Hunting The Clean Boot
by Randolph O. Mann

A companywide downsizing of this magnitude always makes for strange bedfellows. The very second the local union's shop steward posted the election results, confirming how the Clerical Union had indeed been broken, womanly tears began to flow. One could almost taste the ladies professional defeat as the union ballot results were dolefully affixed to the company bulletin board for all to see. Sympathetic hugging begrudgingly acknowledged how life as these women knew it would never be the same.

In the days that followed it became painfully obvious all of their hard-fought benefits were now ‘history.’ Accrued Vacations, converted! Family Heath Care Coverage, no longer offered! Matching Retirement Funding, gone! And the time-honored custom of staff seniority had been firmly set upon its ear with a whole new corporate flow chart to be constructed every morning as the various departments were ‘merged’ or drastically ‘scaled back.’ In the Sales Department under-achieving Account Mangers were thrown under the bus. The Production Area splintered departmentally with Manufacturing, Logistics and Merchandising all pointlessly turning on each other in their attempts to elbow for a dictatorial advantage.

Even at the lofty height of the Executive Administration golden parachutes filled the sky and those foolish enough to reject the ‘Early Retirement Option’ were fitted with restrictive pairs of golden handcuffs. Consequently the inventory of golden-haired Personal Assistants was promptly identified to be grossly overstocked, condemning that densely populated and extremely vulnerable assortment of private secretaries to manage the wobbly errand of cautiously ‘kneeling’ one’s way back up a very rickety Corporate Ladder. The first days of this ‘Restructure’ involved chaotic juxtapositions as an unpredictable and pricey game of musical corner offices was set into motion and whenever the ‘elevator music’ stopped the Junior Executive left standing in the hallway was dismissed, triggering a vocational domino-style tsunami capable of inundating an entire Support Team. Should a secretary’s Director be shown the door Human Resources are promptly notified and that Clerical Assistant is temporarily reassigned into the Transitory Clerical Pool. Assuming the ephemeral ranking of Filing Clerk status in itself would be awkward enough. But, along with such a downgrading, each ‘Gal Friday’ must also ‘undergo’ the dreaded Private Interviewing Process for a second time. It is the intrinsic corporate stance that everyone hoping to remain ‘gainfully engaged’ by The Company will be expected to ‘cheerfully’ yield to the ‘process’….

…The loudspeaker broadcasted her name, “Mariana Volpi! Please, report to the CEO’s Office!”

Instantly the entire company had just been placed upon notice that ‘The Old Man’ was augmenting his personal staff and just that fast an ad-hoc companywide communiqué flashed across every computer screen confirming how the sweetest ‘piece’ in the Secretarial Pool was about to be placed on the protected list. The ‘ever charming’ Mariana had ‘cunningly’ navigated her one-on-one oral interview and was about to join that privileged Inner Circle where cock-blocking, fully tenured, bean-counting battle axes diligently prowl among the privileged on the top floor and they could be expected to quickly gather this fragile Student Extern under their wings protecting this eye-catching unsullied conscript until she is able to assemble enough ‘executive favors’ with which to protect herself from the taxing advances of the assorted midlevel vultures marauding the corridors and the public elevators.

For Mariana all that was left would be for her to pilot one final perilous communal elevator ride to the Top Floor before she will acquire custody of her very own Executive Access Code to the Executive Parking Level where the Executive Elevator is waiting to whisk her safe and sound past the impiety of the perverted Junior Executive wannabe infesting the Corporate Communal Lifts. Today’s companywide broadcast additionally acknowledged to those same Executive wannabes how there was but one final obstacle of liability for Miss Volpi and signaling how her final conveyance via the municipal elevator would be their last harassment window of opportunity.

Mariana’s clerical colleges had all heard the interoffice fable that has been regularly whispered about the water-cooler containing the disturbing images of the abuses each woman experiences during that final elevator ride. It was due to either paralyzing fear of reprisals or provisional feminine envy that none of her coworkers could bring it upon themselves to vocalize a warning. In either case, they sheepishly let Mariana continue in her lackadaisical dawdling, fully recognizing the depraved potential awaiting this lingering office page. And so it was, wrapped in the last vestiges of naive vulnerability, Ms. Volpi dutifully went about completing a vast punch list of responsibilities associated with securing her workstation. Then using a handheld mirror Mariana further occupied herself with the application of cosmetics before idyllically running a brush through her hair.

Upon standing, an arrogant backward glance identified the seams of her silk stockings were straight as a collection of green-eyed colleagues monitored each of her precarious procrastinations. Shaking their heads as she decadently primed herself. The prettiest member of the clerical labor force was about to assume an inaccessible status as the personal chattel of the CEO which will elevate Mariana clear of this varmint-infested workplace that is filled to the brim with the bestial chaps in Middle Management. Unfortunately while Mariana dallied ‘The Call’ went out, in veiled fashion, upon an interoffice phone tree, lighting up the entire Extension Board AND every corporate receptionist’s overactive imagination in the process as their mysterious cipher was broadcasted…

“Tally Ho!”

