I Know What's Real, page 1
Table of Contents
© Copyright 2018 by Maggie Kane
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Table of Contents
Working from home sounds like a dream job. And, honestly, it’s pretty awesome overall. You can’t beat the commute, and my daily uniform is leggings and a t-shirt- when I bother to get out of my jammies. But, there is a downside. I didn’t notice at first, but when my most meaningful interactions with other living things became the conversations I had with my dog and my houseplants, I realized I was becoming a little unbalanced.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a hermit. I don’t live in my parent’s basement lost in a virtual reality game, unable to discern reality from imagination. I shower every day and even do my hair- well at least comb it. I have a handful of friends, mainly Steve and Stephan, the couple that lives on the corner. Our Friday ritual of margaritas at the local Mexican joint is a weekly highlight but pretty much entails my entire social life. I don’t mind though. It’s been my experience that the virtual world is far preferable to the one that revolves outside my door. Besides, I have none of those ‘real’ world distractions to interfere with my creative flow. At least that’s what I tell my mom when she laments my lack of potential grandchild generating boyfriends.
Still, it can be a bit lonely from time to time. To combat the neurosis of making up voices for my plants and moving them around every day so they don’t get bored, I make a point to go to the gym and drag my lazy-as-sin mutt of unknown variety, Max, to the park every day. Probably the most important part of my sanity is Larry. He is the one human I talk to every day. By ‘talk to’- I mean email, but that still counts as talking these days.
Armed with my usual mega-mug of coffee and feeling quite proud of myself for going to the gym this morning, I sign in with anticipation of talking to Larry. I stare stupidly at the screen looking for my usual email with its happy ‘Good morning, Sunshine.’ It isn’t there. He must be running late. I smile, thinking for once I can send the first email of the day.
What do you have planned for me today? Will I be on my knees begging for more or are you going to bend me over and give me all I can take?
Did you sleep late this morning? Probably a good idea. You’re going to need all the energy you can get to keep up with me today
I hit send, giggling a little bit. That will get his attention. He knows that writing press releases is my least favorite thing in the world. Last week, he gave me an inbox full of that crap to write. In my world, that equates to being royally screwed. I’m the content writer for the Arrow Industries, and Larry is my supervisor. He gives out the assignments- tech manuals, press releases, pamphlets, even the newsletter from the CEO of the company. I write it all. It’s not the sexy side of writing, but it pays the bills until I can get my foot in the door with a publisher. It’s a tough nut to crack, but I’ve dreamed of nothing else since I realized I could write something that could touch someone else’s life. I will get there one day.
Today is not that day, unfortunately. I sip my coffee and start in on a manual that I have been working on for about a week. It needs to get finished up. Larry wants it by tomorrow. I can’t concentrate, though. Something feels off about Larry not being at his desk by now. He is never late, and my emails are always answered within minutes of sending. This virtual silence is unnerving.
When the computer dings a few minutes later, I immediately click over to read what Larry wrote back. I frown as I read.
Good morning Kinsey,
I regret to inform you that Larry has been in a car accident and will not be into work for the foreseeable future. When I spoke to him this morning, he told me to tell you that he will be back to torment you as soon as he is able.
In the meantime, I will be handling your assignments. While having you on your knees or bent over are equally intriguing prospects, I propose we get to know each other a bit first. Please update me on the status of your current projects, including tech manual 1432. All of Larry’s emails are being forwarded to me, but I do not yet have access to his files. I will rely on you to fill me in and carry on. I do hope you will not require excessive hand-holding.
I look forward to working with you.
And Kinsey- never worry about my energy levels.
I never thought I could blush so much just reading an email. Who the hell is Alec? I have been with Arrow Industries for just over a year and have never crossed paths with anyone named Alec before. I chew my lip and think for a few moments.
Good to know you’ll be able to keep up. Stamina is very important in a man.
I will let you hold my hand on the first date, but you’re not getting past second base. I’m not that kind of girl.
You’ll find my current projects and their status in the attached document. If you have any questions, I will be happy to help, but I do trust that you are capable of independent work. Most men know all about taking the situation in hand and working it until it all comes out in the end. Do take care not to make a mess.
