Business of Corporate Whores Ch. 01byRoy Jones©
"Okay," my boss said, "that's about all you need for today, I had my secretary mark the deadlines, coffee room's just up down the hallway third door on your left if you need it and…what am I missing?" He was speaking in a huge hurry. "Right, you're gonna sit in on our next project meeting…be in the conference room at one o'clock, someone'll show you the way. Got it?"
Sitting in my dilapidated office chair, I gazed up in bewilderment at the short, bald eccentric man in front of me. I had heard he was in his mid-fifties, but the baldness, wrinkled skin and overworked physique could have passed him for seventy. Totally at a loss for words, I closed my mouth and nodded dumbly.
"Good," said the boss, and that was all. He dashed out of my cubicle, stopped for a moment in the hallway with his head spinning, then remembered where he was supposed to be going and hurried off. Shoulders hunched, I turned around and stared at the looming pile of papers in my in-box. It seemed like a lifetime's work.
It might have been enough to discourage most people, but I was young, vibrant, twenty-two years old and fresh out of college. I took to the work with as much enthusiasm as I could. I wouldn't fit into dull and average mold. I'd prove my worth here. Smiling, I carefully scrutinized the document in front of me, read it over again, and began summarizing it.
An hour later I had made a sizable dent in the work, but I was having a few misgivings. The job advertisement had promised "creative opportunities", but so far all I had been doing this morning was 'summarizing IT specifications for management review'. In other words, my assignment was to dumb down our technology reports so that the computer-illiterate middle management would know what we were talking about. I frowned. Well, it was just the preliminary work, the stuff that had to get out of the way first. I would do this and then the exciting challenges would come. I forced a smile back on my face and went back to work.
Just as I was setting to work on what must have been the fifteenth document, my boss (who never actually did bother to tell me his name) reappeared, this time dragging someone along with him by the shoulder. His companion was a much younger man, I guessed about thirty.
The younger man smiled at me, showing white, even teeth—but there was something in the way he looked at me that I immediately mistrusted. He was good-looking enough, any woman would have seen that. His rugged stubble, high, defined cheekbones and tousled brown hair were eye-catching, but there was an unnerving look in his small, watery brown eyes, eyes that noticeably distracted the rest of his features. When the boss turned his head for a second the young man cocked his head and winked at me—I pushed back in my chair.
"Smith," he said, who I took to be the boss, "weren't you planning to introduce me to our new co-worker?"
"Hmm?" said the boss, evidently Smith. "Oh yes, rather… Vince Kapatrick, meet Kelsey Atwood. Vince, Kelsey shall be our new IT specifications worker to replace young Richler."
The young man named Vince snorted. His eyebrows narrowed and his face creased into a frown. The change was quite startling—it was as if a shadow had been thrown over his face.
"Right," said Vince, "…Richler's replacement."
"Who's Richler?" I piped up. I didn't want to waste anyone's time, but I was curious. "Was he fired?"
Smith gave a good-natured chuckle at the same time Vince snorted again. "No, no," said Smith, who was now beaming. He straightened his posture and fixed the folds of his suits. "He was promoted. Very promising young talent."
Vince shook his head in disgust. "Arrogant dolt," he said. "Jumping in all over the place, always offering his thoroughly unwanted little 'suggestions'…"
Smith laughed again and clapped Vince on the shoulder. "Well what you call nosiness our management calls initiative, old Vince. Initiative. You could learn something from him."
I wondered if Smith was oblivious to Vince's expressions or just used to them, because he showed no reaction in spite of the fact Vince was now wearing a scowl that would have sent children running and screaming. Yet Vince had no further comment to give.
"Well," said Smith, clapping his hands together. "I've got to run for a quick meeting. Vince, can I trust you to show our new worker the ropes?"
"Yeah, no problem."
"Great! I'm off, then." And humming a strange melody I had never heard before, my oddball, eccentric boss dashed out of my cubicle for the second time that morning. Vince waited until he was gone, then walked towards me and sat down on my desk. I couldn't help trembling a little. To my surprise, when he spoke his voice seemed natural and easygoing.
"Enjoying the work?" he asked, with what I took to be an ironic smile.
