Perspectives Series (1)
It's All in Your Point of View
Disclaimer One: There isn't one! These characters are all mine! They are a product of a well nurtured imagination.
Disclaimer Two: There is some use of harsh language, but what the hell don't most of us use it anyway? There is also some mild violence mentioned after the fact against women and children. So, if this is not for you please don't tell me just go somewhere else.
These are all new characters that have been swimming around in my head for sometime now. I just decided on a whim to let you readers get a taste of them. This story takes place and these characters live in Gary, IN, which is one of the most violent and most dysfunctional cities in America. This series is an attempt to show a couple of characters trying to find a slice of heaven for themselves, and the people they work with.
This is dedicated as always to the love of my life Camille, who helped name the characters. Thanks love.
Now, on with the show!
Chapter I: It's A Dirty Job
Bleep, Bleep, Bleep!
A moan came from under the pastel blue comforter, and a hand followed in search of the offending alarm clock. After a few seconds of futile search, fingers found their target and pounded the buttons with authority, only to pound too hard.
The petite figure sat up immediately in pain. She shook the jammed finger trying to alleviate the radiating pain. When that did not work, she shoved it in her mouth. Luminous green eyes opened slightly to adjust to the dim light filtering through the windows. With the throbbing now gone, she pushed shaggy blonde bangs out of her face then raked fingers through closely cropped blonde hair, in an attempt to jump start her brain. She rubbed her eyes with the heels of her hands and mumbled under her breath, 'Six thirty already, arghh! The week just started, and I hate that Monday/Tuesday thing. Why couldn't the week start on Wednesday? Duh, you goof it would be Monday again.' She sighed then proceeded to yawn and stretch simultaneously. Taking a quick glance at the clock, she groaned again. It was 6:45. She had been wool gathering for the past fifteen minutes. She shrugged her shoulders. After getting just a couple hours sleep, the blonde figured she was allowed.
Around midnight, she had finally finished her paper work that was full of progress notes, dictating psycho-social assessments, and signing numerous release of info forms. She finished just in time to be reminded, with the sound of her beeper, that she was the caseworker on-call this weekend. Repeat clients, the Hansen's were at it again. She had been called in conjunction with Child Protective Services to assess the situation. In a word, it was bad. Her blonde head lowered and shook as she came face to face with the fact that some people just didn't want help. Tim Hansen had apparently come home drunk and decided to use his wife as a punching bag. In turn, Sylvia, had taken it out on their eight year old daughter. She watched on as police lights lit up the block like fireworks, sounding just as noisy.
Tim Hansen slobbered and cursed at the two policemen yanking him down the steps, all the while calling his wife an every bitch known to mankind. Sylvia cried and moved around like a worm in hot ashes. Despite blood dripping from her face, she continued to scream, "Let me go you cock suckers. Just let me kill him!" The blonde watched on in silent awe as the last cop came out carrying little Melinda covered in what looked like a thin cotton nightgown and huddled around him like a lifeline. She could see the child shaking from her own vantage point and even counted the numerous bruises around her neck and face. Bile churned in her throat as her stomach twisted in protest. She had been working for Family Services for three years, and she finally admitted that she would never get used to this.
Getting in her car, she followed the procession to the station. By the time, she had spoken to the three of them it was well past 3 am. Melinda was remanded to CPS custody, Tim and Sylvia to the police's. Driving home, the blonde caseworker fought tears and the weight on her shoulders. It wasn't a failure she reminded herself, but an example that no matter what you do all things can't be controlled. Sometimes people didn't know how to deal with the world head on because of the many horrors it held. So, they took the side road and just barely survived. It was her job to steer them back to the highway, but sometimes they just found a dirk road instead. She sighed pulling into her own parking space in front of her apartment building.
It was past 4 am. The little woman fell into bed not bothering to remove the jeans and ISU sweatshirt she had dawned before the call. Sleep came quick, only to interrupted by the cacophony of gunshots outside her building. Hearing them on a regular basis, but still not used to it, the blonde jerked awake with a rapidly beating heart and sweaty palms. The only good thing that came out of that was she was able to get undressed for bed.
