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Assisi & Brannan #2: The Day Job

Feb 4, 2014

When I parked my Vespa this morning outside the Bay Area Weekly, it was cold and misty in San Mateo. I’ve been getting to work late for the past week. My strategy is to keep my helmet on and walk past Bruce. Bruce Connelly, editor-in-chief at the Bay Area Weekly, is my boss and he misses nothing. He would have had to have been blind to miss seeing me come in through the door because the BAW office is one large room in a strip mall in old downtown San Mateo.

“Another late night?” His cold voice rasped dryly like a nail sliding down a dusty chalkboard.

“Sorry, I’m late, Bruce. I forgot to set my alarm,” I replied from beneath the cover of my helmet.

“All right. I need to see you when you are settled.” He was not convinced.

This is bad. I quit Sam’s and now I’m going to be fired from the job I really want. Life couldn’t be worse.

My desk is a 10-square-foot surface filled with proofs and loose paper. I throw my bag under the desk. The helmet and jacket follow.

“I’m going to get a juice and donut from Donuts. You want one?” Stalling may work.

“No juice, yes on the donut.”

“Glazed.” I finish.

If there was a contest for the most unimaginative name, Donuts would have won. It’s all generic linoleum décor, white walls and stainless steel hardware. The coffee is worse than sludge, but the donuts rock. Light, slightly sweet and airy. It’s the only place where after eating I don’t breathe out lard fumes the rest of the day.

“Hey, Ming.”

Ming’s unibrow drifts up his forehead in greeting. Never a smile graces his face but I’ve yet to meet a nicer man with a bigger heart.

Kindergarten question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Ming’s answer must have been, Mr. Donut.

Each donut that he produces is a work of art. He has a secret recipe for the “do” and the glazes and fillings are unearthly good. There’s usually a steady stream of people who come to his store. There’re senior citizens, high-tech folk, kids, moms and us. I once saw some customers try to pay with food stamps. Ming refused the checks and sent them away with their donuts.

“Juice and cream-filled?”

Even the names are brand-free. This place rules.

“And a glazed for Bruce.”

Bruce eats his glazed in a mouthful and rattles off my assignment.

“I want you to cover this story. A woman was alone at this party and left with a man. Her husband is convinced she has been kidnapped. She’s been missing for 36 hours.”


© Jocelyn Uma 2014. All Rights Reserved.