The Shoe Game Wars

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Copyright©2012 A.N.C. Media Publishing & Candace Mumford

 

 

The Shoe Game Wars

 

Daniella stepped on the elevator feeling like a million bucks. Why shouldn’t she ? There isn’t a thing I’ve ever wanted that I don’t have and I expect it to be this way forever. If I have anything to say on the matter. As long as things are going this great, how could anything ever go wrong ? Daniella thought to herself. Besides she thought, as she looked down smoothing her black pencil skirt and kicking her heel out looking at her feet. Strappy, braided Manolo Blahnik four inch heels adorned Daniellas perfectly pedicured size 7 ½ feet. Topped off with a sleek fitted white sleeveless blouse. Hmm? Daniella thought to herself. Are these a bit too sexy to wear to work ? Daniella quickly dismissed the thought . Fuck these bitches. They’re only jealous they’re not walking in my shoes she thought smiling as she stepped off the elevator when it landed on her office floor.

 

“ Good morning Ms. Jones “ Daniella’s assistant Kathy said “ Here are all of your morning appointments. Your first meeting of the day is in forty-five minutes and here are the accompanying files for you to go over prior. Also may I say Ms. Jones…those shoes are fabulous!”

 

“Thank you Kathy!” Daniella said stretching her leg out to admire her shoes again . “ Aren’t they ? I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to wear them and this morning when I woke up, these were calling my name!”

 

“ One of these days I’ll talk my husband into treating me to an expensive pair like those “ Kathy said. “ Oh Kathy you should ! Let me tell you something. I don’t care what all these beauty makeover shows try to tell you. The only consistent beauty item I buy are my shoes. Let me tell you a little secret. You see this skirt I have on ?” Daniella asked running her hand over the fabric of her skirt“ Yes” Kathy nodded looking at Daniella “ Fifteen dollars at the GAP ! This blouse ? Very cute . Twenty-five bucks on Ebay. Now these shoes. Three hundred bucks ! But because of these hot shoes, people think this entire outfit cost a million bucks!” Daniella said with glee.

 

Normally Daniella would have never revealed any of her shopping tips to another woman, but Kathy was well…Kathy. An older woman who was actually kind of motherly towards her. Unlike these other bitches in the office. If there was ever anyone Daniella would confide in… it would be Kathy. “ OK. Well let me prepare myself mentally for this meeting shortly, I can already tell this is going to be an exhausting day.” Daniella said flipping though some of the files Kathy had just handed her. “ Another thing Ms. Jones, you do realize today is the day the new associate starts don’t you ?” Kathy asked somewhat timidly. “ Yes I remember.” Daniella said throwing the files on her desk. “ How could I forget.” Daniella said rolling her eyes.” OK. Just a reminder. I’ll be at my desk if you need me.” Kathy said closing the door behind her.

How the hell could I forget ? After working my ass off in hopes of being the next partner at McCombs & Townsend Advertising Agency, one of the most innovative and up and coming ad agencies in New York , those bitches changed the game at the last minute and decided to hand pick another associate from another firm out of state to join the team. Rumors around the office were that yes, they wanted to soon make someone a new partner but felt some of the main associates were a bit too comfortable in their positions and the assumption they would be made partner. So in an attempt to shake things up they head hunted an associate from a rival ad agency from some fast rising upstart somewhere in Texas.

The thought of the entire game change could make me puke, Daniella thought to herself. Damn right I should feel comfortable in my position. I worked damn hard to get here. Busted my ass to go from the hood to the top of the heights. Now they want to bring a cowgirl in to take my spot?To compete with me? It’s not happening. I’ll put that on my favorite pair of Prada’s.

Daniellas cell phone rang. “ Hello honey” Daniella said trying to make her voice smile through the phone even though the mere thought of the new associate made her blood boil. “ Last night was amazing.” Daniella purred into the phone. With a little effort the thought of her fiance’ Dr. Gerrod Miller one of the top cardiologists in the city, took her mind off her work predicament. Even though technically Gerrod wasn’t her fiance’, it was just a matter of time. Though the thought flashed across her mind to plant stronger seeds in his mind since she’d already told a few co workers and her parents they were talking marriage. Those damn talks needed to pay off. Becoming Mrs. Dr. Gerrod Miller was most definitely on her to-do list. Five years later,I’ll let him have one baby. Those are my plans! “Honey it’s certainly nice hearing your voice this morning since I couldn’t stay all night with you,but I really have to run. This new bitch starts today, so I really need to be on my A game.” Daniella said “ Now why do you have to call the woman a bitch?” Gerrod asked “ You don’t even know her and evidently she’s good at what she does or she wouldn’t have been sought after by one of the top firms in the city baby” Gerrod said. “Whose side are you on Gerrod?” snapped Daniella. “You aren’t by any means insinuating I’m not good at what I do as well are you?” ” Where did you get that from what I said Daniella? I’m just saying the woman put in her dues just like you. Stop acting as if you’re the only one that knows how to work hard……other people work hard,if not harder than you. If this is the attitude your going to take towards a woman who has done nothing but have the same love of advertising that you do, perhaps you were getting lazy on the job and that’s why they brought in someone new instead of choosing you as partner? I’m going to let you go. Bye Daniella.” Gerrod said with disgust in his voice and hung up.

