The Law Firm Sagas: #5 Non-Fiction

Bare CoveBy Amber Robbin

Normally, Whole Foods is a place that brings me joy, boasting a “guilt-free” hot buffet that smacks of buttery goodness and free samples galore left unattended in generous heaps. It’s a veritable playground for the sometimes-vegetarian (that I am) with yoga mats and fancy lip balms that make the yuppie lifestyle almost desirable. The only downer, normally, are the last few minutes anyone ever spends inside the store, when it becomes all-too-apparent that a more befitting name for the place would be ‘Whole Paycheck.’ Other than that, I associated Whole Foods with perfectly lovely memories – until one night in March. 

On that night, my soul collapsed over a brown box of marshmallow encrusted sweet potatoes. I felt myself being consumed exactly as I was meant to be doing the consuming, eaten alive by my inner swarm of lacking purpose, lacking sense of self, and lacking desire to wake up the next day and go to work – a full eight hours before that task even needed to be confronted. Continue reading

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The Law Firm Sagas: #4 An Action Adventure

By Amber Robbin

Law Firm 4

16:20

I emerge from the boardroom like a bat out of hell, just having endured a painful, two-hour meeting with Georgia and Nancy about the database overhaul I’m “spear-heading.” This translates to: “you’re about to spend every waking moment of your life correcting thousands of mailing addresses so that Mr. and Mrs. Rich Deusch can be sent their gift basket of ass kisses to their current multimillion-dollar address.” I have no time to think about what that might mean for my hopes of not hating my life. I have to get back to my desk immediately if I have any hope of walking out the door at 5:30 to my much-needed therapy appointment.

16:30

I have an hour left and a dozen binders piled high on my desk. I’m printing with my right hand, labeling with my left, and hole-punching with my foot. Continue reading

The Law Firm Sagas: #3 A Sci-Fi Thriller

By Amber Robbin

scared-woman-hitting-keyboard-at-her-desk-computer-300x218I was nearing the end of my first month with the firm, and as time had passed, my co-workers had begun to appear more and more like machines to me. They marched past my desk in eerily straight lines, their steely gazes transfixed in the direction they were headed. Sometime before lunch on a routine day, the secretary Nova came to my desk with several case files. “Amber, I need these retyped, formatted exactly as they are now,” she said in monotone, beaming herself back to her desk before I could ask any questions. I escaped down the elevator shaft to take my break, less than eager to start retyping.

I took a seat in the corner of the marble lobby and called my father, desperate for human connection. But I couldn’t get a signal. It was too bitter outside, so I resigned myself to huddling in the corner and opened my lunch. For an hour, I watched people passing in droves through the giant, echoing space. They moved just like my co-workers – a bunch of soulless androids floating in straight lines. I was sucked in to their mesmerizing dance and began to experience some sort of mind-meld with the group. Continue reading

The Law Firm Sagas: #2 A Western

1By Amber Robbin

Georgia was tough as nails, a woman with the skin of a buffalo and the constitution of a rattlesnake. She was always looking for her chance to strike, hiding her ruthlessness behind shifty eyes. She kept the office in line with the threat of her slow rattle, always prepared to save her skin by sinking her fangs into someone else’s. She had fought her way up to be the biggest toad in the puddle, and it damn sure hadn’t taught her to deal in favors. She was so crooked, she could swallow nails and spit out corkscrews.

Sitting in her office, she glared at me from behind her stiff, straw bangs. I reckoned I’d won the squabble, still she’d only fork over fifteen minutes a day of overtime (not the full hour and fifteen I toiled longer than all the rest). I decided to pull in my horns and take what I could get. I took to my feet slowly, holding her stare, then pivoted deliberately on my heel and swaggered down the hall back to my desk to claim my winnings. It would take much more than one slippery, superintending shrew to make me back down.  Continue reading

The Law Firm Sagas: #1 A Mystery

By Amber Robbinphoto 2 (3)

It was a grey day. A forebodingly overcast sky drained every speck of light from the smutty Chicago streets. I sat in my rolly chair at the front desk and gazed through the window as the storm clouds rolled in. I was on tight deadline. My weekly phone fact e-mail was due for submission to the whole office, and I was at a loss for what typeface to use. I had almost ruled out Garamond as too stiff and settled on Elephant for a little good humor, when suddenly, I looked down at my attendance sheet and had a heart-stopping realization…

None of the partners had come to work! It was a Friday, like any other…except different. I called my supervisor, but she didn’t pick up. Surely she’s not missing, I thought. I rang the one assistant I felt I could trust, but she was away from her desk too. Then I recalled, Dorothy never came to work less than a half hour late. My pulse relaxed a bit. I’d have to try another assistant. I dialed Ashley’s extension and held my breath. She picked up. “Ashley, what is going on? Why is no one here today?” “Ohhh, ya knowww, they all left early for that partners’ outing this weekend. Jest the secretaries in the house todayyy, hehehe!”  Mystery solved. Or was it… Continue reading