Christiana entered the office of Tubman’s Couriers and was immediately hit with the deluge of male voices. The 5 men employed by the company were already working the phones.
“Cook Building at Main Street”
“Pro Shop? Where is that?”
“Cause it’s only 7.12am. Our girls haven’t started yet.”
“18th floor? Our girls are riders, not climbers. We can’t…”
Look like it was going to be a busy day.
Christiana slipped into the women’s locker room and saw that several of her colleagues had already arrived. She walked to her locker, signaling greetings to any of her colleagues she walked past. She opened her locker and took off her sarong.
It felt good to be naked.
Like most women in Himbaya, Christina only wore the sarong as the law required it. Although by world standards the sarong wasn’t very confining as it only covered the women from their breasts to their feet, it was still something most women in Himbaya disliked. Traditionally, women in the country only wore a mini-skirt with a veil covering their faces and most women would do away with the sarong if possible.
She placed the sarong on the hanger and quickly donned her skirt. Made of goat-skin, the traditional short skirt of the Himbayan people was part of the uniform the company got for the women. The other part of the uniform was a hood. Christina looked at the full-length mirror in her locker and quickly took off her veil.
In a country that required married women to cover their face in public and only showed it to their husband at home, the traditional Himbayan veil was of vital importance to Christina. Made of goat skin, it covered her whole face completely with only 2 small eyeholes for the woman to see through. Even within a locker room with only women around, Christina carefully looked around to make sure none of the other women was looking in her direction when she took off her veil. She detached the veil from her erembe, a headdress at the top of her head, and from the necklace she wore around her neck. She quickly put on her hood.
Similar to her veil, the company’s hood also covered her whole face but with openings for her eyes, nose and mouth. However the biggest difference was that unlike the traditional veil which was clipped or attached to her various jewelries, the hood had a zip at the side to hold it in place.
Christina quickly zipped up the hood and locked it in place with a small padlock. The sole key of the padlock she placed within her locker. She took a look at herself in the mirror again. She was wearing a skirt, a hood and her necklace but otherwise she was naked. Her still firm but small boobs was on show for the world to see and Christina took a second to admire herself.
Christina closed and locked her locker, and went out to the main office of Tubman’s Couriers. Several girls dressed like her were already kneeling in a straight line. Christina took her position in line and waited in silence with the rest of her colleagues. She did not have to wait long.
Alexander Tubman walked in front of the line at exactly 7.30am and started his daily briefing. “Okay girls, some news for today. There is a road construction on Fisherman’s Avenue so be careful there. Also remember that the recipients of the package need to sign on the forms before you give it to them.” Christina nodded along with several of the girls; this was a usual reminder from the boss. Alex continued, “One more thing is that you girls will need to do some extra locations for the next few days. Ellen will be in a hospital for a few days after a beating from her husband so you girls will need to take up her work.”
Only Christina’s self-control stopped her smile. In Himbaya, there were no laws about how husbands could discipline their wives. However there was a social stigma for hurting your wives and men who hurt their women badly usually had to answer to their families for it. Alex must be pissed at Ellen’s husband for taking away his worker for the next few days. By telling the girls the news, he was ensuring that people would hear about the hospitalization. By this evening, Ellen’s husband would have a series of relatives coming to him for “enquiries”.
“Any questions?” Alex asked. “No? Okay, let’s get started.”
Alex walked back to his desk and James from the package desk started calling out names. Christina waited patiently on her knees for her name.
“Christina!” Christina jumped up and ran to the counter. James continued uninterrupted, “Suneagle Building on Windfleet Street; 35mins. Millwall Office on Yoghut Avenue; 50mins. Back here in 80. Go!”
Christina took the bag with the 2 packages and took out the watch which was inside the bag. She put it on and saw it counting down already; 00mins, 3secs! She rushed out to the bike shed and took out her bike.
Heading out onto the street, she pedaled hard in the direction of Windfleet Street. Christina felt the sun on her body and not for the first time was glad for the ocher cream.
Himbaya was a dry and hot country and the sun in the sky was merciless. Sun cream was essential but it cost money so Himbayans women had kept to the old tradition of the ocher cream. An ancient form of sun block, the ocher cream was a mixture of rancid butterfat and ochre powder which women applied all over their hair and body. The cream also gave a reddish shine to their body which Himbayans found beautiful.
Christina cycled past men and women on her trip. The men were of course well-dressed but some of the women she passed were dressed much like her. Those were working women while other women still dressed in their sarongs were not. Christina knew that these were women who were out shopping or were simply idling. She barely paid them any notice and concentrated hard on the pedals.
She got to Windfleet Street and quickly found Suneagle Building. She put her bicycle on the bicycle rack and went into the office building. She quickly went to the reception and signaled to the male receptionist. Women in Himbaya were not allowed to speak in public and were also not allowed to do any job that was not manual in nature. So in public, women only used sign language (which was like a second language to everyone in Himbaya) and only men were allowed to do jobs behind a desk.
“Rider from Tubman’s Couriers with a delivery sir.”
“Let me see,” the man signaled back respectfully. The man was neither a relative nor a co-worker of Christina, so he would not speak to her. Christina let the man looked at the address on form and he nodded to Christina. He signaled, “Yes, the address is correct. Please wait.” He picked up a phone and spoke into it. “A package to the 18th floor; City Index Office. Send me a climber.”
“Sir, please sign here.” Christina signaled and pointed at the release form. The man signed and she gave the package to the man. “Thank you.”
The man nodded and Christina turned to the exit. She saw a woman running towards the receptionist. The woman was dressed like Christina, only her hood was green in color and wasn’t as skintight as hers. Christina saw the man signaled to the woman, “City Index Office on the 18th floor; 11mins. Go!”
The woman took the package and ran towards the stairs. Christina immediately knew the other woman was a climber. She would be working at the mailroom, taking packages and documents to the various offices within the building. The woman’s job was known as “climber” because women in Himbaya were not allowed to take either elevators or escalators. The woman would be required to take the stairs up to the 18th floor, and she would have 11mins to get up there. If she was late in her delivery, she would have her pay docked.
As a rider of Tubman’s Couriers, Christina also had a schedule to keep. She looked at her watch; 33mins, 54secs! She reached her first location with a minute to spare but it was too early to celebrate. Christina took her bike from the bicycle rack and started for Yoghut Avenue. The day had just begun.