Bleeding in the Boardroom

Perhaps my actions can be traced to the memo that said flex time was being eliminated and all employees were required to be sitting at their desks by eight a.m. sharp or we would be issued a warning. (Three warnings was grounds for automatic termination.) Or maybe it was the equally dehumanizing memo that said paid maternity leave was being cut from three to two weeks. Or the memo announcing the promotion of the pig brother of the company’s founding family, who had been convicted of sexual harassment just a few years back.

(The woman’s name was Lydia Crow. She had since left the organization. I never met her, but I’ve always admired crows. In Native American traditions they are said to carry the medicine of divine law or the law above the law.)

Maybe it was the visual assault of the corporate mission statement posted on every bulletin board throughout the building, which summed up said: “Make more money.” Maybe it was the monotony of gray, black and blue which made me think the place could use a little color.

The timing was ideal, as it was a heavy-flow day. Yes! I would bleed for the feminine creative spirit that was being squashed by rules and regulations! Bleed for the mothers that had to leave their babies in day care ‘cause they couldn’t afford to miss a week’s pay! Bleed for all the women who spoke up and won, only to be slapped in the face! Bleed for the loss of meaning in peoples’ lives when we only work for the money.

Padless and pantiless, I leave for work that morning feeling a sense of purpose I haven’t felt in a long time. I pull into the corporate parking lot with a secret smile on my face. My purple gypsy skirt swishing around my ankles, as if to say, “Nah nah nah nah nah nah,” as I make my way to the main lobby entrance.

“Badge,” the security guard grunts.

“I’m waiting for someone,” I lie, walking over to the reception area and sitting down on a mango designer sofa.

As if on command, my blood flows full force into the fabric.

“My appointment must have canceled,” I tell the guard after a few minutes.

He does not see my bloody masterpiece. He only sees the numbers on my id card and waves me in. I walk slowly, careful to leave a little Hansel and Gretel trail, pausing briefly at the corporate bulletin board. When no one is looking I tear down the mission statement and use it to wipe the inside of my thighs. After pinning the newly revised flyer back up on the wall, appropriately, the words, “Eliminate” “Innovation” “by” “100%” are highlighted in red.

I remember reading that the body always tells the truthand I feel somewhat protected as I swish down the hall, stopping to peek inside the executive planning room. A hundred perfectly empty rows of chairs sit waiting for me. I seize the opportunity, sneaking inside, this time dispersing small liver-like chunks onto several of the seats.

My blood is thick and meaty—vital, alive. The earthy smell of her permeates the stale gray air. The smell of fertility, of creativity—of an alpha female marking her terrritory. I feel intoxicated, driven by a force that is larger than me. My hand is shaking as I turn the door knob. My senses are heightened, animal, instinctual. I exit slowly, discreetly—a spy guerilla girl on a mission.

“Mam, mam,” a woman taps me on the shoulder at the drinking fountain. “Do you know you’re bleeding?” she whispers.

“Yes, thank you,” I say, to which she looks at me funnyas if I’ve just insulted her. And I want to ask her if she knows she’s bleeding, maybe not on the outside, but in her soul. I want to take her by the hand and say, “Come bleed with me. Can’t you you envision it— hundreds, thousands of women bleeding across corporate America?! “

Security cameras are only as good as what they’re looking for. But today I am a purple bird, invisible free! Swish! Swish! Swish! I flow fearlessly through the halls, power-bleeding in and out of meeting rooms, giving birth to little red hieroglyphics—a kitty here, an armadillo there, a a t-rex, a space ship, a high-heeled shoe. I feel like a child finger-painting. I never know what my imagination will bleed next.

I pay a visit to the VP of Marketing’s office, leaving him a puppy, a platopus and a PT Cruiser. For the Director of Personnel, a ghost, a Great White and a flock of geese. When I reach Mr. Sexual Harassment’s office, I have to urinate as well.

“This one’s for Lydia,” I say, reupholstering his tan suede sofa.

Around the corner I spot an unsuspecting left-brain who notices the blood on the floor. He stops, looks puzzled, then steps off to the side around it—as if avoiding a rattlesnake, as if he could fall into a giant man hole.

My blood is a beautiful dark, rich, red—the kind that doesn’t come out of carpeting easily or blend in with neutral colors—the kind that scares the pants off men in gray, black and blue. In the elevator I’m standing in between three of them, who stare straight ahead, anxiously waiting for the doors to open. I don’t know which is thicker—the silence or my blood. The smell overpowers both their after- shave and coffee. The red liquid trickles down my leg, filling me with urges. When I can’t resist, I begin rubbing the inside of my calve and ankle up against Mr. Gray’s suit pant, who coughs, jerks away, bumping into Mr. Blue, who spills his coffee on Mr. Black’s very important papers.I bite my lower lip, suppressing a giggle. I am a wicked wicked girl to be having so much fun!

It’s amazing what happens to a person on the other side of crazy. Words, gestures come to me like in the movies. I’m suddenly the hero of my own life. I’m faking out security guards, posing as “the niece from Texas.” I’m having salmon alfredo in the executive dining room on Uncle Mory’s tab.

It’s two o’clock in the afternoon and I’m painting the town red! And with the exception of frustrating the waitress, who wonders why I keep switching tables, I don’t feel the least bit guilty…..until….. on my way out, one of them stops me.

“Is that your blood all over the furniture young lady?” I think I hear my father’s voice.

“Was it accidental or intentional bleeding?!” I hear the lawyers arguing at the trial.

“Intentional bleeding is grounds for automatic termination,” I see another memo, another appendage to the employee manual.

It’s hard not to laugh when the whole circus flashes before me.

Fortunately, suit man has only mistaken me for the department secretary. I shake my head and smile politely while dripping on his shoe.“No, suit man, I don’t have time to type your memo. I have places to go, people to meet and things to bleed on.”

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