The first day on the job is always the hardest, but each day brings new challenges.
With orientation out of the way, Sam thought it would be easy going as she slid into the daily routine. Unfortunately for her she found trouble was still chasing her. She had to contend with co-workers, supervisors, bosses and a mystery growing stranger by the day.
Sam slipped away into a sleep with a long, sensual dream. The dream had him in them, with them together in a secluded park. There was a large house in the background, but they didn’t care. They made love to each other anyway, and to hell with the house occupants. The emotions from their love-making were strong, even if Sam couldn’t feel anything through the dream world. Sam could have stayed in there forever, but all good dreams come to an end.
The scene was marred by the arrival of a pink slip deliver by none other than Mrs. Winkle. The older woman’s face was twisted back in a malicious grin, and she thrust the pink slip into Sam’s face. Though she couldn’t read it, Sam knew she was fired. You can’t have fun with the vice-president and keep your job. She glanced over to Davies who had sat by her side, and he was gone. She alone was left to take the fall. Winkle stood lording over her and her grin became impossibly large.
It twisted her face back and her eyes lit up with a dark, demonic light. She opened her mouth and cackled. The noise split the air with a shrill buzz and Sam clamped her hands over her ears. The noise didn’t quiet, but just kept pounding into her eardrums.
Sam shot up in bed with a cold sweat across her forehead as her alarm rang its shrill tune. She smacked the off button and wiped away the moisture as she looked around in confusion.
She was at her apartment and in her own bed, not messing around with her boss in his office. The familiar curtains were in front of her and her own covers were wrapped around her. She leaned over and cradled her head in her hands as she tried to recall how she’d ended up here. There were no memories, only questions. She couldn’t recall ever leaving the office building or even driving herself home. There were no goodbyes to coworkers or farewells to the office building in her rearview mirror. There was nothing.
Maybe a shower would help wake her up. Sam swung her legs out and stumbled to the bathroom. She splashed some cold water on her face and looked up into the mirror. Her face was pale but otherwise just fine. She cupped her breasts in her hand. They were the right size. She patted down her butt and hips. Those were the same ones she’d always known.
“What the hell happened?” she muttered as she sat down on the edge of the bathroom. The young woman wondered if this was what amnesia felt like. She glanced at herself again, and brushed aside a loose hair from her face. “Man, maybe I do need to get a boyfriend.”
However, wanting and needing a boyfriend didn’t explain the amnesia. Sam shuffled back to bed and noted the time was seven in the morning. She prepared herself for a long day’s work at the job she was overqualified for with a coworker who was insane and a supervisor who loathed her. She’d stumbled into an interesting life.
“I just hope I start remembering most of it.”
The lost memories weren’t frustrating as much as they were terrifying. She found her car keys on the counter, but she couldn’t remember throwing them there. She usually didn’t throw them there. They usually stayed in her purse between uses. Sam decided some investigating was in order, and looked for the clothes she’d worn the previous day. She found her clothes had been dropped into her hamper, though when she picked them up she realized both the skirt and the shirt were clean. The shirt even had all its buttons
Sam got a sudden inspiration and she checked the buttons. The ones she remembered popping had a slightly different color thread than the others. She clutched the shirt as she fell back onto the bed. Someone was trying to do a good job of hiding what had happened, but they didn’t know enough about her habits.
“What the hell happened last night?” She leaned over and cradled her head in her hands. She could remember everything up to after she’d done it with her boss, and yet she couldn’t believe it. Even with all this proof literally in her hands she still couldn’t believe she’d been stupid enough to do that. “I am so fired,” she mumbled as she lifted her head to look around the room. It was her new apartment, the one she bought when she heard she got the job. She couldn’t afford it on her copy room paycheck. “Damn it.”
Sam sat there as the clock ticked on. She was going to be late for work if she didn’t get moving soon.
