Marge Guilfoyle lived by her day planner. A busy female executive with a large publishing firm, she depended on her planner to keep her life in order. It wasn’t one of those fancy electronic things either, but a good old-fashioned thick paper and leather bound journal that she replaced once a year. The planner was her life and she had reached the point where if it wasn’t written down someplace, then she wouldn’t do it. So it wasn’t surprising that when her alarm woke her up at 5:30 AM, she immediately put on her large wire frame glasses and then checked her day planner.
“5:30 am: Wake up. Morning bath routine, today I will wash my hair.”
Marge nodded, the sight of her own handwriting telling her what to do gave her the boost she needed to start her day.
She followed the directions she had obviously set for herself some time earlier in the year when she wrote down her plans for this day, and on exiting the bathroom checked to see what she was supposed to wear to work. Long ago she had given up wasting time choosing clothes right before work. It was a lot easier on her schedule to have it all planned out months in advance.
“6:15 am: Clothes for the day. Rose high cut panties and matching bra. Stockings. Dark blue pleated skirt with lace trim with matching high button blouse. Brown African silk scarf. Blue heels.”
It looked good to Marge so she donned what was ordered and checked to see what her day planner would allow her for breakfast, her diet being one of the many things about her life that she had needed to organize.
It let her have a half grapefruit and juice and it wasn’t long before she was ready, day planner in hand, and headed to work.
Driving to work she took the same route each day and usually could be counted on to pull into her private parking spot within a five-minute window almost every day.
She was a creature of routine, and everybody knew it.
Her day planner in one hand, her briefcase in another, she made her way up to the twelfth floor of her building and breezed into her office with a cheery hello to her secretary who was usually there before her. Now in other stories of this sort the chief character was usually a stuck-up bitch, at least around her lesser colleagues, but Marge was actually nice to everyone, especially Biff, her male secretary (or Executive Assistant as he told the girls he tried to date). To Marge, Biff was a godsend, able to keep her day running smoothly so that she wouldn’t get behind on her day planner, the only thing that seemed to upset her.
In her opinion, Biff could do no wrong, and was so glad to have a gay man working for her because they were so organized.
As you can tell, Marge really didn’t have much of a clue about the people around her.
All that mattered to her was her work and her day planner.
The morning started out normally with Biff reading an updated schedule for her day which she dutifully entered into her planner. There weren’t many slots during the day when she wasn’t scheduled to do something, but people had learned over the years when they were most likely to catch an open spot in her precious day planner. The book itself had achieved a status of its own in the company, but Marge’s eccentricity was tolerated because she really did first rate work.
So at the appointed time people came and went, and on the dot when he was supposed to, Biff brought her coffee and took care of her as he always did.
Just before ten in the morning, Marge was feeling good, actually a few minutes ahead of her timetable and she turned the page of her day planner to see what was coming up next.
“10:00 am: Give my scarf to Biff; he’s been admiring it for a while now.”
Marge blinked. It was not what she expected. Yet it was her hand writing, no doubt about that. She couldn’t remember when she had written this, but that wasn’t unusual for her. That was why she had the day planner, so she wouldn’t have to remember things.
So she undid the silk scarf and pulled it from her neck, calling her secretary into her office.
“Yes, Marge?” he asked, notebook in hand in case she had instructions.
“Hi Biff. I know you’ve liked my scarf for a while now; your type has great taste as always. Well, I want you to have it. Here, take it,” she said with a smile.
Biff blinked, wondering what the hell she was talking about. But he saw her holding out the scarf and thought it would look good around the neck of a girl he had been trying to ask out for the past week, so he took it.
“Thanks, Marge,” he said, and she gave him another smile.
Nothing else unusual happened for a short while but then she took an important phone call that threatened to put her behind for the day. While talking, she checked her planner to see what she would be late for, and found this item scribbled in.
“10:45 am: Remember to put my shoes in my desk and go without them today.”
Again Marge thought this unusual, but she was half distracted by her phone call and after a moment’s consideration was just glad it was something she could do while still on the phone. So she slipped off her shoes and locked them in her bottom drawer. She hoped she wouldn’t wear a hole in the heel of her stockings, but she figured she’d had a good reason for scheduling this so she just complied.
