ONE WORLD COMPANY
My nightmare from last night still haunted me. As I gripped my steering wheel, my knuckles were white. In my dream, an illuminated globe of the Earth rotated slowly. I was frightened, and dumbfounded. My dream only allowed a couple of hours of sleep, and I was exhausted.
In the college town of Norman, Oklahoma, my commute to work was terrible, and it caused more stress. Life was a challenge. I hoped the traffic didn’t make me late. The company I worked for downsized, and it forced me to move back in with my parents. A temp agency assigned me the position of administrative assistant with the new company, and today was my first day.
I used to work for an attorney, and it was where my strongest abilities were. A legal secretary position was my ideal job, and I stressed this to the Norman Temporary Agency. Right now, I have no choice but to deal with what is assigned to me.
I parked my car, walked toward this new company. I felt every bit of my forty-nine years. As destination grew closer, I replaced a loose strand of my hair, which was pulled into a neat and tidy bun.
I stopped short. In front of me loomed a large sphere of the Earth. My dream must have been prophetic. This was a troublesome sign for me. Perhaps, God warned me in some way? Bright blue incandescent letters displayed One World Company.
As my decision weighed heavily, my legs were frozen for a few minutes. Although my gut told me I’ll regret it, I continued on my way. Glass panels covered the exterior of the seven story building.
A small camera greeted me instead of a receptionist. Although the lobby was small, a high-tech security desk was surrounded by a thick wall of plastic. A handsome security guard approached me.
“State your name and the nature of your business,” said the guard.
“Elizabeth Williams. The temp agency sent me here to fill the position of administrative assistant.”
“Please sign in. I’ll need to see two forms of identification.”
My hands fumbled as I searched my wallet. My driver’s license and a credit card were all I found. I hoped they were enough.
“One moment, please.” He carefully examined my license and left.
He returned and he carried himself like a policeman. He wore a small badge, and the name on it read Officer Anderson.
He certainly grabbed my attention. He didn’t wear a wedding ring, and my antenna immediately rose. He was about six feet tall and in his fifties. I hoped Officer Anderson wasn’t attached. Perhaps, it’s better if I played the role of detective, and find out whether or not he dated anyone. If my nerves weren’t on edge, I might have started a conversation.
“Have a seat and someone will come for you,” he told me.
I chose one of the three straight-backed chairs, but it was hard for me to relax. Two more security cameras monitored me, they made me uncomfortable. I shifted in my seat. If anyone ever tried to break into this company, they’ll have quite a time. It reminded me of the inside of a bank vault. Claustrophobia started to set in.
If they make me go through this procedure every day, I’ll scream. My arms were folded, and I sighed.
Within ten minutes, an older woman with short auburn hair, and glasses appeared before me. “I’m Mrs. Strand. You’ll report to me.”
“Yes ma’am…I’m Elizabeth.”
The security drawer opened, and I retrieved two items. The first one was an ID, which included the company’s name and logo, and was exactly like the illuminated globe of the Earth. A microchip was inside of it.
Mrs. Strand escorted me down the hallway. “You must wear your ID at all times. You’ll have to use it in order to clock in and out. It’ll also open all doors. You might want to practice.”
I walked to the main door, and saw a side panel, which contained a small scanner. “Here?”
“Yes,” Mrs. Strand told me.
I swiped my badge and was a successful. The two of us walked into the main lobby. Mrs. Strand stopped at a digital clock. I ran my new card in front of the device, and their system electronically tracked my time.
“This is how you’ll clock in and out every day.”
“What if I accidentally lose this?”
“If it happens, let someone know, and we’ll get another one for you.”
Five minutes later, Mrs. Strand brought me to the receptionist’s desk. The office was large, illuminated with white and blue lights. Several flat screens surrounded me, which were built into the walls. They reminded me of some sort of a spaceship. All of the computers were state of the art, and in the center was a transparent elevator.
“This is your desk. You’ll have to take a full tour later with the group. Also, you’ll have to put together at least thirty brochures for a meeting.”
“How long before these have to be completed?” I placed my purse in an empty drawer to the bottom right. On each side of the reception area were two ivy plants, which gave my desk a personal touch.
“You’ll have about two hours. I’ve made the first one, and you may use it as your guide. There should be plenty of material here for you get it all finished.”
“I’ll give it my top priority. If there’s any time left, what do you want me to do?”
“You shouldn’t have any, but I’ll let you take a look at the people who are attending,” Mrs. Strand gave me a list. “By the way, it’s my decision who this company hires. It will depend on the number of errors they make. Also, you have an hour for lunch, but no breaks.”
“You should have everything completed by nine-thirty. Our guests will have to check in with you. Make sure to give each of them a finished product.” Mrs. Strand showed me the log in sheet.
Sign in? Who am I to question their rigid procedures? I’m only a temp, who could be replaced in a moment’s notice.
Nothing was too hard for me to do, and excellence was my middle name. Whether or not I personally liked the office manager didn’t make a difference. Although my opinion usually didn’t count, but not to allow temps their own fifteen- minute break wasn’t quite right.
Her list consisted of many important people in Norman. So far, the switchboard experienced an unusually low volume of calls. The project ought to be a breeze for me to do, and I should have the paperwork finished in no time.
