Sunday, July 16, 2006


Miranda disembarked from the elevator and looked around. To her right was the humming of office work: keyboards clacking, papers shuffling, people talking, and the occasional phone ringing. To her left was a high counter with two women behind it – one busy signing for a delivery and assuring someone over the phone that she had indeed scheduled the meeting for the next day, the other hardly moving, staring through thick-rimmed glasses at a computer screen. Miranda approached the latter. “Hello, my name is Miranda. I have an appointment with Mr. Sunder ... at two ....” She stopped. The woman with glasses didn’t even look up.

“What do you need, hon?” the other woman asked, cradling the phone in her neck and handing a clipboard back to the delivery man. “Yes, I sent him the file as an attachment last week,” she said into the phone.

“I’m here to see Mr. Sunder.”

“You have to unzip the file first before you can open it,” the reception said, then without missing a beat, “He’s down the hall on your left. Take another left at the water fountain. You’ll see a whole bunch of conference rooms on the right; his office is right across from those.”

“Not anymore,” the secretary with glasses finally spoke in a nasal east-side accent.

“What?” the other woman said, perhaps into the phone or perhaps to the secretary with glasses.

“Not anymore,” the woman with glasses said without looking up from her computer. “He moved to the fifteenth floor two weeks ago. They finally finished his office up there. It’s supposed to be real nice. Marie – Marie-from-HR Marie – she got the job as his new receptionist. She said it’s the easiest job in world. She said he’s not even in most days, and when he is in, he’s only there for a few hours, has one meeting and then goes home. She’s so lucky. I wish I had nothing to do.”

“I’m telling you, I sent the right file. It is just in zip format. You have to unzip it!” The other secretary had shifted attention to a fax machine that wouldn’t relinquish an apparently important document.

The woman with glasses finally looked up, saw Miranda still patiently waiting at the counter, and said with a fake pleasantness, “Fifteenth floor. Can’t miss it.”

Alex sat in his rolling office chair behind a large wooden desk in an ornately furnished fifteenth floor office. It was the only office on the fifteenth floor but was small enough to make room for his conference room, washroom, gym, dining room, napping room, and the fifteenth floor’s lobby that housed his secretary.

A voice sprang from the intercom. “Your two o’clock is here to see you, Mr. Sunder.”

“Thank you Marie. Send her in.” Marie showed the shy, young woman into the office. Miranda shook Alex’s hand and took a seat in one of the big leather chairs facing the desk. “Thank you, Marie. Could you bring us some bottled water? Thanks.”

Alex looked over the young girl sitting before him. She was shorter than he expected, and younger. She seems shy and unsure of herself. Alex had immediate reservations. Still she had interest enough to answer the ad and guts enough to actually show up. “Where are you from?”

Miranda cleared her throat and said, “I’m living in an apartment on the east side, down on 101st.”

Alex smiled. “Where’s that accent from?”

“Oh, well, I grew up in the Midwest.”

Grew up? Alex thought, This girl is still growing up. “Any place I’d know?”

“A small town in the middle of nowhere.” Miranda shrugged.

“Well, let’s get down to it. Why do you want to be a sidekick to a superhero?”

Miranda looked around nervously. “Because I have a power?”

“A superpower?”

“I guess.”

Alex leaned in, interested. “Oh do you now?”

1 comment:

  1. More! More, you suspenseful McBastard! Lovin' it.


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