Scene: Southwest corner of the 6th floor in an office tower in mid Los Angeles. Of the nine employees who inhabit the space on a somewhat regular basis only four are present – all women. Woman 1 (Dark Helmet) – small, impish over sixty, wears her hair like a helmet; Woman 2 (Storm Trooper) – medium height, mid-fifties, stomps around the office, executes orders without thinking; Woman 3 (Maggie) – petite, young, sees everything, says nothing; and me (call me Hermione).
Dark Helmet: “Storm Trooper can you come here for a second?”
Storm Trooper walks five steps from her cubicle to Dark Helmet’s: “Yes Dark Helmet”
Dark Helmet: “Can you tell Hermione that the invoice does not match the backup.”
Storm Trooper: “Yes Dark Helmet.” Storm Trooper takes five steps in a slightly different direction to Hermione’s cubicle: “Hermione. Dark Helmet says the invoice doesn’t match the back up.”
Hermione having heard the exchange, takes a deep breath and looks at the invoice she submitted over a week ago. Dark Helmet is correct – the description says 7/13,20/17 but the attached report just says 7/20/17: “It appears to be a clerical error. Can I just correct it?”
Storm Trooper takes another five steps back to Dark Helmet’s cubicle: “Dark Helmet. Hermione says that it is a clerical error and asks if she can correct it?”
Dark Helmet: “Tell Hermione that she cannot change the invoice description – they will have to submit another invoice.”
Storm Trooper takes another five steps back to Hermione’s cubicle: “Dark Helmet says you cannot change the invoice, they need to submit another invoice.”
Hermione gets up and walks the five steps to Dark Helmet’s cubicle – irritated: “Is there any way that you can just ask me directly about this invoice? I can hear you from my desk and it seems silly to have to talk through Storm Trooper.”
Dark Helmet: “It is Storm Trooper’s job to talk to you about the invoices and I am busy with other things.”
Hermione: “I am not adding to your work. All I am saying is that if you are going to interrupt what you are doing to talk to Storm Trooper, it seems just as easy and more efficient to talk to me about my project. I can hear you anyway.”
Dark Helmet: “Well I didn’t know what you were going to answer.”
Hermione is not sure how Dark Helmet’s response is apropos to the question: “So we all have to play telephone through Storm Trooper?”
Dark Helmet: “Yes”
Maggie snickers in her cubicle as Hermione walks away.
The total of the invoice in question is $400.00.