Now, unfortunately, it was time to rise and shine. Fighting off the tiredness, she scratched her naked, firm abdomen as she padded into the bathroom to perform daily morning rituals. After showering, she wiped the steam form the mirror and studied her form as she brushed overnight gunk from her teeth. A grin quirked around the toothbrush as she noted the hard play of muscle over feminine curves. 'Working out wasn't just a stress reliever after all. Not bad. Okay, get a move on girlie or you're gonna be late. Not a way to impress the new boss', she told herself.
Now, deep into her closet, she pulled out a knee length grey skirt and light beige blouse, knowing it was going to be a hot one. After throwing the clothes on the bed, she walked back over to invade her underwear drawer. The blonde let out a sharp squeak when the walls started throbbing from the deep base that emerged from the neighbor's stereo.
<i>Girl you look good when you back that thang up. . .</i>
She covered her ears and tried to swallow the hot anger bubbling to the surface. "Dammit!" Unsuccessful, she grabbed a robe and stormed out of her front door. She wasn't in the mood for loud, profanity laced music this morning or any for that matter. She beat down the little voice in the back of her mind that was telling her, "Hellooo, you don't just go beat on people's doors these days, especially in this city. Can you say suicide!?" Shaking her head to clear it, she commenced to banging and kicking on the neighbour's door. After tense minutes, the door opened.
"What the hell is wrong with you?! It's seven o'clock in the damn morning! Turn that shit down!"
Green eyes shot daggers and small hands clinched at her side. The young Hispanic girl was taken aback.
"Uh, ssorry ma'am. Didn't know you were home."
The blonde woman's anger dissipated and her shoulder's slumped.
"I'm sorry for yelling at you. Just be a little more courteous okay? People live around you."
She hurried back to her own apartment. "Whew!" The little voice said. Quickly, she put on the scattered clothes and rushed to apply a smattering of make-up. Gathering up paper work, she walked with a purpose toward the door only to be interrupted by the sound of her pager. Setting the load down, she ran to the phone dialing the highlighted numbers.
"Cory Donovan. Who paged me?"
Hey, Cory. It's Barb. I didn't know if you had left your apartment yet or not, but anyway, listen. Be prepared for a staff meeting as soon as the new boss lady gets in. I hear she made a few changes, and the rumor is there is gonna be cutbacks in personnel."
"Ugh, I hope not. We need all the people we can get. Listen Barb, I'm on my way now."
After hanging up the phone, she made a mad dash to the door. Deactivating the car alarm, Cory threw her bag and briefcase in the backseat of the old black Corsica, praying that she would start this morning. She mentally thanked God for insurance, and silently wished someone would steal the tin can. This was after all Gary, Indiana, and on a salary of 28 thou, she couldn't exactly live posh. Her neighborhood was liveable when it was quiet; when there was no shooting; and when the garbage man actually ran. The caseworker drove past the boarded up stores, businesses, and through stop lights that didn't work.
"Welcome to the 21st century in Gary, where nothing works and nothing is open," she muttered to herself.
While the sun shined brightly in the sky when it hit her part of the city, it dimmed, giving it the eerie glow of a ghost town. Cory sighed. Maybe this new administrator can actually get something done for the families in this community. Maybe.
Taylor pursed full lips as she looked into the full length mirror perched outside the walk-in closet. First day on the job. Was she nervous? There was a bark of laughter in the quiet room. No way. She brushed long, black tresses into shape. Stepping back a little to get a view of her entire tall, leggy frame, she studied what she saw. Silver-blue eyes flashed back at her while taking in the lean, athletic body that gravity had yet to ravage. She noted high, sculptured cheek bones, full lips, along with little lines that fanned around her eyes. Those lines in themselves were the only evidence that belayed her 32 years. There was no subterfuge. She was gorgeous, and she knew it.
Taylor smirked into the mirror. Sometimes that alone was enough to discombobulate local politicians, employers, and even employees to get what she wanted. Progress. Blue eyes glimmered with arrogance. But why not have it all? Beauty and intelligence. A double whammy that shocked them even more.
Remembering the shape this city was in, something told her she would have to use both to aid the suffering communities. This city was a far cry from Indianapolis. The whole place was like some post apocalyptic urban playground. What had these people been doing anyway? Some parts of the city looked as though tumbleweeds should be blowing through. Then she saw the good part of town, where she happened to live with it's fake grass, symmetrical bushes, and slightly lived in looking houses. "Oh, that's where the money went," she explained to herself.
