Yong Takahashi, 9/2/2013
Current Occupation: Compliance Coordinator for an insurance company
Former Occupation: Accountant and Real Estate Manager
Contact Information: Yong Takahashi lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She is working on a novel and a collection of short stories. She placed first in the 6th Annual Chattahoochee Valley Writers Conference’s National Short Story contest and in the Writer's Digest's Write It Your Way contest. Her works appear in Emerge Literary Journal and Rusty Nail Magazine. An upcoming piece will be featured in Cactus Heart.
The project supervisor darted over to the back row of cubicles. She strained a smile and scanned the empty faces. Her jaw, not used to holding such happiness for more than a few seconds, locked up. Shaking it off, she tried to divert attention away from her strange contortion.
“Hello, my name is Lucy James. I’m overseeing this project. As the temp agency may have told you, we have one week to complete 200 files. I will email your password and instructions to you. Your goal is to finish five files a day. Before you leave each day, email me how many you’ve completed. If you didn’t meet your quota, please explain why.”
Before anyone could say a word, she turned and ran back to her office as quickly as her bird-like legs could propel her. She fingered her ever-growing pile of personal bills. Her bonus depended on timely delivery of the project.
Periodically, she peered over the cubicles to keep the workers from talking to each other. “Shhh…” leaked from her lips like a deflating tire.
When someone noticed her bleached hair and huge eyes looming over them, she retreated back to her office. Her heart pounded. Her lungs could not get enough air. She laid her head on the unopened mountain of mail.
“One more week until I get my paycheck,” she whispered.
She banged out a message that popped open on the ten rented computer screens, “PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY I DON’T SEE ANY FILES BEING MOVED FROM THE DIRECTORY TO THE COMPLETED BIN.”
Ten emails opened in rapid succession on her screen.
“I can’t read the PDFs.”
“My password doesn’t work for the dropbox.”
“I keep getting kicked out of the system.”
“I don’t understand your instructions.”
“The letter between S and F oesn’t work on my keyboar.”
“Why can’t we talk to you?”
“Pages 10 to 29 are missing in this document.”
“The air conditioner stopped working over here. It’s ninety degrees and I feel like I’m going to pass out.”
“There is no way we can do five a day.”
“I’m calling the temp agency.”
Lucy’s shoulders turned inwards. Her six-foot frame seemed to collapse on itself. Fluttering away tears, she glanced at the screen again. A new message from the company’s Managing Director glowed on Lucy’s screen.
“PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY ALL YOUR WORKERS ARE GONE.”