If you have not done so, please read the story where you get to meet Gage.
After a wild night where Mark took home Irene, I took home Lauren, and Brad probably fucked Alex; Gage had gone home alone and embarrassed. The goody two-shoe who had tried so hard to convince us that he is a man of god who is above drinking and partying ended up shooting his shot many times that night, only to miss. When we come back, we all get pulled into a meeting due to a complaint being filed by HR.
Apparently, we are told in the meeting that we represent company values both inside and outside of work. Then, my boss and our VP have both me and Brad in the room while the two California blondes, Mark and Alex are all on a conference call. We come to find that apparently, there is “homophobia” present in our company and it needs to be addressed. We also come to find that a number of men in our team tend to “see women as sex objects” and then find that there is rampant “misconduct” among our teams.
Our VP, an old school East Coast guy, gives us a speech about being young but that there is going to be some “discipline” and “reprimand” of actions that do not serve the company well. We then get drawn into meetings with HR and our managers independently, a very scary moment indeed. I fear most for Brad but at the same time, knowing the smooth talker he is, I know that his seniority and charm might get him out of his one.
Then I fear for Mark given that he has this almost child-like charisma and carefree attitude to where he is oblivious to nasty people like Gage. Most of all, I fear for my likelihood, I have too much to lose in NYC to be a victim to false accusations. I feel as if given that I was the nicest to Gage, maybe he went the easiest on me with HR, who knows?
“So, we have been told that you were involved in inappropriate conduct representing the company,” says Emma, our HR head.
“Well, we did go out but the only person that got into a fight of any kind and seemed to, shall I say shoot his shot, was Gage,” I reply.
“Excuse me, fight?” she asked.
“Yes, Gage did have a bit to drink at the bar we ended up at and got into a shoving match with a random group of men at which point one of the bouncers had to escort him out. I helped call an Uber for Gage and we never saw him again,” I replied.
“This makes zero sense to me, I have been told it is you who was going around starting fights,” she said, as my heart dropped, what in the actual fuck.
“Now is this one or multiple people?” I asked.
“I am not at liberty to say,” she replied.
“I can take you to the very establishment after work and they will tell you who they had to kick out for fighting, I just went with the team and made sure everyone got home safe,” I said.
“What were you guys doing going out to bars?” she asked.
“Emma, we had a couple drinks at the office and then the team decided to build a stronger bond by going out. I am sure you understand in our age group and our profession, this is common. I do not know why this is coming back to me as I kept out of all of the drama,” I replied.
“Okay, well, I need to check because I am hearing different,” she said.
“Well Emma, if it is from more than one source, then I think I have reason to worry a lot. If not, then I think we both know what is going on,” I replied.
“Honestly, I think I know, you can leave,” she said.
I left but boy was I fucking worried, I managed to think that maybe Brad had thrown me under the bus or perhaps Lauren had second thoughts about us fucking. The whole day at work, I could not get shit done at all. The uncertainty of the times when you wonder if you will even have a job the next day is one of the worst feelings out there, even getting fired feels better because it frees you so much in comparison. When I walked out and got back home, I get a ring from Brad.
“How are ya?” he asks.
“Fucking worried, apparently I was the one starting fights and getting thrown out of bars. Dude, what the fuck, did you guys all mistake me with Gage?” I asked.
“Nah, but apparently I was the one approaching randoms at bars and getting rejected,” said Brad.
“Okay I just got a text from Lauren and from Mark, let’s just do a Google Meet,” I said.
We have a Google Meet with Lauren, Irene, Mark, Brad, Alex, and me. All of us get together and all I see on the face of Lauren and Alex is pain and misery, what have they been put through? I hope that no one lost their job.
“Alright, so, guess who is missing,” I said.
“Oh my god, I am worried I am going to get fired,” said Irene, crying.
“What did they tell you exactly that makes you think that?” asked Brad.
“That I, that I,” said Irene, having a tough time getting he words out.
“They said I was going out making out with random guys at bars and throwing myself at them, you know I didn’t fuck do this!” said Irene, crying.
“They said I did the same thing too,” said Lauren, in a bad mood but holding herself together more.
“They told me I was thrown out of a bar for harassing women,” said Mark, with a straight face.
“They or him,” I replied, with a straight face.
The moment was overwhelming but somehow, I guess misery loves company, I was less miserable knowing that others were also going through some tough shit. We knew we had the numbers on our side and at the end, it was his word against all of ours.
“I mean it is his word against all of ours,” I said.
“Yeah but it’s just the word, we need more,” replied Brad.
“We can all say he did all of that,” I said.
“Yeah dude but then they will see that we are ganging up on him, word will still get out about some of us having fun that night,” said Alex, mad.
“So what, we’re young, we didn’t do that shit,” I said.
“So what, so fucking what!?!?” shouted Alex.
“Chill out Alex,” I reply.
“Just shut up okay? Shut up!” replied an enraged Alex, she was pissed.
“Look, we are dealing with a dude who will play dirty and lie to get ahead, we all know it is because he is clearly mad at not getting any that night,” said Brad.
“Yeah well that doesn’t give us a fucking answer dude!” shouted Lauren.
