Geoff Harvey scribbled a note on a sheet torn from Margaret’s steno pad in the front office.
Must see you. We have matters to discuss and settle. I begin to think you are the cowardly PUNK I once thought you were. You avoid me because you are SCARED. Now I am ashamed that I LET you whip me. Your attack on me was SNEAKY and WOMANISH. I would not even say that I really lost. Not really. Between the two of us, you KNOW you got it just as bad. Or worse. You can no longer keep your STINK hidden in the dark. I know things you do not think I know. If you cannot bring yourself to deal with me LIKE A MAN, you force me to take other measures. If you do not respond to this letter, then you are GUTLESS. You have been WARNED!!!!! H.
Margaret brushed by him on her way back from the little girls’ room. She gave Harvey a squinty eye with an eyebrow raised over the purple rims of her glasses.
“Mr. Harvey, were you going through the personnel files just then? You know you don’t have access to those files.”
“No. I just needed to borrow some paper, Margaret.” Harvey hatched an incandescent smile. All brilliant teeth, and precisely calibrated bonhomie. “I didn’t touch the files, sweetheart.”
Harvey knew some women nowadays did not like to be called “sweetheart” or “honey,” but Margaret was not one of them. He knew Margaret was a regular gal from the old school. Margaret was no-nonsense.
She lightened up. “Why is it that people always say Let me ‘borrow’ some paper, Let me borrow an aspirin, Let me borrow a tissue? When you borrow something, you’re supposed to return it when you’re finished with it. I will never see that piece of paper again and you know it.”
Harvey’s face flushed red. He hoped she wouldn’t notice.
“Nobody speaks properly anymore. I read that. What you ought to say is May I please have some of that paper please.”
Harvey laughed: “I never thought of that, Margaret. You got an excellent ear for words. As always, you are 100%.”
He backed out the door. He was halfway to the shop when a thought stopped him in his tracks. He looked both ways and pushed the paper up against a wall to add a postscript: PS—Do not make me come AFTER you.
(To be continued)