My Colleague Wagers

By Daphne

“And here is where all the real work happens at the world of news,” indicated Mandy Miller with a sweeping gesture of the office. It was a sight to behold. Rows of cubicles lined the room, alive with a combination of human and machine energy. Fingers hammered away on coffee stained keyboards, bringing stories to life on monitors aglow, framed by curling yellow post-its. Fast-talking, and curt replies tied up dozens of phone lines while fax machines transmitted data to and from like the commuters at work. Contacts were made, pressured, promised anonymity in return for the scoop that would make tonight’s headline sensational and groundbreaking news. Chairs on wheels, pushed from one cubicle to the next while feet tap-danced in the aisle to avoid spilling two cups of coffee with extra cream. There was a rhythm, music to the chaos. It was the sound of headline news, just another day in the main news offices of the Rose Tribune. 

“Have a seat right here in this empty cubicle, and try not to touch anything. I’ll go fetch us come coffee before we get started,” blathered Mandy to the blonde headed girl who was starry eyed and taking in all the commotion around her. Mandy sighed and scampered away to get her morning caffeine fix.

“Who’s the new girl,” asked a roguishly unshaven young man, leaning confidently against the counter in the staff kitchen.

“The new intern, Danny. Geez, don’t you read any of the office memos?” scolded Mandy.

“I’ll start after today,” replied Danny craning his neck to see over the hubbub of the office, the little blonde head of the mystery girl, peeking over the top of the cubicle. “She looks lost,” he added, implying his offer to help.

“She’s not lost,” corrected Mandy, smelling what Danny was up to. She’s just another blonde with green eyes so big, there’s little room left for a brain in her bobbling head, and legs that run straight up to her neck. If she’s heard of carbs, they haven’t found their way to her body either,” groaned Many, describing the new girl.

“I’m listening,” Danny urged Mandy to continue.

“Typical,” huffed Mandy. “She’s another typical intern brought on by Mr. O’Neil, not doubt because her daddy is a rich somebody, and his little girl wanted to grow up to fight crime like Lois Lane, and a few pulled strings later, here we are with a new intern,” grumbled Mandy.

“Sounds like somebody is a little jealous,” smirked Danny.

“Me? Jealous? Please!” huffed Mandy. She was known as the frumpy girl in the office. She never got to go out and do the investigative work in the field because Mr. O’Neil thought her talents were better suited with the supportive research aid in the editorial offices. By that, he simply meant that Mandy didn’t have the legs for the field, of this Mandy was certain. Well, Mandy didn’t have to be a super model, or have the legs of one to know that she was the rock the Rose Tribune rested upon. No ace stories would be a full house without her assistance. The place would shut down without her. Criminals would run rampant and take over the city! “She can’t even put her pantyhose on straight for goodness sake!”

“Now how would you know that?” asked Danny arching his eyebrow in curiosity.

“She told me, in the elevator, on the way up! She said she felt a scratching on her belly, and checked. The tag was in the front! She had put on her nylons on backwards this morning! Mark my words, the girl is no smart enough to survive until lunch!”

“You don’t think so?”

“I know so. Her super model legs will be filling the salt shakers in the cafeteria by lunch instead of her stockings, backwards OR forwards!” bet Mandy.

“And if you’re wrong, you pick my lunch up everyday from that great little sandwich café for a week,” wagered Danny.

“The one all the way across town? It’ll take my whole lunch hour!” whined Mandy.

“That’s the one, the finest sandwiches in New York.”

"And if I’m RIGHT, I get your office,” huffed Mandy.

“You want me to sit in a cubicle?” balked Danny.

“You want me to give up my entire lunch hour fetching your precious king’s feast of New York,” mocked Mandy.

“Deal,” grumbled Danny, and they shook on it. Mandy rubbed her frumpy little hands together, adjusting her glasses, giving her frizzy hair a fluff.

“Now, let’s go introduce you to the new intern…”

“Hi, I’m Danny,” called the roughish good-looking guy, extending his hand over the top of the cubicle.

“Hi, I’m Dawn Meadows,” replied the emerald eyed girl, with hair flowing around her elbows, framing her porcelain chiseled face like molten gold. She smiled, and Danny thought his heart would be the one that might not survive the morning.

“Danny wants to be your new boyfriend,” interjected Mandy, bustling into the cubicle with two haphazardly mixed cups of coffee. Dawn’s smile retracted into pursed lips, while her cheek lit up like cherry pie.

“I might be a little young for that,” she admitted with a girlish laugh, looking up at Danny through lidded eyelashes.

“Oh, that’s right, you’re still at Ivy Ridge Prep Academy!” Mandy smacked her forehead as if just remembering.

“High school?” gulped Danny, eyebrows rising higher and higher. “Is there something they feed in the cafeteria there that grows legs that long?” he chuckled, trying to make levity of the fact that this beautiful girl was passing for older than she was.

“I think it’s the nylons. They make me look grown up,” Dawn smirked, nodding her head as though she said something wise.

“And such a poor thing for a girl your age to have to pretend to be so grown up. It’s clear as day to me that that power suit is making you feel like a fish out of water. You’re far to young to have to contemplate the awful realities of hose and heels for work. Why after the long walk on the sidewalk, the uncomfortable leers the lecherous men gave your legs as you had no choice but to parade for them in the elevator, I’m sure you’re simply dying to kick off those heels, and peel off your nylons, flick them into the trash, and erase the word pantyhose from your pretty blonde head! Isn’t that right, Danny?” chided Mandy.

