The People’s Lech
The boss was coming. Everyone quickly ran back to their places because he could be ‘difficult’ if he felt that the staff was not doing what they were supposed to. No one wanted to fall into ‘difficulty’. You see it was the kind that involved a level of degradation that belied humanity.
Not like the boss cared. He was powerful and he hobnobbed with those in power. Whiskey for the evening and a round of golf for the morning complete with his string hopper breakfast and tea with condensed milk.
He smiled his usual half slimy smile as he ascended to his office in the upper echelons of the office building. Towards the latter part of the morning, he called in his trusty head of HR to discuss the matters of certain staff members.
Halfway through his meeting, he called Shanaya to see him. Shanaya was smart, attractive and would command attention wherever she went. She dressed well and was determined to become the best she could. As Shanaya was walking in, the boss commented to his Head of HR,
“Nice one. Look at those legs. Worth a good rubbing if you ask me” and he guffawed as she caught the last bit of his comment and tried not to look embarrassed.
The Head of HR also snickered in delight. He had no complaints. He had been trying to ask Shanaya out for a drink for a good few months now. Yet she kept her distance and he was not pleased. Well if he could not have his way, at least the boss was enjoying those fine, fair legs, he thought wickedly.
Shanaya was well past 30 and was aware that the boss was old enough to be her father or grandfather. Yet that never stopped him.
“There are a few files in my bottom drawer Shanaya, please take them out and come sit next to me” he commanded. The bottom drawer meant that Shanaya had to bend down to reach it and this offered the boss a view of her well formed buttocks, shaped in her skirt. He smiled slowly and licked his lips.
Shanaya hurriedly grabbed the files and sat on the edge of the chair next to the boss. He reached over and went through the files, while making mundane comments and occasionally tapping Shanaya on her arm or leg. She kept wincing and moving her legs to the other side of the chair till she was literally hanging on the other edge.
She glanced over at the Head of HR who was smiling in delight and gave him a glare. She hated these situations. Yet she needed this job. Her family depended on her income and she could not afford to move to another place just yet. Plus the company was an established one with a famous name. Working here gave her leverage which she could use in the future.
The boss gave one last comment on the files, guffawed and squeezed her leg as he gave her the files and asked her to review them for him by the next day.
Shanaya, practically stumbled and ran out of the office along with the files. Outside she saw the PA, Mrs. Pierson. She was a buxom lady with a steely glare and a sharp nose for trouble. She knew what her boss was like. But Mrs. Pierson did nothing. This is how it had always been. It never occurred to her to say or do anything to change the status quo. He paid her well enough and she just stuck to her work. She would only afford a pause and a stare at all the young uns who were subjected to boss’s undue attention.
Shanaya ran to her seat and sat down with a heavy heart and caught her breath. Her neighbour, Amani leaned over and whispered and asked what happened, and Shanaya told her. They both cringed in disgust but they both knew that there was nothing they could do. They could not go to HR. That man was as bad as the boss. They could not tell anyone else either.
Even the senior partners and directors knew what the boss was like. Yet they did nothing. And so the minions of the office would pay the price for the unspoken ‘bro code’ that existed in the board room which would not be debated as hotly as salary increments and staff bonuses.
Minette, a senior board member had heard whisperings about the boss’s behaviour and how he liked to make life difficult for the young women. She dismissed it remembering how she never had to face such things and therefore, it could not happen. She told a fellow who asked after a few women had left, “If they can’t handle a little bit of testosterone, how can they handle the pressures of work? It’s better that they leave. We need people who are strong enough to handle these things”.
Shanaya with dread and trepidation took the files next day to meet the boss along with the summary she had prepared. Today there was just him and her. No one else. She felt terrified but did not want to let it show. The boss smiled and made her sit next to him again and this time after a point, he reached over and slipped a hand under her skirt. She jumped and pushed it away and he just laughed. She grabbed the files and stood up in fear and trembling. He asked in feigned ignorance, “what’s wrong?” and then laughed as she stood there trembling. She ran out of the room.
His guffaw lasted her run down the stairs and to her seat. She dumped the files on the table and ran into the loo where she broke down and cried. The tears streamed down her face and her body shook with sobs.
She waited in there a few minutes. After a point, she wiped her tears, stared at her reddened eyes in the mirror pushed the strands of hair away from her face. She then slowly walked out of the loo back to her seat. Back to the files.