Disclaimer: I do not own 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' and any affiliated characters and events.
State of Disunion
"…Overcast and raining, temperatures in the low 40s. One hundred percent chance of thunderstorms tonight with wind gusts of about twenty-five miles per hour. The rain continues into tomorrow and throughout the week. Happy Hour approaches, folks, and that wraps up our weather forecast for this evening. Enjoy the spring day, Chicago. Drive home safe…"
The radio voice faded out to a pop song just as another voice spoke from somewhere overhead. "Mr. Bueller…hey, Mr. Bueller? Are you all right?"
Ferris Bueller blinked a couple of times from where his head rested on his desk and slowly looked up at his young secretary, Cynthia Forsythe. "Let me sleep, will ya?" He mumbled.
"Here are the photocopies you requested." The stenographer smiled and handed him a stack of typewritten pages.
Ferris reluctantly sat up and took the papers. "I sent for these things a half hour ago," he grumbled, putting on his reading glasses to examine the copies more closely. He flipped through the pages disinterestedly, one hand stroking his temple all the while. His tie hung crooked from when he'd loosened it several hours ago and the top two buttons of his blue collared work shirt remained unfastened. His short brown hair stuck up on the side he'd been resting against the desk a minute ago and his usually youthful face looked haggard and worn.
His work desk was in much the same state as its owner. Papers lay stacked in sloppy, teetering piles on all ends, masking much of its surface. Stray pens and paper clips poked out from among the rubble of paper. A stapler that seemed to eternally be out of staples perched precariously on the edge with an assortment of unused paperweights. The paperweights always had a way of dropping to the floor repeatedly whenever Cynthia was around. Cynthia, with her Hollywood starlet figure and low-cut blouses, didn't like anything better than bending down to retrieve them when in the vicinity of her employer.
One of them presently landed on the floor with a light thunk. "Oops," Cynthia murmured, stooping to pick it up.
But Ferris wasn't even paying her any attention. He skimmed tiredly over the typed lines, his mind dull with inactivity. His hand ceased its rubbing and stretched out toward a three-fourths empty paper cup of diet cola from the local Speedy Eaties. The drink sat atop one of the paperwork mounds beside a crumpled Speedy Eaties sandwich wrapper and a half-depleted packet of mustard. He picked it up and took a halfhearted sip before slowly setting it back down.
"Is that everything you wanted, sir?"
"Yeah, it looks all right." Ferris sighed and shoved the whole stack away in one of his cluttered desk drawers. "What took you so long?"
"I was putting together the booth materials for the convention next week, like you told me to."
"That's right," Ferris took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. "I forgot about that. Detroit, this time, right?"
"Mm." Ferris leaned back in his seat. "You can book the airline tickets for Monday, business class. And try not to get some ungodly departure time, will you?"
"Yes, sir. Will that be all?" Cynthia tilted her platinum blonde head and gazed at him expectantly.
"Yeah, better call it a day. See you tomorrow, Cynthia." He folded his arms behind his head and smiled wolfishly as he watched the rear end of his secretary disappear into the hall.
The office was quiet for a second. Ferris closed his eyes and reveled in the moment. Then the clock chimed insistently, indicating that 5 p.m. had come at last, and all at once Ferris Bueller came back to life.
He sprang up out of his chair, not caring when it tipped over backwards and crashed into the potted plant sitting by his window. He hastily gathered up his briefcase and coat by the door before clicking off the lights and locking up. He turned and moved briskly down the hall, whistling as he went.
He smiled and waved to the other people in his department as he passed. "See you, Phyllis…Tom…Randy! Good work on the Detroit pamphlet! I'm getting more printed up to use in Cleveland next week."
"Gee, thanks, Ferris!" Called a short, bespectacled red-haired man from the water cooler. He looked back down and grimaced as he realized he'd overfilled his paper cup and was pouring water all over his shoe.
Ferris came to the grouping of stenographers' desks and smiled as he leapt up on top of them. He hopped from desk to desk until he got across, ignoring the shouts of feigned displeasure from the young girls.
"Ferris, leaving so soon?" The matronly old Mrs. Worthing smiled and then gasped as Ferris intercepted her in the hallway and twirled her around.
He laughed and kissed the gray-haired woman's leathery cheek. "Don't think I'm rushing off on your account, Mrs. Worthing. If it were up to me, I'd stay here all day with you. But I've got a family to think of." He took her hand and pressed it against his chest. "I couldn't just abandon them, despite my undying love for you."
"Oh, my land!" Mrs. Worthing blushed and swatted the young man away. She hurried down the hall, her arms aflutter. "My blood pressure's through the roof! You'll be the death of me yet, boy!"
