Here's a short extract:
The company chairman stood up to speak. “I’m sending out a press-release at noon today, but I thought it only fair that you should be told about this first. I have some bad news for you all. And it’s the kind of bad news that’s life-changing.
“I know there have been rumors about the company. We’ve accumulated a lot of debts recently, and I’ve heard a lot of speculation from various quarters about the viability of the company. There’s no easy way to say this, ladies and gentlemen. I’m very sorry. We’re closing down next week.”
I’d only been with the firm two years, so I couldn’t expect much. What could I do? I’d be in competition with all the others - there were almost two thousand of us - all looking for work at the same time. This Monday morning had turned into a nightmare.
When we returned to our desks to continue work, very few of us could concentrate. Some of those employees who had worked in the firm for many, many years became quite emotional. I realized that I had to think of getting myself another job, and fast, before all the others had time to collect their thoughts and decide what they were going to do.
I had to visit a middle-aged friend who worked in another department, and everyone in that office was talking about the impending demise of their little world. “My son’s getting married next week,” she said. “I offered to pay for his bachelor party, but I don’t know how I’m going to find the money to pay for that. They want a stripper, and when I looked at prices those girls command... this is the last straw.”
On an impulse, I stepped in and offered. “I’ll strip for his party. And I won’t charge. You’ve been good to me in the past - it’s time you called in the favor.”
“Are you sure, Penny? Have you done it before?”
“No,” I confessed. “But I’ve got a pretty good idea of what men want to see.”
She jumped out of her chair and planted a kiss on my cheek. “Bless you, Penny. But if you’re new to this, you won’t have the... accoutrements, will you?”
“I’ll need to find a wedding dress, or will pass for one. I have plenty of suitable lingerie that I can wear.”
“O.K. It’s this Friday, at eight.”
Details of the third work in this new series - A Safe Place - follows straight after this page.