Ahh, she did so love local government--the sanctimonious sons of bitches with their misplaced promises and fake for the little people attitude. She rolled her eyes. "God, they make me sick." The smirk came back along with a raised eyebrow, but she knew how to charm or be just as slimy as them. After all, that's what she did. Fix and get things. She had done all that could be done for Cumming's Agency in Indianapolis in the two years she was there. It was healthy again with just as healthy employees and new programs for the community. It was time for a new challenge.
The smirk changed into a crooked smile and eyes squinted, leaving only sharp points of blue staring back at her. "Time to rattle some cages," she said to herself. Walking with cat like grace back toward the large bed, now made with a silky, black and grey comforter, she seated her tall frame on the edge. She knew there had to be speculation about her swimming around the office already. She went down a mental list of nicknames she had been given and wondered what she would be called here. "I was always partial to 'Queen Bitch of the Universe,'" she told herself. She wasn't a people person, but she could fake it when needed. Taylor knew that she still wasn't liked by many and that was okay. She was not here to make friends.
Just like everything else, being an administrator at a social service agency was a business of crunching numbers, demographics, cut backs, and finding the most cost effective solutions to help families. It was the caseworker's job to care not really hers she told herself. It was a philosophy of life as well as practice. A simple matter of self-preservation was what it represented. The less people in her life the more effective a person was generated. No strings. No failures.
There was only one woman she trusted enough to call friend, who respected this. Wendy accepted Taylor Wilson for who she was. A perfectionist. A loner. Pulling on a navy blue skirt over panty hose clad legs, Taylor smiled, remembering the last time she had talked to her old college friend. Wendy had wished her luck whipping them into shape in Bumfuck, Egypt. Putting on the white silk blouse, she muttered to herself, "Luck has nothing to do with it."
After stepping into pumps, she opened her briefcase and gathered her purse, cell phone and pager together, with a click they disappeared behind the black leather. 'Yep. It was time to rattle cages indeed, starting with the employees. It's time to weed out those who care from those who no longer give a damn along with those who are just burned out,' she thought to herself. Grabbing her keys, she exited the apartment and folded her six foot frame into the mauve Accord. The day had begun.
Chapter II: Rumors and First Impressions
Cory sat her belongings on her desk and sat down to take a breath before the day began.
"Hey kiddo. I see you finally made it."
Cory smiled over at her friend at the desk across from hers and noticed something immediately different.
"Hey! You got your hair cut!"
The tall brunette got up and twirled around, showing off her new do. Where before it was long and curly, it was now close cropped and curling toward her face.
"Uh, huh. You like?"
"Oh yeah! It works for you. Did Dave like it?"
Barbara laughed. "Who cares if he did. It's my hair last time I checked. I love that man to death, but what's on my body belongs to me." She smiled lecherously. "Unless, I decide to give it to him."
Cory laughed, "Oh, God, Barb. You didn't make him beg again did you? I feel sooo sorry for that man."
"Oh, hell Cor. He likes it. Anyway, on to more serious subjects, I heard about your little adventure last night. Shame about the kid."
"Yeah, it was." Her shoulder's slumped subconsciously. "I just wish I could have done something else for them."
The taller woman squeezed her friend's shoulder, offering comfort.
"Well kiddo, that's what happens when you really care. It hurts. I know, but you gotta try harder for the next family."
"Yeah, you're right."
The blonde caseworker grabbed an errant pencil and began twirling it in her fingers. "So, when is this new admin showing up and what are these changes you were talking about?"
"She's due in at nine, according to Shelley. As far as the changes go, Annette has a cousin that worked in the agency she last headed, and she told me that she fired a lot of people for unknown reasons and made huge policy changes. So, I can only guess what she's gonna do here. We have to wait and hear it from the horses mouth I guess." Barb shrugged her shoulders.
"Horses ass is more like it. Why do they come in changing everything? It will only shake things up. Maybe even make them worse," Cory commented, shaking her head.
"I don't know but the whole office is a buzz about it. No one even knows what she really looks like," Barb added.
"Nothing to do but wait and see I guess." She ran her hand through short, blonde locks. "I got filing to do anyway. I'll talk to you later."
Barbara looked back over her shoulder in concern as she walked away. The kid cared, maybe too much, which in this line of work could be a plus and a minus.
