Crisp New Pages – Episode 6

Entry 43.1.53 – 11/18/2013

Oh happy day Gerald!

When you arrived at the office today Carol was nowhere to be found. Isn’t that odd? She is usually so punctual. One of her only professional practices. Her office was totally empty. Gone were the plethora of gaudy trifles representing her shallow life. The bowling trophy, the framed picture of her rodent of a dog with that pink bow on its yappy little head. That dog had been such a bother. At least until it stopped yelping. Even the cheap Cesar’s Palace coin cup that held her pens was gone.

About an hour into the day HR Sandra gathered us all in a conference room to make an announcement. The usual death march was taken up by the office insects as they made their way toward what they suspected to be another mindless training workshop.

“Everyone, I have some sad news”, said HR Sandra. “After serving as our manager for three years Carol has decided to move on from her position. Effective immediately.”

Eyes darted and whispered questions sprung up across the room but were hushed quickly by the waving hand of Sandra.

“She left instructions for me to read you all this note. It begins:

Dear Beloved Staff,

I write you today full of sadness as I must resign as your supervisor. I have had time to think over this weekend and my obscene actions on Friday and indeed many times before have been contrary to the high workplace ethic that a company like Muetter-Freeley-Price stands for. I apologize for my conduct and hope you can forgive me. I am going to move on and start anew with fresh eyes toward the future. Thank you for your hard and dutiful work.

Sincerely,

Carol Bartlett

The Human Resources department will be working to find a replacement as soon as possible. I know this comes as a shock to everyone. I’m going to try to get more information and I’ll let you know if I hear more but please try to stay as professional as possible with regard to this situation.”

The cluster of drones grumbled some agreements through their mouth parts and dispersed back to their desks. You overheard some talk from the cubicle in front of you. There were questions about the letter Carol wrote. They didn’t believe that it sounded anything like her. They thought the words were too fancy for her. You thought that it sounded beautiful. There was also talk of Tom. How was he doing? How was he holding up? Were there going to be repercussions for him regarding the incident on Friday?

Just before it was time to leave Sandra came over to your desk. Still wearing a look of sadness and confusion at Carol’s resignation.

“It looks like Carol had a change of heart, Garald”, she said as she handed you a thin manila folder.

“Really”, You said and opened to the first page? There it was in bold black ink. PASSED

I had passed my employee review and was no longer under notice. You looked up into Sandra’s face. The sadness had turned to contempt.

“I hope you are happy with yourself. Look what you’ve done this poor woman.”

You did not respond and she stormed back to her office.

 

Poor woman? Poor woman!? She made my life hell and I’m supposed to feel sorry for her. She sinned and I’m supposed to take the blame.

 

No. You won’t get angry again. Today was a good day. You’re going to fall asleep smiling.

* * *

“Dude”, whispered a pale and shaken Darren, “he did something to her. I know he did. This is serious. We gotta go get help.”

Sheets of rain still fell against the small storage shed, their ex-castle, but it was lighter now. They could get home without getting too soaked. Darren knew they could. They just needed to put the notebook down and go. It was as easy as that.

Kenny let out a sigh that seemed too big for his scrawny body and readied himself for the speech. He knew it was coming and had practiced some lines in his head between entries. He paused before he spoke, thinking about what emotion would work best on Darren. What would keep him there and reading. This adventure was too good. This adventure was real. This wasn’t wooden swords or make-believe super powers. This was an actual, grown up, mystery. A story he could tell his grandkids some day just like his gramps did.

“You’re right man”, said Kenny, focusing hard to make his face seem serious and sincere, “but we can’t leave yet. If something did happen to this lady, we need as much evidence as possible so we can help the cops solve the case. If all we can say is a scary notebook said a lady disappeared, they’ll never believe us.”

The next minute was quiet. Darren thought and Kenny just stared at him, trying to pour on the pressure. It was true that no one would likely believe them without more evidence. That made sense. Darren just really wanted to leave. He wanted any reason to leave.

While he thought the wind picked up outside. The sound of something heavy made one light thump against the building.
“I think that was the lock. Someone’s outside”, said Darren. His eyes moving from the door of the shed to the lone window and back to the door. He could swear he heard footsteps move through to soggy lawn outside.

“Come, on. Seriously? Are you going to make stuff up just so you can chicken out?”, asked Kenny with calculated disgust in his voice.

Darren barely heard what Kenny was saying. He was too focused on the footsteps he was sure he heard. This time they seemed to be on his family’s side of the fence. When Kenny said, “chicken out?” the words seemed to be punctuated by a low wet thud outside followed by another, then another. He was sure he heard it but he also wasn’t sure. He turned back to Kenny and the look on his face made Darren’s stomach ache. He was letting down his friend and he knew it. He needed to be brave. He knew Kenny was right about the evidence. About not being believed.

This time, Darren sat down on the floor next to Kenny, their legs folded and their knees touching. He tugged at the notebook so that it was right in between them and it was Darren who started reading first. They were in it together.

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