By eleven her call was over and she had a meeting with another editor in the company to deal with, so planner in hand (she never went anywhere without it), she headed over to his office on the floor above. She had never walked without shoes at her workplace before though, and felt odd going around in her stocking feet. Some of the people she passed also glanced at her oddly, for it wasn’t a company norm to be walking around without shoes. But she had been there a long time, and like was said before she was well liked, so no one said anything.
Her meeting with Howey, the editor in question, was a spirited one and Marge enjoyed the give and take of making deals for their respective clients. But it was interrupted in the middle when he got a phone call; and as she waited for him to get done, she looked up her next appointment.
“11:33 am: Throw my stockings in the trash because of the hole in one heel.”
Marge stared at the entry, amazed, before casually examining her feet. True enough, there was a hole just beginning to appear under her left heel. She glanced at her watch, 11:25 it said, and swallowed.
What a dilemma. She was scheduled to take off her stockings in a few minutes, something she obviously foresaw when she wrote these instructions down however many months ago it was, but here she was already in a meeting! She thought about this and fretted, not knowing what to do, watching the clock and watching Howey who stubbornly stayed on the phone. But Marge hadn’t deliberately missed an appointment in her day planner for years, and to ignore this apparently practical if unusual item made her anxious and sweaty.
11:32 rolled by, and then 11:33. Marge knew she had to do it; it was there in her book. So she reached under her skirt and began to tug her stockings down.
Howey, on the phone, noticed nothing until Marge raised a delicate foot to pull off her first stocking, and he almost stopped talking out of amazement when she repeated the act with the other leg. It had amused him when she showed up without shoes, but this was…wow!
Marge held both her stockings in one had and looked around. “Trash?” she asked.
Howey held out a hand, and she placed her still-warm garments in his palm. He tossed them into the trash can under his desk and finished off his call before attempting to finish this meeting. But the memory of Marge’s act echoed in his brain and he ended up on the lesser side of their current deal.
Marge’s next task was in her office so she made her way back, again aware of the fact that she was now completely barefoot. But no one else seemed to notice her lack of stockings so it was okay.
Noon was lunchtime, it always was for her, and as today was a box lunch day, Biff stepped out a bit earlier to buy them both something to eat.
Marge was a little distracted though through the working meal, especially so when Biff asked her innocently why she wasn’t wearing any shoes.
“I’m not sure,” she replied, “but it was scheduled!”
Biff just raised an eyebrow and finished off his sandwich.
All returned to normal until Marge referred to her day planner a little later. It had the following item scheduled.
“1:10 pm: I have a meeting with Jessup in accounting regarding my skirt. Exchange for pay slips.”
Marge stared at this one for a long time, so long in fact that when she glanced at the clock she saw she was almost too late to go down to the fourth floor where the company accountants worked. She couldn’t understand the entry, even though she had most definitely written it herself for it was in her own handwriting, but she had been arguing with Jessup for the last month or so about her back pay slips. She needed copies for a home improvement loan she was trying to get from her bank, and Jessup was holding up the paperwork for some reason.
But looking at the clock got her into action. She couldn’t bear being late for anything and she couldn’t remember the last time she had missed an appointment without plenty of due cause. So up she jumped, day planner in hand, and almost sprinted down eight floors to Jessup’s office.
“Hi Marge,” he said, noting her breathless arrival. “Look, I know I said I’d have those slips for you now, but it may take a little while longer to get them together.”
“Jessup, I need them now, I have an appointment with the bank tomorrow and I have to get them sorted out!” Marge exclaimed, still short of air from her run.
“I can’t go any faster,” he replied, shrugging.
Marge gritted her teeth, and remembered what the day planner had said. Evidently she had foreseen this coming and had planned accordingly. Sometimes she amazed herself with her foresight, even though she rarely saw what was right in front of her. So she reached for the zipper of her skirt and started pulling it down.
“What are you doing?” Jessup asked with eyes wide.
Marge flushed but continued what she was doing, pulling down the zipper and stepping out of the skirt. She held it out to him. “A trade, this skirt, for my pay slips, right now!”
Jessup just stared at her, but after a moment he got up from behind his desk, and took the skirt from her. He stared at her standing there in just her blouse and underwear, a blouse incidentally that was almost long enough to be a dress in itself, before shaking his head and getting his brain back in gear.