Cory looked down at her watch. It was 8:40. She had a few minutes to get coffee, say hello to everyone, and hopefully, get herself together. Going straight to the coffee island, she spied a huge cup. "Ahh, just what the doctor ordered, along with plenty of sugar." She looked up and over her cup, taking an experimental sip of the hot brew, to see another co-worker approaching.
He grunted in response.
Cory smiled in spite of herself. Ray was a strange man pre-coffee.
"Nice tie, Ray."
"Mmmm." He poured, added creamer, and stirred.
"I want you now, Ray."
"Uh, huh," was all the tall, balding man had to say as he raised the cup to his lips. He took a sizable gulp. "Ahhhh, that's good."
Cory smirked and continued to sip her own coffee. She mentally counted to twenty.
"Sooo Cor? How ya doing this morning?"
Grey eyes that seemed dull before gleamed happily and there was actually a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth, under his moustache. The dark skinned black man took another healthy swig. Cory tried to hide her smile.
"It's better now, Ray. See you in the meeting."
Sometimes she loved this place regardless. It was an institution, true, but it was also a den of humanity rich with the idiosyncrasies and quirks of those who entered every morning. In combination with that and the differing senses of humor, it was enough to ward off the chill of a bad day or tough reality. She smiled to herself as she went to make morning rounds.
Walking to the beginning of the cubicles in the front, she looked around to see Annette sitting at her desk with three other co-workers huddled around her. She smiled at the perky redhead. "Morning Annette, morning guys."
"Hey Cor," the red head replied.
She motioned for her to come closer. "Have you heard anything? There's a lot of people scared of losing their jobs. From what my cousin told me, she doesn't care about anybody. It's like she's ice. She was all with firing caseworkers and making changes not caring how they affected everyone----a real bitch. My cousin told me that the she is originally from somewhere on the east coast, and she's been in this field for ten years at least. She comes and goes causing havoc in what ever agency she touches."
"I don't know, Ann. You know just as much as I do, but we really should wait to pass judgement like that. You know?"
Annette smiled thinly at her then waved her off. Cory rolled her eyes and continued saying a brisk hello to everyone. Whether they heard her or not was a mystery. She heard snatches of conversations going on about major cut backs, firing, policy, even something about the dress code. Making her way back to her desk, she realized sometimes the idiosyncrasies and quirks were a bit much. Looking down at her watch again, she noticed it was 9 am on the dot. Time to see if the rumors were correct.
Taylor walked into the building and made a quick scan of the inside. On each side was an array of cubicles separated by dully-painted walls. Inside each cubicle were desks supporting computers and various personal items from the looks of things. She made her way down the walkway that separated one side from the other. The executive smiled to herself as all paper shuffling and whispering seemed to stop. That in itself was her evidence that she had indeed been the topic of conversation. She took in each face along with the nameplate on the desk and filed them in her eidetic memory. The woman came to the last cubicle before her office and noticed there was someone still whispering.
An attractive blonde sat behind the desk, twirling a pencil in her hand as she talked with the taller brunette standing next to her. The blonde turned her head. Blue and green met. Emerald eyes widened, as did Taylor's inward smile. She swept the blonde with her gaze as she turned the corner taking in her nameplate and features. Thinking to herself, 'Cory Donovan you look young. Damned young,' playing back youthful features in her mind, 'and probably naïve as hell.' Silently, Taylor continued on into her office.
Barbara grabbed onto her friend's arm and whispered heatedly. "Oh my God! That's her? You can't tell me that's her! She's, she's .."
"Something," Cory finished for her. "What it is remains to be seen."
"But, but did you see the way she looked at you? I swear it's colder in here now! I feel so sorry for Shelley. She might want to go ahead and retire after all, and to top it all off, she's gorgeous!"
"I didn't really notice."
Barbara arched an eyebrow high and pursed lips. "You see this face? This is my not believing you face. You can't tell me that it's been that long since you've been with a woman "
"Shhh, damn tell the whole world! I'm out but not that out!"
Barb lowered her voice. "That you didn't notice that! She pointed toward the back office. "My God, she even gave me the down low tickle."
Cory's eyes widened. "Barb! You're a nut! Okay, okay she's cute," the blonde said begrudgingly.
The brunette looked back down at her friend, touched her forehead, and walked away shaking her own head.