My nervousness faded and I smiled back. "To be honest, it looks a little dull on the surface. "Seems like the first part of the work is just well…putting our research into layman's terms."
Vince gave a small laugh. "Right. That's a nice way of putting it, Kelsey. But that's not the first part of the job. That is your job. That's what being an "IT specifications expert" is. You convert our highly technical research into terms that a six-year old would understand, then ship it off to the unscrupulous fucks in management, people who the only work they do around here is asking people to give them reports of the work they're doing while they sit in their executive chairs and feed their faces." He stopped to catch his breath.
"Well I can see why Richler would want out of it as soon as possible," was the only reply I could think of.
"Gah!" cried Vince, making me shrink even lower into my seat. "Do not mention that prissy little schoolboy fuck to me." He sighed, shook his head in frustration and ran his fingers through his beach blond hair. "Anyway…I'll give him this much—he did work hard. Anyway, Smith told me you majored in graphics design?"
I beamed. "It's a little specialty of mine."
"Good, I'll be able to get you in on a little something. Could lead to good things."
"Ah…thank you," I said.
"Can open up…all kinds of possibilites." My body went rigid as Vince's fingers reached out to toy with my curly brown hair. He smirked at me, eyeing me up and down. "Just remember your place," he said. "I'm always good for a recommendation to old Smith. If the worker displays certain skills." He winked at me, then slid off the desk and strode out of my cubicle, leaving me shocked and upset.
Surely this wasn't the way everyone would be here? When I had been studying business I had visualized creative dreams, synergizing with coworkers, living to a potential…but I had been in the real world for an hour and a half, and the only work I'd done could have been done by someone with thirty minutes of training. The only people I'd seen was a deranged, half-senile boss and a pervert who obviously assumed I was going to whore myself out to him to climb the corporate ladder. It was depressing.
I gave a pained sigh and returned to the work. The walls of the cubicle possessed what I took to be a magical power—an unstoppable ability to drain my enthusiasm
Two hours later I sidled into the mass congregation of my co-workers in the office room. The walls were painted a dull, peeling white. On one side of the room lay a wide counter space, stacked with an enormous, industrial-size coffee machine and two microwaves. On the other side were a few beige, torn and overstuffed couches. People had amassed on them like pigeons on a church-roof, about fifteen people stacked onto three ratty couches. Some were crammed onto the armrest like little children, their feet dangling above the stained carpet as they talked animatedly.
I shrank into the lineup in front of the coffee machine and gazed around. The attitudes, the vibrancy of everyone was astonishing—it sharply contrasted with the bleak and dilapidated environment they were working in. It may have been a callous thought, but I wondered how on earth these people managed to be cheerful after three and a half hours of the kind of work we were expected to do? Surely it couldn't be just the work.
When I was going to Tech school I had been a long ways from an outcast. I had had good friends, an enjoyable social life—some of the dorm parties around spring break would have put Girls Gone Wild to shame. It was totally unlike me to be meek and shy away from crowds. Hell, how hard would it have been for me to say "Hi, nice to meet you, I'm new here and my name's Kelsey?" But before I had quite gathered what to say, people were already leaving the room in droves, chatting and laughing away. I slumped my shoulders, looked around for someone to speak to. Now it seemed everyone had their backs to me and had already left. Before I knew it I was alone. I turned around, finally at the front of the coffee line.
Or so I thought. I squealed as I bumped into a man with brown hair and a brown suit.
"Hey, watch it!" he roared as he turned around. Then he paused and blinked his watery eyes—it was Vince. His mouth turned up in a grin. "Oh, it's you," he said. "How's the morning work, babe?"
Ignoring his degrading tagline, I held my head up and said "Quite well, actually," with as much dignity as I could muster in spite of my fear.
Vince laughed, if you could call it that. It was more of a short, sharp bark than a laugh. "Right, of course." He eyed me up and down as he sipped his coffee, eyeing me in a way that made me feel as if my new business skirt and jacket had vanished, leaving me naked and exposed to his gaze. He lowered his paper cup and gave another one of his malicious little smiles.
"You got a boyfriend?" he asked suddenly.
