Put the Money on Bunny
Put the Money on Bunny
The entire office was on alert. Mass texts went out from one floor to another, from one division to the next – hell hath no fury like a Helena rejected. Dressed in a black and white Chanel suit, with her eight hundred-dollar Luxe shoes, the text messages read; Dressed to kill.
It was code for – their boss was in a foul mood.
Helena wanted to stay calm, but this was a very new situation she found herself in. It was like the lioness who goes off for the kill and returns empty handed – embarrassed in front of the whole pride. Women like Myka had experience in social failures which is why in the middle of a cab ride; the high school dance memory came back at her. She still carried it around in her psyche. Helena had no such memories – Helena knew control and winning and manipulating. It was why, after being bronzed all those years – Helena could come into the next century and succeed in business.
Helena's genius wasn't the only thing released when she was debronzed, her chutzpah was renewed.
The government unit that oversaw where Helena was kept, released her from her statuette prison when they needed her help. In exchange for helping them, she was free to go – her term served and her debt repaid. Helena found herself in a world where the opportunities that were once closed off to her as a woman, were at her doorstep. Now instead of dreaming of the future and having someone else get the credit, Helena was making the future come to life and getting all the recognition.
Genius came easy to Helena. Playing nice with others – not so much.
Helena slammed doors, glared at anyone who dared look at her as she went to her office. She needed a plan and unfortunately, she didn't have experience in this. She was always the reject-er, not the reject-ee. She went into her office and looked around, as if the solution would somehow be hiding in the papers on her desk. When nothing came to her, she yelled in frustration and pushed the papers away. "ARRRRRGH!" she said as she swept them off. That didn't help.
Pete thought he was going directly to the office, but Myka asked him to make a couple of stops first. As much as he didn't want to be a party to this, he was curious about how Myka was going to take Helena on. He texted Claudia: Start office pool now. Boss is the obvious favorite, but Myka's got spunk, he wrote.
"I'll write that as her epitaph," the youth responded as she worked on a spreadsheet. "We'll do it by the hour?" she asked Pete because they both took office betting pools very seriously.
"I don't' know, I'm thinking it won't last more than thirty minutes from the time she gets there. And that's assuming she goes in ready," Pete said laughing.
"Put me down for 29 minutes, twenty bucks on Ms. Bering," Pete said.
"Are you kidding? Are you betting with your heart Sucka?" Claudia teased him.
"I'm putting my money on the Bunny," Pete laughed out loud at his own joke.
"You are going down," Claudia warned him.
She did the spreadsheet, putting her name in the one minute slot for Helena, and sent it out to the staff. Within fifteen minutes, two hundred and fifty people had signed up for the pool.
"St. Francis will get a nice donation," Claudia said because every office pool was a 50/50 with a local charity. So far, most people had put their money on their boss within the first ten minutes of meeting and obliterating the new chief counsel. Even those who had never experienced their boss' fury, but heard the rumors - put their money on her.
Many of them said …'oh and Ms. Bering seemed really nice, too,' as a way of expressing their disappointment at the foregone conclusion that this would be her last day. 'Maybe we should use the money to get her a going away present,' another suggested.
Eileen paced the floor outside the office of Helena's room. She looked at what she had written, and then sat down convinced she could never tell her boss what was written on it. She was about to knock on the door when she heard Helena yell out in frustration and then heard the papers being swept off her desk. Eileen decided to wait.
She went down the hall for moral support, but they reminded her that they shoot the messenger – and she'd be lucky if that's all her boss did.
"But I'm in charge of taking her messages. It's my job to give them to her," Eileen pleaded.
"Do you know you're her eighth secretary right?" one of her friends asked. "In less than a year, right?"
Eileen had lasted the longest and didn't know it, but there was an office pool on her retirement date.
"I would so tell her," Phil said because he had Eileen going down before her three-month anniversary.
Eileen went back to her desk while her friends planned her termination luncheon. The deli guy no longer asked who it was – he just made up the sandwich platters with the cookie cake that read; "We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors."
Helena may not have known how to handle her misery, but she knew how to share it. She sat at her desk and resumed one of her favorite tasks – trying to break into the server of Wells Corp. She was at the point of decoding the program, when suddenly the image of a page appeared on her screen.
"Knock Knock Knock" it read. "Who's there?" the next screen read. "Not you! So stop trying to hack into your own system!" the third and final page read.
Claudia was tired of her boss trying to sabotage her work for sport. She decided on that after Myka asked her why Helena does it. "I don't really know," Claudia confessed. "So she does it for fun?" Myka asked. Claudia remembered that and decided her boss had had enough fun at her expense.
'Focus, Helena, focus,' the Brit told herself.
She was losing it and for what? For someone she hardly knew? An employee who reported to her? Someone she could fire? A woman who obviously had no clue as to how to choose a suitable lover? Before Helena could truthfully answer 'yes' to each of those statements, there was a knock at the door.
