The Most Personal Assistant
Amy hated being Karl’s PA. She hated the way he said “let’s ramp up the PA system” when he was about to give her a pile of work; how he laughed at his own cringey jokes; how he always seemed to be buying a new Jacuzzi.
The only good thing about working for Karl was that it meant Amy had time to do what she really enjoyed doing: writing. Not the sort of writing that started with a Dear and ended with someone else’s signature; Amy’s pleasure came from watching a scene unfurl on her computer screen. Casting characters, setting up positions, injecting dialogue. And… Action! Amy liked her stories to have a climactic ending.
Thanks to Karl’s night owl tendencies, Amy was able to cultivate a healthy short story career from the comfort of her cubicle. She arrived at 9 a.m. and would have her desktop up and running by ten past. She sent a couple of emails – to show she was present and accounted for. Then, at around half nine, Amy would open her latest project and dive back in…
She re-emerged, slightly wet between the legs, at around eleven, in time to grab two coffees from Pret – one for herself, one for Karl – ready for his entrance at eleven twenty. On those occasions when he was running even later than usual, Amy would take the spare coffee and warm it up in the microwave in the kitchen on the third floor.
Amy had once walked in on Sally and John making out in that kitchen. John had Sally pressed up against the fridge, and they didn’t stop, not even when Amy entered, until the microwave went ping! and Sally pushed John off, straightened her skirt, and grabbed the Tupperware box from inside the microwave, smirking “See you!” as she sashayed out. John looked like he really hated that microwave.
Amy wondered what Karl would say if he found out about her secret. She guessed he’d be cross she had kept something from him. “I thought we were a team! I thought you had my back!” But weren’t secretaries supposed to have secrets? There must be some reason for the word’s inclusion in the job title, and Amy didn’t think it was supposed to denote closet Aries. “What? My star sign? Oh, I’m a Scorpio, me.”
If Karl found out, he’d probably assume he played a lead role in Amy’s fictional world. Who wouldn’t want to be pencilled in by a big-wig partner? Amy imagined Karl, discovering Amy’s literary bent, going into his office, closing the door, and sitting down with his feet up on the desk, stroking the caged beast twitching under his suit trousers…
Amy was interrupted from her thoughts by the click of fingers. She knew without glancing up that Karl was standing in the doorway to his office. Click, click, click. This was Karl’s way of summoning her. Amy thought it was more than a little derogatory, and she occasionally considered complaining, not because she really cared all that much, but because she hated Karl. However, the clicking was an alternative to him calling out her name, and Amy thought she preferred it this way. In her mind, hearing Karl say Amy was like hearing her Dad say cunt.
Amy craned her head above the cubicle. “Everything alright?”
“Come,” said Karl, beckoning her into his office. Amy grabbed her notepad and pen, and hurried after him.
Karl’s room was a mess. Amy had heard him argue, drunkenly at a firm drinks event, that there was a direct correlation between the amount of paper on a person’s desk and their importance: “When someone doesn’t have time to deal with the little things, that’s when you know they’ve pitched up to the big boy’s game.”
Later that same evening, Karl had tried to play a different game with one of the leggy interns. “You like hockey?” Amy heard Karl say to Vanessa’s left breast. “You can play with my stick and balls anytime.” Amy didn’t know whether he’d managed to score a goal.
“Take a look at this,” said Karl now, pointing at a piece of paper on his desk. It was one of the letters Amy had prepared for him before lunch. “Do you see anything wrong with it?”
Amy scanned the page, as Karl stood over her, one hand on his brown leather belt. “Oh crap,” muttered Amy, reaching the guilty sentence: We look forward to assfisting you in connection with your intended purchase.
“I don’t think I want to be that obliging,” said Karl. “But if you want to bend over on my behalf…”
“I won’t have to bend if I’m the one doing the ass-fisting,” Amy pointed out.
“On the ball, as always,” said Karl, and the way he said ball made Amy shudder. “However. Maybe you ought to be punished for your little slip up…” and he rubbed a finger up and down his belt.
He’s finally trying it on, realised Amy, and for one moment she considered saying to hell with it and pressing her breasts up against the desk, cocking her leg, letting him take her like one of the characters in her stories.
But Amy really hated Karl.
She straightened up, her notepad pressed to her chest. “I may be your personal assistant, but ass-fisting, or being ass-fisted, is not one of my responsibilities. However, I can get in touch with HR if you’d like, and ask them who the appropriate person is?”
Karl laughed like it was all a big joke. Amy knew he knew she wouldn’t say anything. And they both knew that, if she did say something, Karl held the power. It was his word against hers, and she had hit the wrong button on the keyboard. “I’m not convinced it could have been an accident,” he would say. “I mean, there’s a whole other letter in between S and F.” Yes. If Amy fought, Karl would dominate.
So Amy just smiled, “You joker, would you like me to make the amends?” and went back to her desk.
Amy corrected the letter before dialling John’s extension.
“How’s my most personal assistant?” John said. Ever since that time in the kitchen when Amy had given him his happy ending – well, the poor thing looked about to burst after Sally – John had called her that.
“You’ll never guess what just happened…” said Amy.
“Oh, I think I’d rather show you,” she said, stretching like a cat. “Kitchen? In five?”