Warning: non-humorous thought piece.
This is a Tuesday prompt from the Helmsley editors at Writers’ Den.
The task is to start with their first sentence.
She ducked behind the wall, sheltering herself from the blast.
His breath was a form of dragon breath she had not been subjected to in all the years she had been on this planet.
She knew she would have to face him when she came out,
but she had a few moments still to come up with an excuse.
Maybe more, since he surely wouldn’t come into the ladies room.
Or would he?
And that was exactly the point.
He was the boss,
and he thought his rights were unlimited.
Especially since he had decided she wasn’t fawning enough.
He was the boss,
it was his company.
But she simply didn’t accept the fact that being a “team player”
meant that she and the others,
nearly all women in the office,
should have to accept group hugs at the coffee machine,
or be the buffer between he and his married for thirty years wife.
Especially when he was having a “long lunch” at a local motel.
The sadness in his wife’s eyes at the Christmas party had been more than she could bear.
The sadness in the eyes of one or another of “his girls”
as they left when he tired of their company at his long lunches, ditto.
She had been looking for a job for months.
And the boss, if he knew of it, had accepted it-
more or less.
He had to.
She was the one who kept the books,
and managed their public relations
and ad campaigns.
And she was good at it.
She had once read that several of the best female murder mystery writers had worked for advertising companies.
She understood their motivation.
Today, though, had been a whole new ball game.
Their company had been bought out-
forced-merged with a company making the parts they dispersed,
and one assembling them into personally designed
Meaning expensive clientele.
And a head-banging good-old-boy battle between the head of the her company,
and the Grand in toto Poobah.
Who lately had a habit of droppping in for a four p.m. drink,
and a chat with the lovely ladies on the front office list.
And where she had,
up until this moment,
gotten grudging admiration
and studied ignoring,
from her office’s boss,
she now found herself locked in a battle of wills,
between two territorial males,
one of whom now wanted to spend “time” with her,
and the other who wished to improve his buddy chances,
once and for all,
he wasn’t a wimp,
by handing on a
neatly tied in ribbons and quietly aquiescing,
superior prize lamb.
She leaned against the inside of the door,
trying to simultaneously think fast,
and retain what dignity she had.
While the only thing she could really think of at the moment,
was male private parts,
and the use of a steering wheel lock bar as a cattle prod.
Throwing some cold water on her face,
she finally made the decision.
Even working at a hamburger joint was better than this.
It was time to go.
She was drying her hands, when she heard the soft knock on the door.
She opened it a crack.
It was Helen.
One of the ones who had held out longest against the good-old-boy-chicken-house system.
with a sweet fiance
and marriage-babies-white-picket-fence dreams.
Which was why what she said next shocked Jean so much.
“Here. We were afraid you were going to leave, so we hid this a couple of days.”
The post-mark was from the day the office had been forcibly merged.
It was from the headmaster of a private girls academy-
in the woods of Vermont.
Offering her a job.
They were trying to stave off a take-over
by a large corporation,
whose all male board
was setting up a chain of expensive co-educational private academies-
for students with learning disabilities,
or who needed more discipline in their lives.
The position was listed as:
with duties in public relations…
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Teacher, Musician, Composer, Conductor, Writer. Sometimes the one, sometimes all. Life is good.