The Eighth Page

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day

I wake up to the dry sound of the plaster walls two doors down being “renovated.” My apartment on Low Heights Terrace overlooks a dealing spot in the South Bronx. I turn to the incessant beeping that has pulled me from my dreams about Al Roker and Donald Rumsfeld. It’s already 6:15! I’m late. I’m always late. I get up and run out the door to my car, the Accord. No time to change – I’ve got work to do. I flip open my cell phone and speed dial. The rings drone on and on, but Bill doesn’t pick up. He never does. Has he ordered the extra paints? Do we have a backup turkey float!? His machine comes on, and I close my cell. I’m almost down to the assembly complex in Manhattan. I walk out into the rain, no umbrella. I get through the doors and my eyeliner has already begun to run. “Bob, what happened? You’re ten minutes late! We’ve got trouble in maintenance!” I run through the workshop. We’ve got the floats ready, and assembly only has about three hours left before we transport the goods. Greg, in charge of the coloring and beautification process, runs up to me. “We got a problem,” he says, “We have all 1,300 balloons with the proper color arrangement, but there’s rain, and we expect a few hundred casualties.” “So we bring a couple hundred backups,” I say. “Bob,” Greg says, “we don’t have the backups yet – Sheryl hasn’t brought them in!” Sheryl, she’s got legs like a Spanish dancer, but that can’t make up for her lousy work ethic. I run through the assembly line and make another call. Two rings and she picks up. “Sheryl! C’mon, Sheryl, where are the backup balloons!” “Bob, I can’t understand you when you spit and talk at the same time. The backup balloons? We sent them! They should’ve been at the warehouse two days ago!” Something’s wrong. Terribly wrong. I hang up and get to the elevator. I need to see management. Pronto. I get to the office and look through the glass – they don’t look happy. I see Bill and run in. “Bill, I’ve been calling you and you don’t pick up! I need to check in on the reserve floats and paints! Assembly only has three hours left before we pack it up!” I scream while standing in the doorway of the conference room. “Bob, sit down. We need to talk,” says head of staff Harvey Greens. They start telling me about three floats that have no paint or moldings done yet, and that they don’t know where the backup balloons are. “Sheryl sent in the backup balloons two days ago, but they still haven’t arrived. I just talked to her. As for the floats, I don’t know what to tell you. The show must go on.” “But Bob” says Harvey, “one of the three is the Egyptian Pharaoh float. We’ll lose a good $3000 if we can’t get her done by tonight.” I am devastated. Already the clock has struck two in the afternoon and we don’t even have the Egypt float. Just as I am about to break down into tears and give up on the whole parade, Georgia, our head secretary, runs in. “Bob, Harvey, Bill! The balloons! They’re here! The prep folks down at HQ had a run in with the FAA and we almost lost our permit for the extra balloons. But we did it!” I sigh with relief. I skip out of the conference room and head back to Assembly. “All right, people! We need renderings, blue prints, stands, moldings, and final products in the next five hours! I’m getting development and designs down here, as well as construction. Let’s go! I want the Egypt float ready to be packed and shipped by six!” The warehouse goes crazy. People finish last minute tweaks before moving on to the Pharaohs. By 5:30 we’re done. “All right, people! That’s a wrap,” I say as Ted bites into a tasty chicken ceaser. I give some last orders and we pack up, load the floats to the shipping docks, pack up the balloons, and close down shop. I drive out into the cool night with sweat still clinging to the back of my neck. We did it. Another Thanksgiving saved. As the warehouse fades into the distance, I begin to relax. And just as I come down my street to Low Heights Terrace and the leaves of autumn blow past, I realize what I had forgotten. The confetti. We forgot the confetti.