"N-no," I stammered, my mind instantly rebuking me. What was wrong with me? It was none of his business whether I was seeing someone or not, and I had meant to tell him so! So why did I feel so powerless before him?
"Good," said Vince. "Not that I think it would matter." He stood up from leaning against the counter and stalked forward, his vision fixed on the door as if he could no longer see me. But just as he brushed past me he reached out a large, masculine hand and smacked my ass through my skirt. I gave a small yelp and jumped back, horrified.
"Remember," said Vince as he stood framed in the doorway, "think about what I told'ya." He grinned and then stalked out of view.
I was mortified, quite certainly—I mean, what woman wouldn't be? His behaviour was appalling, disgusting.. He had no right to…touch me. Yet, all the same… I let my hand drift down to my stinging ass, my fingers absentmindedly caressing my cheeks in slow circles as I stared at the empty doorway. Then I snapped out of it, shaking my head. My cheeks were quite red, but that was embarrassment. Embarrassment--nothing else.
After dipping off into a bakery, I returned to the office and asked the first person I saw for directions. She pointed out the conference room just down the hall—I thanked her and walked off, reenergized by the brisk air outside and the healing power of a real, drinkable latte from Starbucks. I was refreshed, my enthusiasm swelling inside me once more. I was once again prepared to show the corporate world what I was made of.
Well, as you might expect, it didn't take me too long before I was ready to smash my head into the meeting table. Who the fuck designed these meetings? I wanted to scream. The only thing that happened in the first hour was that a man from sales rep droned on and on about how profits were down this quarter—the first hour. Not a useful presentation either—I mean, this man offered no future goals, no plans to improve profits, no possible idea about which actions we should take next. He just kept up a nonstop commentary as he showed graph after graph, all of them with identical titles: 'Profits down 2% since last quarter'
I was bewildered by everyone's reactions until I decided that they must have a good deal of practice at pretending to be interested in things. Except for Mr. Smith, my boss. He really and truly seemed to be hanging on every word the sales representative was saying. That was the first time I questioned my aspirations of how far I wanted to go in this company. Perhaps Mr. Smith had been just as normal as I was thirty years ago and the ass kissing and dysfunctional corporate procedure gave you long term psychological damage.
Eventually, the sales rep ran out of breath and was forced to sit down. Then, with a grin and sweep of his hair, Vince stood up and walked to the front of the table, moving on to the next part. I felt a warm rush to my face and thighs as I watched him. Watched his boyish grin, his sexy, tousled brown hair—good God! What am I saying? This is the same man that pretty much came right out and said he'd help my career out if I slept with him and grabbed my ass in the coffee room. What was wrong with me?
Vince leant forward and placed his hands on the table. All minor conversations and whisperings immediately ceased. I felt a little bit of fear creep into me—Vince obviously commanded respect.
"As some of you may know," he said with a smug look, "I have recently been promoted to senior executive position of this department—coming with it, of course, my own private office and new executive desk."
I marveled at the fact that this was the way he chose to open his speech, and was incredulous that nobody thought to object. There was a silence—but as it turned out, someone did object.
"Is this related to the upcoming project, Kapatrick?" came a voice from the back of the room.
I spun around in my chair to see who had spoken—and my jaw dropped. How could I have been in the same room as this man for an hour and not taken notice of him? Vince was good-looking by most woman's standards, but this guy was gorgeous. He was slouched back in his chair now as if it were a recliner, his hands behind his head and gazing at Vince with an interested look. His wavy blond hair, blue eyes, and muscular physique visible even under his business suit lent him the presence of a model. I hurried to close my mouth, but there was no way I'd be able to take my eyes off him.
"As a matter of fact, Richler," sneered Vince, "since you have been assigned to work as a member on my team, as you would have found out in a moment, perhaps there isn't any harm in knowing a little background info." I assumed Vince's face was a mixture of anger combined with another one of his conceited smiles. Assumed, because I was still unable to take my eyes off Richler. So this was the man that had the contempt of Vince but the evident adoration of his boss—and probably, I guessed, the adoration of every one of my female coworkers.
