came in, a bright, compassionate blonde, immediately recommended a rehabilitation center and Narcotics Anonymous meetings because she thought I was doing cocaine.
“Misdiagnosis and snap decision to treatment. Be glad it's an interview or you'd be fired already. Thank you for your time, send the other one in,” I snapped at her. She tightened her suit-jacket, pursed her lips in a half-smile that didn't hide her contempt one bit, and left the room.
“Tell me about yourself,” the
man prompted once I had spoken aloud to convey I was paying attention to him.
“I run two and a half companies and the only drug I consume is caffeine- don't listen to that girl that I sent off. 'Cocaine' my ass. Anyways, I need someone to make sure that I don't die overworking myself but that will let me work myself pretty damn hard. Ask questions from that baseline, it'll make the whole thing a lot quicker,” I rapidly answered.
"Why haven't you allowed yourself to back off a bit? Do you think there's an underlying reason you're pushing yourself so hard?" he asked, eyes narrowing ever slightly, head tilting just a tick to the side as he focused in on me.
"It's important to me. I don't ever give up. I mean, I'd have to be dead or completely incapacitated.**** I'm changing the world, and I've always put in 110%," I replied easily.
"But if I take the job, you'll listen to me when I say to back off?" he questioned, a tinge of incredulousness in his voice.
"If it means I won't die, you can even start in an hour."
"That's enough time to overwork yourself already. How about 30 minutes?"