Even chickens are cage-free.

We are no different from dogs. We might be scrubbed and suited but we’re penned in our cubicles same as surplus dogs warehoused in pounds. Company-issued name plates on the putty-colored dividers designate our spaces. Pedigreed, mixed-breed, sociable or prone to nipping, we all end up contained and alone. There’s no privacy in this isolation. I see no one but hear them all and know way too much: surgeries scheduled, burps muffled, phlegm cleared, whispers carried. I ignore the yipping. The frenzies ignited by food in the vicinity (“Leftover danish in the executive conference room!”) or the approach of a manager.

“Arf arf, me me me, come here, pick me me me, arf arf,” is what I hear as she walks past cubicle openings, selectively granting acknowledgement. They’re breathless but don’t hop and scratch because that would be inappropriate for adults in a financial district high rise – and that’s what we are, right? Adults?

We’re no different from the dogs, though. I’ve been around the block a few times. There is no forever home. I can still be kicked out, though I never got into the garbage or peed on the carpet (though wished I’d had after being “eliminated” by human resources). In my release, there’s freedom but I could do without the scavenging. I yield to the crowd that has to be somewhere, knowing there’s no place I belong. Until the day I’m picked again. It’s never like the first time, when I was as trusting as a puppy. Years of professional experience have trained me into one cranky bitch.

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