Before Daniella could say a word the call was disconnected. The nerve!What kind of support was that? Granted, no this woman hadn’t done anything personal to me, but is it too much to ask for him to be in my corner ? For the last year and a half we’ve been together I’ve shown nothing but the utmost respect and support for his career. Is it too much to expect the same from him? We’ll definitely have a talk about this later…..after sex of course. Gerrod is always in such a great mood after sex Daniella thought to herself gathering the items she needed for her meeting.

 

Zahara Micheals paced back in forth in front of the high rise building too nervous to go in. Zahara looked at her watch . “OK. Get it together Zahara” she said aloud giving herself a much needed pep talk. You said you wanted excitement ,adventure and a change. You damn sure have it now. It’s time to live. No more Dallas,TX. You’re a New Yorker now. I have the talent ,drive and dedication to get the job done. Zahara told herself. After all. I didn’t come looking for a job…..they came after me. So pull yourself together. You have 30 minutes before you’re introduced to the other associates and dive head first into your new job. I am a leader. Zahara thought to herself smiling. Just then Zahara felt her phone vibrate with an incoming text when she pulled her phone out to look she smiled broadly.

“ We hated to see you leave but you’ve made us so proud ! Show those city folks what a Texas girl can do! Love Mom and Dad”

 

Zahara couldn’t help but smile. Her parents took it hard when their only daughter decided to leave home. As it got closer to the move they stood by her 100 percent and understood she wanted to spread her wings and put some distance between herself and Dallas for awhile. I hope I look OK ? Zahara thought giving a quick look down to her black skirt, simple black pumps and her pinstriped button down shirt with a blazer. The only hint of her true personality being her huge mane of natural unrelaxed hair that grew past her shoulders. Zahara had made the decision five years ago to big chop and never relax again. She’d loved pampering her hair with all natural products from the start and it paid off in the health and length of her beautiful hair. For three days Zahara had been wearing her hair in what seemed like 100 twists in preparation for her first day on the job twist-out. During the last five years of having gone natural Zahara had noticed her hair being an issue with people she would never have imagined. Though in the workplace Zahara refused to be a slave to convention or the “man” and wear it slicked back or in a bun. Take me as I am or leave me the hell alone. Zahara thought with a laugh remembering three months ago when the head hunter visited her and exclaimed ” WOW! That’s a lot of hair ” Zahara coyly replied “ Why yes it is….do you or the employer you represent, have a problem with with African- American women wearing their hair in it’s natural state?” “ Oh absolutely not! It’s quite beautiful” He said turning beet red. “Here goes everything.” Zahara said aloud and walked into the building.

Zahara stepped off the elevator and headed straight for the reception desk.” How may I help you ma’am? ” The pretty blonde receptionist asked “ Hello my name is Zahara Micheals I’m a new associate starting today.” Zahara said” Oh yes Ms. Micheals I was told to look out for you. I’m Collette Nichols. I’m actually going to be your administrative assistant! I was just covering the desk for a moment while Linda went to the ladies room.” Collette said standing to shake her hand.” Well I got here just in time then Collette. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone. This is all so new and exciting to me but I’m looking forward to it.” Zahara said. An older woman approached the desk “ Linda this is the new associate Zahara Micheals” Collette said making introductions between the two ladies.” Let me take you to your new office” Collette said walking down the hall chatting and introducing her to fellow co-workers along the way. “ Here we are Ms. Micheals” Collette said opening the door to a huge office surrounded by windows overlooking the park. I hope you like it! The head honcho Mr. McComb asked me to find you an office and help you get set up. Here’s your agenda for the day, it’s pretty light but they do have you diving in head first with a project.” said Collette milling around the office straightening the few amenities she’d provided until Zahara could choose the items she’d like for her office decor.” Towards the end of the day or perhaps during lunch do you think we could go through the book and choose your office decor? It’s part of your associate allowance so you have $3,000.00 to spend on decorating.” “ WHAT! $ 3,000.00 to decorate my office ?” Laughing Zahara said,” Collette, go through the catalogs and pick out everything you think I’ll need. I like warm earth tones though. Keep that in mind. Other than that, as long as I have a desk, chair and a computer I’m good.”

