Oblong

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Chapter 3

The executive mentor reclined in his desk chair as he addressed his two mentees at the end of their first day. “Today you two generally kept your heads down, took some lumps, and most importantly didn’t quit—all in all, I’d say not too pretty bad.”

TF appeared nonplussed by their mentor’s appraisal. “Thanks.”

“Will there be any sort of orientation or training later this week?” Double A asked tentatively.

“What do you think today’s been all about?”

“I thought perhaps something a bit more formal,” Double A clarified, “you know, maybe a little more structured.”

“The executive world doesn’t work like that...if you want structure, go join the IT department.”

“I know even less about IT than I do PR.”

“So long as you can spell them both, you’re executive material...now get going you two, it’s nearly five o’clock. I’ll see you back here tomorrow morning.”

“We’ll be here at nine on the dot,” TF announced as the pair stood.

“Great, I’ll be here about a half hour after that.”

* * *

“What’s with the ‘we’ll be here at nine on the dot’ business?” Double A asked as she and TF rode the elevator down to the parking garage.

“Sorry about that, it just popped into my head and then out of my mouth. All day long, I’ve been feeling as if I should say something—anything to prove that I belong here...you know what I mean?”

“Are you kidding me? Did you see any other black executives today? I’ve felt like an impostor ever since I accepted the position of a junior executive trainee. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I applied to be an executive assistant. I figured the whole thing was some sort of clerical error.”

“No shit? I interviewed for an inside sales position.”

“What the hell is going on with this place?” asked Double A.

The elevator stopped at the uppermost floor of the parking garage and the pair exited onto the structure’s roof.

“I don’t know, but I read one of Oblong’s stories this afternoon, and if this is as disturbing a place to work as that was to read, then things are seriously messed up, though I guess we shouldn’t complain too much since we’re paid an executive’s salary and we get our own parking spot.”

“Our parking spots are on the top floor, which I don’t think translates to us being on the top rung of the corporate ladder just yet.”

TF nodded. “Yeah, it’s ironic that you work to move up the office building but down the parking garage.”

“My spot is going to be empty for a while anyway. I borrowed my mom’s car today so that I wouldn’t be late, but I’m going to start taking the bus tomorrow.”

As the two approached their uncovered cars near the center of the roof, they peered down the open area between the winding ramps, which allowed natural light to diffuse to all the levels of the concrete structure. On the ground floor they saw Tom from accounting unlocking a vintage luxury sedan.

“What the hell is going on with this place?” Double A asked again.

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