Suzanna Briggs fixed her hair. The tight bun she had spent much of the morning styling was coming undone. It had been one of those days. She made her way to her desk, past the endless rows of beige cubicles. Stuck to the wall of her cubicle was a speedily prepared flyer advertising "Amanda's Going Away Party." Amanda was the third woman to leave the company since Suzanna had been hired eight months ago. And while that may have raised flags for some women, Suzanna was plenty comfortable in her workplace. Suzanna tossed the flyer into the shredder, having hardly known Amanda, and sat down at her desk and began her work for the day.
Time slowed and the day dragged on. Suzanna gazed at the clock beside her computer monitor. The red LED glared back at her: 11:50 AM. She sighed. It was apparently just the start of one of those days. She had felt unusually tired today. Her morning routine was off and she had abused the snooze button thoroughly.
Rather than fall asleep at her desk, Suzanna made the decision to take a quick break outdoors. If only she could find her 'emergency' pack of cigarettes she hid in her office. A-ha! Behind her favorite stuffed monkey on her desk's return. She grabbed the pack and fished out a most likely stale smoke. Having quit the nasty habit for over a month now, she was proud of her progress and mentally chastised herself for breaking so easily over a little case of exhaustion. She pressed ctrl + alt + delete and locked her computer, grabbed her thin black shawl from the back of her computer chair and made her way towards the elevator.
Suzanna's black professional heels clicked and clacked throughout the eighth floor that Into-Tech Industries occupied in the office building. She would usually have clacked down the stairs. Her sleepy state forced her to accept the elevator, lest she snooze off and fall down a flight of stairs.
Once on the ground floor, she made her way through the glass entrance doors. She inhaled deeply and tried to revive herself with fresh air instead of smoke. It didn't work. Off to her right, next to the building, was a small vendor stand. Funny, I haven't seen that here before, Suzanna puzzled to herself.
She stuck her unlit cigarette behind her ear and walked toward the cart. It looked like any other vendor cart in a major commercial setting. One part ice-cream truck, one part hot dog stand, all parts grungy and disgusting. Suzanna decided to take a look anyway. Maybe she'd find something to boost her energy instead of breaking into her smoking habit. She approached the cart and read the hand written menu, when she was startled by a man's voice.
"Tired, are ya?" the voice cracked, but Suzanna couldn't place the source. She looked around for a moment and then spied a portly man with a white t-shirt that didn't hide his spare tire very well. The shirt advertised a band that Suzanna was sure had broken up over 10 years ago.
"Excuse me?" Suzanna retorted.
"I asked if you was tired." He stated.
"Umm ... I suppose. But that's really none of your business." Suzanna replied embarrassed that her condition was so apparent.
"Course it is! It's the business of any highly trained salesperson, such as me, to know da customers." He stated confidently as he lugged long, large crates out of the back of the truck and set them on the ground beside his feet.
Suzanna looked over the menu once more and did not find anything, sans "Coffee- Black $1.25," that would help her condition. The thought of what brown-black sludge she would be served, sent a shiver down her spine and she nixed the idea quickly. Suzanna cursed herself again for forgetting to set the automatic drip timer on her cappuccino machine.
The man piped up, "If you is looking for something to wake yourself up, give 'dis a whirl." He chucked a small bottle at Suzanne. In an effort to catch the small canister, she had to jerk her head so fast her cigarette fell to the ground. She didn't notice.
She inspected the tiny object. It was the size of a liquor store flu-shot, those small sips of alcohol that a patron buys cheaply. They were also prevalent in mini-bars in hotel rooms that Suzanna had stayed in on business trips. The label looked homemade, like someone had used a very basic software and stuck label paper in a printer. There were very few technical specifications and even less nutritional specifications. In bright green, block letters it read: ENERGY GULP! There was a paragraph of information on the powerful energy supplied by the little beverage. It was mostly advertisement mumbo-jumbo, nothing of any merit or science.
"Energy Gulp?" Suzanna read out loud.
"You never heard of it?" The man approached her. She smelt suntan lotion, cigarettes and body odor.
"No, should I have?"