“ Are you sure you’d like me too? I want you to like it.” Collette said. “ I’m positive. After all you’re my right hand woman. We may as well start there. I trust your judgment.” Zahara said smiling. “ Let’s get this first meeting out of the way. I’ll be glad when I’m not “new” anymore. This feels like the first day of high school” Zahara said laughing, “So let’s get it over with!”

 

Daniella crossed her legs in her chair and glanced down at her feet once again smiling. What a start to a day but at least my shoes are on my side. The room started to fill up with the other associates and the partners walked in with a woman she’s never seen before. Interesting Daniella thought. With so few women associates here it never occurred to me initially the new associate would be another woman and what do we have here . An African-American woman at that. Is she wearing her hair natural……in the workplace? Daniella wondered with a frown. The fashion scene must be really bad in Dallas,TX. What a Plain Jane. If she thinks she can walk in here and take the job I know was meant for me, this country bumpkin has another thing coming…..OH MY GOD! What are those on her feet ? Say it isn’t so. Are those,Easy Strides? When I made my first real paycheck I stepped out of the bargain basement when it came to my feet…..looks like little Ms. Texas is still in the bargain basement.

Instead of bursting out laughing I pasted my best fake smile on my face while introductions were made all around. Mr.McComb stood to say a few words.” Now I realize the rumor mill may have been abuzz with the few changes we’re implementing here so let me put a few things to rest. Yes we are looking to make one of our associates partner. The next few major projects the firm will be handling will give myself and the other partners a clear indication of who will be qualified to be our next partner. I wont pull any punches with you all. We’re watching you. That means everyone . When one of you is made partner, we’ll be looking internally to fill that associates position. We’re all about forward movement here. So everyone needs to put their best foot forward. While maintaining a team spirit we’re looking to see who shines. With that being said we’d like to introduce everyone to our newest associate Zahara Micheals, our firm was lucky enough to woo Ms. Micheals away from a fantastic up and coming firm in Dallas,TX and we couldn’t be happier to have her join our team. Ms. Micheals would you like to say a few words ?” Mr.McComb said,” Sure” Zahara said standing ” First I’d like to thank everyone for the fabulous welcome I’ve already received and really all I can say is that I’m in awe of each and everyone of your work. It was a huge decision for me personally to relocate, looking into this company and while making my decision I researched the firm thoroughly. Seeing all the great things you all have accomplished here made it professionally easy to make this move. I look forward to working with each and every one of you.” Zahara said warmly. ” Thanks you so much Zahara, we certainly look forward to your added expertise.” Mr. McComb said.

“Now everyone please take notice of the packet in front of you. It contains all the preliminary information you need for the new campaign we are heading up for a natural hair care product company called Just Touch. The client is looking for a clean modern campaign that will hopefully reach millions of new customers here in the states and abroad.” Mr.McComb said with a pause “I realize that some of you here in this room may be more knowledgeable than others on this so please share your expertise with your coworkers, we’re all a team here and it’s up to all of us this to give the client our best. If you have no knowledge of the company Just Touch and it’s products familiarize yourself this weekend and the coming week. We have a meeting with the clients in one week.”

“I’m a fair business man so I’m not going to pull any punches here. Zahara and Daniella will be the project heads. Both of you will be equally responsible for bringing this project to life. You two ladies together, bring a wealth of information to the project and I do believe from my own personal research that ahem. ” Mr.McComb said ” You” he said pointing at Zahara “Wear your hair in it’s natural state?” ” Yes I do” Zahara said looking around shyly since he’d put her on the spot ” In all honesty, since I stopped relaxing my hair five years ago I’ve exclusively used Just Touch products on my hair so I’m excited about the project and look forward to giving them my best.”

