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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bold (emotionally) (08/30/07)

TITLE: Romeo Has Left the Building
By Jacqueline Zerres


A powerhouse of testosterone, muscle and gleaming teeth strutted past the rows of secretarial desks.

“Good morning, ladies; you’re all looking mighty fine today.” He winked on his way to the water cooler.

“Wow, who’s that, Brenda? He’s dreamy.” Amy glanced at her friend.

Brenda folded her arms across her chest. “More like a nightmare. That’s Mr. Schruly, my boss. Forget about him; he’s a creep.”

“He looks like he should be on the cover of some steamy Harlequin romance.” Amy clutched her breast and fluttered her eyelashes.

“Amy, it’s your first day here, so I’ll give you the scoop. He’s a womanizer and a leech; stay away from him.” Flourescent lights buzzed overhead, casting an artificial glow in the windowless room. “C’mon, I have to get you orientated.”

Before they reached the water cooler, Trudy, a blond, was passing the men gathered there. Raising his brows, her boss jabbed another guy in the ribs, then bumped the woman, spilling books and papers from her arms. She bent to retrieve them.

Brenda grabbed Amy’s shoulder. “Watch and learn.”

Schruly devoured the blond with his eyes. He pursed his lips as she rose, his gaze following her every move. The woman’s heels clicked on the tile as she hurried by, her face flushed and her eyes fixed on the floor.

“Maybe she’s inviting it,” Amy whispered. “Could her sweater get any tighter? She looks like a quart of milk trying to fit into a pint container. No wonder he’s leering at her.”

His head shifted to the women as they approached and his eyes traveled their bodies, his gleaming teeth set in a lecherous grin.

“Okay,” Amy said, taking a deep breath, “Point taken.”

“What I don’t understand is why Trudy doesn’t report him. You should hear some of the things he says to her.”

“ Maybe she’s scared. What about you, Brenda? You’re a Christian. Aren’t you supposed to be your brother’s keeper? Why don’t you report him.”

“Why should I? He hasn’t said anything to me.”

That evening, Brenda picked up her bible and opened it at random. “The righteous are bold as a lion,”* she read. “Oh, no, Lord, don’t ask me to do this.”

The next day, the blond bolted out of Schruly’s office. She tugged at her skirt as she ran for the ladies room, her hair askew and her face as red as the apple on Brenda’s desk.

Amy and Brenda traded looks.

“I’m going to see what happened.” Brenda raced to the door then hesitated before nudging it open. Pressed against the wall, the woman sobbed. Mascara ran in black streaks down her cheeks.

“Trudy. What did he do?” Wadding up some toilet tissue, she led her to a chair in the lounge and handed her the paper.

“I shouldn’t have let him shut the door.”

“You need to report him. Don’t let him get away with this.”

“No, please; I can’t. I’ll lose my job. My husband died – no insurance. I have three kids to support. I didn’t even have working clothes; these are my sister’s hand-me-downs.” She yanked at her skirt, looking embarrassed. “She’s a bit smaller.”

“C’mon; I’ll talk.”

Trudy shook her head. “I have to get back to my desk.”

Brenda marched to her boss’s office and shoved the door open. It banged against the wall. “Mr. Schruly, I’m reporting you on behalf of Trudy. You can’t treat women like this.”

He summoned Trudy. She denied any inappropriate behavior on his part. He smirked at Brenda as she fumed past them. Five minutes later, there was a pink slip on her desk.

“I don’t believe it. This is what I get for being a Good Samaritan.” The box groaned as she stuffed her personal items inside.

Schruly sauntered down the isle. “You can come back for your paycheck this afternoon. Have a good life.”

It was after two when Brenda returned. Amy pulled her aside.

“You’re not going to believe this, but old Romeo got canned. Trudy was so upset that you got fired, it gave her the courage to fight. First, she gathered us and asked if anyone would stand with her. About a dozen women rallied. Seems, they were all waiting for someone to step up. United we stand, right? The corner office listened. You shoulda heard the hoops and hollers when old lover boy stomped off.”


“Oh, yeah; go see Mr. Michaels. He’s your new boss.”

* Proverbs 28:1

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This article has been read 799 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 09/06/07
Woo hoo! I'm pretty mild, until a bully, of any sort, steps into the picture, and then, look out! God doesn't like people being mistreated by a bully. While all the encounters may not end as happily as this one, we should not let that stop us from stepping up to the plate and taking a swing at injustice! We know God is for us, so if we get in trouble for standing up for what's right, we should remember that God will turn it to good. I love this story!
Marilyn Schnepp 09/07/07
Deee-lightful! Super read! It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy! (*.*)! Great Title to go with a super story!
Janice Cartwright09/07/07
I was amazed at how skillfully you got so much into so few words. Like an artist that knows how to add a touch here, a dot there, a little curved line... Can I take lessons?
Sherrie Jackson09/07/07
A great example of how to be bold and do what's right. And of course I LOVE the title. Great job!
dub W09/07/07
Alright, this is good; albeit one little POV shift. Caught the ol boy. Although a bit overdone, the way it was put together the story worked out. Put this one in the puppy pen.
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/08/07
This story was delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed watching your mc's boldness bring results.
Virginia Gorg09/08/07
Nicely written - drew me into the story right away and kept my attention. I like the way your worked the resolution out. :)
Laurie Walker09/10/07
I LOVE A GOOD ENDING!!! And that's about as good as it gets.
Frank Creed09/12/07
Hey You--
you've definitely chosen a bold topic as a vehicle to encourage your reader to live their faith, and built it on a foundation of rock. I love the name Mr Shruly! Sounds like a used-car salesman.

Sherry Wendling09/12/07
Very satisfying read! You really know how to set up a juicy conflict, using fast-paced dialogue and uncomplicated characters--even hinting at subplots. Have you thought about novel-writing? (Just a note: "orientated" was not the correct word when I was in school; it was "oriented". By now it's such a common misusage it wouldn't surprise me if it's acceptable!) Love your title, too--good job!

Joanne Sher 09/14/07
Congratulations, Jacqueline. Your entry has placed 10th in Level 3 and 20th overall. The Lists for the Top 15 in each Level and the Top 40 overall is available in the Weekly Results and Highest Rankings forum of our Faithwriters Message Boards