“Kate, could you come to my office, please?”
Kate picked up her steno pad and headed back to her bosses corner office. She was nervous, running through in her head what she could have done wrong this time; Madeline Stokes never called her directly unless she had screwed something up. Today she sounded rather stressed; what could she have done?
The door was only partially open, and Kate hesitated for a moment, listening for voices, and then knocked lightly. “Ms. Stokes?”
“Oh, come in, come in already! And shut the door behind you.”
Return to Fiction
Kate slid into the room, shutting the door and gliding quickly to chair in front of Ms. Stokes desk. “Is something the matter? Was there something wrong with the Benson reports? I can retype…”
“Oh, there’s nothing wrong with the dammed reports. Do you have any nail polish remover?”
Kate couldn’t have heard that right. “Nail polish remover, Ma’am?”
“Yes, nail polish remover. Are your ears clogged or something?”
“N-no Ma’am! I mean, no, I don’t have any remover. I could check with some of the other girls, if you like…”
“No! This is bad enough as it is, I don’t need the whole stinking office in here.”
“Kate, do you know if there is anything in the supply cabinet that will dissolve superglue? Come on, you do the ordering, you should know what’s in the stupid cabinet.”
“I can’t think of anything, Ma’am…I mean, that’s industrial strength glue that we’ve got in the supply room. I think anything you could use to dissolve it would cause more damage to the object than the glue.”
Kate was shocked by the stream of profanity that left her boss’s lips. Ms. Stokes was a very precise, businesslike woman who held the office girls in a grip of fear. The girls didn’t even dare make fun of her attitude, for fear of getting caught. One girl was found crying in the ladies room after a private meeting with Ms. Stokes. Kate could never have imagined hearing her boss use such language.
“Ms Stokes…I’m not sure what to do. What’s wrong?”
Ms. Stokes closed her eyes and sighed, dropping her head back against her chair. When she spoke again, it was in a resigned, almost helpless tone that Kate had never heard before. “Kate. You’ve been with us for over a year, and you have always been a hard worker and very discreet. I need your help. Come here.”
Kate rose and, trembling slightly, circled to the other side of the desk. Ms. Stokes pushed her chair away from her desk and turned it clumsily. Kate couldn’t see what she needed to do.
“Kate, I…. Kate. Would you please pull my legs apart?”
“Oh, for cripes sakes! I was fixing my damn nail with the glue, and I put the tube between my legs so it wouldn’t spill on the desk and it leaked and now my stockings and my legs are glued together. Now, would you please help me get them apart?”
“Um, sure.” Kate didn’t really know what to do. Nowhere in her administrative classes had they covered how to deal with this kind of situation. She kneeled in front of her boss’s chair and tried to assess the situation without looking up her boss’s suit skirt. The little tube of glue was still there, caught between her thighs. She reached up gingerly and tugged on it. Nope, it was well and truly stuck. The glue had spread quite a bit; Ms. Stokes must have been clenching it tightly. Kate tried not to look how far up the glue had spread. “Um…can you get them apart at all?”
She watched as Ms. Stokes knees came apart a fraction of an inch. “That’s about as far as I can pull them, and even that hurts. You’re just going to have to pull them apart quickly.”
“But, won’t that hurt, Ma’am?”
“Of course it will hurt. That’s why you have to do it. Just do it quickly, like taking off a bandage. Hurry up; I’ve got a meeting to get to.”
“Um…ok.” Kate tried not to think. She scooted forward and clamped her knees around the leg of the chair, then put one hand on each of her boss’s knees. “I’m sorry, this will probably hurt quite a bit.”
“Just do it already.”
Kate took a deep breath, than with all of her strength she threw herself forward, pressing her boss’s knees apart as hard as she could.
Ms. Stokes stiffened, her head thrashing against the chair and her legs curling up against the pain. The chair fell backwards, and Kate, caught unawares, fell with it, still hanging on to Ms. Stokes’ knees. They fell together; Kate sprawled across the chair seat, her head wedged between her boss’s thighs. For a moment, both of them were too shocked to move.
“Ms. Stokes? Is everything alright?” Kate could hear the General Manager’s voice as he ran into the room. “I heard a scream, are you ok? Ms. Stokes? Ms….!”