RAPID CITY, SD—E;mployees at Reynolds Business Machines are dying to tell sales representative Mark Tendulkar that he is about to be fired, sources reported Tuesday.
"I was out with [sales manager] Frank Lascowicz last Thursday, and he let slip that Tendulkar's cubicle would be free. It took some free rounds, but I got it out of him: Mark's out on Feb. 15," sales representative Jeff Wildner said. "Mark is such a total dick, and so incompetent, I don't know how I'm going to be able to keep it from him that long."
Wildner said it's not his place to break the news to Tendulkar, no matter how much he would love to.
"I'm just going to have to wait until the boss axes him," Wildner said. "But the writing's definitely on the wall for ol' Tendulkar."
Tendulkar has worked at Reynolds since 1999, but according to fellow employees, he has failed to meet his weekly sales quota for the past four months.
"Mark ought to know it's coming," sales representative Cory Fontaine said. "You'd have to be a deaf mute to have trouble selling a Canon 3200 after the price reduction, but he hasn't closed on one. Not one."
"He's totally unaware he's about to be thrown over!" Fontaine added. "I even heard him talking about needing a bigger desk yesterday. I'm dying!"
Since word of the firing spread, a sense of excitement has filled the office.
"I don't even want to go meet a client, in case the shit goes down while I'm out," Fontaine said. "It's all I can do to not tell him myself. Still, though, a small part of me wants it to be a total surprise when the ax comes down. The look on his face will be priceless!"
Several coworkers have nearly told Tendulkar what's about to happen, only to check themselves at the last second.
"Just today, Mark came in blaming me for something about some keyboard he ordered," secretary Gina Haney said. "I almost said, 'Unless you're taking that keyboard with you when you go, I wouldn't worry about it.'"
"Sayonara, sucker!" Haney added.
In spite of the wide circulation of the news, coworkers described Tendulkar as "blissfully ignorant."
Sitting in the sales pit, surrounded by his busy coworkers Tuesday, Tendulkar casually shelled pistachios as he circled loungewear items in a J. Crew catalog and browsed vacation packages on Orbitz.com.
Even Tendulkar's immediate supervisor said he's had a hard time keeping quiet.
"Mark came in all smug after selling a MultiPASS MP360," floor supervisor Andrew Miller said. "He said something like, 'Put another one in the win column for the Marksman.' I wanted to tell him that one $140 sale wasn't going to be enough to save his job, but protocol must be observed. I can't wait until Lascowicz sends him up the river."
As the firing approaches, Tendulkar's coworkers have been exchanging glances and trading jokes behind his back.
"Cory had a good one yesterday," Wildner said. "He threw Mark's coffee cup in the garbage and said, 'I don't think they have coffee in the unemployment line.' It was almost as good as when Tina [Lewis] walked in with two empty boxes and said she was going to go ask Mark if he needed them to pack."
When Tendulkar was late for work Tuesday, several of his colleagues reportedly gathered in his cubicle, appraised its contents, and made claims on his chair and desk lamp.
Not everyone is burning to tell Tendulkar the bad news.
"Mark's an okay guy," coworker Bill Davies said. "He's got some rough edges, but once you get to know him, he's all right. He just got married last summer, and he's still paying off the wedding. I hate to see anyone in that situation."
Tendulkar does not seem to be aware of Davies' comments.
"My sales have been pretty slow lately," Tendulkar said. "But with the economy as bad as it is, that's to be expected. I should be back on my feet by the end of March. Then, the Marksman will be back on top, looking down on all the little people. It kills me to be pulling in less than that bald little Davies runt."