FuNnY OfFiCe: I've Got the Power
A Sad Case
I met Zelda Yablonski in the waiting room of the Acme Human Resources Department. I had gone there on an errand, and Zelda was awaiting her walking papers.
Zelda had worked in the purchasing department at Acme, but had lasted no more than three months. She told me her sad story, sniffling into a tissue.
"The woman who had the job before tried to warn me," she sobbed. "She kept saying, 'Don't let them hypnotize you! Stay strong!' But I didn't know what she was talking about. I should've listened! I should've watched my back!"
It was an awkward moment. I shot a questioning glance at the H.R. secretary, who was sitting in disapproving silence behind her desk. Her finger circled in the air beside her ear.
"Ah...that's too bad," I told the sobbing woman. "What happened?"
Her eyes widened. "They made me do it. All of them made me do it."
She blew her nose. "You don't understand," she moaned. "No one understands. But I'll tell you how they got me."
I was corrupted by the power," she quavered. "I was the one who approved all the purchases at Acme. I awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in vendor contracts, every month!
"It went to my head. I kept thinking, 'I've got the power. All of those vendors will come crawling to me. They'll slip me bulging envelopes full of kickback money. They'll mail me anonymous packages full of electronics. They'll bribe me with front-row tickets. They'll be my slaves, because I've got the power!
"But it d-d-didn't work out that way at allllll."
I blinked at her.
"I had the chance to get rich! I could have been a fatcat! But I threw it all away, and for what? For a few moments of flirtation!
"Because they were crafty," she babbled. "They didn't send me the fat, ugly ones. Oh, no! It was the others. The evil ones. The ones who were really, really good."
"At first it was the blond," she sobbed. "He looked like a freakin' Viking. He was built like a battleship, and those eyes -- those blue eyes! He said, 'I am Ahnold fom Arrow. I need zom more ohders from Acme.'
"He leaned over my desk and looked into my eyes.
"'You will do zis for me, yes?'
"All I could think of was, My, what big eyes you have!" Zelda sobbed. "I was so dazzled by his looks that I don't even know how many contracts I gave his company! I just sat there, filling out order forms and giggling like a m-m-moron,"
I clucked sympathetically.
"I only remember that as soon as he was gone, another one walked in."
The Second Wave
"He looked like Elvis," Zelda sobbed. "He had dark hair and dark eyes and he had that same thing wrong with his upper lip, that made him look like he was sneering all the time.
"I don't think he said anything. He just came and lifted one hip over the edge of my desk and looked down at me. I...I could feel the little beads of sweat popping out on my forehead,, and I knew he wanted me to award his company lots of orders. I could see my hand moving toward the order forms and...and I couldn't stop it!"
She broke down and wept for a long time. "I kept thinking, somebody help me...somebody help me...but nobody came, and I wrote orders until my fingers froze.
"But as soon as I had given him all the orders, he left!
"He said, 'I'll be back tomorrow,' and I was so weak, all I could say was, "Oh, yes!"
The Day of Reckoning
"The head of Accounting called me into his office the next month.
'Yablonski, I see that you've given Arrow 100 percent of our business over the next three years,"
"I think they're the best vendor?" I whimpered,
'You have also given 100 percent of our business to Apex.'
"I sat there, flopping in my chair like a dying fish. But then -- a miracle!
'I'll give you one more chance, Yablonski,' he said, 'If you don't get it right this time, you're out.'
I jumped up out of my chair and grabbed his leg and cried over it. "Oh, thank you, sir! I won't let you down!"
"So what happened?" I asked.
Coup de Gras
"The devil came," she answered simply.
"The door opened and this nice, young man came walking into my office. Imagine my relief -- he was ordinary!
"What can I help you with?" I barked at him, He raised those helpless green eyes, and, and there were tears on his lashes.
"Yes, help me," he begged. His voice was so soft and desperate."I...I don't know what to do now." He ran one hand through his hair and all of a sudden he reminded me so much of Jimmy Stewart...."
"Then he said,, 'You see, I'm Allan from Atkins," and he jammed both hands into his trouser pockets and shuffled over to my desk. "This is my first day on the job and I'm not too good at this and I was wondering if you could...give my company an order?"
"He lifted those shy eyes and said, "I'm not big on speeches, and I know that people come in here who are a lot more,,,'
Zelda broke off, shaking her head bitterly, "His eyes were so shy! He sounded so earnest!"
"Those are the ones you have to watch," I agreed.
"I tried, I really did, I told him I'd already given the orders to other companies, but if you could only have seen how his lip trembled!
Then he hung his head and kicked at my desk. 'Well, that's not a surprise, I guess I'm just a failure."
Zelda blew her nose. "Of course I told him he wasn't a failure, and I figured it wouldn't hurt much if I gave him just one order --"
"Did your boss fire you just for one?" I asked in surprise.
Zelda rolled her head back and yowled. "No -- for fifty-five! How was I to know that Allan's nickname was "The Hyena" and that he ruined five other purchasing officers before he got me?
My eyes widened in awe. "Wow."
Exit, Stage Left
Just then the door opened and the Human Resources manager came out with Zelda's papers. "Here you are, Yablonski," she snorted. "Maybe this will be a lesson to you!"
As I watched the woman shuffle out of the office, I couldn't help feeling sad.
* * *
But after she was gone, I walked over to the secretary's desk. My hand actually started moving toward the application form before I came to myself, yanked it back, and hurried away.