THERE WASN’T A GUY IN THE FIFTH FLOOR Women’s Wear buying office, single or married, who wasn’t aware of the new hire that first morning as soon as she reported for work. She was that stunning. This great looker was to be Sidney Kramer’s latest buying assistant, and Sidney, the company’s hot shot women’s coat and suit buyer, certainly knew how to find them. As soon as the office guys laid eyes on her, they knew old Sidney’d slammed one over the fence. And the way things always worked with Sidney’s finds, before long this one too would get sent out to one of the stores as assistant women’s coat and suit manager, and with her looks she’d be off to a smart career. No one foresaw it would be any different this time.

That first morning when the office manager, Marsha Lavain, led this young lady to her desk, the guys were already peering over the cubicle dividers. “This is Monica,” she announced to no one in particular. “Sidney’s new assistant.” Her brusqueness let everyone know she, for one, wasn’t buying. 

The single guys in the office, though, were sold in an instant. One by one they found cause to idle past this new hire’s cubicle. To say Monica was easy to look at doesn’t begin to tell the story. 

“Did you see her?” Marty Goldman said rolling his eyes at the others during their ritual, mid-morning coffee break. Marty Goldman was the women’s footwear buyer. He was single and had a legitimate interest in such things. It didn’t hurt that the new hire’s cubicle was just two down from his.

“She’s a looker, all right,” Stu Harris said. “But tight as a clam.” Stu was women’s accessories buyer. He was divorced and hungry and had been the first to go in and try chatting her up.

 “She married?” Marty asked. 

“Don’t waste your time,” Stu said. “We got ourselves a Greta Garbo. She vants to be alone,” he smirked, quoting the famous line from the beautiful but reclusive Swedish actress back in the early days of film.

“I couldn’t see a ring,” Marty said.  

 “She’s single,” Roger Clarkson said. Roger Clarkson was the company’s attorney and one of the keenest legal heads in the garment district. He was married and had twin boys he liked to show off at work. Roger’s office was on the sixth floor in Legal and he had yet to see this particular new hire. But he had her file opened on his desk.  

Sidney Kramer himself joined them at table just then and broke out into one of his feigned lurid grins. He didn’t have to guess what they were talking about.

“Listen, you guys,” he said, “I knew she was hot the moment I laid eyes on her. She’s one classy number, and smart too. If she sticks with this rotten business, believe me, she’ll go places.” And then with the customary gesture he added, “And I’m talkin’ svelte . . . ” Sidney was on his third marriage and seemed to have settled down more or less, but everyone knew old Sidney still had eyes. 

Sidney’s hamming got a laugh from the table save for the attorney, Roger Clarkson. “And you!” Sidney said turning on him. “What’s this about you poking into her background.” He said this with that joking scowl you could never be quite sure about.

Roger hunched his shoulders. Sidney was not one of his favorites. “Marsha put her file on my desk,” he said evenly. “I’m to look into it.”  

“Marsha,” Sidney scowled with a wave of the hand. “It’s all bullcrap, believe me.”

Roger looked around at the others, hesitating, then decided Marty and Stu were safe enough. “It seems she lied to get this job,” he said. Looking at Sidney he added, “Not very smart, that.”

Sidney grabbed his coffee and got up. “Show me an honest bum in this business,” he said. With that he moved off to another table.

When Stu left too, Marty leaned over to Roger. “What’s going on?” he said. “She lie on her application?”

 Roger nodded, adding, “According to Marsha, her last employer fired her. I’m to find out why.” Roger said this with another of his shrugs. Far as he was concerned it was just another day at the office. 

Marty shook his head. “You know Sidney’s gonna fight you.”

“Maybe,” Roger said looking at his watch and getting up. “We’ll see what we find. I’m going to be seeing her this afternoon.”

 “Some guys have all the luck,” Marty said. . . .