Flash 500 Day 6 – Writing Prompts:
Person in professional disgrace
“Peggy, you know that I am in your corner. I haven’t forgotten what Mr. Brickhardt did to me, but I just can’t risk losing my job. I have kids, you know . . .”
“Yeah, sure Alison. I get it. You’re about the fifteenth person to stop by my office with a similar story. Enjoy your continued torment.”
“I really am sorry. I just can’t take the chance.”
"No. No, I do understand. You and all your buds can solicit my help in protecting YOU, but when it comes to standing up . . . well . . . isn’t it lucky I don’t have kids, or a mortgage payment, or an elderly parent. Oh wait. I do have an unemployed husband dying of cancer right now. But don’t let that worry you.”
Watching Peggy’s face fall in shame felt good. Rats, all of them. Each and every one of them deserves what they get—more of the same old same old butt pinching, hot breathing down the back of your neck, lewd commenting fun times with the boss.
How could I be so stupid? I hate people.
The problem is that I’m a problem solver. It’s what got me a great job with an up and coming company in the first place. I’m really good at spotting what needs to be fixed and taking steps to see that the solution is initiated.
But there was one fly in my lovely honey body butter of a job. Mr. Brickhardt, the program director. When Ms. Elliott retired we all breathed a sigh of relief, because the dragon lady was on her way out the door. Little did we know what was in store for us—at least those of us with boobs and a vagina.
It started for most of us with a comment about our appearance.
“You look especially nice today.”
“Did you change your hairstyle? You look even younger than before.”
“That color green really brings out the color of your eyes.”
It was hard not to be polite and accept the compliments as genuine, so we were all nice about his remarks. Unfortunately it was a slippery slope that led to outright solicitation of sexual favors for promotions, or even continued employment. When Melanie was “let go” for “losing” a file that wasn’t lost (translation – wouldn’t let the boss do her on the desk) we quickly solidified into a force for change, with the office problem solver, me, at the forefront.
Now the problem solver is the new office problem. I expect I’ll be cleaning out my desk before lunchtime. Another one gets away with it because women are too afraid to speak up or willing to back down at the first sign of corporate pressure. By the way, corporate is claiming that we were willing to accept his compliments without complaint and therefore are complicit . . .
Ah, and there’s the knock.
“Hi Cheryl. What’s up?”
“Mr. Hargrove wants to see you in his office immediately.”
The grinning bastard is standing just far enough back behind Cheryl that I can see his gloat face.
“Thanks Cheryl. I’m on my way.”