Megan Reilly sat at her desk as the woman on the other side sobbed into a wad of tissues. Megan was the Executive Assistant to the Director of Human Resources at Prodigal Incorporated. To that effect Megan dressed prim and proper for a woman of just thirty-two years, she had to project an aura of confident control from head-to-toe. People came to her with issues, personal problems, things that could not be spoken about in a corporate environment. Megan was a gatekeeper. She blocked things from going farther up the chain if she could, if she couldn’t it went up to Dan Goodwin, who generally huffed once, looked like this was a great bother and kicked it back down for Megan to handle anyway.
The current situation was one Megan could not handle herself as only the Director of Human Resources could sign termination paperwork. There was little for her to do except sit here and watch the woman sob. For the last half-hour the woman bounced back and forth between sobbing and bawling as Dan Goodwin was out at his two-martini lunch leaving his assistant to hold down the fort.
“Maybe I should go back to my desk…” the bleary-eyed woman said, “…start to clean it out, before-” she collapsed into another bout of sobbing.
Megan felt pity for the woman. This could have been her. Megan only thought of her as “the woman” right now because that was the clinical separation the situation called for; But Megan knew damn well she was Jodi Whitmer of South Valley, who started working at Prodigal only three years ago. Her first job out of college, the petite blond was twenty-five years old and rather popular here at Prodigal. They had an office party for her when she had gotten engaged last year. If the cards had been dealt slightly differently Megan could have easily been in Jodi’s seat.
“Megan,” Jodi started between blubbers, “I don’t even know why I did it. I’ve never done anything like that before. You know it’s not like me.”
Megan nodded and a single lock of strawberry hair fell in front of her face. She brushed it back with her hand.
Jodi’s eyes were bloodshot from the stress, “I can’t believe this. I’m going to get fired and ruin my marriage all in the same day.”
Megan could feel another bout of bawling welling up in Jodi but spoke to stop it. “I’ll do everything I can, Jodi. It’s your first offense. Maybe I can get Mr. Goodwin to be lenient.”
Hope crossed Jodi’s face and Megan realized the gesture was more cruel than kind. “Do you think he would?”
Megan cleared her throat. She knew the procedure in this instance was cut and dried. “I think Mr. Goodwin-”
“-Is right here.” Dan Goodwin said as he entered the office. He was a handsome former collegiate athlete bordering on middle age. The gray at his temples made him look a bit more distinguished than his eyes would let on.
“Mrs. Whitmer,” he nodded to Jodi as he hung up his suit jacket. “Ms. Reilly,” he nodded to his assistant before getting down to business, “I got your text. Seems we had a little incident today that would violate terms of contract?”
“Yes sir. The incident report is on your desk.”
“Good. Do you have the written statements?”
“I have Mrs. Whitmer’s but the subcontractor has not filed theirs.”
“Oh,” Dan Goodwin raised a playful eyebrow, “why is that?”
“I paged them a while ago,” Megan explained.
Dan Goodwin smirked. “Paged? They don’t respond to pages. You have to use the app.”
“Is this really necessary?” Jodi spoke without her voice cracking, a feat which impressed Megan.
Serious again, Dan nodded. “Subcontractors, not technically Prodigal employees so we need to document everything before disciplinary action. The company has to cover it’s ass.”
Jodi lowered her face to the wad of tissues, silently sobbing.
Dan signaled he was going into his office with his hands. “I’ll use an executive credit and get her up here. Is there anything else to review?”
“Security video. It’s on your computer.”
“Oh God,” Jodi moaned, “there’s video!?!” The revelation brought on a new bout of sobbing.
“Also, it’s “They” sir.” Megan added, “The users’ manual said the gender-neutral pronoun is preferable. You said “her”.”
“So I did. Thank you Megan,” Dan said as he excused himself into his office, casting a final sideways glance in Jodi’s direction.
The young woman cried into her hands. Long minutes passed. Megan tried to ignore the feeling she could have been in Jodi’s shoes with a little twist of fate. Megan didn’t like the subcontractors on premise. She suspected there was something going on that the people upstairs were not talking about, a critical detail they were leaving out. She had figured nine months into the new program that someone would have slipped. But so far there was nothing but whispers and suspicion.
Megan’s thoughts were interrupted as a tanned streak of naked flesh came to a halt right in front of the glass door to her office. The nude woman with the smartphone strapped to her arm looked at the sobbing woman and then Megan before soundlessly asking if she could come in. Megan waived her in. She stepped inside, the naked woman resting ‘at ease’ in front of Megan’s desk. She was young, younger than Jodi by a few years, slightly taller and in tremendous shape as tight knots of muscle quivered from the exertion of sustained running. There was not the slightest hint of a tan line or stray hair as the perfectly smooth athletic blond caught her breath. Her pert breasts with their large pink nipples slowed to a normal rising and falling. Megan stared at the thick number “4” drawn on her left one. She was freshly showered, Megan could smell the peppermint liquid soap the subcontractors preferred to use.
