Guess where I am.
My clothings were prepared, a white blouse, gray skirt short enough to leave my knees open but not so short to be really sexy, black stockings and shoes and a jacket fitting to the skirt. It took some seconds before I realized that was the costume I was supposed to wear today.
The Rosenbaum Holding Ltd. is placed in the level 61 to 65 of one of the finest Boston downtown addresses. With a great view on Boston harbour, the better part of cause.
Mister Rosenbaum is president, his wife, his daugher Sophie, Harold and Jerry are in the rank of vice president working in the executive office in the 65 level. I was placed as a voluntary assistant under the supervising of their executive secretary Mrs. Gwen London.
It’s funny when you first are introduced into a new environment. Colours are important and the office colour of their holding was gray in different shades. I don’t know why the financial sector is thinking that colours are something best left for football teams and traffic lights, but it’s not just that. I quickly found out, that the more important people were in their corporation, the darker their colours were, underlining what was important, who was important and who was not.
The only thing that’s black on my office suit are my legs. And while everybody seems to have a workplace like a desk or something similar, I have a reception counter at the entrance of the executive level, built of white glass which covers zero percent of my person. I didn’t mention that I don’t like to sit in the spotlight? Call it an occupational idiosyncrasy as a thief, but it’s just like that. And to give insult to humiliation I am delegated most of my tasks by bots from my Commlink.
“Priority task, Miss Edelstein”, my boss Mrs. London called me, "drop the tasks you are on and report to my desk. Her desk was three meters away. “Yes, Mam?” I was nearly done with a intranet research about the number of fail days of accountants over the last five years, which was a task I was on for at least the last halve hour and which I would have to start new, because the system will eject my corporate identity avatar in about thirty seconds. I suppressed to salute her and was madly reminded of days gone by when I tried to imitate a young communication lieutenant in the army, which was not as bad as this.
“Coffee, tee, cookies for the meeting in seven minutes and pronto, please.” Running is not allowed. Chewing gum is not allowed. Spitting on the floor is not allowed.
Slouching on my office chair is not allowed. As if I would do anything like that. Okay. Last time I was ordered to keep my gob shut and follow orders I left a graffiti on the toilet of that Japanese restaurant when my old sensei insulted me in front of his superior.
But that’s ten years ago, I’m not at the age of Analisa anymore! I was sweating and the sweat was burning in my kajal eyes. With which I tried to hide the red rimmed traces of the last night, as I tried to razor the fur on my tongue this morning. The shitty stilettos were absolutely not my footgear and I nearly lost control when I was sliding around the corner to keep the timer, five, four, three, I smiled and presented the tablet. “Go! Go! Go! Girl, the president is already waiting for you, what took you so long?!”
In my mind I kicked her with a roundhouse kick the curls from her hairdo, but I nodded. “Of cause Mrs. London.” I just said ‘Mrs. Frenchie’. Nothing comes in, nothing goes out. It’s just a few hours now. I can do that. If I don’t find a spray can by accident.
My commlink beeped again. The system bot was delivering another task. The task bot had a little counter counting down. I delivered the tee and coffee and shit, smiling, she reminded me friendly. I smiled because if this goes right, I will be the only one smiling here.
One of the bots started to flash in my visual interface, I was running short in time. Just when I was around the corner, I did run to the lift to meet the guy of the archives where I had to do – what? I checked my Commlink and of cause was already auto logged off. The nineth hell of Dante is something like a holiday on the bahamas if you compare it with this. I just hope this is not the normal life, that people live or the next thermonuclear war will start the moment an accountant gets access to the red button to end this.
I finished my intranet recherche on my way back, just in time, where is the time? Don’t people around here need any time off to catch some air? ‘Bleep’ my commlink says and another ‘priority task’. “Get the usual Sushi delivery for the office staff, Miss Edelstein, please.” She is making clear when she is saying ‘please’ she means ‘pronto’. I found out where the last delivery came from, what is the usual stuff they order and hang in the waiting line of that Sushi delivering service. In my office suit avatar. People watch me and I activate my obfuscating privacy screen which blocks their prying gape. I exchange my ID and the bot at the cash sends me another counter that’s counting for the arrival.
I log out and have two new tasks in the schedule that are running out. Menial tasks, but I think I’m the only one moving here but the post guy, who smiled at me when I was rushing down the corridor. I really need a fucking piss.
Sushi counter running out and I nearly miss the delivery guy down at the entrance. He’s ogling my boobs. Not that they are something that I say are worth any ogling, but that blouse is thin as air and there are the upper two buttons not just missing, they were never planned to be there. I blushed and tried to ignore him. But he was raising himself on tiptoes to have a better look. “What’s the matter with you!?”, I snarled at him and he retaliated with stalling. My counters run down relentless while he was faking to search for the delivery approval pad.
