Taking a break from talking about books to do the Indie Chick Lit writing prompt. Each week this awesome site provides a writing prompt to invite us to open our minds to creating different worlds and link up to share the stories we've created.
You are given a super power for only two hours. What super power is it and what do you do with it?
I've long known that the other gals in the office weren't too fond of me. I don't eat lunch with them and I don't go out after work for drinks. Mostly because I'm not invited. I'm damn good at my job, I know that. I'm pretty much the best in the office. I don't try to show off, I simply do what needs to be done. I'm an educated woman who worked hard to get where I am. I went to college and got my degree and found myself a job. And not just any job - a cush job with benefits and a retirement plan. Not that I thought that made me any better than the next gal in the office. They all landed the same job with the same benefits and retirement plan.
But this morning is different. I'm not sure how, why, or what happened, but it has happened. The only thing I can think of was that I had actually gone to church the yesterday. I stopped going the day she moved away from home. But the past two years have been a but rough; two years with the firm and no one speaks to me, except the lawyers. I went for confession; it's been eight years since my last one. I think that somewhere in my confession I admitted that sometimes I wished I could hear other people's thoughts; specifically the thoughts of my co-workers. Not sure what I was thinking there, except that if I knew the details they won't tell me verbally, maybe I could fix it?
Because since I walked into the office at 8am I've hearing my co-worker's thoughts. And they weren't pretty. Trudy, my secretarial boss, thinks I'm sleeping my way up the ladder. And she had planted that ugly rumor to the rest of the secretary pool. Jen, Amber, and Mary couldn't decide if I was moonlighting as a stripper or a hooker, because I always seem to have money. Melissa, Laura, and Kaylin just know I'm a stuck-up bitch and does I can to show off and brag about my degree. And they all believe me to be a back-stabbing, lying, conniving, arrogant whore. It's easy to know they all agree on that last bit.
The day isn't starting off well and it's only 8:15. I try to do my normal business, trying not to stare at my evil-minded co-workers, until my boss walked into his office. Jordan Lane is his usual cheerful self, and calls me into his office as he walks by. I grabbed my tablet, legal pad and a pen and scurried into his office. It was hard to not turn around and stare at the co-workers who were suddenly in a tizzy of mental gossiping.
As per the usual morning ritual, I email him a copy of his schedule for the day while verbalizing it, ask what he'd like for lunch, and ask what he had ready for me to work on. Jordan handed me a stack of folders over a foot tall, apologizing for the workload. I shrug it off saying, "No worries, Jordan. I will get it done." I was hoping he couldn't see my eyes starting to water as I turned.
"Violet? What's the matter?"
No such luck. "I'm just having an off day, I'm sorry. Trust me, the work will get done."
"I have no doubts there. You and I, we have no secrets. Please, sit down tell me."
I shift from one foot to the other, bite my lower lip. It would be unprofessional of me to tell. But I do harbor a secret of his, so I know that he trusts me. Plus other than this, I really don't have secrets from Jordan. He literally is the world's best boss. So I sat in the chair opposite him and spilled. Jordan's face got angrier as I went on until I began about hearing her coworkers thoughts.
He put up his hands. "Whoa, Violet. Seriously? Can you hear mine?"
"Yes. Should I ask about Josh or will you tell me over lunch?"
He laughs. "I believe you. And I'll tell you over lunch. I think I'm in love." He laughs some more.
We decide to see how long it lasts before deciding what to do. I'm to keep him updated and continue to do my job as best as I can with my "distraction".
I go back to my clean desk with my disastrous pile from Jordan. By 8:30 the office is a busy hive with people going to and fro and my "IN" basket is getting full as well. Thank God man invented headsets for phones because no one likes a crick in the neck. Every time one of the other secretaries walked by her mental assaults jarred me. This happened a lot as they went back and forth for coffee, copies or the bathroom. My eyes kept trying to involuntarily tear up on me and I was hoping that none of the other secretaries noticed.
When 10am rolled around an eternity later, I noticed a sudden quietness in my head. For a moment I sat there, frozen, waiting for it to come back. Maybe I'd heard all I needed to. Lord knows I heard more than I ever thought possible. And I know now to never ask for such a horrible thing again. I ran into Jordan's office and told him it was over. I also thought of something I could do.
Back at my desk, I opened a new email and began typing. I type up to 90 words per minute and my fingers fly as the words come to me. Once done I decided to wait until later in the day to send it. To make sure I still would. I continued with my work, making headway. Shortly before lunch I thought, to hell with it. I warned Jordan about the email, said I was off to get our lunch, and hit send just before I left. The following email was sent to everyone on my floor:
I am aware for the entire four years at this firm I have been treated as a leper. I know what you think of me; of what I am, who I am. You are all so far off you might as well be on a different planet. Yes, I do have a college education and a degree that I worked hard for. I was also left with a mountain of debt in student. My college boyfriend maxed out my credit cards and fled, never to be heard from again, leaving me with a second mountain of debt and a damaged credit score. I was hired here at the firm, but as lovely as my paychecks are, they didn't cover my regular living expenses and my debt. Due to my fast typing skills and my education, I have two part-time jobs. I make sure to have my work at the firm done by 5pm because I have another job and I have to be there by 5:30pm, where I work until 11pm. On the weekends I work two twelve hour days. Each job has a purpose (and both are completely legal): the firm pays for my living expenses; the second job pays for my student loans; the third pays for my credit card debt. I am not sleeping with anyone at the firm; in fact, while it's none of your business and also blatantly obvious when you have the truth, I do not have time to have a relationship. Jordan and I are only co-workers who happen to work very well as a team. Shame on you for never speaking to me from day one, even though for four years I have said "good morning/afternoon/evening/night" to you. I have wished you "happy birthday/anniversary/holidays." But you ignore me. I know what all of you are going through. I sit here day after day, doing my job and the only person who has ever bothered to get to know me at all, is my boss, Jordan. I do not need all of you to be my friends, but it would be nice if you would treat me like a human being.
P.S. I also know who has been stealing employee lunches.
When I get back from grabbing lunch, astonished faces greet me. I take the food into Jordan's office and spend a nice quiet hour listening to him talk about Josh, his new love interest. Afterward I finish my work, clear my desk and grab my things to head off to my next job. As I walk past the other secretaries I hear them murmur, "Have a good night."
As the elevator door closes I take a deep breath and feel a weight be lifted off my shoulders. And I smile.