“I guess so,” Danny hesitantly agreed, wondering what devious Mandy was up to.

“Ugh, I didn’t want to say anything because I was afraid of sounding immature, but somehow I knew you would understand. I AM dying to be out of these heels, my feet are KILLING me!” whine Dawn openly. She suddenly felt comfortable confiding her feminine woes to Mandy who seemed like a good listener by the way she pushed her large glasses up her nose and regarded Dawn thoughtfully. Feeling at ease, Dawn reached down to her trim stocking clad ankles and began to slip the balls of her feet out of the punishing little heels.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Dawn,” interrupted Danny. “If you’re caught in the offices without shoes, it’s considered a capital offence, and you’ll be zapped by security.”

“Zapped?” echoed Dawn timidly, green eyes reflecting the mysterious meaning of that word.

“Come now, Dawn. You’re not afraid of something like that, are you? Think, what would Lois Lane do in the face of danger? She wouldn’t act like a scared little girl,” pushed Mandy regarding Dawn appraisingly, as if to see if she had ‘it.’

Dawn sensed the challenge, and arched her back, “You’re right,” she replied. “Lois Lane would not cower from danger. My poor feet hurt and I can’t let the threat of being zapped force me to be a coward.” Dawn kicked off her tiny heels and wiggled her stocking clad toes, encouraging the circulation back into the poor punished digits.

“Dawn, you’re going to be zapped right out of your pantyhose,” warned Danny.

“Danny, I wouldn’t expect you to understand, but a woman in pantyhose who walks confidently, controls the room. She has nothing to fear because nothing beats a great pair of Legg’s,” Dawn put on her best haughty tone as she tried to pretend to be an adult, and quote an 80’s commercial that she might have seen with her mother as a child, and giggled at the foolish implication. On that note, Dawn arrogantly strode out into the middle of the office, padding in her stocking feet like she was playing dress up in her bedroom, playing at being Lois Lane. In her mind, she strode into the lair of Lex Luther, intent on defeating him on her own. And do you know what happens when Lois Lane does that?

A malicious red light grew angrily in size out of the corner of her eye. All her confidence blew out, the tiny flickering match that it was. She became dreadfully aware that Lois Lane meets a grim end when she takes on Lex Luther if Superman is nowhere to be seen. The garish red light became so swollen it threatened to burst as overripe fruit, and as it did, Dawn was washed aglow in a violent green and noxious light. It was a bright haze that lifted her off the tips of her stocking toes as her molten golden hair danced around like snakes more alive than under the influence of a strong wind. The shock jerked all her joints, jolted her knees into a bend, snapped her wrists, and locked her fingers into a painful claw. Despite the agony the noxious green cloud wracked upon her body, she felt strangely humiliated to have this happen in front of everyone at work. The suit and the nylons had made her feel so grown up, a confidant working woman at one of the most prestigious news publications in the world. Like all the women she had seen in magazines. Sure Dawn Meadows was destined to become a star reporter. “Perhaps a dash of nail polish might fix this run in my nylons,” thought Dawn surreally. She remembered reading that tip in one of those same magazines, filled with pictures of confident professional women.

As her young porcelain skin began to fade to a sickly grey, it felt disgustingly dry, even began to fleck powdery bits. Her legs wouldn’t even support her anymore. They were so lean and long, but they felt like they were crumbling beneath her, she fell to her knees as the greenish noxious ray finished its nasty work of turning her soft pink skin, lovely blonde hair, her large green eyes, soft red lips, even her the power suit she picked out of the magazine, into a dull white salt. She trembled there with that look on her face. There was a pleading in her gentle eyebrows, and a quiver of doubt in her face. It seemed it was becoming obvious to poor Dawn Meadows that not even a full bottle of nail polish would be able to repair a run this bad. Her quivering shell disintegrated into a generous pile of dried out salt, topped off by a lazy pair of pantyhose, wrinkled and empty, feet still stretched in the form of Dawn’s own arches. Mandy was right about one thing. Her super model legs wouldn’t be filling any more pairs of stockings, that’s for sure. About the only thing they would be good for anymore was filling the saltshakers down in the cafeteria!

“I guess she really WAS that stupid,” shrugged Danny.

“I told you, big green eyes leaves precious little room for a brain in a pretty blonde head. Besides, girls that can’t get their pantyhose on straight, aren’t known to live pretty long. And you can see the tag was there in the front. I told you she had them on backwards! Now, about my new office…” murmured Mandy maliciously rubbing her hands together.

Nice going, Dawn. NOW you’ve done it! And it was only your first morning! You were still in high school! Did you even KISS a boy yet!? Some star reporter you turned out to be. You have all the survival instincts of drugstore brand nylons. Geez, pathetic much!?

-THE END (before it ever really began for poor Dawn Meadows. Bad guys rejoice, you’re free to your reign of terror. Really Dawn Meadows won’t stand in your way, or anybody else’s for that matter. She’s busy specializing in seasonings! The girl is good at something. Unfortunately for her, it’s turning into salt!!!)

Illustrations by Kittifiedmeow

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