“WOW!” Mr.McComb said excitement in his voice ” We just signed on to the project two weeks ago! So to have someone on the team personally using and familiar with the product line is a huge blessing. I’m sure the owner will be excited to meet with you and hear from an actual customer.” Mr.McComb looked around the room ” This will conclude the meeting for today,as I said all the information you need for now is included. This is a multi- million dollar project. Let’s make sure we land this companies next campaign. Once again we all welcome you to the team Zahara.” Mr.McComb said concluding the meeting.

Everyone buzzed around Zahara introducing themselves to her and were very welcoming of her. Except Daniella . Who waited until the crowd of people had cleared before she approached . ” Well it looks like we’re partners for this project. I’ll admit, usually when I’m working on a project I don’t share the lead. I don’t really know how this is going to work out between us. Quite frankly I think it’s a bit ambitious of the partners to have you working on a project worth so much and you’re new to the firm.” Daniella said condescendingly.

Zahara was shocked. Momentarily. ” Well I guess that makes both of us….what is your name again? Dawn?”

“It’s Daniella ”

” Whatever. Where I’m from I’m used to being the HBIC charge as well. Though when my supervisors require me to work as a team I’m more than willing and happy to do that as well. As for it being ambitious of them to have me on a project such as this,I hardly think that’s the case. As much money as they paid to get me to leave Texas and the firm I was already happy and established with, it would only seem right to make me earn my keep wouldn’t it? It cost a lot to have me here. At any rate Daniella is it? I have some things to do regarding settling into the office then jumping head first into this project. We can have our assistants set up a meeting between us to go over things before the meeting with the clients. Goodbye.” Zahara said walking out of the board room.

” I know this country bitch didn’t call herself just checking me?” Daniella said under her breath and stalked back to her office.

 

Daniella stopped at her assistant Kathy’s desk ” Kathy I’ll be doing some research for a campaign for the next few hours. Please take a message for any phone calls and don’t disturb me by letting anyone in” ” Absolutely Ms. Jones.” Kathy said nervously. Kathy could see from the expression on her face she was pissed off with someone and did not want to be on her bad side. Over the last few years Kathy had grown used to Daniellas demanding ways and hot and cold demeanor at times but they’d in recent months come to a more comfortable place. One where Kathy was more perceptive to Daniella’s whims and more or less chose to cater to them to make sure her work environment was good.

Though if Kathy had to lay her cards out on the table,she thought Daniella was a spoiled bitch.

 

Daniella plopped herself down at her desk and immediately pulled up Google. Let me see exactly who the hell this Zahara Micheals is! Once Daniella typed in her name into all the major search engines she was stunned to find that many of the most creative ad campaigns that had come out in the last four years, many of which she’d quietly and vocally admired had been headed by Zahara. Commercials that when she saw them on T.V. made her laugh… Zahara Micheals. Shit! Why had I never thought to look up these and see who was behind them? I’ve got to make sure I stand out from the pack in regards to this account or I’ll never make partner. Daniella went on to read an article in the Dallas newspaper that featured Zahara and also found out that Zahara was in fact offered a partnership at the firm she was previously at but had declined the offer. Interesting. I wonder why she would turn down a chance at partner at a firm she virtually helped build and make a name for?

Enough of this Zahara bitch. Let me look into this natural hair crap! Daniella thought with a frown.

Daniella absentmindedly ran her hands through her $1300 dollar weave. It was mid-back length chocolate brown and streaked with golden highlights. It was stunning. At least that’s what everyone told her. Hell it should be for $2,000. Daniella was more than willing to pay the hefty price tag for her weave. Every since she was a child she’d wanted long flowing hair, unfortunately she’d never been able to grow her own hair past chin length. So when she was able to afford to step her shoe game up,she stepped her hair game up as well. Daniella looked up the company Just Touch to see what advertising they currently had in place as well as looking into the price points for many of the products they offered. Hmm? I see some of these ladies are talking about the products on message boards but I’m not joining any of them just to see. Bunch of nappy headed ass women who need to run a comb….and some relaxer through their heads stat as far as I’m concerned ! Daniella thought to herself jotting a few notes for the project down.

 

“Collette? ”

“Yes Ms. Micheals?”

“Please call me Zahara. Were you still interested in going over anything at lunch? Like I said order anything you’d like to for here it’s fine by me but if there is anything else you’d like to go over I’m available during lunch,just let me know OK? Also do you have any take out menus? I’m going to just order in. We got our new project assignment and I’m really excited about it!” Zahara said excitedly.

” Really? What is it?” Collette asked.

