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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