"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)


Above My Pay Grade

I'd taken her under my wing.  But that all changed when I found out she made more money than me. 

She.  Lydia Moulter, the new girl Mr. Robeson hired right out of high school with no college degree or work experience.  I tried to show her the ropes, help her get her feet wet.  But she's not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, you know what I mean?  She still files Cathy Friendly before Martin Freeman, for goodness sakes.  And her margins?  She leaves them at 3/4" when clearly a proper business letter needs to be formatted to 1". 

I cut her some slack.  I didn't complain that I was working twice as hard as she, making sure we got to the bottom of the in box by the end of the day.  I figured she'd catch on, eventually.

Friday was her first pay day.  I guess they didn't teach Office Decorum 101 in high school, because she squealed when she saw the amount.  She waved the pay stub in front of my face.

"This is so cool!  Now I can get those boots out of lay away."

She shoved the paper into her purse and clapped her hands, then went back to her game of Minesweeper on the computer.

I narrowed my eyes and seethed.  Really?  I had to know.  What was it about this girl that made her worth that much more than me?

I watched her like a hawk.  And by the end of the week, I noticed a pattern.  Every day at 11 am sharp, she walked into Mr. Robeson's office.  The door shut behind her, and then Mr. Robeson closed the blinds.  She stayed in there for twenty minutes.  And then she came out with the strangest expression on her face.  Not exactly happy; more like a hint of disgust.

I was outraged.  In this day and age?  I was not going to stand for it -- I could not allow that poor thing to be taken advantage of a moment longer.

I stormed into Mr. Robeson's office, not bothering to close the door behind me.

"How dare you?"

He looked up from the monthly report he was perusing and met my eye.  He frowned, his brow furrowed in confusion.

"I beg your pardon?"

I lowered my voice to a hiss.

"That girl.  I know why you hired her, and I know why you pay her more money than me."

"Oh, do you, now?"

A twinkle appeared in his eyes, and I wanted to slap his arrogant face.

"Did you know that Miss Moulter is my niece?"

It was my turn to look bewildered.

"Um, no, I didn't... but why does she come in here every day..."

I stared at him in horror.  He quickly waved my unspoken theory away.

"No, no, it's not what you think.  Did you know that the company provides each of its division heads with a personal assistant?  Someone to run errands for them, like picking up dry cleaning or bringing coffee.  In addition to her regular duties, Lydia is my personal assistant."

"But I've never seen her bring you coffee, or lunch, or anything else for that matter."

"Right.  Perhaps I can show you what I require of my personal assistant.  And then, if you're still unsatisfied with the pay discrepancy, maybe you'll consider sharing the post with her."

He stood and closed the door behind me, leaving us alone together.  He walked to the office window and with a twist of his wrist closed the blinds.  I held my breath.  He returned to his desk, sat down, and took off his shoes.

"I've had podiatric problems for years.  My doctor has given me a prescription for the latest bout of issues, but it needs to be rubbed in to be effective.  As you can see," he indicated his rotund and protruding belly, "I have a difficult time following those instructions myself."

He reached with effort to pull off his socks.  He stretched his feet in my direction.

"Would you care to..."

He had bunions on both feet, and the skin was red and splotchy, occasionally dotted with warts.  His toenails were yellowed and cracking from some kind of fungus.  I tasted bitter bile at the back of my throat and swallowed hard to curb my gag reflex.

"Your niece is doing a fine job, sir."

I turned and left his office.  I could hear a soft chuckle behind me.


I wasn't getting into the prompt for Fiction Friday today (sorry Dr. Seuss!), so I went rogue and found a random story prompt generator online.  This week's prompt:  That all changed when I found out she made more money than me.


Cathryn Grant said...

This story is both amusing and chilling. How did you pull that off?!

Anonymous said...

Nice......I mean, in a gross sort of way. Ew, Shell. :) Well done with pulling us in. TOTALLY didn't see the feet coming. (and glad for many reasons) hahaha. :)

Sarah E. Bradley said...

Haha, that's hilarious!

Anonymous said...

Um, ew.

Great story, as usual, Shelli!

doctor said...

Ha Ha awesome!! Poor man can hardly walk with all his troubles!

Shelli said...

Cathryn -- Thanks! I was going for amusing. Chilling is bonus!

Carrie -- Thank you! I'm glad I could catch you by surprise.

Sarah, thanks, I had fun with it!

Thank you, Wendy!

Doc ;) -- Thanks so much! You have a very sympathetic heart.

Chuck Allen said...

Ha Ha! You brought me full circle with this one. I love the misdirection and then the humorous ending!

Adam B said...

Nice twist to this tale, Shelli. Q quick turning of the tables.
Adam B @revhappiness

Shelli said...

Chuck -- Thank you! Funny where our mind automatically goes, eh?

Adam, thank you very much!