The man put on his best salesman show and became very demonstrative. "Well, of course. It's only the best energy drink in town! Screw those however-many hours energy drinks, this lil puppy got them all beat. Half the size of its competitors with twice as much ... punch." He was very animated. Suzanna thought she had discovered who had bought the software and label paper.
"This is something you make? Personally?"
"Shiiiiiiiit, no. I'm just the only guy the creator trusts to distr ... dibur ... to sell the stuff." He boasted.
Suzanna raised an eyebrow. She was just about to put the small object back into the man's greasy hand when he spoke again.
"First one's free." He quipped.
Suzanna looked at it again. Seeing how the man didn't have 4 or 5 hour energy drinks available, Suzanna shrugged and shoved the tiny capsule into her pant pocket. She gave a mumbled thanks, spun around and headed for the doors.
"One is all it takes most folks, cause it works so good!" The man called out to her as she made her way back into the office building. Suzanna muttered a thank you and began to walk away from the vendor's stand. The vendor reached into his pocket and grabbed his cellphone. He had a important call to make.
The young, fit professional sat waiting for her elevator. It was taking much longer than usual. That's when Suzanna decided to try her free gift out. She pulled the tiny bottle from her pocket. The cap was the same color green as the writing on the label. She popped it open with her thumb and peered into the white bottle. The substance inside was definitely green. Lemon-lime, at least it's a flavor I can stand, she mused to herself. Without much ado, she tipped the bottle back and downed the whole bottle in one swallow.
Suzanna didn't know what to expect. She didn't feel a surge of energy run through her. She didn't feel a jittery bolt of electricity. In fact, she felt nothing. She would have been more pissed off, but she remembered that she wasn't out any money. And besides, she told herself, those other energy drinks cost so much for so little.
She did, however, convince herself that the stairs were a good idea and when she reached the eighth floor without so much as a pant or wheeze she remembered that she hadn't smoked. She gave herself a mental high-five and returned to her quiet desk.
She did feel much more energized. It took a little bit over an hour to notice anything, but she hadn't dozed off at all. The clock read 3:02 PM. She had made a lot of progress in her revisions of her team members work. She had made so much progress she thought about rewarding herself.
Without any thought at all, she clicked on her internet browser and typed in the name of her favorite erotic story site. She took a few moments to see if any new Sapphic stories had appeared. She didn't know if she was a confirmed lesbian yet, she just knew that a man hadn't provided her with what she needed for a long time. Just when she was about to click on a story entitled something like 'Wet Works, ' which had the story tags she was definitely into, she paused.
What am I doing? She quickly closed the browser and sat stunned in her chair. Her company tracked internet usage. How could she have been so careless? She quickly tried to remember all the fast and easy ways for the company to know where she had been. She cleared her browser history, deleted cache files, cookies and anything she could get access to. Suzanna realized she was panting now. She tried to calm down. She breathed in slow and deep. She began to rationalize. Surely she couldn't be the only employee that looked at porn at work. Heck, she figured, I might be the only one looking at text stories instead of hogging bandwidth with videos. She wouldn't get in trouble, but she dared not go any further.
Unfortunate for Suzanna, she did feel a certain level of heat in between her thighs. She rubbed them together for a few moments and then quickly dashed off to the ladies room to alleviate the building arousal in her loins. After a satisfying climax in the stall of the lavatory for the rest of the day Suzanna was awake; bored, but awake.
Suzanna slammed her brown bag lunch on her desk. She was late and that always infuriated her. She had a case of drowsiness that she just couldn't shake. The hair that was usually styled perfectly into a tight bun, now lay collected in a loose, wet ponytail. She had allowed herself just enough to shower and dress before racing to beat beltway traffic; the hair dryer never even got plugged in.
As Suzanna poured through the latest figures and specifications, her head bobbed. Her eyelids drooped. She reached toward the monkey on her desk. The stuffed animal stood like a sentry defending the cigarettes from the army of nic-fitting invaders. Suzanna overpowered the stuffed animal guard and took a cig from the pack and returned the pack to its hidden post.
.... There is more of this story ...