A Change Of Pace

A Change Of Pace
By Barbara Lynn Terry

Part One: Four Weeks Ago.

There comes a time in everybody’s life, when they have to make a decision. Going through the want ads in yesterday’s Sunday paper, I came across a job opening that just fit my style. See, I was laid off from my position as assistant librarian at our local library. So, I had to find work, do I could pay the bills.

So, I decided to get all spiffied up, and go and fill out an application. It was an ad for a secretary/receptionist at Amalgamated Industries, Inc. Their offices were on the other side of town. I went to my apartment building’s underground garage to get my old beater of what was left of a car.

I drove to the address that was in the ad. I told the lady at the desk I would like an application. I was offered a cup of coffee, which I accepted and began filling out the lines on the papers before me. The first line was the usual. Name, age, social security number, etc.

Oh! I’m sorry, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Robert Meyers, I am thirty-three years old, I have blonde wavy hair and I am five foot seven inches tall. I weigh a whopping one hundred and thirty five pounds. My doctor says I am underweight, but I have always been about this same weight, because I have a slight frame of a body. As I was making out the application, a woman in a smart looking skirt suit approached me.

“What position are you applying for, sir?”

“I’m applying for secretary/receptionist.”

“What are your qualifications for such a position?”

“I was an assistant librarian for the library here. They laid me off because of cutbacks.”

I see. Well, my name is Brenda Fox and I am the supervisor for this floor. On Mondays I have a staff meeting with the chairman of the board and the other supervisors. I will have to bring up your name, along with the other applicants. We will phone you, if we decide to hire you.’

“Thank you, Ms. Fox. Have a good day.”

“You do understand, that if we hire you, you will have to abide by what I tell you. If you don’t, you may as well look for another job, as you will be terminated. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Ms. Fox, it is understood.”

“Good. We will be in touch one way or the other.”

I left Amalgamated Industries, Inc., and drove to the nearest restaurant for a cup of coffee and a sweet roll. I sat there thinking about what the lady had said. She didn’t say I would have to abide by the company’s rules, but, that I would have to abide by what she told me. That presented an interesting dilemma in my mind. It would be another week before I would hear anything, either hiring me, or telling me I was not accepted.

I left the restaurant and drove home. I sat on my living room couch, idly surfing the channels on the cable tv. There wasn’t anything in particular that I wanted to watch, but I surfed the channels anyway.

Maybe if I went to a movie and just ignored what I had been told. I mean, that is why people go to movies in the first place. To escape the realistic world for a few hours. Well, I needed that escape now. I looked in the paper to see what was playing. I found Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind. I had seen this movie several times, and each time I saw It, I seen something I hadn’t seen before, or if I did, it didn’t register.

I sat through the movie only once, then I went to the bar next door. I had a couple of brandy-sours and decided I should go home. I parked my contraption some people call a car in the underground garage and went up to my apartment.

When I got to my apartment, I placed my keys on the little hook just inside the door. I locked the door, and went to get in to my pajamas. I washed my face and then decided to watch something on cable. Not, you understand, that I knew what I wanted to watch, so I surfed the channels. I came across a funny movie called Flower Drum Song with James Shigeta, Benson Fong, Jack Soo, Nancy Kwan and Miyoshi Umeki, an actress and singer from China. I sat there watching the movie and laughing through the whole movie.

The next six days was very boring, as I was waiting impatiently for any news of my new job, or not my new job. Whatever the decision, I would like to be notified. So, I did different things, like going for walks, jogging, trying my best to paint a picture. I went window shopping for a few shirts and jeans. I couldn’t afford to buy anything right now, until I knew I was hired. I did look for other jobs as well, without any success.

Finally, Monday came and went without any news. I called a friend and we decided to spend the day watching baseball. I did have a cell phone, and I had put that number down as an alternate phone number. While we were watching the Braves play the Cardinals, my cell phone buzzed. It was Ms. Fox.

“Mr. Meyers, the board has voted to hire you as a secretary/receptionist. Since this day is almost over with, you will report to my office at 7:00 in the morning. I will go over the company’s policies with you, and the correct dress code.”

“I will be there Ms. Fox, and thank you.”

“You’re very welcome. See you tomorrow.”

She hung and I told Steve, the friend I was watching baseball with, the good news.

“...and she said she wants me to start tomorrow morning. I had better get home and get to bed, I’m going to have a very busy day tomorrow.”

