Day 9: Get Inspired By the Neighbors

Yesterday, you left comments. Remember how we asked you to remember where you left ‘em? We hope you did, because you’ll need one of them today.

Today’s assignment: write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog!

One of Beyond the Picket Fence flash fiction pieces inspired me to write a “flash” type of post.

Baby Bird

“Why should the devil have all the best tunes?” – Rowland Hill, English clergyman

“You shouldn’t be socializing with Barbara or any of the other assistants.”

He sees the blank look on my face and repeats himself.

“Excuse me?” I say it even though I know exactly what he is talking about.

“Barbara is just a receptionist. Don’t socialize with her or anyone else who isn’t a lawyer here. It doesn’t look good for the firm. If anyone calls for me, take a message. I’ll be working from my chalet for the day.”

Betty, a**hole. Her name is Betty, not Barbara.

He turns on his little heels and walks away through the office door. I am amazed how he continues to surprise me after all this time. Unlike some of the other interns here, I will never give him the satisfaction of breaking me.

So many months of watching him humiliate, belittle and verbally abuse some of the female interns to the point of ugly-crying.

So many months of watching him purposely feed tiny bites of experience to us like baby birds so that we will have no better place to fly. It was a simple equation that I had figured out a few months into this gig. A lack of practical experience limits our potential to be hired by another firm and keeps us stuck working for him as cheaper labor.

Very. Smart. Little. Man.

Now, he is playing the “class” game, of which he has none.

I sigh, reminding myself that my six months will be over in just a few days. Gone will be the days of dreading Sundays nights, trying to survive until Wednesday because Wednesdays mean only two days until freedom, a cycle only to be repeated again and again and again.

I continue working on case files until 11:55 and then make my way out to the front desk to replace Betty, the receptionist. Being the newbie, it is my job to replace her for lunch while everyone else is out. The arrangement suits me fine since I like it when no one is around and the place is quiet.

“Hi Betty,” I say to her and smile. She’s just a few years older than me and we have a lot of things in common.

She grabs her purse from her desk drawer and gets up to let me sit down.

“It’s Wednesday. Are you coming out with the rest of us for drinks tonight?”

I don’t hesitate. “Sure. The usual place?”

Betty nods and scurries out since she only has 59 minutes left.

I turn Betty’s desk radio up a little and busy myself with some paperwork. When the phone rings, I answer with a fake cheery voice and give the firm’s name.

“Is he there?”

It’s his wife on the other end of the line and she is her usual bitchy self. She is supposedly some kind of a doctor but with that kind of nasty bedside manner, it has to be a lie.

“I asked you a question. Is he there? He isn’t answering his cell or his pager.”

How is it my problem that you can’t reach your cheating husband?

No one has ever discussed it in the open but it is common knowledge that he has a standing mid-week hook-up with someone on Wednesdays. Whoever it is, he or she, that person has no taste. Short, unattractive, arrogant, abusive. The only thing he could offer was money. And he had a lot of it.

“He’s not here. He left hours ago.”

“Left for where? Court? He said that he a full day of meetings in the office today.”

I say nothing.

“Goddammit! What kind of an idiot receptionist are you? I asked you if he was in court.”


“He is not in court and there are no meetings scheduled today. He left around 10:00 and mentioned something about going up to the chalet for the day.”

The line goes so silent that I think she has hung up.

“The chalet? THE CHALET? To do what?”

Why is she acting like she doesn’t know? Everyone knows.

And then it hits me.

“What the f*** is he doing at our chalet on a Wednesday?”

I say nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

She lets out a scream and hangs up on me. I immediately think that this is going to go badly for me.

Then I realize that it doesn’t really matter. My paperwork is already signed off on and my last day is Friday so unlike the others, this baby bird isn’t sticking around to scramble for crumbs.

I didn’t know that she didn’t know. And it’s not like I did it on purpose.


©2015 Marquessa Matthews


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