A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

Dot-Com Absurdity

Dot-com Absurdity

Sayed placed the cup with the apotropaic eyes on the workstation that filled up the south-facing wall of the outer office formed by the movable partitions. He surreptitiously looked over his shoulder at the expanse of cubicles that stretched out over the eleventh floor of the dot-com office. Moving-in day, it was always the most tricky part. He opened his metallic grey case and shielding the rather sparse contents from the occupants of the floor. He removed his name plaque and placed it with some flourish at the front of his desk. Sayed Hameed – Junior Project Manager. He carefully brushed the lint and fallen dandruff from the immaculate black jacket and ran a hand through his carefully cut, but already greying,  hair. He thought to himself that the artificial greying was a touch of genius. The combination of junior-manager and grey hair lent an air of authenticity to his pretense. He was now ready for the first big test. He hoped the lucky cup would work its magic.

It’s amazing really. On one hand, the predictors of our future are saying that because of computers (oh! It used to be robots but when that turned out to be an idle fantasy they turned to computers) we would have increasingly more leisure time. Well maybe! But lets say you want to take a three or four day fishing trip during your working week. First, you lose the wages for that time. Second, have you been to a sport shop recently. A half way decent rod and reel costs close to $300. The clothes and accessories to look the part can boost that to $1000. Then getting out on the water and being able to catch a fish a further $500. By the time you add all the pluses and minuses up you are looking at $5000 for a half a week of leisure. No, the myth about increasing leisure time is just that-a myth.

So, Sayed has to resort to scams. And the biggest scam going at the moment is the dot-com extravaganza. The first task was to get on a phone list, get an expense card, then on the payroll. If he got the first he had to endure the endless boring meetings, but he could cope with that if there was a payoff at the end of the week. A memo appears on his desk after he comes back for the water machine. Isn’t it odd, he reflects, how all these people now feed off businesses? Cool or cold water, coffee, morning and afternoon teas, special little feasts, all those endless office supplies that no-one ends up using but-oh-they-were-such-a-good-idea-at-the-time. Sayed scans the memo. Bingo! His first meeting. A chance to get in on the action. He tries not to look too eager, but just eager enough, as he strides down the alley of cubicles to ‘Planning & Strategy’.

This particular dot-com is supposedly marketing buttons. It seems that antique buttons are something that are often absent from the real marketplace and therefore the Internet makes a perfect place to market these increasingly hard-to-find objects. If you believe what Mr Buttons-R-US is saying. Curiously he is not talking about sourcing supplies, shipping routes, marketing strategies, but instead, is going into intricate detail about projected quarterly profits and turn around times, flick-ons, and something called outsourcing. Sayed keeps his head down but his ears start ringing when the topic of product awareness and sideways marketing is raised. Here is where the expense accounts and long lunches rule. They are expected to spend up to twenty-five percent of their time cultivating market awareness. This means wooing other retailers who will then, by way of word of mouth, alert their customers to this wonderful opportunity on the Internet to find and buy that antique button they need and desire. Mr Buttons-R-US is calling it            . Sayed is careful to sign his name in the middle of the long list of junior and middle managers as they file out of the briefing.

Back at his desk, Sayed sees, to his delight, that another memo has arrived. He is on a phone list that seems to have been generated off nameplates on desks. That cup is bringing him luck and even though he was wary of the nameplate, it has paid dividends. He thought it was time to meet the neighbor. He raised himself on tiptoes and peered over the dividing partition. She was a picture. Her nametag spelled out Moratia. She might be foreign. That would be a good start. Despite Sayed having a foreign name he had lived in the country all his life as had his parents. They just happened to be proud enough of their origins that they didn’t bastardise their names as so many immigrants had.

“Moratia. What an interesting name,” Sayed atoned in what he took for his sexiest voice, ”where does that come from?”

Moratia turned to him slowly and holding him in her gaze replied,

“Actually my name is Beth, but I thought that Moratia had a certain ring to it and so I had a name badge made up. I’m now thinking it was a really silly idea. Everyone talks slowly to me or just totally ignores me. As if I were a foreigner or something.”

She twisted her head up and sideways but couldn’t see any nametag. And you are…?”

“ Sayed.. Sayed Hammed.” Sayed tried to pop his hand over the partition but only succeeded in moving the portable wall away form its fixings. From the other side, he could hear a rustling of papers and falling objects.

“Sorry! I seem to have messed up your workstation,” he mumbled apologetically while fumbling with the partition in an effort to restore it to its past position.

Suddenly Moratia/Beth appeared around the corner of his work area. She was stunning. She was dressed in what Sayed called fashionable black. Black suit with a red sweater and red shoes. Her pale white skin positively shone and her doe eyes blinked at him as she extended her hand, which Sayed noted had black painted fingernails. He was instantly smitten and thoughts of expensive lunches and sideways marketing disappeared from his head. It was seldom that Sayed was speechless but he couldn’t momentarily form a word.

“Argghh! So, what do I call you? Moratia or Beth?”

“Beth is fine. Oh I see you have been put on the phone list. That is a good sign. They don’t have me yet. If I want to make something of this I will have to get A into G ASAP.”

Sayed wasn’t quite sure what to make of this. Here was this magnificent creature who m he had come to adore within the brief minutes of her acquaintance and now she was turning all his preconceptions about women who dressed in black and painted their nails to match, around. He wondered what color, if any, she painted her toenails. Sayed had a penchance for painted toenails. He loved sucking them. Beth shuffled from toe to toe and wound one leg behind the other.

“What is it you actually do here?” she asked, idly dragging her black-painted fingernail along the rim of Sayed’s new desk. Sayed’s mind did another flip and he added a whole new set of fantasies to the ones that had been previously stored on the old hard drive. Not the time to reveal that he was an uninvited interloper who had ingratiated himself into a new business venture because these people were so full of themselves and so flaky that they didn’t bother checking.

“Junior Manager. I’m gearing up for progressive sideways marketing.”

Beth looked oddly at him but said nothing.

To insert at a later date.

So Sayed had this dilemma. The women he really loved was seemingly unattainable. The women who was throwing hersoef at him ewas all that he ythought he dreamed of, the luscious Moravia/Beth. Why had God placed him in this dilemma? Was he being punished for his depravity with this dot.com business? He didn’t really know, but Sayed was perplexed.

His VDU display flashed he had another message. From her.

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