They had a few minutes, so the petite blonde let her thoughts wander. 'Okay. She was attractive, very attractive. She is my boss. She's probably straight. She looks as cold as hell, and I have no business thinking about this in the first place. So, down girlie!' Cory shut off her stray thoughts and sipped her now tepid coffee.
Taylor deposited her briefcase on her desk. 'That went well, knowing the majority of them were out there speculating who was going to go first.' She would let them stew for a few minutes. Her thoughts went to the petite blonde. The woman didn't seem the least bit intimidated. Interesting. From her personnel file, Taylor knew Cory was successful in linking her clients with resources in the community and counselling if need be. Still, there were some that were hit and miss. It would be very interesting indeed to find out if she was one that cared. Coming out of her reverie, she smoothed a hand over her skirt. She had an assistant to go meet.
Walking across to the adjoining office, Taylor knocked briskly on the open door. The occupant of the office jumped. Taylor scanned the room and then the occupant. Shelley. Shelley was obviously an older woman more than likely in her mid fifties. The admin took in the shoulder length bob, sprinkled with salt and pepper, the pleasant rounded face, and the kind, intelligent blue eyes, hidden behind glasses that met her gaze unflinchingly. Taylor extended the silence purposely to view the results. Shelley smiled to herself. 'It was to be like that was it.' She cleared her throat.
"Ms. Wilson, I presume because you don't look like the carpet cleaners scheduled to come this morning."
She peered at Taylor questioningly over her glasses
The younger woman's mouth quirked under it's own volition. She liked this woman.
"Mmm, yes. You're correct, but call me Taylor. I'll assume you're Shelley?"
The younger woman moved in and held out a hand. Shelley reached out her hand and encased her boss' in a strong grip.
"Now that's over. Let me start by telling you what I don't want. You are not to fetch me coffee. I can do that myself. You are not to be my yes man/woman or my errand boy or woman be that as it may. What I do expect is for you to be honest with me. Tell me when I mess up, and if you have ideas or a different view on things tell me that too. I expect you to work hard, but regardless you will go home to your family at 5pm. What ever that is not done by then can wait to the next day or I will finish it myself." Taylor raised a perfectly arched eyebrow. "Are we clear?"
Shelley beamed up at her new boss, "Crystal."
Unable to help herself, Taylor grinned back. She nodded her head in the direction of the outside offices. "Okay, go get yourself a cup of coffee and join us in the meeting room." Just like that she was gone. Shelley continued to smile. "I like her. This is going to be interesting," she said to the no one in particular.
Walking back into her office and grabbing her briefcase, Taylor headed back out the way she first came in. Stopping in the middle of the walkway, she set her briefcase down quietly on the carpeted floor. She clasped her hands behind her back and cleared her throat.
"Meeting room people. Five minutes," she announced in a clear voice that carried.
The admin could hear the rustling of papers and chairs scooting as people got up. She turned and caught the eye of the blonde again, noticing the wary look that darkened emerald green.
Setting her briefcase on the table and opening it with a click that resounded through the quietly filled room, Taylor looked down as she extracted its contents. No one dared to speak. Her presence demanded that they wait. She commanded the room with body language that signified a confidence that rolled off her in waves. Silver-blue peered upward again as she tapped the collection of folders against the table to straighten them. She discreetly took in numerous expressions on her new employee's faces. She saw wariness, nonchalance, anger, and on one or two faces of fear. She glanced toward the end of the table. Green eyes looked back at her curiously. Taylor scrunched her brow in confusion. Interesting. Very much so. Her eyes continued to scan the table as she began to pass the folders around, but felt green eyes boring into her nonetheless.
Cory was indeed curious. The woman had said three words since she entered the building, and people were, for lack of a better word, flustered. She hadn't even seen a smile or bearing of teeth from her for that matter. There was just a voice that was somehow soft, smoky and authoritative at the same time, but she had no doubt that the woman knew how to raise it when necessary. There were also the eyes. They were an incandescent blue like they were struggling to hold their color. She had looked enough to know that some of what lay behind them was a keen intelligence, but they revealed little else. 'Oh, all except she seemed slightly taken aback by me.' Cory smiled inwardly. Maybe there was something behind those eyes after all. Maybe the changes she was about to implement could be for the better. Maybe.
Cory came out of her daydream as a folder was passed to her. Barb raised an eyebrow in her friend's direction. Cory cocked her head to the side in response. The older woman sighed, 'What was that kid thinking?'
