The alarm woke me up.
It came from the computer, notifying me that I’ve got unopened mail. It stirred me when it rang earlier but I ignored it. Big mistake. Next thing I knew I had a horde of bleeping robots surrounding me about to bleep me to death. That’s the last time I take mushrooms for dinner.
I suppose it’s been beeping for hours. Only one way to find out, so I shut the computer up and open my mail.
Perhaps it was in the way it was written. Perhaps it was because it came from M. Perhaps it was because I woke up too late to catch her before she left for work. Perhaps it was because she had been moody all week. Perhaps it was all of the above.
Great. M. left me a note. It was all over the screen.
From: m24167@ somelawfirm.com.ph
Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2002, 05:43h GMT
Subject: WE NEED TO TALK… WAKE UP DAMMIT
I AM NOT AMUSED. I WAITED FOR YOU FOR AN HOUR.AT FRIDAY’S. I HAD TO EAT ALONE. HOW DARE YOU STAND ME UP!!! I HOPE YOU ARE READY FOR A SCREAMING WHEN YOU PICK ME UP. THAT’S THE LEAST YOU CAN DO.
p.s. DON’T CALL ME. DON’T TALK TO ME UNTIL I GET HOME. IF YOU JUST WOKE UP AND THIS IS THE FIRST THING YOU SEE, OPEN THE FUCKING ANSWERING MACHINE.
See, M. and I have been living together for years. We got together over advanced calculus back in college. She’s usually a friendly person but she’s not someone who likes writing letters, especially when she’s happy. Getting a letter from her therefore, was first of all, a big thing, because it was so rare, and second, not a good thing because it meant she was really pissed off.
Did I mention she wrote it in all caps and said something about a screaming? Not good.
The last time I got a letter from her it was because I forgot to book our anniversary dinner. She only came out of it weeks later. It didn’t help that it was that time of the month.
More letters lay lurking beneath the first. I eventually got to the beginning.
Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2002, 00:43h GMT
Subject: WE NEED TO TALK
Yes, talk. People do in that a relationship. You use it to communicate to other human beings and the last time I checked we were both homo sapiens sapiens. Anyway, must talk to you. Soon. Call me when you wake up.
p.s. I hope you wake up soon. Got a big day ahead of you. M
p.p.s. Meet me at Friday’s for lunch. Let’s talk there. I’ll wait for you. BE THERE OR ELSE. M
Not to worry. Everything’s fine.
I just used Plan M29.
Plan M29 is my own personal code for a pattern of behavior that I can use to tame M. It’s simple, easy to understand, and can fit any number of individuals. The first letter, in this case M, stands for the person you’re targeting. The number, in this case 29, is in honor of the 29th variation of this pattern, which worked well the first time I used it, around 4 years ago.
I’ve become so familiar with the florists in my area because of my system that they know me by my phone ID and, more importantly, what my codes mean. For M29, I always call this particular florist.
“Hello, *** Flowers. This is *** speaking. How may I help you?”
”It’s Kiko. The usual.”
“You stood her up again? I appreciate the business but you’ve got to get to these things ON time. I’ll send the credit card voucher to your office first thing tomorrow morning. Thanks.”
Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2002, 10:43h GMT
To: m24167@ somelawfirm.com.ph
Subject: Re: WE NEED TO TALK
I’m sorry I didn’t reply earlier. I just woke up. I’ll pick you up after work. What do you say about dinner at Struan and Tang’s? I promise I’ll make it up to you.
I pick M. up from work 15 minutes early. Did I mention the flower shop was along the way?
The first fifteen minutes are always the worst. You get nothing but cold silence and all attempts at ass kissing only make it worse.
“Don’t patronize me,” scorn evident in her voice.
“Come on. I wasn’t.”
“If you wanted to make me happy you would have picked me up on time.” Ouch.
“I could’ve given you this,” I say as I whip up the bouquet from what seems like nowhere. Actually, I’d been keeping them hidden in the backseat.
A lot of guys underestimate the timing of giving flowers. Each kind of flower has meaning. Whether or not a flower’s meaning is appreciated has a lot to do with timing. Time it wrong, and you’re likely to have an expensive bunch of flowers tattered and thrown to the ground. Time it right, and it’s priceless.
“I love you, Kiko. I really do,” said she as tears flowed down her cheeks.
I told you it would work.
“Kiko, we have to talk. I’m pregnant.”