Straight away the ‘hunting party’ knew the ‘fox’ has just been released and the hounds will soon be given the scent. By ‘invitation’ the symbolic ‘Lawn Meet’ took place upon the second floor in Wainwright’s office. Due to limited notice the various ‘subscribers’ assembled at 11:00 a.m. sharp with the pleasant social aspects held to a minimum as much is made of such a public appearance and the less the general workforce knew about ‘fox hunting’ the better. Under such urgency only the traditional Master’s Toast was observed as Wainwright’s port-filled pocket flask made the rounds among the ‘field.’ The rest of the social traditions were dispensed with owing to the late hour. A harried inventory established all the principals were in attendance and standing by.

After, the ‘meet’ the ‘hunt’ moved off to the first ‘covert’ to be ‘drawn.’ With the Master ‘hunting the hounds’ today and the ‘Kennel Huntsman’ (Smyth) acting as First Whipper-In by assuming the lead and undertaking charge of a ‘mixed pack of hounds’ (both male and female couriers from the mailroom) Smyth was assisted by a second Whipper-In (Harrington) to lend a hand with keeping the pack together by collecting any stray or straggling hounds and helping to sight the ‘Todd’. Owens, from Accounting, was included among the leaders to handle all the ‘Terrierwork.’ He was tasked to keep the ‘foot followers’ away from the ‘couples’ hunting the fox and later if need be he would be ready for any ‘digging’ should the ‘Earth Stoppers’ miss any ‘badger setts” in the hunting area.

As a group, they moved down the hall with Smyth leading hounds past the disapproving lexis of the day shift receptionists, then beyond the dozing security guard and past the dumbfounded early-shift staff enjoying their lunch break in the employee lounge. Due to the multi-tasking arrangement, the Master of the field is found among the lead with the hounds, serving as a Huntsman. The hounds were put into the ‘covert’ as The Hunting Party bounded upon the Main Vestibule. Wainwright used his voice and horn to encourage the hounds to explore and sniff out the Todd.

The cries used by the huntsman will differ from hunt to hunt but are generally based on utterances such as "covert-hoick", "forrard", "leu-in", etc. The sounds employed by the huntsman may have the twofold purpose of getting the fox moving or if the ‘earths’ have been blocked then the fox may be lying up under a handy bush. The hounds may find a scent that is just a few minutes old or one that has been left by a fox half an hour before. So the ‘whips’ will position themselves on the edge of the covert guarding the Emergency Stairwell in order to signal to Wainwright when a fox is seen or point as the fox leaves the covert. The field will be drawn up on the side of the covert as the hunters do not want the fox to run, e.g. towards the main office foyer etc. The members of the field and any foot followers will also keep a look out. Gleaning among the names and numbers found posted on the Departmental Index hanging on the lobby wall, the Clerical Department is identified and the field surrounded the double doors as Owen dispersed the Terriermen into the stairwell landing both above and below the Lobby level insuring those earths were blocked. Then upon Wainwright’s command, ‘Leu-in’ the hounds were encouraged to explore beyond the double doors and they bounded into the confines of the Secretarial Pool.

Mariana spotting the hounds straight away and she instinctively hunkered down below the walls of her cubical as mentally she calculated her getaway. With the Office Foyer effectively blocked by the ever growing members of the Hunting Party, that path of escape was spent. Retreating into the recesses of the clock closet would only delay the inevitable and Mariana cursed herself for loitering at her desk. As of now her best remaining alternative of escape involved a devil-may-care scramble towards the elevator, where a quick slap upon the elevator’s Up-Button would summon the lift. Gathering her nerve, Ms. Volpi straightened her skirt in ladylike fashion, and in a controlled manner began her flight. Hidden on plain sight by means of her blatancy Mariana strolled the distance between her workstation and the hammered copper control panel undetected. Her movements had gone totally unnoticed, even her extended layover waiting for the elevator doors might have been totally overlooked had she not caught the eye of a malicious ‘foot follower’ from Human Resources.


Abigail Greene was the first to spy the concealed Todd and punctuated her cry by indicating the direction with an extended arm and a hand-held hanky wave. At once the hounds are on the scent and are away scrambling out of the covert as the huntsman signals to the Master using the horn. Some hounds "speak" i.e. yelp in a manner peculiar to hounds, when they find the scent, some hounds hunt silently. So it was this morning for Miss Volpi as she watched Wainwright use hand signals to coordinate the hunting field while the elevator doors held fast.