Taylor sat down at the head of the table. She crossed her legs smoothly. Waiting for paper shuffling to end, she brought elegant, long fingered hands together in an arch and scanned the room once more.
"Okay ladies and gentlemen. Let me start by introducing myself. I am Taylor Wilson your new administrator. Let me also relay a message from the head of CPS. He wants to congratulate you on being able to work so well with his agency. This agency has become the top referral for the families that come through there." She paused for a second. "Now, on to other business. I was hired to make this agency healthy and efficient for you and the families you help." She leaned in, closer to the other occupants making sure they were paying attention. "If you will open your folder what will be on top is the new assessment tool. It is shorter than the previous one but still aids you in retrieving comprehensive information on a client's personal, biological, and psychiatric history. It has been tested and proven valid."
"They next section outlines changes in programming. We will no longer be working with these agencies or leading these programs. Statistics have shown that clients do not stay with them. Therefore, they are a waste of time, and from now on, any client that expresses interest in them will have to be referred out. As you can see, I have severed ties with the adult reading program, some of the after school and library programs." Taylor could feel the hostility in the room. She looked around then looked toward the end of the table. Green eyes snapped angrily at her, and she took in the flushed redness of fury covering the youthful features. 'Time to see what you're made of kid,' she thought to herself. She cleared her throat to continue. "Are there any questions or comments?"
The room was silent. Dead silent. 'That's okay. Those that care about what I've just done will come to me.'
"If any of you have questions later. Come to my office. Now, before we adjourn I would like to let you know that I will familiarize myself with the many cases and join you in afternoon team meetings. Also, I would like to see the following caseworker's in my office, individually, ASAP. Bill Pulam, Tracy Williams, and Bob Bingham. Okay, people. Let's get to work."
With that, she swiftly packed her briefcase and made her way out of the room.
The meeting room buzzed with activity. Three faces stood stunned and fear laden as others talked around them. Cory stood over in the far corner absolutely seething. 'The woman was insane! How could she end those programs? Didn't she see that they were all crucial. How the hell is an adult who can't read suppose to get a job without learning how?! I just know she's about to fire them!' She glanced over at Bill, Tracy, and Bob. 'They messed up a lot. Always late on paper work and such, but they needed all the help they could get on the streets. Maybe this woman was the unfeeling bitch she was fabled to be. Maybe.
Barbara made it over to her friend.
"You okay kiddo?"
"Look at this face Barb. This is my I can't believe this bullshit face! What the hell is that woman thinking?"
"I know you're pissed. I am too. Are you gonna go talk to her?"
"I sure as hell am! Just as soon as she's done firing those three. God! We're going to be shorthanded as hell! Thanks to that horses ass in there!"
The older woman grabbed her friend's arm.
"Hey, calm down. You can't go in there half-cocked. You could get yourself fired. Be professional about this," she implored.
"You know what Barb? I don't give a shit if I do get fired. I don't know if I want to work in a place that crunches numbers instead of helping people. I'm going in there. She needs to know that there is someone here that still cares!"
Barb sighed. "Okay, kid. Either way, you know I'm behind you."
Cory's jaw worked as anger continued to shoot itself through her body. She swallowed and replied quietly, "Thanks Barb. Let me have my say then you can come and say what you have to." The older woman nodded as they watched the three supposedly doom caseworkers file out the meeting room.
Taylor sat behind her desk, waiting patiently. Despite the rumors she had heard for years, she hated firing people. After all, she wasn't heartless, but she remembered their personnel files: sloppy paperwork, paperwork that was never entered into the computer, refusing to go out when they're on call. It was a wonder they hadn't been fired already or at least reprimanded. She looked at the door when she heard a soft knock. "Come in."
Cory sat at her desk watching as one by one they went in and came out minutes later with ashen faces. She thought she even saw tears in Tracy's eyes and heard the muted curses and banging of desk as they were cleared. She closed her eyes as the anger redoubled. 'This bitch is relentless. There is no way she knows what she's doing.' Getting up she looked over at Barb. "I'll be out in a little bit."
Cory knocked angrily on the door. Taylor looked up from the files she was perusing with confusion drawing her brows together. 'Ah, time to see who cares.'
