#FlashMobWrites 1 x 44 : The Remedy

I let the police deal with gathering evidence from her apartment, and find her car. I let them do their job, and try to figure out who’d last seen her alive, where she’d been, what she was doing, who she was with.

That information wouldn’t lead anywhere. It seldom did. I had to do something different. Something only an Armor could do. Something only I could do.

I started by visiting the people she worked with. The man who sat in the cube next to hers. What do you do when your computer stops what it’s doing, and asks, “When was the last day Darla came to work?” He turned the screen off, then back on. The question remained. He turned the computer off, then on. Still, the question remained, even on the login screen. He unplugged the computer, and the question showed up on a sheet of paper that landed on his keyboard. He got up, went to the restroom, and the question was written on the mirror he looked into. He gave up. He typed “Last Thursday”.

The question changed, “Did she have a date that night?”

“I don’t know.”

“Who might know?”

“Debbie.”

“Thank you.”

The questions stopped.

They started again on Debbie’s computer. “Did Darla have a date last Thursday?”

Debbie stared at her screen.

“Debbie, did Darla have a date?”

She looked around.

“This is not a prank.” I paused a moment, then continued, “You know Darla’s been murdered, don’t you?” Her expression showed she didn’t. “Oh. Sorry.”

Debbie stared at her screen, and spoke, “She hasn’t been at work for days.”

“I know.”

“She doesn’t answer her phone, or text messages, or email.”

“She’s dead, Debbie. The police are looking for who did it.”

“Are you the police?”

“No.” I paused. “Debbie. Did she have a date last Thursday night?”

Debbie nodded.

“Who?”

“Her boyfriend.” Debbie whispered, “Tyler. I don’t know his last name.”

“Thank you, Debbie.”

“Is she really dead?”

“Yes.” I added Mrs. Whitson’s phone number. “Her mother’s phone number. Call.”

I left Debbie’s cube, but I wasn’t done yet. I found Darla’s desk, opened a storage door on my armor, pulled out the pink rose I’d stored there, and set it on the desk, with a card that read, “You are missed,” and had the date, time, and location of the memorial service Mrs. Whitson was planning.

I watched as Debbie and the man found their way to Darla’s cube. I watched as word spread like it always does. Phone calls were made. People cried. Chaos ensued. And with all that racket, no one noticed the door of the building open and close by itself.

444 Words
@LurchMunster


This is Part 3 of a story I’m writing using the prompts for the #FlashMobWrites challenge. #FlashMobWrites is hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels.  Please, go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites Week 1×44. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

#ThursThreads Week 62 : Not That He Knew It

I watched him pace back and forth across the far side of the deck, standing as far away from everyone as he could. He kept looking cross the deck at all of us, like he was watching us. Like we were some kind of science experiment, and he was recording his observations, and would try to make sense out of them later.

Becky nudged me, and asked, so quietly it was almost a whisper, “Is he OK?”

“Does he look OK to you?”

She shook her head. “He needs help, doesn’t he?”

“Yes. He probably does.”

Richard noticed us talking. “He’s scary, ain’t he? The way he stays off to one side, and just watches? It’s like something’s wrong with him. And I can’t tell what it is. And that’s just damn creepy.”

“Do you think he knows?” Becky asked. Her eyes told me she wanted me to answer yes.

“He’s gotta know. How can he not know?” I sighed. “I mean, look at him. The way he’s been getting stranger the last couple of months. He’s gotta know something’s wrong.”

Richard chimed back in, “I tried to tell him. They’re gonna fire him. Or something like that. Get him out of the workplace. Tried to tell him he’s becoming too disturbing and disruptive at work. And they get rid of people when that happens.” He shook his head. “So, yeah. He knows.”

Greg injected himself into the conversation. “No. He doesn’t. He’s not going to see Monday coming.” He tried to smile. “They’re gonna send him home on Monday. Tell him to apply for medical leave. And he’s not gonna know why.”