Frantically looking from side to side, an egress was spied in the form of a fire escape exit sign conveniently located above the stairwell entrance. With no time to waste Mariana threw all caution aside omitting frivolous head fakes or pointless faints of misdirection as she lurched in the direction of the stairwell entrance and recklessly made her dash through the fire exit door. Pausing only an instant at the T-junction of the staircase landing the desperate vixen yielded to instinct by stepping downward in the direction of the underground parking garage. This strategy had been predicted by Owens as his terriers were blocking Mariana’s decent. Desperate and with little time to waste, the wily vixen reversed her field scrambling past the fire door and up the flight of indoor steps where she found more of Owens Terriers waiting at the landing between floors…

If the pack ‘checks’, the huntsman will "cast" them in a wide arc hoping to pick the scent up again. Often the scent of two foxes will cross and it is up to the huntsman to decide which tang is of the hunted fox. Assuming they pick up the lost scent, the hounds will continue to hunt that fox until they either tire it or can overwhelm and kill it, "run it to ground", lose the scent once and for all, or if the fox enters another hunt's country it will usually "be given best" (left for another day). The hunt may cover up to ten miles chasing one fox - not necessarily in a straight line - this may take several hours. If the fox goes to ground to quickly it is more likely that they will bolt it, again using the terriers, and continue the hunt after giving it "law" (a fair chance to run before hounds are laid on). Bolting is common amongst the fell packs…

Finding herself trapped in the stairwell Mariana is forced back through the emergency egress only to discover how Wainwright had circled the field around the elevator foyer. With Owens and his terriers now controlling the stairwell landing Mariana could only warily back away from the impinging huntsmen as the field slowly reduced the arch of their picket line, withdrawing until the closed doors of the elevator shaft stopped her in her tracks. Panic-stricken glances from side to side established the finite nature of her escape options. With only the lift control board reachable Mariana exercised the last ‘life-line’ available to her by repeatedly pushing on the hammered copper panel. Hoping beyond hope the doors would part and permit a hurried departure from such a prurient fate. Mariana squished herself flat against the tightly knitted lift-gates as the looming Field slowly advanced timing their advance with the elevator level indicator’s sliding scale. The whole secretary pool just sat and watched as the elevator doors bust opened and Mariana stumbled backward into the lift while franticly pushing at the top button of the hammered copper panel. Nothing was said as Wainwright led the mixed pack into the elevator as the lift doors closed, sealing her fate…

It must be understood that hunts like to kill their quarry above ground, as they generally believe that it is more sporting. But the quick, clean death of the fox, so joyfully spread by the hunting fraternity is, in the majority of cases a lie. They will say that a fox is always killed by hounds with a quick nip on the back of the neck thus severing the spinal cord. It may die finally this way, but it is more likely that it will suffer multiple agonizing injuries before the final "nip" is given. Many foxes have been recovered with their innards torn out, but no sign of a fatal nip. When the fox is finally cornered by the hounds above ground the huntsman (if present) will encourage the hounds by voice…

“Tear ‘im and eat ‘im”

With a perfectly manicured masculine left hand firmly covering her mouth the dumbfounded Personal Secretary is crushed forward by a drove of silk shirted Behemoths, corporally pinning her chests against the rigid walnut paneling of the elevator. Both of Mariana’s hands are dragged laterally away from her body as she was provocatively spread-eagled in a standing position against the pulley-cage wall, while a lone wedding banded hand compressed the side of Miss Volpi’s face into the lift’s walnut paneling where she is held fast by his stiff-armed heaviness. Inquisitive fingers survey her defenseless contours. Eighteen hundred dollar Berluti loafers vehemently pry her high-heeled foundation apart allowing expensive Ermenegildo Zegnae silk covered knees to leverage her knees away from each other as her charcoal skirt slithers up her thighs, exposing the lacy top of her suspendered seamed stockings. Dorsally overwhelmed by this hostile takeover Mariana’s stock is reviewed and then optioned upon a very open market where downsizing her fashion inventory seemed an inevitability. With two concurring rivals ‘cuming to bare’ at the hem of Mariana’s skirt it is promptly elevated until her bottom-line can be properly analyzed.

Mariana is afforded dreadfully little wiggle room in her wide-ranging posture as she is ‘tendered an obligatory contract of adhesion.’ Two razor-sharp, Platinum Presto letter openers sliced away at opposite sides of Mariana’s salmon colored booty shorts with practiced downward strokes, uncloaking her faultless derrière. Rival concerns competed for the Custodial Guardianship Responsibilities of her shredded dainties as her tattered bloomers dropped out of her control, away from her hips and into the scope of middle management’s liability. In the offing opportune leverage buyers gathered below ready to seize the coveted hand-me-down reserves…

After removing trophies, i.e. mask (head), brush (tail), pads (feet), traditionally the remains will be thrown to the hounds. As with such customs of the hunt Wainwright gathered control of the ‘field’ by ordering Smyth to ‘command the hounds’ and Owen to release of the terriers. Miss Volpi’s blouse is ripped away. Her lacy demi-cup bra too is violently removed, exposing her ample chest and erect russet nipples. Repeated slicing carves away the tattered remains of Mariana’s office appropriate pencil skirt and the lacy garter-belt. Authority is restored only when the Field was asked to exit the elevator upon the fifth floor with their various trophies before returning to their respective work stations.

The freshly defrocked Mariana was ‘given the best’ when Wainwright callously smiles in her direction before turning control of the elevator over to a tear-stained Mariana as she recognizes how she will now be obliged to attend her Orientation Conference commando style wearing only Paul Andrew ankle-wrap glove booties, control top stockings, hand panties and an arm bra…

The End

Copyright© 2014 by Randolph O. Mann. All rights reserved.