This story was written in answer to Fandango’s One Word Challenge. Word – ‘Heresy’
This story also includes: Your Daily Word Prompt – ‘Different’
I arrived at work a few minutes early today. What I saw my manager doing was more than a little surprising. For the sake of keeping my job, I choose to ignore it. And I did until lunchtime where I couldn’t hide it anymore.
“So, what’s new, Mike?” Steph asked.
I worked my jaw for a few moments, it was eating me, I had to tell someone what I saw. “Well, Terry is a thief.”
“What! That’s tantamount to heresy!” Steph almost dropped her sandwich. “Terry’s a good, honest manager.”
I nodded. “Yup, but I saw him taking money out of the petty cash tin this morning.”
“Well, he can, can’t he?”
“Sure, but he never recorded it in the notebook. I watched the whole ‘transaction’ take place.”
“I’m sure he had genuine reasons,” Steph remarked.
I was having different thoughts. Terry was never in at that time of the morning. He hadn’t shown himself until his usual start time either. Heresy or not, I knew Terry stole that money. “I guess we’ll see,” I said.
That afternoon the whole promotions team were called into an unplanned meeting by Terry and our general manager Laramie. We all sat around the beech conference table with interest.
Terry rose to address us first. “Ladies and gentleman, I hate these sorts of meetings but this must be done. We have a thief in this room with us.”
“What?” said Cathy.
“I don’t believe it!” Ezekiel added.
Steph just looked at me mouthing, ‘You were right then.’
I nodded — Now, what did I do?
“The thief has stolen one-hundred-and-fifty pounds from petty cash today. I ask you to own up now so we can return to work.” Terry explained.
I gulped; I wasn’t the thief but I felt as guilty as one just then. If I spoke up would I be believed? I was likely to get fired myself, wasn’t I?
Laramie rose as Terry sat down. “Thieving is intolerable. If the culprit is not found we may be forced to fire everyone to make our offices safe again. You do not want to be the reason your teammates have no jobs. Do you?”
Steph looked at me with desperation in her eyes. ‘Speak up’ she mouthed.
“This silence is not helping,” Terry said without guilt. “It’s time for honesty. Who—”
“Then be honest, Terry,” I had to say something for my own conscience.
Ian swore in surprise.
“No way,” whispered Ezekiel.
Terry glared at me. “So, you stole it and are trying to blame me, huh?”
“You need a different story,” I said rising to my feet.
“Tell it,” Laramie ordered.
I took a deep breath, “Fine, you always start at ten, Terry. When I got here at ten-to-nine thanks to the bus this morning — you were already here. You were in the office taking the money from the cash tin and putting it in your back pocket.” I was trembling as I spoke but I felt better for being honest, even if it got me fired.
Steph smiled my way.
“Liar!” Terry said. “Laramie, I’ll handle this. Mike will be suspended pending further investigation of the theft.”
“I don’t think so.” Laramie stepped over to me. “You being truthful, Mike.”
I nodded truthfully. I was no heretic.
Laramie returned the gesture. “Terry, why were you here early?”
“I got here minutes before ten.”
“No, I saw your car parked along the road when I arrived at half-past-nine. You brought it in just before ten.”
“I – I …” Terry flushed scarlet.
Laramie’s face tightened angrily. “Wallet please?”
“Ooh!” whispered Ian.
“Everybody out! Meeting over.” Terry said.
I rose to leave, reaching the door I watched Laramie remove the stolen money from Terry’s wallet. He nodded to me as I left.
It was not with happiness that I watched Terry being escorted from the premises a few minutes later.
Have a great day!