“Mr. Goodwin sent for me. May I go in?” she asked Megan, who had not realized she was staring.
Megan picked up her phone. “I’ll let him know you’re here, Mailgirl Four.”
Jodi looked up at the sound of the mailgirl’s name. She wiped her eyes and sniffled back tears. The mailgirl smiled down at Jodi and her face lit up.
Megan caught the whole exchange. She was visualizing what had happened for a few moments before Dan Goodwin’s repeated shouts of “Yes?” snapped Megan back to her senses.
“Mailgirl Four is here to see you sir.”
“Send her in.” Dan said as he hung up.
The mailgirl’s shapely ass disappeared into the inner office and left Megan to silently stare at Jodi. The woman had stopped crying. Her eyes were still red but the corners of her mouth had curled into a smile. Megan could swear she saw an embarrassed red hue come to her cheeks.
A few minutes later and all three women were in Mr. Goodwin’s office. Jodi and Megan sat on leather high-backed chairs while Mailgirl Four knelt on the plush carpeting. Her type was forbidden to use the furniture in the building as it was an issue of basic sanitation. Instead mailgirls knelt on the floor and sat on their heels, not the most comfortable position but it seemed the most unobtrusive. Dan Goodwin sat behind the desk re-reading paperwork for the file, his reading glasses down on his nose like a librarian.
Megan sat farthest away from the door. She turned her head to see Jodi was still distraught, but gnashing her teeth silently instead of sobbing. Beyond her knelt the mailgirl, Number Four. Thought this was six months into the Mailgirl Program at Prodigal she had rarely had a chance to observe one up close. Megan’s duties were more back office in nature and the employee files were strictly to be handled by Human Resources staff, so unless there was a problem she did not encounter the naked office workers. Most times she had seen mailgirls in the wild they were a streak of bare flesh as they hurried about their assigned tasks. Mailgirl Enterprises, their true employer, had made bold promises about productivity, employee retention and increased profits. So far she had seen none of that. A couple dozen employees actually resigned when the Mailgirl Program started which put a big dent in the other two categories and left Megan quite busy for the last half-year trying to find replacements. The whole process had seemed rushed and haphazard. It was like someone on the board had a fetish.
The object of that fetish, the Mailgirl herself, knelt naked on the carpet with a serene look plastered on her face. Megan was not sure if that was true calmness or a well-practiced mask. Clearly any woman would feel exposed in the mailgirl resting position, knees spread, chin up, naked breasts jut forward, rising and falling with every breath. The most surprising thing to Megan was the mailgirl’s arms. An avid runner from childhood, Megan Reilly knew what a well-conditioned runner’s body should look like. But Number Four had broad shoulders and muscular arms to match her overdeveloped thighs. Megan thought she must do crossfit. And those boobs, too big and round for someone who ran around naked without at bra. They must be fake although she could see no surgical scars.
Dan Goodwin’s voice snapped her out of her musings. “So, Mrs. Whitmer I have read your written statement but I’m going to repeat it out loud for the record, OK?”
Jodi nodded. She was beyond speaking now.
Dan continued, “On the morning of April 9th I received a report delivered to my desk via mailgirl. As I turned in my chair to receive it my hand accidentally brushed against Mailgirl Number Four’s hip. She acted like nothing was wrong and continued her duties. I got up and pursued to apologize, catching up to her in the northwest stairwell. One thing lead to another and we kissed. I know that was against policy, am sorry it occurred, and assure you it won’t happen again.” Dan set the paper down and looked at Jodi, “Is this what happened in your own words?”
Dan turned the paper around and handed her a pen, “Sign at the bottom please.”
Once that was done he turned his attention to the naked woman who knelt on the floor, “do you disagree with the substance of this statement Mailgirl Four?”
“Yes and no sir.”
“Yes, those are the events of the case; “no” to the motivation,” Mailgirl Four spoke in a perfectly factual tone, “This was not Mrs. Whitmer’s fault. I seduced her.”
The air went out of the room.
Dan smirked. “How so?”
“When the Mailgirl Program started at Prodigal, Mrs. Whitmer was obviously against it like many other women. After several months she began to see the usefulness of mailgirls and became curious. She asked me many questions over the ensuing weeks, I found her pleasant to talk to and became interested in her sexually.”
Dan looked back and forth between the woman and the mailgirl. “So you started hitting on her?”
“No sir. As you know verbal communications are monitored by the Mailgirl Monitoring Unit on my arm. My flirtations with Mrs. Whitmer were non-verbal in nature; a look, a smile, a flick of the hair, the way I presented my hips. I wanted her to know I was available and interested. When she followed me into the stairwell I assumed it was to return my advances.”
