Autumn rain had darkened the sky for most of the day, causing the sidewalk outside the Law Offices of Flagg & Hame to become the bed for a small stream, upon which floated leaves and various detritus. Despite the rain, Julia Talbot longed to step outside, as her day so far had been made up of only stress and boredom in equal measure, and she desperately needed air. Unfortunately, as the firm's only receptionist, she wasn't supposed to leave her desk, except for lunch, and that one respite of her day had been over two hours ago. Though none of her co-workers should have been able to say anything against her stepping out, since they all took periodic smoke breaks, she still made a quick check to be sure none of them saw her leaving her desk.
She just about had her black, cotton jacket off when her boss stepped from his office, a stack of papers in his hand. The sight could only mean one thing: it was time for one Ms. Talbot to spend some quality time with the copier, which was older than she was (at over two and half decades was saying something) and worked as slowly as any other senior citizen she might have visited. She slid the jacket back onto her shoulders, knowing the short trip outside to warm up was definitely not going to happen now. The overweight figures of the men running the office meant that even on a day like today, when rain cooled the air to around 60 degrees, the air conditioning still blew vigorously and chilled the staff inside to shivering masses unless they wore many layers.
Julia tried desperately to look busy as Mr. Hame approached with his face holding its usual sour expression, emphasizing his lifetime of deep wrinkles. Though in truth, when the phones weren't ringing Julia's job was a lot of 'sit around and wait'; anything—even attempting to reorganize the paperclips—would be better than the monotony of making copies of that many documents. But Mr. Hame was either too oblivious to notice she was in the middle of something or he wasn't falling for it, because with a heavy thud he placed the large pile of papers on the corner of her desk.
-- from "Sub Silentio" by Anna Morris