At the beginning of May, I set out to broaden my English vocabulary. Using a handy “word a day” feature in my toolbar, I compiled the 31 words proposed for May. Since I don’t think I can assimilate words unless I have used them in a sentence at least once, I decided to write a short story with the words I learned this month. They are in italic in the text. I hope I haven’t misused them.
Question for the ones of you who have been following my stories for a while: This story is linked to two short stories I have posted on this blog. Can you tell which ones?
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I jostled my way in the tram and stood next to a very sweaty man. I closed my eyes and tried to keep the rage under wraps. When I opened them, I spotted a free seat a little further. I promptly took it.
I should have known it was a trap.
In front of me, at eye level, hovered the worst case of loose pants I had ever seen. The middle-aged, overweighted man showed half his buttocks to the whole train. His trousers wobbled at the end of his suspenders. As if I didn’t have enough reason to lie of the crosstie already. When the sweaty man scouted closer to douse me in his bodily fluid, reality sank in; this day would be just as bad as all the others.
Why bother with hope? I knew this was hell just as well as I knew I would be late for work.
I obsessed over punctuality when I lived. As a resultant, I was doomed with perpetual tardiness. No matter how short I cut my nights and how early I headed out for work, the execrable clocks caught up with me. “Stay home and don’t bother” is what you’re probably thinking. Not an option unless I wished to be skinned alive.
Apparently, I ended up here because I was an imperturbable boss. Efficacious CEO, I tightly ran my publicity agency. Some said I was heartless. That’s disputable. I might have been culpable of hammering my employees’ head now and then but that’s how business woman earns respect. I didn’t care if my assistants ended up frazzled before the day’s end; I was the top of the food chain and they had to follow my beat.
Had I had the premonition I would end up as a demon’s secretary, I might have been softer.
“Hahaha. Justice well served.” Yeah. Why don’t you choke on that chuckle?
I stepped off the train, humid with the standing man’s sweat. I shuddered.
Crossing the curtilage, I reached my employer’s home. The butler opened the door. His feelers scanned me to make sure I didn’t bring any weapon. I wasn’t that foolish. Pedantic to the extreme, he informed me I was late – daaaaah! – and that, though my master was still asleep, he’d be displeased by my attitude enough to ruin his awaking. Same speech, every day, and vexation still reddened my cheeks. Such is hell’s motif.
I didn’t need help to know my boss was asleep. I heard it clearly. Demons don’t snore; they yodel with enough decibel for my neighbors to annihilate any chance of sleeping. And earplugs are illegal here. The punishment for possession is a one year crucifixion. Dealing is ten, depending on the amount you have when they catch you.
I entered the house and headed left, the butler hot on my heels. I sat the slapdash construct of fake wood the demons called my desk. The nails were human teeth. That ought to tell you how unreliable the thing was.
“You may earn your sustenance today by addressing these comments.” The butler said, handing me a sheet of paper.
I recognized a letter I had typed yesterday. My boss annotated it with pens. At least five different colors. I’d have to construe that in actual writing directions. I attacked my analysis. The butler stayed by my desk, watching me. His fingers thrummed on my desk. That irksome habit was also part of my punishment.
I heard the hopping footsteps before my boss skipped in.
“Dolly!” He called out, frolicsome to the extreme. I hated that cognomen. “Aren’t you a cutie today!” He turned to face the butler. “Alfred, I think we should run a bath for Dolly to show her our love.”
“That request is not consonant with my feelings toward the secretary.”
“Well I say we should cut her some slack today.”
Trepidation sent adrenaline rushing through my system. My fingers curled around the corner of my desk until splinters entered my skin. I should welcome the intercession, shouldn’t I? Wrong. You do not want to be mollycoddled by a demon. Particularly not that demon: he was especially wily when it came to deceit.
Damn it! I shouldn’t have tried to kill my competitor’s best publicist. How could I know her dead husband would turn my curse against me?