Megan interjected, “I think we need to write this down.”
“No need,” Dan said, “this seems pretty cut and dried.” He turned his attention to Jodi Whitmer. “Jodi, do you feel like this mailgirl sexually assaulted you?”
Jodi continued to look down. A long uncomfortable moment passed before she spoke, “No sir. It was consensual.”
“OK,” Dan seemed to draw a conclusion. He opened a program on his computer and and began clicking away with his mouse. “Mailgirl Four, I’m issuing ten demerits for disrupting the course of business, five demerits for pursuing a sexual relationship with an employee, ten more for various conduct violations and few discretionary demerits. I’m referring this up to Mailgirl Enterprises for further discipline as it may constitute a breech of your contract. I don’t know what they will do but I’ll give them a recommendation based on your honesty.”
The smartphone strapped to her arm began to buzz incessantly, like it was getting dozens of text messages while in silent mode. “Yes sir. Thank you sir,” the mailgirl finally said.
“Now Mrs. Whitmer,” Dan’s face grew more serious, “We can’t have employees engaging in intercourse at work, right?”
Jodi could not look up, “Yes sir.”
“And if sex between Prodigal employees is prohibited, subcontractors are even more of a no-no. It’s like a boss hitting on his secretary, one party has all the power and the other could feel pressure to perform. Sexual harassment is against the law for a reason, right?”
Jodi started to sob, “Yes…”
“OK, so you know that action was illegal. Lucky for you Mailgirl Four says she was the initiator, so we won’t have to get the law involved. But… (and this is a very big but) …you know your actions were a violation of company policy.”
Jodi started bawling openly. It was an ugly cry, face red and twisted, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Oh God! I’m so sorry Dan! I didn’t mean it! Please don’t fire me! My husband is going to leave because I’m gay now and throw me out of the house!”
Megan wanted to throw her arm around Jodi and console her, but her professional detachment would not allow it. Still she felt bad. This was almost a solid hour of crying now at the very least Jodi’s face must hurt.
Dan waited for the tears to subside. When Jodi finally seemed together he continued. “So yeah, the employee handbook is very explicit Jodi, we’ll have to let you go. But I think there is a solution that could make everyone happy.”
“Happy?” Jodi looked up, her red eyes were rivers of tears.
“A solution to everyone’s problems,” Dan leaned forward in his chair, “Our contract with Mailgirl Enterprises let’s us use their mailgirls for the first two years of the program, after that we have to recruit our own replacements.”
“What?” Jodi stopped crying.
“Well it’s a perfect fit when you think about it, Jodi. You already know your way around the complex and are familiar with the staff, so the learning curve is greatly reduced. People around here know you and like you, so the transition will be a great example to other women in the company for the possibilities of the program.”
Jodi went from distraught to terrified in an instant. “You want me to work naked? As a mailgirl!?!”
“Exactly!” Dan said with enthusiasm, “its the perfect way to keep everybody happy. You’ll finish Number Four’s contract, the company gets to fulfill one of its contractual obligations, and you get to keep working at the same place. You change into uniform with the Mailgirls, work your shift, then change back before you head home. Your husband doesn’t have to know a thing! I’ll even recommend a transfer for Number Four after she trains you up, so there is no gap in coverage. Now we could not pay you a full mailgirl rate of course, not until you finish out Number Four’s contract, but at half-rate you’ll still be making more than you did as a customer service rep. It’s really a win-win.”
“I couldn’t work naked,” Jodi’s mind swam, “I’m not in that kind of shape.”
Dan waved it off. “You’re what? Twenty-five? Your body will adjust to the exercise in no time. Tell her, Four.”
“It’s true Mrs. Whitmer. I was in worse shape when I started. You would be surprised how fast your body can adapt.”
Jodi’s confused expression wandered from Four, to Dan, to Megan. She found no answers there, no extenuating circumstance or brilliant escape plan. This was it, finality, take it or leave it. The confusion on her face melted to a doomed certainty.
“Megan?” Jodi pleaded, her last chance of any recourse.
Megan Reilly sat up straight. Moral reservations aside, she was a company woman and had to tow the company line. “Jodi, I think you would make an excellent mailgirl.”
Jodi sank in her chair. “How long do I have to think about it?”
Dan looked at his watch. “Well, I really can’t have you wandering the building without a security escort, technically you’re a terminated employee now. But if you sign the Mailgirl Enterprises N.D.A. and L.P.A. I can have Number Four take you down to the locker room and get you cleaned up and in uniform, we’ll get you a box so you can clean out your desk, and by the time all that is done we’ll have your contract ready to sign and an MMU charged up.”
There was a shuddering sigh from Jodi Whitmer as if the last of her resistance was physically expelled from her body. “Okay,” she mumbled, “I guess I’m your girl.”
