“What do you think he wants to see us for?” Laurie asked, straightening her pulled back blonde hair.
“Probably to commend me on the McKlenski report,” Cheryl said confidently. Cheryl was the highest paid black woman in the company.
“Maybe he’s going to give me that promotion I’ve been expecting. I have earned it,” Lucy stated. She had come to America with her parents from Japan when she was just a child and achieved all her success on her own.
Laurie, Cheryl, and Lucy were asked to meet with their boss, Mr. Baxter, at the end of the day. They were all very smart and independent business women who had a long road of success ahead of them. Now, the three women sat in the waiting room outside Mr. Baxter’s office, waiting to be called in.
Finally, Mr. Baxter’s secretary spoke up, “Mr. Baxter will see you all now.”
The three women walked by the secretary smugly, loving the fact that they had broken through the glass ceiling to get to where they were now while this woman had been left behind to take phone calls for her boss… They strutted through the open door into their boss’s office and sat down in the three chairs in front of his desk.
The office was huge. The back window gave a great view of the city behind Mr. Baxter’s desk. Paintings and sculptures adorned the walls and corners of the sophisticated office. The women stared at the back of the leather desk chair, then finally Mr. Baxter spun around to face them.
“Good afternoon ladies.”
“Good afternoon, Mr. Baxter,” the three women responded pleasantly.
“I assumed you’re wondering why it is that I called you here today…” Mr. Baxter was a tall, handsome man. His black suit showed that he was also a rich and important man. He gestured at the glasses of water in front of them, which the women politely accepted and took a sip, placing the glass back on his desk.
Laurie, Cheryl, and Lucy awaited an explanation as they watched Mr. Baxter stand up and pace behind his desk.
“The thing is, ladies… The company’s losing money—”
“Oh, I don’t believe this!” Laurie said angrily, already putting 2 and 2 together.
Mr. Baxter tried to regain control of his employees, “Now now, don’t jump to conclusions—”
“What is it you’re trying to tell us, Mr. Baxter?” Cheryl asked, keeping her composure.
“I’m getting to that—”
“I didn’t work this hard all my life for nothing, Mr. Baxter,” Lucy explained with a glare in her eyes.
Mr. Baxter took a breath. This was going to take some careful wording… “We’re being forced make some changes. It’s as simple as that—”
“I’ll tell you what’s simple,” Cheryl said, “Discrimination!” The three women nodded in agreement.
“Cheryl, I can tell you that this has nothing to do with your being… being…” Mr. Baxter was having trouble saying the word.
“Being black?” Cheryl finished for him, sternly, “Actually, I think it has a lot to do with it.”
Lucy chimed in, “And I assume my minority had a say in this as well. Am I right, Mr. Baxter?”
“Ladies, I can assure you—”
Now Laurie had had enough, “I can’t say that I’m too surprised that three women are the first to go through these “changes” as you put it…” Mr. Baxter hid his smile at this. “Are there any men being laid off?”
“Now now… See? I told you not to jump to any conclusions…” Mr. Baxter explained, getting full attention of the women, “No one is being laid off.”
“Then what exactly is going on here?” Cheryl asked.
Mr. Baxter sat on the edge of his desk, looking down at the women, “You see, the company is losing money. And…we can’t afford some of the salaries here. So, we’re just going to make some changes.”
“So what are these changes going to be?” Lucy asked.
“Now, let me just reiterate that this has nothing to do with Cheryl being African-American… Lucy being Asian-American… or with Laurie being a woman. A blonde woman, at that. And very attractive, might I add…” Mr. Baxter said with a wink.
The three women’s jaws hung open in disbelief. “Now, wait just a min—” Laurie began to argue, but was cut off by her boss.
“But, the changes, ladies, are going to be with you!”
The women were paying full attention now, trying to understand what was going on.
“By the way, how was the water I provided for you?”
The women continued listened, starting to feel that something wasn’t quite right.
“You see…we need to make some demotions,” Mr. Baxter explained, “But, I’m afraid that our staff is too skilled and experienced, that they would never agree to step down a few pegs. So, our team has developed something that will make some changes in the staff itself.”
“I don’t understand…” Laurie admitted.