"I don't care what you say! I still love you, and I always will!" He called, grinning. Her door slammed shut in reply. He laughed and continued across the floor until he finally boarded the elevator. Once inside, he couldn't keep still, tapping his foot and humming along with the elevator music as the lift descended seven floors.
The doors opened onto the expansive lobby of Meadowbrook Insurance Adjustment, Ltd., Proudly Serving the Midwest Since room was spotless and businesslike, and very pleasing to the eye of a prospective client. The patterned tile, the comfy seating arrangement around a coffee table supplied with only the newest magazines, the bright chandelier hanging from the middle of the ceiling, all were designed to impress.
Ferris crossed the room purposefully to the receptionist's desk. "Hey, Eunice," he called cheerfully.
An unassuming, mousy head looked up. Eunice, close to forty, looked closer to fifty. She hid behind the comfort of her desk most of her days, trading courteous remarks with the clientele all day long. Most of the time, she kept to herself and read when she wasn't busy. A hermitlike old maid, it had been a stretch to get her to attend any of the office parties until Ferris had joined the firm. He had done wonders for her. He felt sorry for the lady, who was never anything but nice to him, and took pride in getting her to rediscover the world.
He reached her desk and picked up the green nameplate sitting closest to the edge. "How are we doing today, Eunice?" He asked, looking the little plate over. When he was finished, he dropped it into the large potted fern sitting on one end of the long desk.
Eunice sighed. "Oh, Ferris, why'd you have to do that? It'll take me hours to find it in there!"
"Don't sweat it. I'll get you a new one that isn't that disgusting green color." He smiled down at her. "Let the boss know I've checked out in case he tries hunting me down for something. And, uh, remind him that I'll be out three, maybe four days for that convention going on next week, okay?"
"Is your wife going with you?" She asked lightly, typing a memo onto her blue computer screen.
"My what?" Ferris shook his head. "Oh, no. She never comes with me on my business trips. She'd be bored out of her mind."
"I'm curious to meet Mrs. Bueller. I've never seen her around here." Eunice rested her chin on her hand and gazed up at Ferris.
"That's because Mrs. Bueller is a very busy woman." He smiled thinly and quickly changed the subject. "In case I don't come in tomorrow, Eunice, I'll say goodbye now until this time next week."
"My new nameplate has to wait a whole week?" Eunice arched a brow. "I'm not impressed, Ferris."
"Lighten up, Eunice. You're no fun to mess around with, you know that?" He smiled and pulled the headband out of her hair. When she smiled and looked back at her computer screen, he turned to go. He paused next to the fern, studying it for a minute, then backed up until he was in front of her again. "Place your trashcan behind your desk instead of next to it. It'll look nicer that way. And get some flowers in here." He pulled a leaf off of the fern. "They'll look nicer than this old thing."
Eunice shook her head and chuckled. "Good night, Ferris."
He went through the door and paused for a minute to watch the rain pouring down heavily on the parking lot. He finally smiled and walked from the building to his car bareheaded, as if in retaliation of the rain. The weather had no effect on his mood, which lightened with each step away from the firm. It was this charisma, this attitude, this charm that had landed him the job as marketing director of Meadowbrook Insurance Adjustment, Ltd. Unfortunately, this same sparkling feature of his personality was completely absent during office hours. Sure, it was a decent job, but it was a dull one. As a result, he couldn't muster an ounce of enthusiasm for it. He'd even grown tired of driving down the street and seeing every metro bus in the city plastered with his smiling image alongside the firm's slogan, 'Claims You Can Count On!' and underneath it, 'Proudly Serving the Midwest Since 1971. 555-4732. Call Now to Arrange a Meeting With One of Our Friendly Adjustors!' He wasn't just the big marketing director; he was the company's figurehead, their poster child. And so Ferris was resigned to watching life from a large Plexiglas window seven stories above the ground.
He threw his briefcase onto the passenger seat of his station wagon and stuck the key in the ignition. The entire car smelled like Speedy Eaties, and cheerios dotted the floor and seats. He pushed aside the jumbled collection of Wayne Newton cassettes sitting on the dashboard and opened the glove compartment. He waded through a mess of napkins, baby wipes, discarded pieces of chewing gum and tattered road maps, searching for his mint tin.
"There it is." He reached down underneath the passenger seat, shoving a pocket dictionary out of the way. Once he'd finally retrieved it, he closed his door and turned the key. The engine slowly sputtered to life and he pulled out onto the highway toward home.
He knew his car was a piece of shit, but Ferris didn't care. Speeding along the road, he felt free and alive. It really didn't matter what he drove; he was riding high.
Suddenly, he slammed on his brakes and slowed to a stop as a mass of stationary vehicles came into view. His spirits deflated and his shoulders slumped forward. The sound of pavement whizzing under tire was exchanged for the angry blare of car horns. He sighed. The traffic jam had permitted reality to come cruelly crashing down on him once more.