He must have noticed me looking at him, because he turned his head towards me, took in my image for a second and then flashed me a broad smile. Immediately I felt my face flush—I smiled back, but I felt so giddy and light-hearted it probably came out as a goofy grin.
"Anyway," grumbled Vince. He shocked me out of my brief reverie and my eyes returned to the table. "Anyway…per instructions from our VP, Smith has assigned a task force to present a collective report to the managers timelining the progress of the last five years. Jill, Richler, Kelsey, and myself. Since the rest of you don't really need further instructions, I'll just ask those three to stay behind with me afterwards. Now, about later concerns in the Fall quarterly projections…"
The rest of the meeting, I have to admit, were either boring or maddeningly obscure presentations that I probably wouldn't have been able to understand even if I had been paying attention. I had flashed the occasional look at Jim, but there was something in his California good looks or physique that was very attractive and intimidating at the same time, something I had gone a long time without seeing at IT school.
The four of us were now seated at the four chairs closest to the top of the table, with Vince set in a commanding position at the top. Jill had introduced herself to me just as the last few stragglers filed out of the room, and I immediately took a liking to her. She was quite tall, about six feet and taller than both Vince or Richler, yet she still resonated an aura of grace and femininity. Her smile, cheerful disposition and curly black hair were charming and attractive. I imagined her to be quite popular.
Vince had a briefcase and a few papers spread out on the table. Jill was sitting in the seat next to me—Richler was sitting directly across. I had to concentrate on not looking at him, because every time I did I blushed uncontrollably and lost the thread of whatever Vince was saying.
"Now," Vince was saying, "as I've said, collectively over the last five years—"
I frowned. Hang on, something just occurred to me. "Wait," I interrupted. Vince stopped talking—Richler and Jill turned to look at me. "This is still only my first day here—how much use would I be in a project over the last five years?"
Vince shook his head and waved a hand dissmisively. "Don't matter. Jill and Richler will dig up all the information we need. See the records department. I'll process it and work on a draft for the presentation. You don't need to know the data—we'll give it to you and you can put that IT degree to work. You said graphic design, right?"
"Perfect. Now, Jill, specifically you can show Richler about…"
My attention wandered again—after listening to Vince in the last meeting I was able to get a feel for when he was about to ramble. I sighed and turned automatically to gaze out a window, but to my dismay there was none. The walls were as drab and bleak as that of the lounge, just in slightly better condition. I turned back my attention to the meeting—but gave a small start when I felt a foot slide onto mine. I looked down, then gazed up into Richler's blue eyes and his coy smile. I raised my eyebrows, but smiled back.
"…now don't be afraid to…do a little creative selection," Vince was saying. "Remember, the shitbrick computers we're running now won't be good two years and we need the funding…"
But it was useless to try and clue in to what he was saying. Richler's nylon clad foot had slid up quite a ways, his heel resting between my knees as he curled his toes and caressed the top of my thigh. I could feel a growing heat coursing through my thighs up to my hips, the very beginning of a slight ache building in my crotch.
Richler gave the briefest of glances in Vince's direction to see if he was paying attention, then let himself slowly slide down in his chair. I had to hold back a gasp as his foot slid underneath the hem of my skirt. My fingers gripped around the bottom of my chair. Unconciously the tip of my tongue slipped out of my mouth and ran across my lips. Lance gently pushed the ball of his foot against my lace panties, rubbing them against my pussy…
"and that about sums it up as far as you're concerned. Got that, Kelsey?"
My stomach gave a sudden lurch of fear. He must have meant Jill, right? Right?
"So that about wraps that up. Everyone got it?"
Richler nodded and said "got it"—and his foot slid out from underneath my skirt and returned to the ground. I felt a pang of disappointment, although I knew how ridiculous the situation was and I was more than a little bewildered. Richler only leaned back, raised an eyebrow again and gave me a small smile.
I couldn't help but marvel at my first exposure to the world of male co-workers. The first two I had met were no better than frat boys. And just as attractive. I mean unattractive. Both—no, just one of them. I certainly wanted something to do with Vince—wait, no, that was mixed up. I mean I certainly didn't. Richler was the one I was going for, a nice guy albeit being just as big a pervert as every other man on the planet.