“Well, the worst they can do is fire me in front of all those people I hardly know.” She shrugged and tossed aside the clothes. “Besides, if Mr. Davies wants to tell everyone he had sex with me in his office, he’ll only be hurting himself.” She was working off his ability for self-preservation. He hadn’t gotten to the top of the company by making stupid mistakes. “So just get to that job and do the best you can, Samantha Olsen!”
The prep talk worked until she got out of her car in the underground parking garage beneath the office building. Then her heart plummeted and she dragged herself into the elevator. She almost wanted to stop the ride at her usual copy room job, but the number clicked past that floor and went uninterrupted to the last stop on the machine, the nineteenth.
Slinky was waiting for her when Sam slunk into her cubicle. She slung her arm over the wall as she peered down at her nervous friend. “Where the hell did you go yesterday? I waited for you for, like, thirty whole minutes, and you still didn’t come back to grab your purse.” Slinky made it sound like those minutes were each an eternity, but Sam appreciated the concern.
“I had to go up to write down some stuff for Mr. Davies-”
“Wait!” Slinky interrupted as she held up a finger. “Wait just a second. You said you went up and actually saw Mr. Davies?”
“Yeah, why?” This whole conversation was making her more uneasy. “You said we worked for him and the President, too.”
“Yeah, but no one gets to actually see them. Oh sure, we sometimes hear from them on the intercom or in a newsletter or a written report asking for stuff, but we never get to see them.”
“What about all those people up there? Don’t they see him every day? Slinky seemed to know everyone in the building, why not them, too.
Slinky was genuinely confused as she gave her friend a worried glance. “What people? I’ve never seen anyone go up there.”
“Don’t they take the elevator or go through that door?” Sam asked.
“Our elevators don’t go up that high, remember? It’s only to the nineteenth story. I heard they have their own private elevator and some hidden emergency stairs to keep with code.” Slinky looked over her shoulder in the direction where Sam glanced when mentioning the door. “And what door are you talking about? Through one of the offices?”
“No, that one at the end of the hall. The one that doesn’t have a nameplate.”
Slinky waved her hand dismissively toward the entrance. “That’s just a janitor’s closet.”
“It’s not a closet, it’s a staircase.” Sam realized she was getting a little frantic, and she gave herself a moment to breath. Then she stared directly into her friend’s eyes and her lips were tightly pursed together. “Mrs. Winkle took me through that door yesterday and up a flight of stairs to the next floor. She showed me a long hall with a couple of people at some desks and I went to the end and spoke with Mr. Smith.”
“Mr. Smith? Didn’t he have a first name?”
“I think he did, but I can’t remember it.” She didn’t really think it was important, anyway. She knew what she saw. Her clothes and keys told her it was true. “Anyway, I go in to Mr. Davies office, write down what he wants and leave.” The last bit was a lie, but a white lie.
Slinky raised an eyebrow. “So he had you staying late just to listen to him talk?” This was frustrating because neither one could convince the other they were telling the truth. “Well, how about this. We open the door and see what’s inside, and whatever we find decides who’s crazy and who isn’t.”
Sam took the suggestion as an insult. “I’m not crazy.”
“No more arguing, young lady,” Slinky playfully scolded. She took her friend’s hand and led her to the door.
“But we can’t, Mrs. Winkle has the key,” Sam pointed out. She remembered watching her take it out of her blouse pocket.
“How about we just pretend I have a key and not tell my dad about this cute little skill I have.” Slinky pulled out a credit card and began toying with the knob. “You just watch out and make sure Mrs. Stick-Up-Her-Butt doesn’t catch us doing this.”
“Do you really know how to do this?” Sam asked while she played lookout. The coast was clear for now, but their supervisor had a habit of showing up at the wrong time.
“Well, it looks easy on tv.” Slinky scowled when the knob jam refused to budge. “I think we’re going to have to chock this one up to a mystery unsolved.”
“And get out of here,” Sam hissed. “Mrs. Winkle is coming!”