Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Enterprise - 30

A woman named Elisabetta was installed in the vacant cubicle across from mine. She was tall, beautiful and exotic, some scion of Italian nobility. She wore heels and furs and haute couture, big earrings, makeup. Her perfume—florid, musky, syrup-thick—hung in the doldrums and clung to the partitions. Every now and again I’d hear the clickety-clack of her painted nails on the keyboard. She was like some prostitute that no one could afford.

Ostensibly she was in sales. Or business development. Or perhaps sales development. According to the whispers, she was fucking an investor.

One day Derek came storming out of his corner of the room to address her, hands on hips, his rich-boy pretty face twisted with rage.

“What’s the matter with you?!”

“Derek?” she blurted, swivelling around.

“What’s the matter with you?”

“I do not know what you mean.”

“Can’t you do a simple thing? A SIMPLE THING?”

“Whaat? Whaat?”

“I give you numbers to call. Names. Numbers.”

“I did eet! I am doing eet!”

“I’m going to have to fucking do it all myself!”

“I tell you I am doing eet. Calling, calling, calling!”

“Useless!” Derek exclaimed as he turned and walked away, wishing he could use some other words.

For a few more days, she huddled in her mink and played along. And then one day, she failed to appear. Then the next, and the one after that. After a week or two, Steve started taping notes to her monitor, first thing in the morning: “Where’s Elisabetta?” they read, along with the number of days that she’d been gone.