Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Embarrassed (07/19/07)
TITLE: Mr. Shovanist
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She was sitting in her corner office looking over the org chart. It was one of the first things she perused at a new job. Old friends, and even a few old enemies, always turned up. Industry was a small world.
She’d just spied Daniel Shovanist’s name two levels below her. Martha sneered.
She wondered if Dan would recognize her, if he’d even remember her. She hadn’t forgotten him.
She’d hated her first job out of college, but stuck it out for a year for the experience. Dan Shovanist didn’t make that year easy.
His office was down the hall from hers. She passed him many times a day. He never spoke to her. He never dared touch her. But the looks he gave her… Ooh, how I hated him. He made me so uncomfortable.
Even now, twenty years later, Martha didn’t wear fitted clothing. It was a look she’d started because of ‘The Shovanist Monster’, as she used to call him.
She’d always dressed modestly. She was a Christian.
But from the looks The Shovanist Monster gave her, you’d have thought she was walking the streets, looking for business.
Back then there wasn’t even a name for the kind of harassment he dished out. She knew it could’ve been much worse, but it was bad enough as it was. She was so young, so innocent -- and so angry. Hmmm, payback time?
Martha was nervous about her first department meeting. Thus far she hadn’t bumped into The Shovanist Monster.
When he walked into the conference room, she almost didn’t recognize him. She used to daydream about this very thing -- having him work for her. And now here we are…
But now The Shovanist Monster was an old man. He hadn’t aged well. Apparently he’d given up running long ago. Hopefully he’s given up his other leisurely pursuits as well…
Martha gave her talk. Afterwards she took a deep breath and said, “Dan, may I have a word with you?” She made it sound casual, so no one would think anything of it.
“You don’t remember me do you?”
“Um, no, sorry, can’t say as I do.” Dan’s cheeks blushed pink.
“You used to work for YDV Corporation didn’t you, many years ago?”
“Ah, yes.” The flush in his cheeks deepened, as if he knew where this might be heading.
But Martha could tell he still didn’t remember her. “I was just a new recruit. My office was down the hall from yours. We never worked together. It was so long ago… I bet you have grandkids now.”
“Yes,” his face brightened. He looked relieved at the change in subject. He took out his wallet and showed her a picture of his daughter and grand-daughters.
Funny how his type always wind up with daughters, like Someone wants to teach these guys a lesson in respect? Martha said, ”Cute girls. I hope they never get harassed, like I was…” She stood up straighter. “I’m not surprised you don’t remember my face.”
She wanted to make him uncomfortable, as uncomfortable as he’d made her all those years ago. Now she was in a position of power.
Dan’s face turned bright red.
Oh dear, don’t have a heart attack and keel over right here in the conference room, thought Martha. I don’t hate you that much.
“My wife left me when I was at YDV. I was such a… I’m a new man now, really. I’m sorry I don’t remember you. I’m sorry if I ever hurt your feelings.”
Martha whispered, “You did.” She tried very hard not to cry. Isn’t this what I wanted, him embarrassed, squirming, and apologizing?
“I’m truly sorry. I wasn’t much of a gentleman back then.” He cleared his throat. “I hadn’t found Jesus yet.”
Martha looked up and smiled in spite of herself. Maybe he really was just a harmless old man now.
“If there’s anything I can do to help you out here at HOIW, you just let me know, ok?” he said. “I owe you.”
He really seemed to mean it. She could almost see the Light in him -- the new him. “I will, Dan. Thank you.”
He’ll never be my favorite person, but it’s funny, I don’t hate him now. -- The scorn is gone... Thank God.
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