” Come on in and close the door . Well it just so happens to be for a natural botanical based hair care product company whose product line I’ve used exclusively for the last five years! Isn’t that great? I mean I absolutely adore their line of products and anytime someone asks what I use on my hair I recommend their line. So to now be able to design an ad campaign for them… I could scream!” Zahara said barely able to contain her excitement.

“So what did you think of the other associates?” Collette asked.

Zahara hesitated a second before answering but something told her from the start that Collette was someone she could trust. Besides the fact her mother had always told her from a child up ” Never tell anyone something you don’t want repeated” Zahara lived by that statement. ” Actually everyone was really nice. Though I see I already have a problem child.” Zahara said rolling her eyes.

Collette laughed ” Let me guess. Daniella Jones?”

” For you to already know who I’m speaking of I can see I’m not wrong in my initial judgment of her!” Daniella said.

” No not all. Daniella is something else…to put it mildly. I was stuck with her for a month and it was the most miserable thirty days I’ve ever spent at this job. Daniella totally thinks she’s above everyone else. Get this,you may not have noticed but you will now that I’m pointing it out to you. Look at how she looks at every woman’s feet to see what kind of shoes you have on! I swear if you aren’t wearing at least a pair of $300 shoes on your feet you don’t deserve to be spoken to in her book.” Collette said with a laugh.

” Are you kidding me?”

“I kid you not. Check it out for yourself.”

” Well I know she was looking at my feet in disgust then! I’m proudly rocking this pair of Easy Strides today! Are you a native New Yorker? Oh my GOD how do you all do it with all this walking? I threw the pair of sneakers I wore on the subway into my bag standing in front of the building!” Zahara said.”I’ve actually been here two weeks and made a point to take the subway to this area everyday so I’d know exactly how to get here and all. Girl it’s a mess! I feel like I’m surrounded by at least a million people all walking the streets at the same time. It’s still fun to me now,but I can see me changing my mind soon. Like next month.” Zahara said taking a bite of her Chinese food that had been delivered for her and Collette.

” You get used to it after awhile. I’m from Brooklyn and had a car but when I relocated here to Manhattan I sold it after a few months. The damn car started to cost me way more than it was worth. My building doesn’t have a garage so you either have to get off at a certain time to try to beat everyone else to the 2 or 3 parking spots in front of the building or you ended up parking 3 blocks away and having to walk home anyways….I’m not even going to tell you about the tickets I had to pay! I sold the damn thing after awhile.”

Collette ate and flipped through the brochure picking out items for Zahara’s office,every once in awhile she’d pass it to Zahara to OK what she’d chosen.

“Do you need me to gather any information for you about the new project Zahara?”

“Actually I probably shouldn’t be so casual about this but my research is going to be very little. Like I said I personally use this line of products myself,prior to even cutting off my relaxed hair and going natural I did research on the ingredients and all that stuff as well as the various natural hair care boards online I’m a member of. I have a pretty good idea of want I want to pitch to them. It’s all based on the actual feedback I’ve read about their past and current campaigns for years.”

” OK! Sounds like you have it mapped out and I for one LOVE your hair! It’s beautiful and there’s a ton of it. I know you’ll want to kill me but I may as well get it out of the way and you can call me an idiot later…..let me touch it! It looks so soft I’ve been wanting to touch it since you walked in this morning.” Collette said laughing with Zahara joining in.” I wont call you an idiot and I’ll at least give you cool points for at least asking…you wouldn’t believe how many people just come at me hands first! OK…..go ahead. Get your one free feel.” Zahara said with a laugh.” Oh my God it’s as soft as I thought it would be. OK I’m done being the corny white chick at work.” Collette said.

“It’s OK. Really, it seems the longer it gets the more attraction it draws but I love the decision I made not to use chemicals anymore and it’s all mine. I mean I love all hair styles weave, relaxed and natural but as black women so many times we’re made to feel like we can’t have naturally long hair or that in order to we have to be biracial or something and I’m living proof that’s not true.” Zahara said ” I’ll be more than ready with my ideas when it’s time to meet with the clients I’m just not looking forward to working side by side with Daniella. Maybe I’m judging her to quickly. We’ll see though.” Zahara said thoughtfully.

” All I’m going to say is you’ve been officially warned that she has the reputation of a slithering snake. Another ex assistant of hers even said she passed another associates ideas off as her own and took the credit for it. So just be careful. Rumor has it she thought she was a shoo-in for partner until they head hunted you. So I’m sure that’s not sitting to well with her either. Just watch your back.” Colette warned.

 

Copyright©2012 A.N.C. Media Publishing & Candace Mumford

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