Short essays by Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., the author of TING AND I: A Memoir of Love, Courage and Devotion, published in September 2011 by Outskirts Press (Parker, CO, USA), available from outskirtspress.com/tingandi, Barnes and Noble [bn.com], and Amazon [amazon.com], in paperback or ebook formats. Please visit us at tingandi.com for more information.
Saturday, June 29, 2019
UNDERSTANDING SASSIE, Ch. 5, "The Incident"
hat afternoon Toni
was in the break room reading the day’s paper. Ruth saw her and decided that
this would be a good time to grab a cup of coffee. She wanted to talk to Toni.
She could mention what Bill had said and ask if her new boss would be Jim.
She poured herself a cup of coffee
and sat in a seat near Toni. Toni seemed to be absorbed in a newspaper article
and was unaware of Ruth’s attempt to get her attention. Ruth became impatient
and decided that Toni should listen to her because what she needed to say was
important. Ruth reached up and pulled at the newspaper, interrupting Toni’s
reading. She gave no apology for her actions but began to complain about the
poor communication in the corporation.
Toni started to set aside her
newspaper but was in no mood to listen to Ruth. Toni tried to be tactful by
changing the subject. She decided to ask about their favorite sports team. “Do
you think the Red Cats will win their tournament this year?” Toni did not wait
for a reply and returned to reading her newspaper article. She thought that
Ruth would realize that she was not interested in talking at this time.
Ruth felt she had to know who would
replace Toni. Her need to know and that Toni was ignoring her made her
impatient. Ruth would not wait any longer for the answer. She once again pushed
the newspaper aside.
This time when Toni’s attention
became focused on Ruth, Ruth said, “Bill was telling everyone that Jim will
become my new boss when you retire. Is this true?”
Ruth expected that Toni would give
a kind explanation. Instead, Ruth was facing a very angry Toni who decided to
unload the months of frustration and pent-up emotions she’d had against Ruth.
Toni began by saying, “Do you have any idea how very rude you have been to me?
I wanted to read today’s newspaper and you practically ripped it out of my
hands. You did this not once but twice. You are so wound up with yourself! I’m
surprised you paid any attention to what goes on around you. You never consider
anyone’s feelings. Not only are you inconsiderate, you never have been
interested in hearing the truth. The only reason I have put up with your
company was to learn just how you plan
to manipulate my
friends. You use everyone for your own benefit! Of course, Jim will be your new
boss! You didn’t expect that you would be good enough for that position, did
At first, Ruth was stunned. Then
after the shock of Toni’s words dissipated, Ruth grew angry. She flew from her
seat, upset the table and spilled the coffee. As she moved toward Toni she
tripped on a chair leg and instead of slapping Toni across the face, which was
Ruth’s plan, her forward momentum sent both women crashing into the vending
machine. Its glass front shattered.
Both women ended on the floor and
covered in glass. Toni appeared to be bathed in blood. At that moment, Jim
entered the break room. Seeing all the blood, he reached for his cell phone and
called 911. Ruth may have escaped the majority of glass cuts, but she did not
escape a major blow to her career.
The paramedics arrived, and after
giving first aid to Toni, they transported her to the hospital. Jim, who had
been staring at Ruth and shaking his head in disbelief, finally spoke to her.
“If Toni has not already told you that you are fired, I will! You have one hour
to clean out your desk. Be sure to turn in your keys before you leave. Oh, by
the way, I am going to urge Toni to press assault charges against you!”
Ruth was not sure if she was glad
that she had not started her rumor campaign or sad to discover that Toni was
never her friend. She took little time in clearing her desk. She never did
believe in cluttering her work area with useless knickknacks or pictures, so
her cleaning assignment was completed well within her time limit.
Before she left the building, she
decided to call her parents. She was grateful that Pop answered the phone. He
seemed to always know whenever she was upset. Ruth liked the fact that she was
her father’s favorite little girl and she loved how he spoiled her. She was
hurting and needed some comfort. Her parents always welcomed the opportunity to
give her extra love. Ruth’s voice was cracking, but she managed to ask, “May I
Meanwhile, in an area of New York
City, a gentleman named Donald had just received news of his parents’ major
traffic accident. When he got to the hospital, he was told that both of his
parents had died. He was shocked, saddened, and scared of what he would do
without the love of his parents. Donald felt this was the worse day of his
At home he began to pack the
clothing and personal items of his parents. It was emotional work, but he
wanted to get his parents’ things packed and placed in the attic.
He finally boxed everything and
began bringing the boxes up to the attic. Looking around for a good location to
store all the boxes, he began to rearrange the items and boxes that were
already in the attic. He read some of the attic box labels and saw one that had
his name on the side. It does have my
name on this box, Donald thought, I
wonder what my parents have put into this box?
What he found turned his world
upside down: several pages of official paperwork. When he began to read the
documents, he discovered that he had been adopted. Anger replaced all his other
emotions. “Why?” he said to the papers in his hands. “I want some answers! I’ll
need to locate my birth mom. I’ll hire a good detective. That could be
As he thought about the need for money, he thought about
his parents’ house. There would be no
reason to keep this New York City home, Donald decided, the house’s location would fetch a fortune,
and this would be more than enough money for a detective and any future plans I
might need to make.
He would find his
With her permission, I will be serializing a chapter a week, on this blog, the material from this novel by Helen A. Bemis, published by Outskirts Press and available through amazon.com: