Office Noir: Secretaria Dim Wittus


English: A desk in an office.

English: A desk in an office. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shallow End of the Office

A recycled and revised post from May 2009

Warning: For those with short attention spans, listen to the fake person reading the post (by clicking on the “listen now” icon) while doing something else, like having a life.

Secretaria stared at her “to-do” list until the words grew hazy. Unfortunately, for Secretaria, “to dos” often turned into “to don’ts,” a much longer list.

If success were predicated on whoever had the longest “to-don’t” list, Secretaria would surely have been the Guinness Book winner in the category. That’s why she grew her hair long. She dreamed of holding that title one day, too. Her nails were another story since they always broke and never grew back fast enough after filing, despite the rarity of such an occurrence.

Flipping through the left-tabbed, right-tabbed, center-tabbed manila folders to find a missing file was a tormenting task. Hearing the click, click, click of hanging folders, as she flipped through each one, made her head hurt.

Secretaria’s head hurt a lot, especially when it came to dictation. She could barely read her regular handwriting. The squiggly words she had learned in secretarial school became lost in translation and looked more like doodles on her steno pad. She now regretted texting during dictational studies and graduating at the bottom of her class. Since the future was now, Secretaria ignored what she didn’t learn in secretarial school and surreptitiously taped her boss’s dictation sessions with a tiny tape recorder she often couldn’t find.

Because of Secretaria’s many blunders, her boss, Mr. Grouchy, always lectured her on her bad work habits and was usually upset with her. If Secretaria’s father weren’t the CEO of Blah, Blah, Blah Marketing, Inc., Mr. Grouchy would have fired her the first time she put his Blackberry in the fridge. “I didn’t want it to spoil,” she had argued.

Mr. Grouchy’s face turned red, as the vein in his forehead throbbed to the beat of the Alice Cooper song that played on his IPod. He just dismissed Secretaria with a wave of his hand and went out for a Martini lunch even though it was barely 10 a.m.

Secretaria went back to her desk and stared at the dark computer screen that was a whole lot of nothing to look at. She thought the monitor was a paperweight until the gal who sat at the desk next to her, Wilma the Wonderful, told her otherwise.

“You’ve got to turn it on,” Wilma barked. “The button. Press the button on the hard drive.”

Secretaria blushed and looked away. She’d read about hard drives before in x-rated magazines. She accidentally read such a magazine at a bookstore while looking for the winning bookmark in the “You find it. You keep it” book giveaway promo.

Poor Secretaria just stared at Wilma blankly and said, “I’m not that kind of girl.”

A frustrated Wilma jumped up and pressed the button on Secretaria’s hard drive. “Got a cigarette?” she snapped and went back to her desk.

Secretaria’s face lit up with the computer screen. “Wow a computer and a paperweight, too.” It made her day. She even stuck her head into Mr. Grouchy’s office, before she left work, to say good-bye.

He popped an olive into his mouth and said, “You’re still here?” Unbeknown to Secretaria, Mr. Grouchy had been holding secret dictation sessions with Letta the secretary on the first floor. After Secretaria left for the day at 5 p.m., Letta from the first floor would climb the stairs to Mr. Grouchy’s office on the third floor. In secretarial school, Letta got an “A” in dictation and graduated at the top of her class.

The next day Mr. Grouchy called Secretaria from the road to have her bring department stationery down to Letta, so she could send out his letters. Secretaria left Mr. Grouchy on hold while she tried to figure out the correct usage of the word stationary, as she sat motionless at her desk.

Secretaria became more confused when Wilma simultaneously asked her for a piece of stationery, to which Secretaria replied, “I can’t move. I accidentally put myself on hold while I was on the phone with Mr. Grouchy. What’s his real name, anyway?”

“It’s Grouchee. He’s French,” said Wilma. “He’s only been Grouchy since you started.”

Secretaria ignored Wilma the Wonderful and stuck another pink message slip beneath the paperweight monitor on her desk. Then, Secretaria did what she always did best. She lost all track of time while gazing mindlessly at the clock on the wall. When her eyes finally focused on the numbers, she realized that it was the next morning, which oddly made her quite happy. At least she would be on time to work today.


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10 Comments Office Noir: Secretaria Dim Wittus

  1. Me-Me King

    Although I read this all by myself (without adult supervision), I love those who include the audio version. Very cool!

  2. ReformingGeek

    There is a reason I didn't become a secretary. I would punch the boss and my shorthand is AWFUL!


    You are some writer gurl!!!! I couldn't help it but as I read the post the more and more I kept seeing the cast of Mad Men. By the way it is one of my fav shows and so realistic. Your story as is Mad Men are what it was like to work back in the 50's and 60's. I could never, ever be a 9 to 5 person, just not in my blood, even thou my blood is so old now, you could use it for ketchup. YUCK!!!

  4. Lauren

    Me-Me: Thanks. I would love to hear the audio version, but I'm scared to hear the robot person.

    RF: My writing looks like shorthand.

    Glenn: Thank you. Mad Men is one of my favorite shows, too. It's incredible, the writing, acting, visuals. I do not like office environments. It makes me feel trapped. Might as well give me a wheel, some litter, and bottled water. Oh, yes, an occasional cardboard toilet roll would also be so divine.

  5. Ryhen Satch

    Mr. Grouchy… hahaha. Reminds me of Jacques Clouseau saying "I wuuuld layk tuu baay a dihmbehrgerr". Yeah, Pink Panther rocks! Does Secretaria know how to make a dihmbehrgerr?

  6. Lauren

    Ryhen: Secretaria doesn't know how to do much of anything except make Mr. Grouchy even grouchier. Oh, that's right. It's Grouchee. He's French.

  7. Ziva

    Secretaria sounds a lot like me. Except I would never accidentally stay at work after the work day's over.

  8. Mrsblogalot

    This was great Lauren. Funny, I have lost count of all the Mr. Grouchies that I've worked for…or maybe I just can't count that high. I can never remember.

  9. Lauren

    Ziva: I was Secretaria. I used to be so nervous I made mistakes all the time. The ADD affliction is what caused the horrible oversight of staying past 5p.m. : )

    M: Thank you so much. I once had a boss who was horrible to work for, yet on the interview, he told me he was the easiest person to work for. Talk about being clueless. I can't count that high either.

  10. Pingback: Lauren Salkin

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