by Cathy Anderson Corn
We Stiffs write about crimes, using fictional characters and situations, although some writers base their stories on real life persons and activities. But how about real life crimes in our workplaces? What illegal acts of outrage have been committed where we generate the incomes to fuel our writing endeavors?
I work at a health and dining club, the Rivers Club, in downtown Pittsburgh as a massage therapist. This elite facility was established in 1983, and I've been established there since 1991. In sixteen years, four months, ten days (who's counting?) I've observed a number of laws being broken. I've noticed a few times when morals were shabby or absent.
The greatest crime of all time at the Club took place over ten years ago. Our athletics director--I'll call him Ted Howell, not his real name--was demanding, inflexible, and pretty strange, but I liked the guy, anyway. The college age employees called him the Pillsbury Doughboy (he was handsome in a preppy way, but pudgy). If a kid punched in five minutes late, Ted fired him or her on the spot. Ted's father was a psychologist, and one time after Ted rambled on incoherently for an hour to me, the captive audience, I wondered if Ted's dad played warped mind games on him when he was little, just as a joke.
Anyway, after five or six years of questionable judgment on Ted's part, he disappeared altogether.
Overnight, he was gone.
I learned shortly after the fact that the Club discovered a storeroom stripped of its contents. Ted sold paintings, furniture, and other items that belonged to the Rivers Club and pocketed the money. By the time he was caught, a lot of loot had been "spring cleaned" from the premises.
I wasn't there that day, but they said Ted left the floor running for his life. He'd never been witnessed moving so fast before, as the door slammed behind him.
The Rivers Club never prosecuted him.
About a year later, I passed Ted at the airport, me outgoing, him incoming. He looked fabulous in suit and tie, and said he'd taken a job at a prominent local institution in finance.
I still liked this guy and wished him well.
And hoped he'd do better this time.
What are your stories about crime where you work, live, just around the corner? What true life stories have you to share?