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My Pen is Huge (OHellNo #5)
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From New York Times bestseller Mimi Jean Pamfiloff comes MY PEN IS HUGE, a Standalone Romantic Comedy.
Dear Mr. Merrick,
And since you’re obsessed with your stupid pen collection, I thought it appropriate to take the big one you love so much and write my resignation letter. Kiss your pen goodbye, big man!
Because when I agreed to work for you—a hotshot journalist I’ve admired for years—no one told me that you had a secret life and that you’d bug my apartment, have someone killed, and make the moves on me just to test whether I’m serious about this job.
I mean, come on! What kind of boss does that? Yes, you’re ten degrees hotter than the sun, and you melt panties everywhere you go, but this “little intern” is done with your games.
From this day forward, consider me your mortal enemy, your biggest threat. Maybe your pen is huge, but my determination is bigger. See you on the battlefield, Mr. Big Pen.
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“You are confident. You are strong. You are intelligent.” Deep inhale. “You are confident. You are strong. You are…sonofabitch! Seriously?” I look at the chunk of red lipstick now sitting on my lap. Unfuckingfortunately, I’ve got on a white skirt and I’m supposed to start work in three minutes. My first day.
“Jesus. Just great.” I reach over to the passenger seat for my purse—really, a leather satchel my roommate, Camila, gave me for good luck because she thought it made me look “all reporter-like,” and today is a big day for me. A milestone in my journalistic career.
I dig out a tissue and pluck the broken lipstick from my lap, careful not to add to the red skid mark.
“Oh, come on!” My attempt to blot away a leftover clump results in more smears. Wonderful! Now it looks like a period accident. The only thing going for me is that the stain is on the front. But is that really better? Is it?
I can’t believe this. I have to meet my new boss, Leland Merrick, this morning, and he’s a legend in the freelance journalistic world, best known for four things: One, he doesn’t like sloppy dressers. It’s rumored he once told a female reporter she needed to work on her appearance. Apparently, he didn’t feel her jeans, T-shirt, and lack of makeup were a winning combo or professional.
Two, he has no fear. He’ll go anywhere, do anything for a sensational story and for the perfect photograph, like that time he literally jumped down a flooded mineshaft in Ecuador with nothing but a flashlight, a small tank of oxygen, and his waterproof camera. Two hours later, he emerged with interviews and photos of the sixteen stranded miners, which saved their lives, because everyone thought they were dead, and rescue crews weren’t allowed to go in until the rain subsided. It was the wet season. Rain every day for months. Not good. But Merrick was able to assure everyone that a rescue wasn’t impossible, and those men were brought to safety. He was deemed a hero and reportedly sold the story for a nice fifty grand.
Three, Leland Merrick is known for his lone-wolf ways. He doesn’t use guides, no matter how harsh or unfamiliar the terrain; he doesn’t bring translators; and he always travels alone. That’s why I nearly wet myself when I was offered this position as his assistant.
I mean, me, Gisselle Walters. His assistant? Pinch me! The thing is, I only just graduated last semester with a degree in journalism from Texas U, so this is a huge opportunity. “It’s a career maker,” as my professor Augusto Kemmler told me. Turns out, Professor Augusto (he prefers to be called by his first name) and Merrick are old friends, so when Merrick decided to hire someone, he went to Augusto. Merrick didn’t even bother with an interview. He trusts Augusto that much. Lucky me, because Professor Augusto said I was the best choice.
I wonder why, though. I won a few awards, and I’m one of his best students, but I wasn’t his only straight-A performer. Can’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
The fourth and final thing Leland Merrick is known for, and this is something that makes me incredibly nervous, is that he’s supposedly old school when it comes to women and gender roles. Some say “ladies’ man.” Some say “traditional.” I just say “sexist.” Professor Augusto assured me that Merrick is professional, though he did admit that Merrick has strong views about a woman’s place—something having to do with growing up in a small third-world village, despite being British. His parents were both aid workers and doctors, but that experience somehow cemented some pretty archaic ideas into Leland Merrick’s head.
How do I know all this? Well, aside from what Augusto said, I also read an interview Merrick gave in 2011. It was the only one he’s ever done, which sadly did not include a bio pic—a pet peeve of his is being photographed.
So there you have it. I’m shoving aside judgment, pride, and everything my staunch egalitarian parents taught me, all for the opportunity to work with a living legend. And a societal dinosaur. Sure, chronologically, he’s only thirty-one—versus my twenty-two—but we all know his type. Probably hates women because he’s so grotesquely pompous and heinous looking that no one will date him.
Still, I know myself. I am confident and strong, and he can be as offensive as he likes. It won’t put a dent in my self-esteem. I’d have to care what he thinks to allow that to happen, and I don’t. I’m here to learn: How does he get people like the chief of the Amazonian Munduruku tribe to invite him to live with them? Why is it rumored that MI6 spies feed him classified information? The answer is, he gets people to trust him with their lives, and I want to know how.