Mr. Baxter laughed, “Well, get used to it, darling. You see, ladies… That water you drank is a special formula that is designed to find your true image of yourself. Any self-conscious feelings you may have felt people have had about you, they are going to take front and center in your personality now…” Mr. Baxter looked at his watch, “Actually, about right now.”
Laurie, Cheryl, and Lucy exchanged worried glances. They didn’t really believe what they were being told, but they did have to admit that something didn’t feel right…
“I feel funny…” Laurie said, her voice sounding a little strange. Higher than normal…
“Damn, my head feels strange…” Cheryl said, getting a little bit of an attitude.
“Oh… Head not feel right…” Lucy said, having trouble finding the right words.
Mr. Baxter smiled to himself, “How do you like it, ladies? Now Laurie will have to be offended by another blonde joke, since she won’t really have the intelligence to get it!” Laurie looked at his with pleading eyes. “And Cheryl, you’ll never have to feel embarrassed by your “ghetto” background, since you’ll be embracing it soon! So be proud!” Cheryl looked like she was ready to fight someone. “And Lucy… You’ll never feel you have to prove yourself ever again, since you’ll know your place in society just like any Japanese woman!” Lucy averted her eyes to the tall man, not knowing what to do.
The three woman all stood up, frightened.
“This, like, can’t be happening…” Laurie said to herself, “I feel like I’m forgetting things!”
“Just let it happen, honey,” Mr. Baxter consoled, “All you need to know how to do now is to read fashion magazines and answer a phone.”
“Don’ be tellin’ us to ‘let it happen’, suga’!” Cheryl said angrily, “I worked mah azz off to get to where I is! And ain’t no white man gonna tell me what I’m gonna do! Nuh-uh!” Cheryl couldn’t help it, but the angrier she got the more she cocked her hip to the side and bounced her neck back and forth.
“Me forgetting words…” Lucy said meekly, “Me…uh, how do you seh? Me scare?”
Mr. Baxter nodded his head, “Yes, that’s right, Lucy. Scared. Very good.” Lucy smiled at the man’s compliment. “You’ll be reading English soon, I bet!”
Lauri had pulled her hair down and was twirling a blonde strand around her finger, “Like, ummm, why did you do this us, Mr. Baxter?” Her eyes were almost drained of intelligence at this point.
“Well, you ladies seemed to be the most obvious choice.” The women struggled to keep up. “You fought so much to disprove the public’s stereotypical image of you, that the formula would have so much to work with!” Mr. Baxter laughed and awaited more changes, “So, Cheryl, how are you feeling?”
Cheryl cut her eyes at him. “Ain’t no Cheryl here, baby,” she explained, waving her index finger in the air, “Dis here be Cherry. Da hottest piece o’ azz in da ghetto!” Cherry accented this by twisting her waist around and slapping her backside. “Now, wud up wit deez lame clothes! Cherry don’ wear no shit like dis!” She looked disgusted at her sophisticated business suit and knee-length skirt.
“Yeah, like, totally!” Laurie screamed, giggling like an idiot. “Let’s go to the mall! I need some new clothes too!”
“Girl, you need more than some new clothes…” Cherry mumbled.
“Like, what do you mean?” Lauri asked, looking serious.
“Sounds like you need to go back to school a few mo’ years…” Cherry laughed to herself at the ditzy white girl.
Lauri just giggled, “But, I, like, graduated high school! What else do I need?”
Cherry didn’t have an answer for that, since she didn’t have anything past a high school diploma either.
Mr. Baxter was pleased, “Lucy, how are you doing over there? Sounds like these two are finished with their changes…” Cherry and Lauri seemed a little angry at their plight “…are you about done? We don’t have all day here…”
Lucy was quick to answer, “Oh! Yes… Yes, sir. Me…done. Me done. Me…angreh a’ you.”
Mr. Baxter laughed, “Yes, I guess I have to expect you to be a little angry for transforming you all into your worst nightmare. But, it’s not like it matters now. You’ve all lost your manners, sophistication, and anything that made you worthy of your previous position!”
“So, what our job gon’ be now?” Cherry asked with an attitude.