By 9:15 a.m., I placed the final touches on the brochures. “Oh no.” In horror, ten extra packets were left. I closed my eyes and winced.
Mrs. Strand was picky, and ten extra brochures could result in my termination. Mrs. Strand gave me thirty, but only twenty people were to attend the meeting. What she most likely experienced was what I call a senior moment. I wasn’t about to take any blame. I hid the extra packets in my drawer.
Now my task was finished, and I went in the ladies room. Another employee was inside.
“Are you enjoying your first day?” she asked.
“Yes.” I washed and dried my hands. “Do you plan to attend the meeting?”
“No, I’ve already gone through my orientation. The meeting is for those in the community, and employees who don’t work full-time. Besides, I’m happily on my fifteen-minute break.”
What an insult! As she left, I glared back at her. I was so angry, my cheeks felt warm. I gazed into the mirror, and my face was a slight shade of red. Apparently, temps at this company weren’t important enough, and couldn’t get a break until they were full-time. If I complained, it’ll only complicate things. Perhaps the temporary agency will give me another assignment. I prayed for it to happen.
I returned to my desk and guests started to arrive. An older man with blond hair, dressed in a business suit and buttoned down shirt, hurriedly made his way to me.
“I’m Mr. Roberts,” he said. He was a well-known attorney in town. I wished I could work for him, but it wasn’t the case.
“Elizabeth. Please sign your name.” My finger pointed out where to do so on the clipboard, and he was given a large envelope.
“Thanks, Elizabeth,” Mr. Roberts said.
By 9:30 a.m., most everyone arrived. Of course, two people walked in at the last minute.
“Sylvia Blight.” An older professional woman stood in front of me.
“Alex Masterson.” He wore no wedding ring, and I assumed he was single. He was also about forty-eight and was physically fit. His glasses were stylish, and his features were of brown hair and eyes.
“You both must check in.” They held their booklets. “You can wait there with the others.”
“Thank you—” Alex searched for my name.
“Thank you, Elizabeth.” Alex beamed.
As Officer Anderson arrived, and my posture straightened. Please God, don’t let me have blushed in front of him.
“Please sign in.” It was the same tone he used before, and I couldn’t resist. Officer Anderson swirled his name on my clipboard, and I watched for any reaction to my comment closely. No response at all. Privately, his new name was Mr. Straight-Laced.
Mrs. Strand arrived and signaled for me to join them.
“Welcome to the One World Company,” Mrs. Strand addressed the large crowd. “I’ll give you a basic tour, and later we’ll meet in the media room. We’ll have another tour in production.”
I stood next to Mrs. Strand, and she leaned to me, “Pay attention to what’s said. If you’re hired, you’ll be giving this tour.”
Me? Oh dear, I didn’t know quite what to think, and my nerves were on edge. I’ll find out more about this company, and will have to make a decision. My gut told me things were about to go downhill fast.
Mrs. Strand brought everyone into a room which housed at least ten PCs. All of them were already turned on. The guests were quite impressed with all the high-tech equipment.
“We have several tutorials on our product, and how it could be used in everyday life.” Mrs. Strand held a CD. “Students will be walked through any course step-by-step.”
“Are there any charges for this?” Sylvia Blight asked.
“At first, none, but later on we’ll charge.”
So far everything went smoothly, and Mrs. Strand ushered us out of the room.
“Elizabeth, besides giving the tour, you’ll also manage the computer classes,” As we walked toward the elevator, Mrs. Strand added. “You’ll know what to do before the end of the day.”
Why was I not surprised? I’ve never been in charge of anything this high-tech before, and I hoped to do a good job with their classes.
Mrs. Strand guided everyone into the transparent elevator. The elevator wasn’t big inside and only half of us were allowed in.
Mrs. Strand waved her hand across a red beam on an electronic panel, and it turned green. She selected the seventh floor, and the elevator silently lifted. Goose bumps formed on both of my arms.
The pattern of the elevator’s floor appealed to me, due to my fear of heights. It was the only way I could go through it. I was thankful for a golden rail, which encircled the edges of the elevator rescued me. As I hung on for dear life, my stomach knotted. The elevator stopped and I was relieved.
I stepped out of the lift as fast as I could. I felt much more secure on the seventh floor. “Wait here for a few minutes, and I’ll get the others.”
I watched as Mrs. Strand stepped back inside. Thank goodness, she didn’t expect me to join her to hoist the rest of them to the seventh floor.
Alex Masterson moved closer to me. “No wonder Bud works here.”
“Officer Bud Anderson,” Alex told me. “This place is right up his alley.”
“Do you know him?”
“Yes. He’s really into computers. It’s a hobby of his.”
“Really?” The elevator doors opened, and Mrs. Strand returned with the second group. As both party’s mingled, Mrs. Strand led the way into the Media Room. Alex Masterson glanced in my direction several times. He probably wanted to start another conversation, which could get me into trouble, but my seat was far from him. This was all new to me, and I didn’t want Mrs. Strand to think I fraternized with our guests. Instead, Alex sat next to his boss, Sylvia.
On the other hand, Officer Anderson was in the back of the room. Most likely on purpose, I thought. I didn’t sit near Mrs. Strand either. I tried to make myself comfortable. The house lights were lowered, and the film started.