By S. Furlong-Bolliger
Copyright 2013 by S. Furlong-Bolliger
Cover Copyright 2013 by Dara England and Untreed Reads Publishing
The author is hereby established as the sole holder of the copyright. Either the publisher (Untreed Reads) or author may enforce copyrights to the fullest extent.
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This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to the living or dead is entirely coincidental.
Also by S. Furlong-Bolliger and Untreed Reads Publishing
Christmas in Killarney
Death by Jello
Murder on the Ropes
By S. Furlong-Bolliger
The moment I walked into my cubicle, I knew someone had been there. Not that anything was missing—White Sox mug, a half-eaten candy bar, a buck fifty in spare change—it was all there just as I had left it before I went on break. In fact, I wouldn’t have suspected anything at all if it weren’t for the stack of paperwork next to my computer; it was askew. I hadn’t left it that way.
Someone has been messing with my stuff.
I looked around nervously. My eyes skimmed the top of the cubicles that surrounded mine but found nothing unusual—just several bent heads, people hard at work on their task at hand. Except two cubicles down where I could hear the new hire, what’s-her-name, talking on the phone, something about nap time and too much juice.
When were these women going to learn to leave home at home? The office would run a lot smoother if it was just us men.
I straightened my paperwork. So what if someone had gone through my papers? I had been careful not to keep a paper trail so they wouldn’t find anything incriminating. My computer, on the other hand…my eyes darted nervously to my machine. Everything seemed normal. Even my mouse was sitting squarely on the “O” of OSC, Office Supply Corporation, the standard issue mouse pad in every cubicle. I glanced over my shoulder, making sure the coast was clear, and then clicked through a couple of screens. I sighed with relief. There was no evidence that my files had been accessed.
Still, someone has been in my cubicle. And, I have an idea who.
I had started to suspect that they were on to me last Tuesday when I overheard a conversation between Bob from accounting and Margaret, the front desk girl. They were in the break room, discussing my demise over a cup of brew.
“Frank’s going to be so ticked when he discovers that we know,” Bob said.
“Well then,” Margaret’s tone was chiding, “Frank should have been more careful. He left it out in plain sight. What was I supposed to do, let it go? It’s part of my job to take care of these things.”
They couldn’t have figured out what I had done. I had been so careful—a transferred figure here and there, a couple of fudged numbers. I had been living what appeared to be an average life, for an average salaried person, not spending a bit of my extra earnings. Instead, I horded all of it away in offshore accounts where it would be safe until the day I could disappear and start over far away from this dump, these mediocre people, and this grey-walled cubical.
So, how could Bob and Margaret know? Bob was nothing but a crap-for-brains bean-counter. The guy had about as much ambition as he did fashion style with his old-man pants hiked up to his armpits and his greasy comb-over. And, Margaret, the office bimbo? She was too busy flirting with Jeffers, the boss, to have the time, let alone mental prowess, to contemplate my endeavors.
Nonetheless, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t sleep well that night. I tossed and turned, finally giving up at twilight. However, somewhere in those early morning hours, I came to the conclusion that if Bob and Margaret had proof, they’d have already turned me into the cops, or at the very least Jeffers. I was just letting my imagination get away from me. I needed to get a grip.
The next day I returned to work with confidence. That was until I started noticing the strange looks: a smirk on my boss’ face as we passed in the hallway; a raised brow from Jake, the IT geek; a sly look from Sylvia in human resources. And the whispers, the constant whispers.
I stayed late that evening, waiting for everyone else to clear out. I needed to make a few more transfers quickly. Usually, I didn’t risk transferring large sums, but I had the feeling time was running out on my little scheme and I wanted to make sure I had enough. Besides, in just a couple more days, the final part of my plan would be in place. I’d be out of here.
Just a couple more days.
Again that night, I tossed and turned; a dull ache had started between my shoulders and kept me from getting comfortable. I got out of bed and watched some late night infomercials. One was for luxury travel bags. I ordered two.
I didn’t bother trying to get back to sleep. Instead, I made an extra strong pot of coffee. Halfway through my second cup I began to become more rational. The looks had to have been something else—a hole in my shirt, ink on my face, an unzipped fly…something like that. Besides, if they really knew, one of them would have certainly ratted me out—especially, Harold. He was such a butt-kisser. The guy made me sick. Always offering to take on extra projects, come in on weekends…no, if Harold had any information on me, Jeffers would already know.
I just need to stay cool.
I took extra care in the way I dressed that morning. I sailed through two meetings, a conference call, and lunch without anything weird happening. In fact, everything seemed back to normal, until late afternoon when I passed by Margaret’s desk on my way to the copy room. As usual, several guys were gathered around her, flirting. They congregated there every day, hoping to get their daily thrill by catching a glimpse of her ample cleavage.
I overheard my name being mentioned amid a round of chuckles. “Frank doesn’t suspect a thing.”
“Not a thing,” reiterated Harold. “I still can’t believe he was able to hide it all these years.”
My stomach knotted. My throat tightened as I tried to swallow the fear that was rising in me.
Maybe Harold does know.
“Yeah, that Frank’s a clever one,” Margaret added. “But now he’s going to get just what he deserves.” She giggled.
Then, they all laughed. I kept walking, a little faster than before. I was sweating by the time I made it to the copy room. My heart throbbed in my ears. I leaned against the copy machine, breathing deeply, trying to regain some balance.
Get what I deserve? What is she talking about?