[Been a while since I’ve undertaken a new story, and today seems as good as any other for a beginning]
Her notes on the Cavendish project sent by email attachment to Sunil, Jennifer Lynn Malesky pushed back from her desk, using enough force to allow the wheels of her chair to roll across the thick plastic mat until it came into light contact with the cardboard carton lying across the back wall of her cubicle. She stood and smiled, pleased with the accuracy of her push.
She reached down and picked up the carton. Seeing the label, JIM BEAM, reminded her of the night before, walking in to the Mulford Street Bar, down the block from her apartment. Didn’t bother to order anything, no sense pretending she actually liked that dump. A round-faced man was wiping down the scratched wood bar, looked up as she approached. “Got any boxes?” The circle-face nodded, left then came back a minute later, holding the empty carton towards her like he was glad to be rid of it. She’d looked past the carton, caught the man’s narrow eyes. “How much?” The man exploded with laughter, spittle landing on her forehead. She then grabbed the carton, offered a quick thanks, turned and hurried out as condescending laughter filled the bar.
JIM BEAM. She dropped the box on her desk and stepped back, as if she’d suddenly seen a bug crawling along its bottom. Another reason to feel good about leaving, for her humiliation at the bar was the direct result of the company policy about garbage; she hadn’t known about the policy until she’d read it on the company portal yesterday, following the link sent in response to her request to Operations for a box. Refuse Policy — yes, they called garbage refuse — Employees are not permitted to remove refuse of any kind from the building. Operations had added a note to the end of their response to her: “You can always bring your own boxes if you’d like, but if you don’t have any we have a large selection of shipping containers available for purchase.”
She hadn’t responded to their offer.