entry_218“I talked to him about the loan and he said he’d call me back.”

I know every single detail about Fritz’s life, because he is a man without propriety. He is not a practitioner of “polite phone volume.” His intonation is the same whether he’s speaking with his boss at his desk or on his cell phone with Dr. Nathan Baldwin, who is his gastroenterologist. I wouldn’t even mind so much if his life’s minutiae were interesting–I’m a sucker for a good story. But the fact is that since his house burned to the ground and his daughter perished in the blaze, Fritz has become the most annoying coworker I’ve ever worked with.

Everything in his life is about logistics now. “Our insurance guy is staying late, so tell Amy I need the car back before tonight,” he says. The request is particularly unnerving because he’s looking directly at me when he makes it, and I feel compelled to tell Amy that Fritz needs his car. Except I don’t know an Amy, and Fritz isn’t looking at me so much as he’s staring through me. He tends to stare in my direction when he’s on the phone the way a grocery store fish stares up at you from its bed of ice.
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