“Okay, I’ll have them in your office by the end of the day.”
Marge tried to smile but she was only just realizing what she had done. But it was in her planner so it had to be what she was supposed to do. Right?
“Thank you. I’ll expect them or my skirt back,” she said, before turning and leaving.
Now she got more stares as she made her way back to her office, but still people didn’t comment although they did start to talk amongst themselves.
Biff raised both eyebrows when Marge padded past him, but also said nothing.
Marge threw herself into her work for a while, embarrassed at what she had done yet stubbornly confident that it had been the right thing. It was in her planner and her planner was never wrong, but never before had she done anything so strange!
Sitting at her desk wearing nothing but her blouse and underwear was unnerving, but after a while, following her schedule and doing her work, she forgot about what she had done so far that day and managed to calm down.
At three she was scheduled to attend a department meeting with several other department heads. So at the appropriate time she stood up, gathered her things, including the day planner, and headed out of the office.
Biff, who up until that time had wondered how to breach the subject of Marge’s lack of clothing, saw her leave and moved to stop her.
“Marge, what are you doing?” he asked, concerned.
“I have that three o’clock, you know that,” Marge replied, trying to get by.
“I can’t let you go like that! You don’t have a skirt on!”
Marge looked up at him. “It’s okay, I have it all worked out. Don’t worry,” she said, before patting him on the cheek. She slipped past him and Biff stood stunned before moving to his phone.
The meeting room was already filling as Marge got there, and conversation stopped when she entered the room. People blushed and looked away, while a few grinned and stared at her bare legs. But generally most were too embarrassed or shocked to ask her why she was wearing so little.
Marge seemed oblivious and took her seat, and conversation slowly resumed.
It was not a productive meeting as far as Marge was concerned; and as a couple of the senior editors began arguing, Marge took a sip of her coffee and checked her planner to see what she had coming up next.
What she saw startled her.
“3:40 pm: Toss away the ruined blouse because of the coffee I spilled on it.”
“But…” she said, looking down. She saw nothing; her blouse was pristine as always. She looked toward the end of the room to check the time, but the two editors arguing were standing up at this point, almost at blows while a couple of others tried to separate them. She couldn’t see the clock so without thinking she checked her watch.
It was a good thing the coffee wasn’t hot as the mug in her watch hand tipped over, but there was enough to drench her and make her cry out. She grabbed a napkin and began blotting herself, no one else noticing her predicament, but another glance at her watch told her what she had to do.
“I can’t,” she whispered, “I can’t.” But there it was in her day planner, in her own handwriting, telling her what ought to be in her life as it had done for years. She was scheduled to throw away her blouse this very minute or she would be late, and being late was something Marge never could stand.
So she rose from her seat and left the table, undoing the buttons that ran down her front, and shed her last piece of outerwear. The wet blouse made a thud as it landed in a nearby trash can, and the room went silent as they all noticed Marge standing there in her rose-colored underwear.
Flushing with embarrassment, yet feeling like she did the right thing for some reason, she padded back to her place and picked up her planner.
“Excuse me,” she said, “I need to get back to my office.”
No one said a word as she left, but they had plenty to say after she was gone.
In just her panties and bra, rather skimpy panties and bra at that because even Marge liked feeling a little sexy, she walked past silent and astonished co-workers until she reached the privacy of her office. Inside, she checked her planner and saw that she had some calls to make, so as if nothing abnormal was happening to her, she started.
Ten minutes later, Biff knocked at the door.
“Marge?” he said, poking his head in.
“Yes, Biff,” Marge said, between calls.
“Of course I am. Why shouldn’t I be?”
“Marge…You do know you are sitting there in your underwear, don’t you?” said Biff, fighting to keep his eyes on her face.
Marge just stared at him, so he left.
A half hour later there was another knock. Marge glanced at her day planner to see if she had another appointment.
“4:30 pm: Meet with Granger in my office to discuss my underwear.”
“Well,” she said, checking the time, “as long as he is expected.” Marge checked her makeup for a second before calling the vice president of her firm into her office. She would admit (if anyone pressed her which no one would) that she had a bit of a crush on the man. So she stood up when he came in.