And I really need a piss. I managed to comply another task in the lift and deliver the stuff. There is missing some of the rice wine. Mrs. Pennyshitter tells me I should be more attentive and that my job is needing some serious responsibility and that I shall not dawdle around and stay focused. I am focused to not pee my pants – and smile.
I slide around the corner, another task later, on my back and take my piss. There’s a meeting in three minutes and I was wandering when my fucking pause is for dinner?! Any fucking pause? But a minute later I’m already out of the loo and slide around another corner, slowing down to a fast walk and reached my counter just in time. “The meeting is now”, Mrs. London smiles, “I show you, where you sit, darling.” The second row behind the others, no desk. I pressed my legs together. “Just listen and be alert. You talk when somebody asks you a question. Just this.”
The Rosenbaums having a meeting is something like watching a real messy football game. If you don’t know the rules and you are blind. And you only can listen to the stadium speakers. Which are broken and snare and echo a lot. My stomach was growling. The people had coffee and cookies. And I tried to concentrate on one of them slowly levitating in my direction. But they did not.
“Miss Edelstein, what has said Jerry how many workers the Chicago Ironworks have to leave?” “Huh?!” I rewind my recordings, but everybody was just staring at me as if I was a transvestite in a women’s only health club and my dingelong was just showing up. I looked down, and with some time to review I answered: “six-hundred forty-one, not counting the accountants.” “We didn’t ask about the accountants.” But the discussion was going on and my stomach made another audible noise. Ouch. I tried to concentrate and readied two hanging tasks that I didn’t finish in time. The third one would need me personal in another division.
I got a warning from Mrs. London that I’m not supposed to divide my attention when I’m honoured to participate at an executive meeting. I’m in the middle of my reply, when another question was asked. I nearly jumped. “They have subsidiaries in Denver, Seattle and ehr Chicago… Can I have a cookie?”, I added submissively, but my request was ignored. At least I did know the answer this time.
The two nights almost without sleep and the rest ganja I had in my head didn’t make it much easier. Hours after hours were passing by with boring and hard to mind details about corporations that were liquidized, people losing their jobs, money transfers and stock developments. Every forty or ninety minutes I got asked a question and I just kept me awake through counting the times my stomach was growling, how often they ordered new tea and cookies and the time they needed to finish it. Me hungry. I tried to connect to Mystique, but get ‘connection refused, failure logged’ by the server. That’s just great. The only game I find on my commlink is the calculator. 800*1*8. I can’t find a way to mentally type the R and the N, so I start playing towers of hanoi with text.
I’m typing, then I add a 4 to the tower, then a 5.
“What?”, I’m shrieking up. “It’s quarter to six o’clock.” “I was asking Sophie”, Mister Rosenbaum reminded me to obey the protocol. Chairs were pushed and I wearily came on my feet. “Control the automatic protocol, please, Miss Edelstein.” I nodded and started to control the automatic protocol if everything was right.
Two times I had my head nod and nearly slipped from my chair. Of cause everything was all right. As far as I was able to say. A bot ordered me to go fetch the coat of some of the vice presidents, after I got Jerry off nearly humping my leg in the kitchen. Dizzy I offered the coats and was running behind. Twelve hour shift, no pause. I was working on the loo and in the lift. I slid into the lift in the moment it closed, the Rosenbaums watching me. Mister Rosenbaum stayed in the office, I watched my feet, nobody saying a word.
I inhaled supper and after that Analisa asked me to join her in her room, listening to some music and chatting. I followed her and she was very very chatty and said nobody was home the whole day, she used to have a friend with George but since he’s in hospital… I was not as chatty as I liked to and the drugging and the long nights, the hard day and sleep-deprivation took their toll. “I have something new!”, she said and licked a tatt from a strip. “Got it in The Spearhead yesterday.” The stuff was iridescent against the lights but that’s just my eyes, which I had problems to keep open.
She chatted and showed me her new designs. She had planned another day out and if I have ever heard of Dreamland? “Hey, you changed your colour, Lisa!”, she said when I was feeling the weariness in my eyelids. “Colours?” In a moment she was turning around I opened my senses and watched her fluorescent Aura, Tempo. I moaned and switched back to mundane. “Listen to this! It’s an underground band, they experiment with magic and music and will have a gig!” Music is filling the room and she was sitting at my side, I was smiling and tried to follow but then darkness swept over me like the black flood of Styx.