A Novel by Mira Steffan
Charlotte looked around her office. She liked the small room of about ten square meters and the window front to the right of her desk. Above all, and this was the best thing, she didn’t have to share it with a co-worker. She could concentrate better on her work if she wasn’t disturbed. Collaborative offices, as they were currently fashionable, or offices with one to three other people were a horror to her. She didn’t believe in the widely praised social control, on the contrary. Talking, whether on the phone or among themselves, tended to distract from work, lead to lack of concentration, mistakes and aggression. How could employers get the idea that cramming people into a room for eight hours would result in good work and healthy staff? Charlotte swiveled back and forth on the leather-covered, ergonomic office chair. She was pleased with what she saw and focused on the documents from the production department.
Charlotte almost didn’t hear the hesitant knock. She looked up and her eyes fell on the clock above the door. Two hours had passed. She shook her head in disbelief, and when she noticed a scraping outside her door, the said loudly, “Come in.” Cautiously, the door opened a crack. Fligge’s head appeared inside.
“Now come on in,” Charlotte beckoned him with her right hand, “what can I do for you?”
“Oh, nothing really. I just wanted to see how you were getting along.”
“Mmm, pretty well, actually. But right now I’m really at a loss. I’ve run out of ideas,” Charlotte said, grinning.
“Then you’re overextended?”
Charlotte looked for an ironic sign in Fligge’s face. Wrong. Whoops, this guy was serious, it flashed through Charlotte’s mind.
Stunned, she looked at him: “No!” was all she could think of. The impertinent insinuation paralyzed her linguistic competence. And that annoyed her almost more than the attack.
“All right, then,” he said jovially, pointing to the perforator on her desk, “Can I have that?”
Charlotte frowned, “Don’t you own one?”
“Not such a sizable one.” Without hesitation, he grabbed the perforator and turned toward the door.
“Hey! That’s mine,” she exclaimed in exasperation.
“Don’t make such a fuss. After all, it’s not yours, it’s the company’s,” Fligge said and disappeared.
Perplexed, Charlotte was staring after him.