Elizabeth: Short Story – Hands Off!

Jilly has started a trend with her posts based on our Friday writing sprints.  I took her posting this past Sunday as a challenge to keep up with my own sprinting.  So here, without further ado, is a short story (that didn’t quite go the way I expected it to) about a character who was featured in a newspaper, using the prompt words bikini, flirtation, blowtorch, confidential, parcel, baptism, excuse, dishonest, lump, warning, needle, heavenly, twisted, mindless, fake and sky.

Hands Off!

Bleary-eyed and barely awake, Carolyn scanned the morning edition of the Capitol Gazette while waiting for the toaster and coffee-maker to finish their respective tasks. The heavenly scent of warm crusty bread battled with dark rich espresso and some other faint smell that didn’t bear investigating too closely.

The only investigation she was interested in at the moment involved General Blunderbuss and his wandering hands.

Capitol City’s latest entrant in the #MeToo Hall of Shame.

Years ago, back when she was just an entry-level law clerk, Carolyn had a number of run-ins with the General, who was one of her boss’ major clients. The General, who had only a passing acquaintance with morals and ethics, had an unfortunate tendency to confuse friendliness with flirtation.

Over and over and over again.

The result was a string of “confidential” settlements with an alarming number of women who – rightly so – felt his roaming hands and inappropriately suggestive comments crossed a definite line.

The General always had an excuse, claiming the women were dishonest or had twisted his words, but the judges rarely agreed. He had better luck with the juries, who were sometimes swayed by his boy-next-door good looks and his upper-class Boston accent (fake, of course), but he still wound up paying.

Over and over and over again.

How he managed to keep his job after all of that was anybody’s guess, though his family’s fortune and his “alleged” connections to organized crime may have had something to do with it.

Dealing with those mindless cases had been a legal baptism by fire for Carolyn and the skills she’d learned there had come in handy when she eventually opened her own law practice.

Apparently, the General wasn’t the only one to confuse friendliness with flirtation and she made a very comfortable living prosecuting an endless string of men (and occasionally women) just like him.

Carolyn had recently come face to face with General Blunderbuss once again, courtesy of his secretary Katie, who was the latest victim of his wandering hands (and other body parts).

The toaster dinged and the coffee-maker hissed out its last drop. Carolyn slathered her toast with fresh razzleberry preserves, stirred a lump of organic brown sugar into her espresso and took a big swallow, sending caffeine racing through her bloodstream and jump-starting her brain cells.

Fully awake, she picked up the paper again. There on the front page, in living color, was Katie “Kitten” Maguire, standing on tropical beach beneath a cloudless azure sky, wearing teeny tiny bikini and wide professionally whitened smile.

Next to the picture of Katie was a picture of a classic cherry red Porsche that had obviously had an unfortunate encounter with a blowtorch.

The headline read “Secretary Acquitted: She Didn’t Do It!”

Carolyn smiled.

As far as the courts were concerned, the fact that Katie was in the midst of an acrimonious court battle with the General at the same time that his classic custom car was torched, was just a random coincidence.

There was absolutely no evidence found linking Katie to the crime.

Carolyn was so proud (though she could not, of course, condone the wanton destruction of anyone’s property).

During her own #MeToo moment, after saying “no” more times than she could remember, Carolyn stabbed a co-worker’s roving hand with a knitting needle. It didn’t even slow him down. In fact, he had apparently found it to be a turn-on.

Carolyn was pretty sure not even the General could miss the “no means no” warning message of the blowtorch.

11 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Short Story – Hands Off!

  1. I love this trend, and what an excellent use of the prompt word blowtorch! That was great fun and very satisfying, though a sad end for a classic car.

  2. I once worked for a company headed by a guy like that. He once refused to interview a secretarial candidate, saying she was “too old and too ugly.” They eventually decided the settlements were costing the company too much and kicked him out.

    Unfortunately, no one torched his car.

  3. We don’t have to feel bad about the blowtorched car. Katie got it in the settlement, she took it to the classic car rebuild place, and by the time she got it back, she was dating the mechanic.

    Fun story, Elizabeth!

  4. Pingback: Jilly: Short Story–The Laird’s Legacy – Eight Ladies Writing

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