Granger blinked, seeing this woman who was thought of so well in the company, standing there in her underwear as if she was fully dressed. All afternoon he had been hearing odd reports about her, and when her assistant called his office begging him to come see her, it was the last straw. He didn’t really believe that someone like Marge would be walking around the building taking her clothes off, but now that he saw her he was shocked.
“Hello, Robert. Come in, have a seat,” said Marge, taking her own seat.
As if in a daze Granger did just that, his eyes flickering from her face to her well-framed breasts and back again. He forced himself to concentrate.
“I…er…Marge,” he said, trying to find the right words. This wasn’t like that time he had found those two junior cover artists screwing in the copy room. Marge was a well-respected member of the firm. One didn’t simply yell at someone with her…stature.
“Marge. Can you…tell me what you’re doing?” he asked.
“Doing? Robert, I’m not doing anything! We had a meeting planned, didn’t we?”
“No Marge, we didn’t. Biff Minster called me down her to talk to you about…your clothes.”
“My underwear, yes. It’s right here in my day planner. I meet with you right now to talk about it,” she said, looking at the planner again.
The next entry caught her eye.
“4:35 pm: Give Granger the bra he has been staring at since he came in.”
Marge paused. How could she know all this in advance? It was certainly her handwriting yet she had planned for some very strange and embarrassing things. She looked at the clock on her desk; she still had a minute to go.
“Marge? You okay?” Granger asked, seeing her turn a little pale.
“I’m fine, Robert…really.”
“Then why have you been taking off your clothes?”
Marge’s eyes were glued to the clock. The number changed.
A part of her wanted to reach around and undo her bra, to give it to Granger because that was what was on her schedule. She lived by her schedule, it was what kept her centered, what kept her sane. But another part of her fought it, it wasn’t right for a woman to be doing such things.
Granger was talking but she couldn’t hear him, he was background, and for the first time in a very long time Marge purposely didn’t do what her planner said she should be doing.
The number changed again and Marge sighed with relief. She looked at her planner as if to gloat and saw another entry.
“4:36 pm: Granger wants to talk about my clothes, but I don’t want to talk to Granger. I give him my clothes so we don’t have anything to talk about.”
“No,” she whispered.
“How does it know?” she said under her breath.
But Granger still heard. “Marge, how does WHAT know? Answer me!”
Marge gripped the arms of her chair, frozen, until the time changed again. She looked back at the planner to see a new entry.
“4:37 pm: I give my clothes to Granger…NOW!”
“4:37 pm: NOW…GIVE THEM TO HIM!”
“4:37 pm: GIVE THEM TO HIM OR I WILL BE LATE. I WILL NEVER SCHEDULE ANOTHER FUCKING THING HERE AGAIN!”
Marge screamed and jumped up. She stood, staring at Granger who had jumped back in his seat, and at Biff who had opened the door upon hearing her. But all she could think of was losing her day planner…her life. She grabbed the front of her bra and ripped it off her body, tossing it at Granger.
“NO MARGE!” Biff yelled, moving toward her.
But Marge wasn’t listening anymore; she was pulling off her panties and actually managed to toss them in Biff’s face before he got to her. He tackled her and wrestled her to the ground as she started screaming and fighting him. He thought she was having a fit, when all she really wanted to do was see what was next on her schedule. She had done everything it had asked her to do, for that was her purpose, to follow her schedule, but now she needed to see what was next!
More people poured into the office though and eventually Marge was covered up by someone’s coat and taken out of there. A doctor with an office on a lower floor was called up and he gave Marge a tranquilizer before an ambulance came to take her to the hospital.
Up and down the building people talked about her, wondering if she had flipped and what had caused it. Even Biff couldn’t shed any light on her strange behavior, and with a heavy heart he collected her things, including all the clothes she had given or thrown away, and prepared to follow Marge to the hospital.
As he picked up her day planner though, he wondered if there was any clue in it for her behavior, and he flicked back through the pages, searching for something that would tell him why she had changed. But he didn’t see a thing, just the usual business and personal notes she always left herself, somewhat obsessively he always thought, but that was all. The only reference to clothes he found was her list for what to wear that day. Everything else just might not have existed.
If he had scanned ahead though, he might have been lucky enough to see a note written on a date three months later in the year.
“10:30 am: Get out of St Mary’s Psychiatric. Buy a new day planner.”