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Any catastrophic illness, any unforeseen tragedy, is completely covered. All dependents are completely covered. Larry Bagdikian, who sits over there, has six daughters. Larry Bagdikian would not have to pay one dime. He would have nothing to worry about. We also have a generous vacation and sick leave policy. We have an excellent disability insurance plan. We have a stable and profitable pension fund. We get group discounts for the symphony, and block seating at the ballpark. We get commuter ticket books for the bridge.

We have direct deposit. We are all members of Costco.

Daniel Orozco

This is our kitchenette. And this, this is our Mr. We have a coffee pool into which we each pay two dollars a week for coffee, filters, sugar, and Coffee-mate. If you prefer Cremora or half-and-half to Coffee-mate, there is a special pool for three dollars a week.

We do not do decaf. You are allowed to join the coffee pool of your choice, but you are not allowed to touch the Mr. This is the microwave oven.

We get one hour for lunch. We also get one fifteen-minute break in the morning and one fifteen-minute break in the afternoon.

Orientation and Other Stories | Prairie Lights | Iowa City Bookstore

Always take your breaks. If you skip a break, it is gone forever.

For your information, your break is a privilege, not a right. If you abuse the break policy, we are authorized to rescind your breaks. Lunch, however, is a right, not a privilege.

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If you abuse the lunch policy, our hands will be tied and we will be forced to look the other way. We will not enjoy that. This is the refrigerator. You may put your lunch in it. Barry Hacker, who sits over there, steals food from this refrigerator. His petty theft is an outlet for his grief. It was a tragic loss for Barry Hacker. She was also completely covered.

Barry Hacker did not have to pay one dime. But his dead wife haunts him. She haunts all of us. We have seen her, reflected in the monitors of our computers, moving past our cubicles. We have seen the dim shadow of her face in our photocopies.

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But the voice is hers. And beneath the voice, beneath the tidal whoosh of static and hiss, the gurgling and crying of a baby can be heard. In any case, if you bring a lunch, put a little something extra in the bag for Barry Hacker. We have four Barrys in this office. He is our Unit Manager, and his door is always closed. We have never seen him, and you will never see him. But he is there.

He is all around us. And this, this is our Supplies Cabinet. If you need supplies, see Curtis Lance. She will log you in on the Supplies Cabinet Key Log, then give you the key. Gather your supplies quietly.

Daniel Orozco's 'Orientation and Other Stories' is a refreshing classic

The Supplies Cabinet is divided into four sections. Section One contains letterhead stationery, blank paper and envelopes, memo pads and notepads, and so on. Section Two contains pens and pencils and typewriter and printer ribbons, and the like. In Section Three we have erasers, correction fluids, transparent tapes, glue sticks, et cetera. And in Section Four we have paper clips and pushpins and scissors and razor blades. And here are the spare blades for the shredder.

Do not touch the shredder, which is located over there. The shredder is of no concern to you. Gwendolyn Stich sits in that office there. She is crazy about penguins and collects penguin knickknacks: penguin posters and coffee mugs and stationery, penguin stuffed animals, penguin jewelry, penguin sweaters and T-shirts and socks. She has a pair of penguin fuzzy slippers she wears when working late at the office. She has a tape cassette of penguin sounds, which she listens to for relaxation.

Her favorite colors are black and white. She will always lend an ear and put in a good word for you; she will always give you a hand, or the shirt off her back, or a shoulder to cry on. And John LaFountaine—who, enthralled when a woman enters, sits quietly in his stall with his knees to his chest—John LaFountaine has heard her vomiting in there.

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We have come upon Gwendolyn Stich huddled in the stairwell, shivering in the updraft, sipping a Diet Mr. Pibb and hugging her knees. She does not let any of this interfere with her work. If it interfered with her work, she might have to be let go. Kevin Howard sits in that cubicle over there. He is a serial killer, the one they call the Carpet Cutter, responsible for the mutilations across town.

His compulsion inflicts itself on strangers only, and the routine established is elaborate and unwavering. All's well until the young man demands he doesn't ask, he demands to hear the name of his date's favorite kind of dog. He doesn't know they've just met that she can't stand dogs.