“How can you say that? How can he not know?” Becky was always concerned for him, for some reason we could never figure out. “The way he behaves. The way people act around him. The way we avoid him. How people like Richard talk to him, and flat-out tell him what’s going on, and what’s going to happen. How can he not know?” She took a deep breath. We all did. We needed it. “Hell, I’ve even talked to him. Told him he needed help.”

Greg just grimaced. “He talked to me, Friday.” He nodded at Richard. “Said you talked with him. And he had no idea what you were trying to say. Something about people who don’t behave appropriately being removed from work. But he didn’t understand why you were telling him that.” Greg just sat there, closed his eyes, and shook his head. “Yeah, we know he’s screwed up. And we know they’re sending him out on Monday. And he’ll get angry. And who knows how it’ll end.”

“It’s not going to be a problem, is it? Sending him home? He’ll go. No one will get hurt?”

Greg shrugged. “How can anyone tell? Can you tell? I can’t tell what he’s going to do.” He took another deep breath. “They’re sending him home Monday Morning. First thing. They’ll call him in, talk to him, send him home on leave without pay. Tell him to talk with his doctor about getting put on medical leave. It’s going to happen. Not that he knows it.”

Becky always chewed on her thumbs when she was nervous, or stressed. She did then. Put a thumb right up to her mouth, and left tooth prints on it. “How can he not know?”

We found out, three months later, that he hadn’t known. He hadn’t seen it coming at all. That he felt betrayed by all of us. And, we found out too, he’d been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. And never even knew he’d been acting in ways that were disturbing and disruptive to all of us. Not that he knew it. He didn’t. He just knew we all felt he was a problem. One we’d had to get rid of.

And his diagnosis with an ASD was the last nail in the coffin of his time at work. We all knew that the day we learned about it. Not that he knew it. But he’d learn. Like he’d learned his behavior was unacceptable. He’d learn. People like us don’t work with people like him.

None of us ever spoke to him again.

It was just better that way.

I’ll never forget that night, even after I’m dead.

755 Totally Disqualified Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 62. It’s somewhat over the 250 word limit, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

The Diverse And Tolerant Workplace

People speak to me of tolerance.
And of diversity.
They tell me
Where I used to work
Was a diverse place.
A tolerant place.
And they have the paperwork,
And all the records that they need
To prove that.
After all,
They’re in compliance,
Completely,
With the government’s rules,
And requirements
For diversity,
And tolerance both.

But, they don’t know.
They don’t see
What I see.
They only see a set of rules.
A set of requirements
That they have to follow.

That’s anything but
True diversity.

No one seems to notice
The things that happen
In the halls.
In the rooms.
Where people talk.
Like people talk.
When they don’t have to behave.
When they don’t have to worry.
When they can let down
The guard they keep in place
Day after day.

When the lie they live
Is set aside.
For perhaps one moment.
Perhaps two.
And say the things
They can’t say
In public.

“I’m never going to use that restroom
Again.
Not after it’s been in there.”

“That arrogant prima donna will get
What he deserves.
You just wait.”

“I get so tired
Of having to be nice
To that fagot.”

The list goes on and on.
Things people say
Every day
When they think
Everyone understands.
They’re just being normal.
In every way.

That the lies they perpetuate.
Of civility in the workplace.
Of respecting diversity.
And tolerating other people’s differences
From them.

Are the way things are.
The way they’re meant to be.
And everyone around them knows.
And understands.
And life goes on.
With a wink.
And a nod.

So that everyone believes
The workplace is OK.

Except for those
That are different.
We know.
For we see the lies
For what they really are.
We see the truth
Of what’s going on.
And know
That no one in the workplace
Would bat an eye.
If one day
We wound up dead.

For that’s just the way life is.
People die all the time.
And the show of work,
In a diverse,
And tolerant workplace.

Will just carry on.

And as everybody knows.
A lie perpetuated long enough
Becomes the truth.
It disappears.
And the lie becomes
What is.
And everything’s OK.
‘Cause everybody knows.
The workplace is a diverse,
Tolerant
Place.

As I’ve asked
Many times before.
If the intolerance is woven
Into the fabric of existence.
Does anyone notice
That it’s there?

Answer that one
For yourself.