I hit send before I can think better of it. I follow it quickly with a short note for Larry and ask Alec to forward it to him. I sit back and wonder about this new guy. Larry called me ‘sunshine’ and ‘sweetie’. He teased and flirted a bit, but never with any seriousness. Alec, though, just in one email has conveyed an undertone of serious masculinity and power. It crosses my mind that I might be playing with fire.
Even as I think it, I decide that it has been too long in my life without any heat. I don’t exactly know when my life slipped into a world of my own making that largely exists only in my head. I never meant to isolate myself. It just happened. I might get burned if I play with Alec, but at least I would feel something. I realize anything is preferable to frozen numbness of monotony that makes up my life. It’s time to turn up the heat.
I rock back in my chair and reread Kinsey’s reply. She’s a fiery one. I’ve been with the company for a grand total of 72 hours. Most people don’t know I exist yet. We’ve been intentionally vague as to who I am and what I’m doing at Arrow Industries. I want to be invisible for a while to get a feel for the pe
I consider for a moment before answering Kinsey. I really shouldn’t keep going down this path. HR is only one slip of the tongue or poorly worded email away. One of my steadfast rules of business is never flirt with coworkers. Kinsey isn’t really my coworker, though. She isn’t even at the office, and she started it after all. It doesn’t seem likely that she would blow the whistle to HR. I rationalize it all in my head even as my fingers are typing my reply. My curiosity is piqued, and I want to know how far she will take it.
Rarely am I forced to take matters into my own hands. I usually am fortunate to have help, and I never, ever make a mess. It has been my experience that women are also more than capable of achieving the ultimate goal on their own. Though, many do have a little help along the way. Do you have a helper, Kinsey? Do you use it often or only when you can’t get the job done yourself?
Just curious about your ability to fly solo. What do you think of having an audience while you work? I find it is important to observe my team member’s skill levels.
I hit send and wonder more about Kinsey. I find myself anxiously awaiting her reply. I force myself to get up and take a walk around the office. I chat idly with some of my co-workers, but I don’t stay gone long. I can’t help but smile with anticipation when I return and see her reply in my inbox.
I am more than capable of achieving whatever goals I set my mind on, though I never turn down a bit of help. It is important to be a team player. I know that when I have a team member who is buzzing with energy, and we focus that energy on the ultimate goal- spectacular things can happen. It is usually quite climactic. It is hard for me to stay quiet about our achievements. I love to make a bit of noise and let everyone know about the amazing results being achieved.
Audience? I love to share my skills with others. I am quite happy to take them by hand and show them exactly what needs to be done. People learn best by doing, not just watching.
To be clear- I am not offering simple lip service- though my lips are quite talented in many types of service. I truly believe that while watching can be fun, the actual physical experience of learning something is of paramount importance.
Attached is the final copy of tech manual 1432. You’ll need to make sure to send it to Mike in the print shop as well as file it in company archives. The guys on the floor always request a hard copy. (That tip is on the house. Future ones will cost you….)
I laugh softly and reread her message. Kinsey is just full of surprises. I send the manual to the appropriate places as she suggested and consider my next message. I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun at work. I’m good at my job. I’m efficient and people naturally follow my lead. I don’t live my job, though. It is a means to an end. This verbal sparring with Kinsey makes me more than happy to just stay at this desk, a true first for me. Usually, I’m restless behind the desk, preferring to be out and amongst the action.
I have a lunch meeting so I reluctantly push away from my desk and head to the executive suite. My mind wanders as my boss and his cronies ramble on about profit margins and an upcoming audit. My head isn’t in the game. It is concocting an email to Kinsey. I give myself a mental shake and force myself to listen to the details of the audit. I can’t afford to be distracted by some sexy emails for a woman I’ve never met. This is the most crucial time if I’m going to be successful. This is foundation building time.
Gene Mackey, the CEO of Arrow Industries, contacted me a couple of months ago requesting my help. I’m a business analyst that specializes in struggling companies. In particular, I help companies who have fallen into a rut, stuck in patterns that are unable to keep pace in an ever-evolving industry. Basically, I’m a business fixer, and I have a well-earned reputation for being the best. I don’t have any secrets for success. Success is simple as long as you play by the rules: don’t spend more than you earn, always invest in the future, keep your employees as happy as your customers and never, ever, date your employees.