Part Two: The present.

That was four weeks ago. I pulled in to the same parking space they gave me, and I went up to the same office and the same desk. I put my things in the reception desk, and went to make the coffee. I wondered what Dragon Lady had in store for me, today. She had plenty for me, as I was called in to her office.

“Robert, I have just received a communique from the corporate office upstairs. It regards a new dress code for certain positions. One of those positions is the secretary/receptionist. The board of directors have voted for the following dress code.

“All secretaries shall be dressed in a business skirt suit, or dress. Nylon stockings and high heels, with nothing higher than a two inch heel. All secretaries shall wear bras and slips under their outer clothing. Each secretary and receptionists shall carry a purse, and not a puch or pack tied around the waist.

“These are the new regulations regarding the dress code for secretaries/receptionists. So, you have two choices. You can either abide by the company’s new dress code, or be terminated. What is your answer?”

“While I was waiting for your call, I tried applying at other companies. They, too, were laying off because of cutbacks. So, I will abide by the company’s new dress code.”

“Alright. I want you to know, though, that I voted against this. But the board has twelve people on it, only three of the twelve are women. The men out voted us. So, Let’s make the best of things. Your duties will still be the same. Also, I am giving you a two thousand dollar allowance to get yourself a complete female wardrobe. You are going to be dressed as a woman while you are working here.”

“I’m just thankful I have a job, so I can pay my bills and eat.”

“Alright, you take the day off. Go shopping, because tomorrow, you will need to be dressed as a woman during work hours.”

“Yes, Ms. Fox.” I got up and left after being handed a company check for two thousand dollars.

I worked and slaved under the orders of the male executives. They wanted coffee every fifteen minutes. Another one of my duties, was to stop at Krispie Kreme and get four dozen mixed donuts and sweet rolls. I would serve one donut or sweet roll to the executives as they came in. It was during the fifth week, that Dragon Lady started making more and more demands on my work day.

One demand was, that I spend more and more time with the male executives. One executive was a bi-sexual who loved girls with something extra and normal women. One day, Dragon Lady told to go to his house around 8:00pm that night, for a social gathering. I was to dress in something provocative. I decided that when the work week was over, I would go home, pack up the clothes Brenda Fox had me buy. I took the entire female wardrobe and took the boxes to the drop box of the Salvation Army.

The work day had ended and I got my purse, signed out, and went home. As soon as I got to my apartment, I couldn’t get out of my skirt suit fast enough. I boxed up all my female clothes, makeup and wigs. I took them to the drop box and put them in, unceremoniously. I returned home, and got in to my pajamas. I settled down for a quiet night of watching movies. John Wayne’s In Harm’s Way was on Showtime. I made a little popcorn and settled down to watch the movie.

When the movie was over, I yawned, took my bowl I used for popcorn out to the kitchen, and went to bed. That night I dreamed that Dragon Lady had found out I had quit, and wanted her revenge. I dreamed that she had her dad, who was in the mob, kill me. Just when I saw the flash of the gun, my alarm went off. Darn, I forgot to shut the alarm off.

I got out of bed, and went to take my shower. I used my normal soap, I had used before Dragon Lady hired me. It felt good not to have to put on stockings, or even high heels that were hurting my feet. There wasn’t any sign that a woman lived here, or even visited here.

About nine in the morning, my phone rang. I answered the phone to find out that it was Dragon Lady who was calling. The conversation went like this.

“Mr. Meyers, you didn’t come to work today. Are you ill?”

“No, Ms. Fox. I am never going back to work for you. I quit, and son’t tell me I have to give you two weeks notice, either. I quit effective last night at the end of the work day.”

“Mr. Meyers, you do realize I have resources at my beck and call to make you come back to work.”

“I’m sorry, Ms. Fox, but I have already quit. You cannot make me come back to work for you. I have already secured another job, and I start tomorrow. I also, took the clothes you had me buy and gave them to the second hand store.”

“I can have women’s clothing put in your apartment and force you back to work.”

“If you do, I will make sure you are prosecuted and sent to prison. Entering someone’s home for the purpose of committing a crime, is called burglary and if you put any female clothing in this apartment, I will also have you prosecuted for fraud. You may think you have the upper hand here, but I have already been to an attorney who has advised me that I do not have to go back to work, when I have quit. Now, Dragon Lady, read my lips; I QUIT!”

She didn’t say anything else, but I heard her slam the receiver in my ear.

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