Saturday, December 4, 2010

coffee and pencil skirts

"Coffee and Pencil Skirts"

(Told in first, second and third person)

                It was a Monday afternoon at the office, and I had a meeting in five minutes to discuss advertisements for the magazine. I went into the break room to get a cup of coffee, knowing that caffeine was the only way I stood a chance against Will Weiner, the head of the advertising department. He was as easy to listen to as a television droning on in another room of the house. As I made my way to the meeting room, my editor-in-chief walked up right behind me. “Nice skirt,” he said, and squeezed my ass. He then cut in front of me and walked into the room first, jovially greeting those inside. I followed silently just as Weiner began talking. I took my place at the long table and tried to tune in to Weiner’s drone, but it was as if the television had been muted.

                You enter the break room for your third cup of coffee of the day. It doesn’t bother you that some people think it’s a bad habit – it’s not like it’s a cigarette or anything. Plus, that Will Weiner is pathetically boring. As if advertising meetings aren’t bad enough. They don’t even serve donuts for afternoon meetings. That cup of coffee is your saving grace. You’re walking toward the meeting room, and you’re intercepted by your boss, who comments on your black skirt and swiftly grabs your right butt cheek. He immediately goes into the room, talking and laughing with people about yesterday’s golf game and this morning’s traffic jam, as if what he had just done was as normal as a pat on the shoulder. And you don’t even say anything. What could you say?

                The young woman was fresh out of college and had only been working for the magazine for a couple months. She was a typical young employee; she overworked, was exceedingly nice to her coworkers, and thought that drinking several cups of coffee a day made her interesting. She made her way to the afternoon’s staff meeting, coffee in hand, preparing for the only part about her job she openly disliked. It was no secret that she had already dozed off several times at previous meetings led by Will Weiner, the aging advertising manager with a monotonous, Southern drawl. She neared the meeting room door and ran into the editor-in-chief, a forty-something divorcée who often held widely popular Friday evening gatherings at his house for his employees and colleagues to unwind from the week. The young woman and editor had a brief exchange, when the boss’s hand fell from his clipboard to his side and slightly brushed the woman’s rear end.  Seemingly embarrassed, the editor strode quickly into the meeting room and began greeting his other employees. The young woman came into the room soon after, and sat at the large oak table, looking somewhat distracted. She stared at her coffee cup the entire time, not saying a word.

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