I finally get out of the boardroom and away from the suits. I know- I am a suit so that is kind of like the pot calling the kettle black. But- I only wear a suit. Those guys are the suit. They eat, sleep, and probably fuck with profit margins and stock prices on their minds. Not me. I am all business at work but shut it off the minute I take my tie off and head out to my bike at the end of the day. The bike is my freedom and my way to outrun the stress that this job inevitably brings.
Well, I’m usually all business, at any rate. That is when I am not being distracted by a sexy content writer. I remind myself that she could be ancient, cigarette hanging out of her mouth, skin like an alligator handbag and tits that rest on her lap. Not my idea of sexy at all. Kinsey doesn’t strike me as anything like that, but you can never be too cautious in the virtual world. Still, we’re just playing so she can be anything I want her to be.
I ignore the warning voice in my head, reminding me that playing with coworkers is a no-no. She isn’t really a coworker since she doesn’t work in the office, I rationalize to myself as I click send.
Thanks for the tip. Just curious- what kind of payment did you have in mind for future tips? I am sure we could work something out that we would both find mutually beneficial.
You seem quite the wordsmith. Are emails, press releases, and tech manuals the scope of your ability or do you have any hidden talents?
You’ll find a request for a press release attached. I need it back by the end of the day.
Coworker or not, I’d be willing to bet there is much more to Kinsey than meets the eye.
I reread the email for the third time. I know Alec is pressing my buttons just to see what kind of response he can get. Writers are a strange breed. Being contract writer for a tech company that makes computer parts isn’t exactly what a lot of people would consider being a ‘real writer.’ I wrinkle my nose at the stack of rejection letters. I won’t give up until I join those ranks. I can’t wait for the day I hold my book in my hands complete with a cover and pages and smell of fresh ink. I can’t wait to sign my name on the inside cover. For now, however, there is my next email to Alec to compose.
I consider for another moment. I know he’s purposely baiting me to get a reaction, but I can’t stand the thought that he thinks this is all I can do. Screw it- I can write whatever it is he wants me to.
Payments for future inside tips will be negotiated per tip. I will tell you that I am partial to massages and anything else designed to elicit relaxation and groans of pleasure.
Attached is your press release. I wrote it with one hand tied behind my back. I write this crap every day. Not much call for imagination or use of my hidden talents in tech manuals and parts catalogs. Too bad you don’t get to see how creative I can be when I put my mind to it. I assure you my talents range far beyond fast typing fingers.
I send it and wonder why I care so much that he thinks I can write. I bury myself in another manual that Larry gave me last week. It’s a mess. Soon, my mind is blissfully occupied reworking the butchered phrases into something resembling coherent instructions. My computer chimes indicating an email, and I immediately look up from my task. I guess I wasn’t so engrossed after all. Part of me had been waiting impatiently for his reply. I click over to my email and frown. It isn’t even from Alec. I give myself a mental shake and mute the sound so I won’t be interrupted anymore. Alec can wait.
I wrestle with the words making slow but steady progress with one part of my brain. The other is keeping up a relentless siren song to check my email. I resist until 10 minutes before quitting time. I
There it is- a reply for Alec. I am stupidly excited to click on it. I definitely need to get out more if a little email flirt can get me this wound up. Larry never had me on the edge of my seat like this with eager anticipation. I silence my internal Dr. Phil and click on the reply, tamping down the increasing number of butterflies dancing inside me.
Thank you for the press release. It is spot on. Attached is a request from marketing for a pamphlet to distribute at an upcoming job fair. They need it by end of business tomorrow.
I look forward to hearing more about groans of pleasure. A massage from these hands would make you do more than just groan.
You are very sure of yourself. I admit you have me curious about these hidden talents. I propose a challenge then- if you’re up for it. When was the last time you took those pretty politically correct gloves off and wrote something real? Your challenge is to write something for me. Write something that gets me excited. Write something that makes me want more from you. Write something that has me looking forward to being here tomorrow with you. Make it real, Kinsey. Let me see you.
Send it to my private email address as this has nothing to do with work. You can find it at the bottom of the attachment.
Holy shit. Write something specifically for him. I flip through the inventory of stories on my computer and decide that none of them will work. I am possessed by a desire to knock his socks off. I know that no ordinary story will do. We’re not talking about a cute little short story for an essay contest. We’re talking about making him crazy with nothing but words. This has to be nothing short of screen melting hot.
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