September Creative Writing Challenge – Day 4: Any Questions?

Photo by kate.sade on Unsplash

It was her first day on the job, and Tasha felt confident as she walked in and placed her belongings on the desk of the cubicle designed for someone half her size–half anyone’s size, really. The size of her workspace didn’t really bother her though, and she began to unpack all of the office supplies she had purchased while at her last job that she had taken with her when she left. As she unpacked, she realized that she might need to downsize the amount of things that she kept at her desk, because there simply wasn’t enough room to accommodate all the knick knacks, pictures, and wall pieces that she had used to decorate her previous office.

Going from a spacious office to a tiny cubicle will do that to you. She thought, mentally talking down to herself. Getting fired from your first fantastic corporate job and being forced to take the first thing that comes along will do that to you too.

As she continued to unpack things that she really wanted to make space for and repack things that she believed she could go without seeing in her new, compact space, Barry, her new supervisor, came over to greet her. 

“Tasha.” He stated shortly as he adjusted his wire-rimmed glasses to look down at her from the edges of his lenses.

When she first met him prior to her interview, she had judged him prematurely as being a pretentious know-it-all, but their conversation during the interview caused her to reevaluate her judgments of him.  He was a nerdy sort of character, but kind, and she thought he might be a decent person to work for.

“Oh, hello sir. I’m just getting my supplies and decorations unboxed.” She smiled, and politely stopped unboxing her things. “How are you? I’m excited to get setup and started on the phones.”

“Tasha, could I have a moment with you in my office?”

Nodding, Tasha followed Barry back to his office, wondering nervously what kind of conversation required a private meeting in her new supervisor’s office on her very first day of work. As they entered into his much larger, spacious office, Barry extended his hand toward the chairs in front of his desk, gesturing for her to have a seat, before he made his way around his solid oak desk and took his own seat.

“Is something wrong, sir?” Tasha asked, wanting to get it all out in the open quickly if there was truly cause for alarm.

“No, not at all.” He replied. “Quite the opposite. You see, I’ve just fired my personal assistant for insubordination, and I’d like to offer you her position.”

“Me? But I’ve only just started. I haven’t even trained on the phones yet.”

“There would no longer be any need for you to train on the phones. You would only be responsible for answering my calls, booking appointments on my calendar, and handling some of the office management responsibilities when I’m in meetings or away.”

“Well, of course, I’m flattered, sir,” She replied, “but why are you asking me and not someone better qualified who’s been here longer?”

Barry stood and walked around from behind his desk and stood directly in front of her before taking a new seat on the front edge of his desk, smiling crookedly as he sat looking down at her. “Well, there will also be some off-the-record tasks that I’d like you to handle that I believe you’re more well-suited for than the other women in this department.”

Tasha squirmed uneasily in her seat, not wanting to think about the implications behind that statement but unable to stop her mind from going there at the same time. “What kind of off-the-record tasks are we talking about, and why does your personal assistant need to be a woman?”

She hadn’t meant to sound so confrontational in the way she had asked her question, and she could tell her candor had caught him off guard, because he stood again and walked back to his seat. 

“Tasha, these tasks would require a woman’s touch. I would very much like you to be that personal touch.”

The worst of Tasha’s suspicions confirmed, she turned quickly from nervous to agitated and then angry. Sweat collected on her forehead, and her cheeks became flushed. She felt as if her blood my boil. 

“Any questions?” He asked, oblivious to her mounting anger. 

Tasha stood, and turned her back to him; however, she quickly gathered her courage and turned to face him, using her outrage as fuel to drive her.

“Barry,” She said, “I don’t think I have any questions, but HR might have a few of their own for you soon. I will not be accepting your offer. In fact, I won’t be taking any position within this department.”

She turned again and walked to the door, stopping before she crossed the threshold. Without turning to look at him again, she asked, “Do you have any questions?”

Not bothering to wait for his response, she walked to her would-be cubicle and quickly collected her belongings before walking out to a trail of stares following her.

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