Sarah held her breath and pressed her back against the wall. Gina was being sacked – unceremoniously . She gave a sly smile – couldn’t happen to a more deserving person. The files she clutched, dug into her arms as she realized she had tensed up on her approach to the office, fearing her first quarters performance review with the Witch of Accounting. The answer machine clicked and beeped as the caller ended the call.
Surrounding her were the sounds of tapping upon keyboards, rustling of paper files, the photocopier processing a shef of documents and stubborn metal filing drawers being opened. Sarah hesitated. Aught she creep back to her desk and await the summons or stand here like a school girl waiting punishment outside the headmistresses office?
Her decision was made for her as the click, click of oversized heels echoed down the hallway and a designer suit infused with expensive perfume wafted past.
“Ahh Sarah, on time for a change I see. Follow me into my office.”
Sarah stared at the sparse surrounds of Ginas domain. No family photos, nor knick nacks adorned the wide wooden desk. An office organizer with 2 of each coloured ball point pens, a row of highlighters, a clear plastic ruler and a brand new erasor sat to one side of a large calculator.
Sarah sat uncomfortably on the plastic swivel chair set at a ridiculously low level from the floor. Anyone who sat in it immediately felt dwarfed by the desk and by the imposing figure sitting behind it.
She cleared her throat. “ I’ve brought my IPR with me and a copy of my stats.” Sarahs eyes could not tear themselves away from the answering machines flashing light.
“Humm, good.” muttered the distracted Gina as she logged onto her PC and flicked through her emails. Her long red talons rapped over the keyboard as she answered messages with her signature one liners.
Breathing in suddenly, she turned to Sarah, staring deep into her eyes. “ What do you know about the restructuring of the company?”
Sarahs face flushed as she stammered. “N..nnnothing, just the coffee shop rumours.” The red light continued to pound behind Gina.
“Well you have chosen the best department in the company. While other areas will be downsized and outsourced, we, the Accounting Team will lead by example, being the jewel in their corporate crown. And I should know, I have the ear to some very important people.”
Sarah flushed again and glanced away, incapable of thinking of a sensible reply.
A red nail pushed the play button on the answering machine and the voice Sarah had heard moments ago, left a prior message. “Gina, we need to catch up for coffee immediately, there’s news you need to know before Corporate Office pulls us all in for a meeting. Call me.”
“The CFO, yes, my fiancé. Have you a boyfriend Sarah?” the question piercing any intimacy or connection which may have just occurred.
Sarah flushed again, shaking her head.
“Good. They take your mind of your work. I don’t approve of inter office romances in any case. They always end badly.”
Sarah stared at her ragged chewed fingernails where chips of different nail polish gave them a shabby look.; unable to produce an intelligible answer.
“Oh damn it” Ginas PC beeped announcing an urgent message from Corporate Office. “I’m sorry Sarah, I’ve been called to a Management meeting. Pop your IPR on my desk, I’ll reschedule our catch up for later today.”
Gina tucked her slimline notepad and gilded fountain pen under her arm and clicked her way down the hallway to the boardroom, her perfect hair swayed in unison with her taut buttocks.
Sarah sat for a moment, her heart hammering. Slowly she stood, glancing around to see if there were anyone around to see her push the delete all messages button on the answering machine, before she too, strode out of the office, her flat sensible shoes whispering across the tiles.