Part 1

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[NOTE: This is part 1 of my top ten submission to the CBC Gem contest for their streaming platform. Hope you enjoy it!

DISCLAIMER: this story includes coarse language]

***

A clear blue sky and Lake Ontario views pour into the seventieth floor boardroom of this downtown Toronto skyscraper.

The building gently sways from the strength of the high elevation winds, a disturbing feature they didn't disclose in the interview process.

Nisha's black hair cascades down her back, it too gently swaying to the sickly beat of the structure, while her brown eyes fully zone out. She's fresh out of school and fully suited up like her fellow wrinkle-free colleagues (both in youthful skin and crisp clothing). The others listen intently as a high-powered woman executive drones on.

The executive pauses and claps once, snapping Nisha out of her trance. "And the rest is up to you!" she declares, her pearly white smile catching the afternoon light. The executive then glances at her watch and nods. "And I suppose that means you're dismissed."

Nisha follows the other lemmings out of the boardroom, turning the corner into a row of glass-walled cubicles devoid of personal effects. She settles at a desk across from Amy who's also just returned from the meeting. "It's weird that they treat us like we're students," Nisha says.

"I mean I don't know..." Amy muses, "it's kinda nice how they're so hands on with our development." Amy possesses a resting-joy-face that is frequently annoying to anyone with a pulse.

Janet rushes by and takes her spot behind Nisha. With Janet's Asian heritage and Nisha's Indian background, they combine to form the poster children of corporate diversity.


"It's still weird," Nisha says. "Like we're full on graduates and fully formed adults, but they treat us like these weird hybrid grown-up babies. It's like when toddlers are potty-trained but still end up wearing those Pull-Ups diaper thingys just in case."

"What? Diaper? Who?" The words fly out of Janet's mouth without any actual feeling; her body's at her desk, but her spirit is somewhere stuck inside the orifice of her cellphone.

"And that meeting about the sales system was bullshit," Nisha adds, establishing herself as the premature cynic.

Amy leans over, resting-joy-face in full—and suffocating—effect. "But if they track all our sales meetings, they'll be able to reward us when we hit our goals!"

Nisha rubs her temples to stop herself from throwing a heavy object at Amy's head. "But...in the time it takes to manually input those meetings...with multiple qualitative fields per meeting...YOU COULD BE OUT ON AN ACTUAL MEETING!"

A pair of heads from the next row look over in concern. Nisha waves them off with the fail-safe grin/shrug combo.

"Alright let's go change," Amy says, shifting gears as she pulls out a duffle bag from underneath her desk.

"Change?" Nisha says. She glances behind her and notices Janet holding a large tote.

"That's right," Amy confirms. "We can't go to the Thompson Rooftop dressed like this."

Janet nods in agreement and follows Amy down the aisle.

"Wait!" Nisha calls out after them. "Why didn't you guys tell me?"

But they're already out of sight.

***

In the cramped women's bathroom, Janet and Amy apply summertime makeup to complement their halter tops and skirts. Nisha stands between them in her full corporate suit, livid.

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