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I was supposed to give you a fiction story today.  But, that is not going to happen.   I will give it to you on Thursday.  The story I had planned to send you today was nixed.  The wonderful woman who brushes up my writing from time to time thought it needed some more work.

 

She read parts of the story and said, “You can’t send that out like that.  It’s too stiff.  Are you trying to describe a piece of writing out of a textbook?  Or, are you trying to entertain people?”

 

I may be exaggerating a smidge.  She may have not been that hard about it.  She did, however, point out a few flaws that needed to be taken care of.  So, I put the story aside and will make the changes later.  Then you will receive it on Thursday.  But, while you are here, I want to introduce myself to you.

 

My name is Stephen Wallace.  I enjoy writing and reading most genres of fiction.  I love desperate people who put themselves in desperate situations.  And, the only way out in their eyes is to commit a crime.  They may murder someone or kidnap someone.  Whatever suits their needs.

 

I also love people who want someone or something that they should not have.  For example, a forty-five-year-old woman wants her twenty-six-year-old employee.  She wants to ask him if he wants to be with her.  No strings attached.  Pure, unadulterated sex.  It stays a secret.  So, she slowly reels him in. Unaware that he is actually reeling her in.  And, once it happens, he blackmails her.  Because she has more to lose than he does.  So he thinks.

 

That is the beauty of fiction to me.  We can live as voyeurs, legally.  There is no world we cannot enter.  No one we cannot spy on.

 

What I love most about fiction is that stories can come to all of us.  We all have a fiction story inside of us.  Don’t believe me?  Consider this.

 

Take yourself and that coworker you can’t stand.  You know his name or her name.  But, for this example, we’ll call him Pete.

 

Good old Pete is the kind of guy you want to take out for a drink.  Then the next morning you go into work and Pete does not show up.  Pete’s family and friends call your workplace to find out if anyone had seen or heard from him.  Everyone says no—even you.  Your “No,” however, is shaky.  Not only in the way you said it, your body language is saying you are hiding something.  And, you know that everyone else is on to you.  They all suspect that you did something to Pete.

 

Some people are hoping that you did do something to Pete.  Others would be ecstatic if Pete never returned to work.  Never was heard from again.  Pete was nothing short of a pain in the ass to them.

 

All your coworkers’ eyes are on you.  You can feel some of those eyes boring holes through you.  You put your hands in your pockets to hide your sweaty palms.  It does not help you at all.  Beads of sweat are on your forehead and getting worse.

 

You want to get the hell out of that office and go into the bathroom.  Hideout for a few minutes.  But you do not feel as if you can go anywhere without confirming your coworkers’ suspicions.  Nor do you want to confirm what some already know.

 

You are as guilty as they come.  You can feel the walls closing in around you.  You are going to get caught.  You are going to be punished for what you have done.

 

You take a sip of water and force yourself to compose itself.  You clear your throat and pray not to cough.  You give yourself some tough talk.

 

Everything you are thinking is bull, you tell yourself.  No one knows what you have done.  They were not there with you and Pete.  You are the only one who knows what happened.  Everyone else can go to hell, for all you care.  Gutless wonders are what they are.  Putting up with Pete’s shit all these years.  That’s what they did.  Put up with it and complained.  Spineless and gutless.  All of them.

 

You, on the other hand, took the bull by the horns and applied the solution.  You took the opportunity to have a face to face talk with Pete.

 

One night after work you asked him out for a drink.  You quickly added, “I’ll buy.”  You knew he would go.  He’s a moocher.  But he still put a stipulation on going with you.  You had to let him drive.  His luxury vehicle was far superior to that piece of crap that you drive.  He would not be caught dead in your rattling piece of garbage.  He told you so.

 

But, to your credit, you bit your tongue and buried your pride.  That was what Pete was counting on.  You and your coworkers had buried and eaten your pride so often there was nothing left of it.

 

Inside the strip club where Pete brought you, you broached the subject of your concern.  Pete had three drinks while you talked and a dancer’s stiletto heels were a few inches from your table.

 

You told Pete how you felt.  He needed to treat you and the others with more respect.  He needed to be kinder and more sensitive to everyone’s needs.  His comments, while not sexually explicit, were enough to make the female employees uncomfortable.  You made it clear that you did not want to take it to upper management.  But, you would if his behavior and attitude did not change immediately.

 

Pete said he was listening.  But his eyes were glued to the dancer’s legs.  Pete responded to you, “Sure.  Okay.”

 

On your way out the door and into the parking lot, you felt good about the evening.  Sure, it had cost you three drinks and a lap dance from Babbi, one of the dancers, for Pete.  But your points had been taken seriously.  Pete said so.

 

Standing outside the car you asked Pete if you should drive.  He had five drinks in all.  You had one.  Pete’s response caught you off guard.  “You need to stop being a whiney shit.  Who screws who in your house?  Is your wife screwing you?  Or, are you screwing her?  Do you even know what to do with her?  I know what I’d do with her if I got the chance.”  Then came that dirty, despicable laugh.

 

A sinking feeling weighted down your stomach.  It was one thing to talk about you and your coworkers.  But, to bring your wife in the middle of this?  She was the mother of your two children.  Those comments were disrespectful and unacceptable.  You tried to hold your tongue.  He was your boss.  What else could you do?

 

Out of nowhere, you heard yourself say, “You need to apologize Pete.”

 

Pete looked and laughed.  Then, for further humiliation, he told you that your wife was pretty.  What he said was a compliment.  You told him to apologize.  He told you, “Shut up and get in the car before I leave you here.  Then, I may go home to your wife.”

 

From that point on you have vague, disjointed, memories of that night.  You clearly remember driving Pete’s car toward your office building.  You turned off on a side road before reaching the road to your office building.  A large pond was somewhere in the area.  The next thing you remembered was opening your house’s front door and going inside.

 

It was one in the morning.  Your kids and wife were asleep.  You were in the guest bathroom.  You took off your soaked suit and shoes and dropped them on the bathroom floor.  You took a shower and dried off.  As for your soaked clothes, you must have put them in the washer and dryer.

 

The next memory you had was climbing into bed beside your beautiful wife.  The next morning you woke up holding her from behind and smelling her soft scented hair.

 

Now, standing in the office, you find yourself at a crossroads.  Do you turn yourself in to the police and tell them it was an accident?  But, what was the accident?  What did you do?  Pete’s been missing for a full day.  Are you really responsible for him missing?  You do not remember.  So, how do you even know that a crime took place?

 

With your brow furrowed, you looked at everyone in your office.  They glanced at you and looked away.  You think to yourself, Damn cowards.  Then, you tell yourself that if someone thinks you did something to Pete, let them prove it.

 

See?  That’s the great thing about fiction.  You killed, allegedly killed, your coworker without really killing him.  That’s what I love about fiction.  It transfers us to another time and place.  Fiction is like giving us a few moments to breathe in and experience another person’s life.  Or, it lets us take an adventure without physically going anywhere.

 

I hope to get to know you as I share some stories for you to enjoy.  Do me a favor, if you have time.  Leave me a comment and let me know how you like these stories.

 

Well, later.  I’ll check in with you on Thursday.  Take care of yourself.

 

Thanks,

Stephen Wallace