fiction / Poetry / poets

In A Glass House – Excerpt


The telephone rang in an uptown office of glass and mirror. The day promised to be a steel, gray one like the buildings it enveloped. Anne Baxter sat at her desk gazing through the window wishing she could set fire to the piles of paper on her desk. The computer blinked, “MESSAGE WAITING.” She wheeled around in her chair and snapped to attention.

“This is Anne.”

“Ms. Baxter, this is Oliver Wilkes, and I’m doing a survey for the Organized Association of Legal Administrators. Do you have a few minutes?”

“Yes, Mr. Wilkes, what can I help you with?”

“How long have you been with Bridges, Collins, Brown & Hoffman?”

“About five years now,” Anne said.

“What’s your job title?”

“Office Administrator.”

“And what does that position encompass?”

“Everything. Everything necessary to run a law firm. From accounting, hiring personnel to painting the lobby.”

“How many attorneys are in the firm?”

“Approximately seventy-five.”

“Would you be interested in joining OALA to learn more about law firm management.”

“Possibly, can you just send the information?”

“Sure thing, thanks for your time.”

Anne sat back in her job and scanned her daily calendar. “And how do you like your job” Anne thought, wryly, that should have been a key question. Today was the executive committee meeting, and Mr. Bridges would be addressing whether to continue ordering yellow note pads or not, and also the phone list issue. Sometimes Anne couldn’t believe the time spent on trivial issues. She could run this place more efficiently. That’s what she should do, get out and run a company.
Anne visualized herself as a corporate mogul. Why not? Did they all have to be pasty, middle-aged men? She could arrive promptly every morning, park her Mercedes in the parking garage. Step from the car, grab her briefcase with perfectly manicured nails, she would smile that benevolent smile when the garage attendant catered to her.

“Good morning Ms. Baxter, oh let me help you with that…” he might say.

Then she would glide effortlessly up the elevator to her corner office furnished with an oriental motif while her secretary brought coffee and juice.

“Can’t be disturbed this morning, Amy, please hold my calls,” she would say.

Then Anne would set about to be one of the feared, but highly respected, briefcase-toting leader of the people.

Closing her eyes, she remember the afternoons spent on the subject of great literature. The loves, the lives, the mysteries of history were fascinating. Heartbreak and lonliness, larger than life people who touched the masses with prose and poetry.

John Keats health kept him from marrying Fanny Brawne; the

consequences which left him to finish his life in lonliness and despair.

The phone rang again.

“Anne Baxter.”

“Ms. Baxter, how are you doing this morning?”

“Fine Mr. Bridges, and you?”

“Wonderful. As you know, we will be discussing some administrative items in the meeting. I need to ask you about some things. For one, why do we have attorneys and paralegals listed on the second page of the phone list in with the staff people?”

“Well, these are contract attorneys, and since they are not permanent, we list them with the staff…”

“I really don’t think we should be listing professional people with staff. The firm feels that people who are performing legal work should be held separate, don’t you agree, Ms. Baxter?”

Great, the separate but equal policy, firing off on social class issues again. Need to have the upper class on the first page of the directory, the middle class on the second, and the lower class on the third page. Need to always keep class divisions intact. Heaven forbid to start mixing things up, then you might have intermarriage or another socially unacceptable measure.

“Fine, that’s easy to fix. I’ll make that change, any others I should be aware of?”

“That should be all. Thank you Ms. Baxter.”

William Butler Yeats became enmeshed in Irish Nationalism and his poetry later

reflected turbulence in his life, “Man can embody truth, but he cannot know it.”


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