by Lily Tierney
Gail just started her new job at a bank, and she could not help but notice the furtive looks the other employees were given each other. Gail didn’t know it then, but they were betting how long she would last. It seems that they have a constant turnover with this particular job. The job is stat typing long charts that seem to go on forever. Gail knew what she was getting herself into, but her unemployment was just about to run out when this company hired her. It sounded like a lot of work with little pay, but she thought it was better than nothing.
So today she is sitting up straight typing a bunch of numbers bored as hell. Gail knew everyone was watching her especially the supervisor. Her name was Gertrude, but they called her Trudy. Her hair was completely gray, and she bragged about having all of her own teeth. Her skin was surprisingly smooth without many wrinkles, and she wore high heels to make up for her diminutive height. She was well past retirement putting her age at about seventy two or seventy three. She was an old battle axe that kept her eyes on Gail all the time. One time she rushed back from lunch to make sure Gail had enough work to do. The other employees pretty much stayed away from Gail because they were afraid of Trudy. On the other hand, Trudy stayed on their good side by not demanding too much from them. If she tried any nonsense with them, they would bully her out of her job. They all knew she didn’t really have any job, but came in each day to keep an eye on the stat typist. Gail was given one break in the morning, and had exactly one hour for lunch. One day, she tested Trudy by coming back a few minutes late.
“Gail, I expect you to be back on time. I don’t tolerate any lateness. You’re getting paid to be here to do your work,” Trudy scolded Gail in front of her co-workers.
It was the same with coming in the morning and going home at night. If Gail was a minute or two late, the old battle axe was mouthing off about it. The other employees would come and go as they pleased taking their time coming back from lunch. Trudy would not say a word pretending not to notice.
Gail kept to the everyday grind wondering how long the previous typists lasted. When she got her first paycheck, she felt a little better but not much. She knew she had to get the hell out of this job. It was the worst she ever had. The bank rented five floors in the building. Gail was on the elevator going to lunch when it stopped on the floor below. A very professional looking man walked into the elevator and smiled at Gail. She thought to herself that he must not know the rules about speaking to the stat typist.
“Hi, I have seen you around. My name is Hank,” he said.
“Hello, I’m Gail the new stat typist on the floor above yours,” Gail said, taking a closer look at Hank.
“Are you going to lunch? Well, how about if we go together?” he asked.
“Yes,” Gail blurted surprised by her forwardness.
Gail was a cute blonde in her thirties with an alluring smile. She had beautiful green eyes that most men could not look away from. Hank was under her spell.
“I don’t know much about the bank. I am an outside auditor, and have been here for about a month,” he said.
“I’ve been here for only a week myself,” Gail said.
“How is your job?” Hank asked.
All she could do was look silently at him with a little smirk on her face.
“I get it,” he said laughing.
She explained the job to him, and then told him about Trudy. He listened shaking his head from side to side. Gail admitted she would be going out on interviews soon. She did not intend to stay there any longer than she had to. Hank laughed and agreed with her.
“If you want, I could check with my company to see if they are hiring,” he said.
“That would be great,” Gail exclaimed happily.
Gail looked at her watch and realized she would be late coming back from lunch. She finished her food, and explained to Hank she had to get back.
“Please, sit back down,” he said, grabbing Gail’s arm.
“But, I really have to go,” she exclaimed.
He picked up both checks and paid, and walked with her back to the office.
“Thank you for lunch. I really enjoyed myself for a change,” she said, looking at Hank.
“How about you give me your number, and we can get together some time?” he asked.
“I would really like that,” she said, looking for a piece of paper and a pen.
She quickly wrote her number down and handed it to Hank. They rode the elevator up together, and Gail watched Hank get off on the floor below hers. The elevator doors closed and all she could think of was Trudy’s mean twisted face. She arrived on her floor walking quickly back to her desk. To her surprise, Trudy was nowhere in sight. Gail sat down and started typing her numbers. Then she heard Trudy’s loud mouth. Apparently, she was having lunch with her granddaughter. Well, wouldn’t you know Trudy was late coming back herself. Gail was seething sitting there typing. She felt like she was in a sweatshop or worse. Once, when she was in the bathroom getting ready to go home, she overheard two women talking. They were guessing when Gail would quit. One asked whether or not she would walk out like the last one did, or actually give notice.