Dan Goodwin clapped once excitedly. “Alright! I love it when everybody wins!” He opened a folder and spun the preliminary paperwork for her to sign, a Non-Disclosure Agreement and Limited Power of Attorney. After Jodi put her shaky signature to the bottom line, Dan snapped the folder closed and congratulated her. “Excellent. Number Four, take Mrs. Whitmer down to the locker room and get her uniform up to code. I’ll take you off the duty roster for today so you can give her your full attention.”
Number Four stood, “Yes sir, thank you sir.”
The mailgirl exited the room with the downcast trainee trailing behind. Dan turned to Megan and handed her the folder. “Close out Jodi Whitmer’s employee file with the termination paperwork. Get a Mailgirl employment package off the server but nix the bonuses and cut the salary in half. I’ll get Jodi in the Mailgirl Monitoring System and set her up as “Number Six”. Let’s get it done.”
Megan tucked the folder into her arm and gave a professional smile.
Dan was too perceptive for the facade, “Is something bothering you, Megan?”
“A trifle Mr. Goodwin,” Megan was nothing if not tactful, “you said we have to recruit four more mailgirls from the staff?”
“From the staff or outside hires, it doesn’t matter so long as they are not DDE or Mailgirl Enterprises employees. It’s a standard part of their Small Business Direct contract.” Dan cut himself off, like he might have been revealing too much. “I don’t want to bore you with the details but the time-frame for the first recruit is normally during phase two. We are still in the first half of phase one. Being that far ahead of schedule is good progress and I will make sure the Board knows all about your good work here.”
“Yes Mr. Goodwin. Thank you, sir.”
“No thanks needed, Megan. This was a team effort,” Dan sat back in his chair excitedly, “This turned out to be a pretty good day, right?”
“I suppose it did.”
Megan walked back to her desk and let Dan’s door slam shut. She had a lot of paperwork to get together before the matter could be put to bed. First she had to make the requested alterations to the Mailgirl contract, removing the bonuses and halving the salary, then print the whole thing up, correlate, tabulate, and mark each place a signature was necessary. She dropped the 400 page legal document on Dan Goodwin’s desk and returned to her own desk to close the book on Jodi Whitmer. Megan began to fill out the termination paperwork and gave a final look over the incident report:
Employee name: Jodi Whitmer (nee Salazar)
Date of incident: April 9th
Time of incident: 9:35am
Time of reporting: 11:17am
Violation: Code 14 (Prohibited Sexual Relations with a Direct Report at workplace/event)
Event: Mrs. Whitmer and Mailgil Number Four engaged in consensual sexual contact in the northwest stairwell of the Main Building on April 9th. As Mailgirl Number Four is a subcontractor Mrs. Whitmer is considered a direct report, therefor handbook policy applies.
Participants: Jodi Whitmer, Mailgirl Number Four
Megan did not fill in the witness line. She checked the incident report again. Her eyes went wide when she read the name of who reported the incident. This had to be a mistake, an oversight. Surely this was some sort of entrapment? Dan had to know…
Before Megan knew what to do Mailgirl Four entered her office. She was trailed by Jodi Whitmer, who had changed much in a short time. She was completely devoid of clothing and a stark contrast to the professional mailgirl; Naked, pudgy, and pale, with none of the quiet confidence her companion exuded. Jodi fidgeted and quivered, her large breasts with areolae the size of dinner saucers trembled visibly. All hair below her neck was freshly shaved and Megan could still smell the cream mixed in with that peppermint liquid soap the mailgirls preferred. Her head was down, curly blond hair pulled into a tight ponytail, eyes unable to make contact with anything for over a second.
Number Four goaded her into action, “Tell Ms. Reilly why you are here, Mailgirl.”
“I…” Jodi’s pleading eyes looked up for a moment, “…I believe Mr. Goodwin has some paperwork for me to sign.”
Megan lifted the phone in a robotic motion and managed to speak without sounding like her heart was breaking for the unfortunate Jodi. “Mailgirls Four and Six are here to see you, sir.”
“Send her in,” Dan said over the open line, “and come in yourself. Bring a pen.”
From there it was a blur. Jodi signed all the places she had to. Megan signed as witness. Once it was done an MMU was strapped to Jodi’s arm and calibrated. Megan had the honor of drawing the “6” on each hip, above Jodi’s left breast and at the small of her back.
“I can’t believe this is happening.” Jodi whispered to Megan, who bit her lip before speaking.
“Just relax. You’re going to do fine,” Megan lied. “You’ll be feeling like a mailgirl in no time.”
When the naked women left Megan returned to her chair and stared at the clock for a long while. Finally she finished the report.
Witness: Mailgirl Number Four
Megan did not think about the incident until her next paycheck came in. There was a second check, a two thousand dollar bonus. She never talked about it to Dan Goodwin or anyone else. That was last year. There had been a few more checks since, every time a new mailgirl joined the team.