"What do I need a digital camera for?" Mandy was waiting for the theme from the Twilight
Zone to start playing.
"Got me. I just deliver the stuff."
Mandy watched Albert connect the docking stations for all the devices to her desktop
computer. He was lining them up like little soldiers across her desk, carefully hiding all the
cords behind her computer. While he was doing this, she began to examine the belt. It was about
two inches wide and reminded her of a handyman's tool belt. It should have had a hammer and a
wrench and a screwdriver hanging from it, not all these crazy gadgets.
"It does make sense," she tried to convince herself. "These are the tools of the 21st century."
"OK, Mandy. You're all set." Albert began to pack up his cart.
"Let me help you get going. Put on the belt and I will arrange everything for you. I do this a
lot. I know what order will work best for you."
"I'm going to trust you on this one." She picked up the belt and put it around her waist. "Uh,
Albert, I need some more holes punched in this thing. It's too big for me." She handed it back to
him and he proceeded to use his screwdriver to make another hole about six inches from the last
"Try that."
"That works, I think." The belt still hung loosely around her waist. It really didn't go very
well with her new pinstripe business suit, which she had bought specifically for her first full day
at her new job.
Albert began to very methodically clip things to her belt. "Are you right handed or left?"
"On the right side, first is the cell phone, then the pager, then the BlackBerry, then the MP3
player." The MP3 player was kissing her right butt-cheek. "On the left goes the printer and the
digital camera." He stepped back to admire his work.
"Where do I put my own personal cell phone?"
"Why didn't you say something? Now I have to rearrange everything. Where is it?"
Mandy handed it to him. He slid the pager and the BlackBerry over so that the two cell
phones were side by side and moved the MP3 player so that it now sat on her left butt-cheek.
"Now, all these devices are set to vibrate. Leave them that way. You don't want to disturb
half the world when they start going off."
"Yes, sir!"
Albert pushed his cart away, heading down the hall, and Mandy returned to her desk. She
would have to request a chair without arms if she were ever going to be able to sit. As petite as
she was, she could only sit on the very edge of the seat while wearing the fully loaded belt.
Mandy tried to do some work, but she couldn't stop fidgeting. All this equipment pressing
on her body was so uncomfortable. How do they do this all day?
She went about her work as best as she could, clicking and clumping everywhere she went.
Not knowing her team very well yet, she tried to ignore their giggles and cat calls. She could feel
them lean out of their cubes and stare as she passed by.
"Love the outfit! Where'd you get it?" "Look, a traveling electronics salesman!"
"I know a good chiropractor when you need one." "What's your phone number? How ‘bout
a date?"
Finally Mandy got up the nerve to reply to these strange people. "Even if I knew the
number, I wouldn't give it to you! One thing I'm not is stupid. I know you're all chomping at the
bit to make me light up like a Christmas tree. Not going to happen on my watch— got it?"
She heard a few stifled giggles before they stuck their heads back into their cubes. She was
nearing the end of her rope. It finally dawned on her that Gary didn't have all this on when they
went to lunch. How did he get off the hook? She began to drag herself toward his office. She'd
been carrying this stuff around for way too long. Each step felt as if she were carrying a
hundred-pound weight around each ankle. It felt as if it had taken her an hour to arrive at his
Out of breath and barely able to hold herself up in the door frame of his office, she said,
"Gary, how come you aren't carrying all this around? Why am I the only lucky one?"
She couldn't stop breathing heavily. It was as if she had just run a marathon.
"Medical excuse, Mandy, medical excuse."
"How can I get one?" She huffed a few more short breaths.
"Dr. Feelgood, at your service. What seems to be the matter?"
"I've gained fifty pounds in a day. I think I'm going to die."
He scribbled a few lines on a blank piece of paper and handed it to her. "Give this to Larry
the next time you see him. This will get you officially off the hook."
"But this isn't a real doctor's excuse."
"Doesn't matter. I write these out for everyone. Larry doesn't even look at them. Violet was
the only one who lasted more than a day. I think she wore this getup for a couple weeks. You'll
understand why, once you meet Violet. She'd call herself any time she needed a thrill, making
them all vibrate at once. Then she'd go in her office and close the door."
"Really? I can hardly wait to meet her."
Suddenly Mandy felt a strange sensation. It seemed to be moving, circling around her waist.
She looked down and realized that all the contraptions on her belt were buzzing, and the printer
was spewing paper into a sloppy pile on the floor.
"I don't even know any of the numbers. Who could be calling or paging me?"
"Albert must have just finished posting your information on the company Web site. You
know that no work has been getting done today waiting for that to happen. We don't get new
people here very often. Have to have a way to break them in, you know."
"Great. How do I get rid of these things? Where can I find Albert to return them?"
"He won't take them back. Find yourself an empty drawer." He slowly opened a drawer in
his desk. Mandy peered in to see it stuffed full of personal electronic devices, with a big leather
belt curled up in the corner
"Why do we waste money on all this stuff if no one uses it?"
"Got me. I just work here."
The strange sensation started moving again around her body.
This time her feet felt as light as feathers as she raced back to her very pink office to find an
empty drawer. One by one she struggled to get each contraption off the unyielding belt. They all
seemed to be stuck like glue. Each one landed with a loud thud in the bottom of the drawer.
"I still feel like I'm buzzing. Is this belt wired up too?" She wrestled the belt off her waist,
only to find that her own cell phone was still attached and vibrating madly.
"Hi, Mom."
"Oooo Mandy, you are looking so fine this morning." He gave her the once-over. "By the
way, where is all your equipment?" This was how Larry said hello as Mandy entered for the
Monday morning staff meeting. Gary, Violet, Raymond, and Albert, Larry's other direct reports,
were already seated in the conference room.
"Thank you, Larry. And good morning to you too," she quipped back. "I gave you the
doctor's excuse the other day, remember?"
"Aah, yes. I remember now. You look much better without it, if I do say so. Let's get
started. Has everyone met the fine-looking Mandy? She is the newest addition to our friendly