Sitting at her desk, Gail felt like picking herself up and walking out. She hated the job, but she knew she needed it. She sat and continued to type the stupid numbers. Trudy was talking and laughing with her granddaughter, on company time, and watching to make sure Gail was typing her fingers to the bone. Trudy knew Gail hated her and the job equally. It was some kind of game they all played with the stat typist to help the days go by. If they were having a bad day, or something personal was bothering them, all they had to do was look over at the stat typist and think how lucky not to be her.
The day finally came to an end, and she hauled ass out of there. It was 5:01 p.m. when she walked toward the elevator. It was empty when she got on and it stopped on the floor below. Hank walks in and was surprised to see Gail.
“Are you heading straight home?” he asked.
“No,” she replied.
“Well why don’t we go to dinner?” he asked.
“I would love to,” Gail replied.
At dinner, Gail tried to unwind from a hectic and stressful day. Hank realized how much the job was affecting her. Hank was divorced with no children in his forties. He was a pleasant looking man who looked distinguished with his glasses.
“Do you know anything about the numbers you are typing?” He asked Gail.
“I don’t know or care, but there is definitely something going on. There is something weird about Trudy hiring me, because she knew I had no intention of staying,” Gail stated flatly.
“Anything else strange that you have noticed?” he asked.
“Everything,” remarked Gail half-joking.
“Do you think you could make copies of the stats you are typing?” he asked.
Gail looked shocked and surprised. All she could think was something was fishy. She thought of Trudy and a disgusted feeling washed over her.
“Yes, I can make you copies,” she said.
Hank smiled and looked very pleased.
The next day at work all Gail could think of was how to make copies of the charts she had already typed. She needed a miracle and got one. That afternoon one of the employees on the floor below them was having a birthday celebration. Everyone including Trudy went to the party leaving Gail alone on the entire floor. Gail took the charts and hurried to the Xerox Room to make copies. She kept listening for anyone that might be coming back. She heard no one. She quickly came back to her desk putting the copies in her pocketbook. She put the originals in the bin that Trudy would take at the end of the day. She heard someone approaching, and saw Trudy coming back. Gail sat back down and immediately started typing ignoring Trudy. Trudy ran over to the bin removing the typed charts placing them in her desk drawer, then went to the ladies room. Gail dialed Hank’s extension, and let it ring three times then hung up. Gail thought to herself she could not wait to give Hank the copies.
At five o’clock Gail picked herself up without saying goodnight to Trudy and headed toward the elevators. Hank was waiting across the street in the coffee shop. She walked in and handed Hank the copies of the charts she had made.
“Gail, I am so proud of you. You don’t know how much this means,” he told Gail in a very sincere tone.
“I am glad to help,” Gail said, looking triumphantly at Hank.
Hank suspected there was enough evidence in the charts to charge Trudy and her accomplice with bank fraud. Her accomplice worked on the same floor as Hank, and was a co-worker she knew for years on the job. His name was Steve, and he was married with five children. Surprisingly, no one knew they knew each other. The two were fraudulently obtaining loans with fake documents. Steve would approve the loans then deposit the money into his account. He would then transfer the money immediately into a foreign bank account by international wire transfer.
The next day at exactly nine o’clock in the morning, FBI agents were waiting for Trudy and her son. Gail watched as the FBI handcuffed Trudy leading her out toward the elevators. Steve on the floor below got the same treatment. The employees were all in shock, and some started to walk over toward Gail to see if she knew anything about it. Gail ignored them, picking herself up and headed toward the elevators for the last time. She was starting a new job the following week with Hank as his assistant. She could hardly wait!
Lily Tierney’s work has appeared in Harbinger Asylum, Veil: Journal of Darker Musings, The Stray Branch, Illumen Magazine, Polu Texni, and many others. She enjoys reading and writing poetry.