Offices Within Offices

The office was ensconced within a vicious slab that prioritized desperate spendthrift tendencies over comfort and efficiency. The man who rented out this thin rectangle on the 33rd floor seemed to believe that the $1,200 he paid each month granted him some illusory status. He took advantage of the economic downturn and shouted at the receptionist every time she failed to mention his firm name. The powerless receptionist, who had initiated with an attorney to secure her job just after the Dow first plummeted below 10,000, was forced to comply with a smile. She hoped she wouldn’t have to lower her adulterous standards, but there were enough office rumors to make her suitably feared. She fed her priest all the sordid details in confession so that she could live with herself.

With special permission, the man who rented out this tenuous office could use the floor’s conference room, where he could hold meetings and attempt to persuade people that he rented out a substantial percentage of the 33rd floor. But every client with half a brain noticed his firm’s dubious placard situated next to the firm renting out the floor. So he took it upon himself to only meet with people who made less money than he did. And he took it upon himself to persuade them to give him money. There was never a question of morality. After all, he had office he had to pay for at $1,200 each month and he had to spend money on people who had more money than he did.

The receptionist was fired in June when the attorney ended the affair. After all, the attorney soon found himself more heavily supervised by the partners and he could not risk any half dalliance on the public record. He paid the receptionist a lot of money to shut up. But the receptionist could not find another job and, therefore, could not find another man with money to fuck. But since she had a lot of money — enough to rent out a small office for a good year — and since the man who rented out the thin rectangle had stumbled onto hard times, she decided to sublet his office. For $600 each month, the ex-receptionist rented out half of the man’s office. She was able to secure use of the conference room more effectively than the man because people on the 33rd floor still feared her. The attorney feared that she would reveal his affair and offered to give her more money if she would go away. Instead, she decided to sublet his office too. Soon, the ex-receptionist was traveling between her two sublets. The partners found the situation within the attorney’s office quite awkward and decided to let the attorney go. (Because the attorney was stressed out about the subletting situation, and because his anxiety increased because he never quite knew when the ex-receptionist would start working in his office, his work began to suffer.) The firm, thanks to the economy, had fallen on hard times. And the ex-receptionist, who ran an under-the-table cocaine operation within the 33rd floor’s otherwise ethical business makeup, then bought out the ex-attorney’s office. She also told the partners that she would rent out the thin rectangular office for $1,600 each month. Soon the honest man was told he had to leave and a pimp soon replaced him. The ex-receptionist began doing good business on the prostitution front. As the firm’s finances grew more shaky, and the ex-receptionist was feared more than ever before, she began — after establishing a reliable relationship with a fancy hotel two blocks away — recruiting various support staff to fuck the remaining men who had money to burn. The firm, seeing no other option for survival, then merged with the ex-receptionist’s lucrative business. And the ex-receptionist made a lot of money. She adopted a new philosophy, independently arrived at. Always meet with people who made less money than you did and be sure to take it.

The office was ensconced within a vicious slab that prioritized desperate spendthrift tendencies over comfort and efficiency. The woman who rented out this thin rectangle on the 33rd floor seemed to believe that the $1,600 she paid each month granted her some illusory status.


  1. If this were a prospectus for a novel, some might throw it out on the basis that it’s just more Hollywood-esque hackwork. But I just thought of something recently: why can’t literature be like tv? Why is the escapist, pop fiction stuff always deemed so blasphemously sell-out-ish. The reading advocate people will argue that page-turners lower literary standards and IQ’s – but isn’t this just undercutting their whole mission? Think of how much intellectual discipline and focus is required to sit through a novel from beginning to end, then compare that to the amount of focus needed to sit through a 1-2 hour television show. If people crave easily predictable lightweight narratives because of the “fun” value of these stories, what is so evil about getting these narratives in book form as opposed to a virtual/visual medium. Doesn’t the latter have a much more dumbing down effect whereas the former has a lifting up and enlightening effect? The reading proponents should hail this as a step in the right direction. This willingness on the part of everyday people to incorporate literature into their busy lives should be a good thing, instead some want to portray it as evidence that anti-intellectualism has seeped into the sacred scripture of literature. I disagree. There’s a fly in my apartment.

  2. Tim: This was certainly not a prospectus for a novel, although the deliberately artificial setup is intended to reflect certain artifices blindly accepted in reality. But the reader can interpret it as fun or hackwork. I don’t care. I agree with your thoughts for the most part with the proviso that “fun” work should also have some additional purpose. And if we look upon well- executed novels — such as Javier Calvo’s WONDERFUL WORLD — that serve the purpose of entertaining an audience while ALSO providing some interesting social framework, then that’s good with me. Those who approach literature as if it is a prescriptive castor oil (and who hold up soporific exemplars along these lines) are a significant part of the problem.

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