“Well…” Mr. Baxter walked up to Lauri and put his hands on her shoulders, “Lauri here doesn’t seem to have to attention span to do anything more that sit at a desk and answer phone calls, so she can be my new secretary. Suzi outside has been waiting to move up a floor, I think you can take her place.”
Lauri was devasted, “But, I used ta be smart, Mr. Baxter! I swear it! Don’t make me a dumb secretary!” Lauri pouted, poking her bottom lip out.
“Cherry here…” Mr. Baxter started to put his hand on Cherry, but she glared at him, making him rethink it, “Cherry couldn’t possibly be allowed to make a public appearance. She hardly knows any grammar now… It would be best to keep her behind the scenes as an office girl, filing— and that doesn’t mean your nails, Cherry.” Mr. Baxter finished sternly, corrected pointing out what Cherry was thinking, gazing at how boring her nails were…
Cherry just scoffed. She kept one hand on her hip and rocked her neck back and forth as she said, “Whateva!”
“And Lucy…” Mr. Baxter stared Lucy in the eye, but she wouldn’t return his gaze, “Lucy can hardly speak the language now. She has no people skills. She is only meant to serve… Isn’t that right, Lucy?” Lucy nodded out of respect. “I think you’d make a perfect cleaning woman for the office. How does that sound?” Lucy was screaming inside, but knew that it was all she was capable of and she needed the money…
“So! This meeting is adjourned, ladies! Thank you for your time and have a wonderful afternoon!”
The next week…
“Like, Mr. Baxter’s office! This is Lauri!” Lauri said cheerily, putting her nail polish down and carefully picking up the ringing phone, pushing the button with the pad of her finger so as not to mess up her nails. Her tits almost spilled out of the tight fitting top she was wearing, and the mini-skirt didn’t leave much to the imagination. But, that’s how Mr. Baxter liked her and she was happy to keep his perverted eyes happy as long as the bonuses kept appearing on her small paycheck.
“Damn, baby! Why you callin’ me now! I tol’ you not while I’m at work!” a loud voice said from the hallway. Lauri looked up to to see Cherry strut in. Her six inch pink heels fit perfectly with her two inch pink press-on nails. They even had her initials on them! Her gold teeth glittered in the light as she tossed a folder on Lauri’s desk without a word and continued yelling into her cell phone, oblivious to other people around her. “Ah wudn’t at no club last night! Shit, ah don’ give a fuck what Mario say! I wudn’t rubbin’ mah azz all over no man!” She glanced at Lauri and smiled, lying through her gold teeth.
Lauri giggled at her naughty friend and went back to painting her nails and thinking about who she thought wasn’t going to win on The Bachelor.
Then, the sound of squeaky wheels echoed through the hallway as Lucy came in with her trashcan and broom. Her sweaty hair dangled in her face and her cheap dress kept everyone wondering what happened to that ambitious Japanese woman that used to work here.
“You rea’ for’ trashca’?” Lucy said meekly and chirpily, having grown accustomed to her new job.
Lauri nodded and pointed to the full waste bin beside the desk. Lucy picked it up and emptied it.
“Ummm…Lucy?” Lauri asked, taking a break from her pretty nails.
Lucy looked up.
“Do you, like, remember anything from before?” Lauri’s voice kept anyone from taking her seriously, but Lucy always listened to her. “Like, I know that I used to be smart… But, it’s, like, getting harder and harder to remember. Do you remember how you used to be?”
Lucy smiled and said, “No unastan.”
Lauri nodded and smiled back as she watched Lucy wheel her trashcan back down the hallway to clean the bathrooms. Lauri’s intercom buzzed as Mr. Baxter asked her to come into his office. She reached into her drawer and grabbed a tube of Lube, knowing what was coming. This was the life of a secretary though, so Lauri had learned to live with it. She had heard that Lucy had been spotted in the Asian side of the city, offering herself to cars driving by, so at least she knew that she wasn’t alone. But, every time she heard of another blonde woman being promoted, she couldn’t help but think of where her life had been going, and every time she bent over Mr. Baxter’s desk, her slippery ass in the air, she couldn’t help but think of what a stereotype she had become…