"For Ms. Bering," Helena thought she heard the twenty something whisper before stepping into the office.
Eileen stared at the floor as she walked up to Helena's desk. Only then did she see the papers askew. Her stomach was in knots and she was pretty sure she would be throwing up in the near future.
"I have a message," she said looking at the pad. Helena flopped back in her chair. At least this would distract her, she thought.
Helena waited …and there was silence. She liked Eileen – which was to say – she hadn't fired her yet.
"Darling, you'll find this hard to believe, but I'm a bit out of patience at the moment, so if there is really a message on the paper you keep staring at, do you think it would be possible for you to share it?" her boss said. It wasn't sarcastic or mean, but it wasn't friendly either.
Eileen's mouth opened and nothing. Helena dropped her head into her hand. "Are you concerned about giving me this message?" Helena guessed.
"Yes," Eileen said softly.
"Oh bollocks! Just read the damn thing!" Helena said.
Eileen took a tiny step back as she brought the paper up to where she could read it. She took one deep breath – and the message finally came out.
"Ms. Bering called and said that I should give you this message to tell you that you better be in your office when she gets here and that I was to write all this down and make sure that I also tell you that you are out of chances," Eileen blurted out and then shut her eyes. She didn't want to see what was coming next.
The first thing she noticed was the calmness in her boss' voice when she asked her to repeat that – verbatim.
"Exactly as Ms. Bering said it to you," Helena explained when she saw the confused look on the youth's face.
"OK," Eileen said standing there.
"Miss Sullivan, you need to open your eyes to read your paper," Helena pointed out.
Eileen did, but only after looking down:
"Tell Ms. Wells I am on my way to her office and she better be there. Tell her…are you writing this down? Good. Eileen, tell Ms. Wells …. She just ran out of chances."
Eileen would tell her friends later that although it sounded crazy, she swore she could feel the temperature drop in the room to freezing. However, she was happy to see a warm smile on Helena's face.
"Thank you, Eileen," Helena said.
"I can go?" the assistant asked surprised.
"Yes of course," Helena said and waited for her to get near the door. "Oh and Eileen dear? When Ms. Bering arrives, please do me a favor and tell her something for me?"
The woman stopped and turned around to her boss. She took the pen and paper and held it waiting.
"Please tell Ms. Bering….. not to come into my office ….unless….. she has found her backbone and is armed to the teeth with whatever it is she does."
Eileen wrote furiously to get every word.
"And do order some flowers for her office. I want her last day here to be as pleasant as possible," Helena added sarcastically.
Eileen nodded and backed out of the room, closing the door behind her. She sat down at her desk, pulled out the wastepaper basket and threw up.
Helena sat there with a smug look on her face. Myka Bering was coming to her – she really was naïve.
Pete made three stops before arriving at Wells Corp on Park Avenue. He wasn't sure what Myka did at two of them, but he knew what the third one was. Walter Sykes sat in the back seat of the car with Myka.
"Are you sure about this?" he asked Myka nervously.
"Oh, yes, Mr. Sykes, I am certain," Myka said.
The pair took the elevator up to Helena's floor. Pete followed them in, but made a bee line to Claudia's office to see how much money he was certain he was going to win.
"Did you call Eileen?" he asked. Eileen was going to have a key role in all of this.
"Yes, she finally stopped throwing up long enough to tell me she'd text me as soon as Ms. Bering gets off the elevator. Now, in all fairness, I think the time starts as soon as Eileen says Bering steps into the office and closes the door," Claudia specified.
"Fine – and then twenty nine minutes later, when Myka comes out, I collect my twenty five hundred dollars," Pete said merrily.
"Sorry Petey, you mean in sixty seconds when they bring Bering out in a body bag, I get my money," Claudia said.
Pete was about to challenge her, but the beeping sound on her phone stopped them. "She's off the elevator," Claudia said and sent out a company-wide update. Two hundred employees stopped what they were doing and sat at their desks waiting.
Eileen shot up from her chair when Myka walked off the elevator.
"No need to announce me, Eileen, thanks. Mr. Sykes, wait here please," Myka said and he sat down in the waiting area. "Would you please do me a favor and make three copies of these contracts," Myka said putting them down on Eileen's desk.
"Ms. Bering, I have a message," Eileen said and waited.
"Don't worry, I'd rather hear it directly from Ms. Wells," Myka said and kept walking. She knocked on Helena's door and opened it. As soon as it closed, Eileen texted Claudia: NOW!
The official countdown had begun.
Eileen looked down at the papers Myka had left and sent a second text immediately.
"BERING GOT HERSELF APPOINTED TO THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS!" she wrote in all caps for emphasis.
"Oh shit!" Claudia said, knowing she was 48 seconds away from losing a lot of money.