“Whoa there,” replied Brad.
“Whoa what, you were fucking ripping on pastor boy for his accent,” said Lauren.
“Well we laughed at it,” I said.
“Now we are in some deep shit!” said Lauren. We all bicker and argue until Alex breaks in with her rage.
“Look, we are looking at not having a fucking paycheck, I am in debt and trying to crawl out! Do we have a plan or not? I am tired of us not having a fucking plan around this,” said Alex, breathing hard. We all had a pause, it was awkward given how many of us were on video.
“Hey Mark, those girls you were with at the first bar, did you ever get their numbers? Like either of them?” asked Brad.
“Why the fuck are we talking about this?” asked Alex, mad.
“Hold on hold on, did you Mark?” asked Brad.
“Yeah, them and the blonde from the second bar, why are we talking about this? How is this shit relevant Brad?” asked Mark.
“Well, I am sure that one of them was recording some of his antics at the bar,” said Brad.
“Oh my god, especially when he tried to fight you!” I replied, fucking genius Brad.
“Yeah yeah, Allie was the one who said he tried to mack on them and even recorded him when he was shouting shit,” said Mark.
“Was that shit on snapchat?” I asked.
“No, I mean it was legit on video,” he replied.
“Yeah and one other guy in the area there with his girlfriend was recording him too but shook his head doing so,” said Irene.
“Any chance you all kept in touch with the couple?” asked Brad.
“Yeah, the girlfriend gave us her Instagram and the guy followed Mark,” said Irene.
“Well, what about the tall blonde from the second bar?” I aksed.
“Not her but her Asian friend was recording Gage creepily looking at the girls and even recorded him being rejected by them,” said Mark.
“Yeah but no way she is friends with you after that night,” I said.
“I followed her friend on IG and she followed back,” said Mark.
“We have to find the Asian girl’s IG and hope she can come through,” said Brad.
“So what do we do from that?” asked Alex.
“Take the recordings and present them to Emma,” said Brad.
Somehow, the call relieved me and I slept easier that night. I ended up going to work that day knowing that even if Emma wanted to fire me, I had the truth on my side. I arrived and did work as usual, still not able to focus as much since there was so much drama. Then I got a Slack from Emma saying if I am free for a call, oh boy, here we go.
“So, how are you?” asked Emma.
“I am doing alright but let’s see right,” I replied, laughing.
“Haha, nice one. So I want you to know that I talked to the other team members and it seems like it was only one person that made the claims against you, we are looking more into this but from my side, you can go back to work and not worry about anything,” said Emma.
I was kind of relieved but this was HR after all, no matter how good of a person Emma was. Remember kids, HR’s job is to protect the company from you, not to protect you from the company. An hour later, Mark sends us a group text with the video attached of Gage’s antics. One video showed Gage being enraged and calling Brad a pussy as Brad was calm through it all. The other video showed Gage looking at the blonde’s and then approaching them, only to be rejected and then flipping off Brad, how professional.
The week flies by and we actually hung out over the weekend too, just me and Brad though. Brad is a character, he is your prototypical smartass who can get under anyone’s skin. We all know that Brad’s smart mouth got us into this mess with a sensitive hypocrite who is out for blood but it is not what you know, it is what you can prove.
Monday comes and after lunch, we get called into a meeting with the team. Lauren, Irene, Mark, and Alex are all on Zoom back in the days when every meeting was not on Zoom, like we actually had in-person meetings. Then, my boss and our VP come in with Emma on the line as well.
“Guys, I’ve had to let Gage go. I am sorry that you guys were put through what you were put through, it was wrong and I did not mean to threaten anyone with reprimand. The person who deserved the reprimand, well he got it. Go out there, work hard, and play even harder this weekend kids!” said our VP, as we all smiled.
Like good conquered evil, it was Mark’s aura and vibe that presented us opportunities to deal with Gage. Gage is among the nastiest people I have met in my life to this day, not the nastiest but right outside my top five. The fact that he put on the goody two-shoe act and then threw us under the bus, lying his ass off while claiming to be a man of god, it takes a special kind of psychopath to do that. I feel for the good Christians out there who had to have a clown like Gage represent them.
As I will repeat, having grown up in Georgia, men like Gage are all too common. Man of God on Sunday mornings, man of anything but all other times. How the same guy who claimed that he was a grown mature adult was throwing himself at random women, striking out, and then throws us under the bus because he did not get any that night. A hypocrite, lying, deceitful snake, and two-faced tool who tried to play up the mature adult act but could not hold himself together after a couple of drinks.
Me and Brad still hang out and whenever I am in California, Minnesota or Florida, I have friends to hang out with because of that moment. The bad moments really make a relationship stronger than ever, those are some of my best friends to this day.
As for Gage, you cannot make this stuff up, he actually went on to Theology School (or Theological Seminary). I am sure he will go around telling others of why they should avoid alcohol and sex before marriage but that night showed me the true colors of the self-proclaimed man of God. Who knows, maybe he did have a divine intervention and became a better person, I wouldn’t bet on it.
The silver lining of it all is that not only did I end up keeping my job and being in good graces with leadership, I also ended up making some of my closest friends in life.