Not waiting for an answer, Cory barged into her boss' office. She sat down in the chair in front of the large desk and looked into eyes that she deemed intelligent before and thought she saw patience. Taken aback, she shook it off and began to speak.
"Tell me something Ms. Wilson? How is a man supposed to get a job if he can't read? How are we helping him and his family then? How the hell are we supposed to help latch key kids if you terminate the after school programs? That program in particular is run by people in this agency!" She jumped up from the chair. "To top it all off, you just fired not one but three freakin caseworkers! Do you have any idea how shorthanded that leaves us? Are you looking to burn us out Ms. Wilson? Because this job is too stressful to be pulling double duty."
Taylor leaned back in her chair, brought her hands together and waited.
"I've come to my own conclusion Ms. Wilson. Do you want to hear what that is? You don't know what the HELL you're doing!"
Taylor's eyes flashed in warning. That was enough. It was obvious that she was one that actually cared, but this was getting insulting.
"Ms. Donovan, I assure you the numbers show that these programs are not being used to their fullest capacity. They are a waste of resources. . ."
"We don't have that many resources as it is dammit! Don't take them away! Work on them. Make them more attractive to the community. Hell, I'll even help! You come in here sitting on your pencil pushing ass "
"Now wait a minute!" Taylor's eyes gleamed dark with anger. Her voice rose then it became dangerously low. This little slip of a woman would not talk to her that way. If she could just get a word in. . .
"Give me one reason. Why I shouldn't fire you right now." 'How dare this woman talk to her like that!' Taylor didn't even try to hide the fury in her voice.
Cory placed her palms on the edge of the desk and leaned in closer to her new boss.
"Because, I'm one of the best caseworkers you got here, and I'm right. If you have one caring bone in your body, you know I'm right."
Blue starred into green. It was a standoff pure and simple. The one that blinked won. Taylor leaned in, closing the distance between them, wondering why her usual intimidating presence wasn't working on this woman. It was time to try another tactic, placate her. "Alright, Ms. Donovan. I'll think about it."
"No, not good enough. They should stand as established programs."
'My God! This woman is relentless and getting on my nerves! I need to get her out of my office.' "Ms. Donovan, you are trying my patience. I have told you that the statistics show. . . . . "
"Statistics don't show shit about real life. You've never been out there have you?"
"That's not the point here."
"Answer the question. You've never been in the field?"
"No, I haven't."
"Come out with me."
There was another knock at the door, and Barb let herself in. Cory looked at her friend and smiled. "Come out with us for as long as it takes. See what's really out there."
Taylor looked from Barbara to Cory, feeling trapped and more than a little guilty about her admitted lack of field experience outside the realm of college. "Alright. I can do that, but I can't neglect my duties here either. How about a fair trade? I see your side and you see from mine. Deal?" She looked into sparkling green with her own blue shining in challenge.
A slow smirk formed on Cory's lips. "Agreed."
"Good. We will hammer out the details later. Now, can you two leave my office? I have work to do."
Once outside the door. Barb looked at Cory.
"My God, I could hear you yelling all the way up front. What did you say to her?"
"Nothing that didn't need to be said. Either way, I think Ms. Pencil Pusher is in for a surprise."
Inside the office, there was yet another knock, this one coming from the adjoining door. Taylor looked up again from the files, exasperation showing on her face.
Shelley walked in and looked around the office hoping to see the cause of all that racket. The side of Taylor's mouth quirked upward.
"You just missed Ms. Donovan. It seem she had a few things to tell me."
The secretary leaned against the door. "Ah, that one is a little spitfire."
"Yes, something like that."
Taylor looked down to see what Shelley was holding in her hands. She raised an inquisitive eyebrow.
"Oh, this? I fixed you a cup of tea."
"Shelley, I thought. . ."
"Uh, uh, uh, some things I just like to do." She sat the cup on the desk and left.
Taylor stared at the steaming cup and rubbed the bridge of her nose. 'Was anybody what they seemed in this place?' She got the feeling that the secretary saw more into her that she wanted to reveal and that little blonde. She was definitely wrong there. She wasn't naïve. She was obnoxious, rude, opinionated and probably spoiled, and being the dummy that she instantly thought herself to be, Taylor had agreed to spend large amounts of time with her. 'Well, I wanted a challenge. Happy first day to me.'
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Copyright © By Minerva 2000
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