ExcerptsEdger: Underwearld Excerpt Edger: Excerpt The Cow in the Porn Store Ted, Ed, and the A-Team Chapter One
“WELCOME TO ÜBER DORK,” I monotone, tapping my name tag. “My name is Edger, Ed-jer, and I’ll be your Dork. How can I help you?”
I look up from my workstation, and my heart stops beating. Time chokes on the universe, which stops, rolls over, legs up, dead.
Before me is an angel sent from heaven.
I swallow, but it’s like swallowing the sands of Tatooine.
Cough, cough. Hack.
Heart kicks back in.
For one timeless and exquisite moment, I escape the earthly confines of my job. There are no computers to fix. There are no laptops to sell. The tablets, cell phones, and smart TVs are gone too. The Über Dork fades away, and between one moment and the next, I find myself gliding on a rainbow slide in the sky–with her.
Cue the bow-chicka-bow-bow music.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen her. Usually I’m in the mall, before or after my shift. She’ll be shopping. I’ll be trying not to stare. Sometimes I see her talking to Frank, a custodian I know. And one time, I saw some teenagers litter in the food court, and she went out of her way to pick it up and throw it in the trash. Which, let’s face it, is pretty much rarer than spotting a pink Wookiee canoodling with a crapulent Klingon.
But now she’s here.
“Edger Bonkovich?” she says, smiling.
She knows my name. The angel knows my name.
She’s talking again–but–dang it, I missed it. Brain rewinds, plays it back. She has a slight accent. It makes her sound intelligent. I hope she’s intelligent. Or maybe she’s CIA and her cover is working at the Wienerlicious Hot Dog Shop like that one girl from that one show. Maybe she’s come bearing the Intersect and I’m about to embark on a life of international espionage, spies, and fantastic save-the-world feats of heroism. Maybe I even get to kiss the girl.
“My name is Mary Thomas,” she says. “I work for Mike Dame.”
Nope. Not like the TV show, then.
She reaches into her purse, designer purse, I have no idea what kind, I mean, come on, I’m a guy, but this purse looks expensive, and so, right, she’s pulling out this business card and smiling, and it’s incredible, it’s like that minty gum commercial, right down to the little “ping” you hear when the light gleams off her teeth, and I know then and there I want to be friends with that smile, best friends, except that doesn’t make any sense, because you can’t be best friends with a smile.
Oh my God, I’m practically panting.
“Mr. Dame’d like you to take off early tonight.” She slides the business card over the counter. “He wants you to come up to his office. Nine o’clock sharp.”
“Is this carbon fiber?”
“Hmm? Oh. Yes.”
Mike Dame CEO and Founder,
InstaTron San Diego,
“Hey,” she says. “Are you okay?”
Edge, get it together. Say something!
“Meep,” I say. “Meep.”
Okay, say nothing! Say nothing!
Brain shifts gears: What am I doing? Right. Mike Dame wants to see me–wait–Mike Dame wants to see me?
“Ah-hah,” I say, studying the card again. Mike Dame. Actual boss of my boss’s boss’s boss’s boss’s boss. “Wow. So, uh, did Mr. Dame say what this is about?”
Her eyes sparkle. “He didn’t give me a reason. I assumed you two knew each other.”
My mouth feels like someone’s drawing a Charlie Brown smile on it. Probably there are Valentine’s Day hearts popping up around my head. She’s looking expectantly at me, and I remember I’m supposed to be doing something other than extruding cartoon animation from my face.
“If you’d like,” she says, “I can clear it with the store manager for you.” She steals a glance over her shoulder. “I’m not sure Mr. Dame would like having to call down himself. Mr. Bonkovich, you do know Über Dork is our subsidiary. InstaTron is the holding company.”
“Subsidiary,” I mutter. “Holding company.”
And now she’s frowning at me like I forgot to pay my brain bill. Did I forget to pay my brain bill? And to think, just a second ago I was worried about her not being intelligent.
“Psh,” I say. “Of course.” Her frown smooths out. “It’s just… Mike Dame. You know?”
“I know. Mike Dame. Shall I clear it, then?”
“Hmm? Oh. You mean with my momijer. Manager!
Her gaze drops for a second, then flits up to meet mine, and it’s like getting popped between the eyes with a baseball, if a baseball felt good and gave you the warm fuzzies. Otherwise, it’s nothing like getting popped between the eyes with a baseball.
“Ah…right,” she says. “So, that’s your manager over there?”
She points. I nod. This much, at least, goes smoothly.
“Very well,” she says. “I’ll tell Mr. Dame you’re coming. Mr. Bonkovich.”
She gives me a flirty wave with her fingers, and I watch, paralyzed, as she glides off to corner Jama Jan, our store manager. Mary Thomas reaches into her purse and hands out another one of those outrageously expensive business cards. At which point, the next customer steps up, blocking my view. Big guy. Wide. Black leather jacket.
“Yo. S’up?” he says.
But rational thought has left the building. Big Wide Black Leather Jacket Person is blocking my view of the Divine Being. I weave left. I weave right. I lean way, way over to steal a last, fleeting glimpse of Mary Thomas heading out into the wash of yellows and reds of the setting San Diego sun.
“Yo. Not cool, man,” says the guy across the counter, who is also leaning way, way over to frame his angry-customer face in my field of vision.
“Dude like you ain’t never gonna get no girl like that.”
I release an involuntary sigh.
“I’m sorry, sir,” I say, and we straighten in unison. I slip the business card into my shirt pocket and tap my name tag. “Welcome to Über Dork. My name is Edger, Ed-jer, I’ll be your Dork. How can I help you?”
“You can help me by fixing my computer.” He slaps his InstaTron Plus down on the countertop and shoves it toward me. I slide it closer, open it up, and get to work, but it’s slow going. The world, which was in glorious color again for the first time in forever, has faded back into gray. I’m talking to the guy in front of me as I work, and he’s nice enough now that I’m being a proper Dork. Lots of “mmm-hmms” and “yeahs” coming from that side of the counter. My voice reverts to its work monotone, but this is as good as it gets here. I help this guy, and he’s genuinely happy about it. This constitutes one of the only real wins I get.
“You’re all right,” he says, examining my name tag. “Ed-gur. I’m sorry I got mad at you, boy.”
“It’s Ed-jer. Ah–you know what? Forget it.”
“Ed-jer. Okay. Ed-jer, can I give you some advice?”
“Hmm? Oh, yeah. Sure.”
“If that girl ever comes back, don’ you go sayin’ ‘meep’ no mo. You got to stop that shit.”
I nod and thank him. I am, after all, not a complete dork.