American Contemporary Fiction

Sharon was a tall, well-proportioned, stunning attractive woman who had recently arrived in Fort Worth from Hereford in the Texas Panhandle. She had met Phoebe one evening in a popular bar near the Stockyards where most of the cowboys went. Phoebe saw David chatting to the slim, sexy woman tossing her mane of thick, luxurious hair around, ensuring she was noticed by half the bar as soon as she had entered.

‘Damn’ thought Phoebe ‘c’est la vie.’  

During the evening, David wandered over to say hello and brought the girl he was with to introduce her to Phoebe. The girl, Sharon, was beautiful. Phoebe ignoring the fact that she was strongly attracted to David, turned and offered a warm, welcoming smile towards the Hereford girl. Sharon was a pleasant, chatty woman and, during the evening, told Phoebe that she had been due to get married, but sadly it had fallen through. To get over the heartbreak, Sharon had set off for Fort Worth to visit her cousin and, by chance, had met David, and amazingly they had immediately clicked. So far, Sharon hadn’t secured a job, so David persuaded Phoebe to arrange an interview for Sharon at Greens, the cattle auction company she worked for.  

‘Such a good, well-qualified worker, and you two get on well. See what you can do, Phoebe’. 

Phoebe was slightly older than Sharon, both women in their thirties, and was attractive with a funny, loud personality. The women rapidly started building a close friendship. Phoebe had known David for several years, and despite really fancying him, she observed that David and Sharon’s relationship seemed to be made in heaven. Phoebe was surprised, therefore, when within a short while after joining Greens, Sharon and David split up, and although Phoebe couldn’t quite work out what had gone wrong, she reasoned it was nothing to do with her and refused to pry.

At Greens, Phoebe held quite a senior position in the Risk Assessment Team and was well-regarded and liked. Her immediate boss, Neil, called her to tell her that he had resigned from Greens and was moving to a new position. Neil hoped Phoebe would apply for the job when the vacancy became public. 

Surprisingly he asked, ’Phoebe, how friendly are you with Sharon?’ he said in a lowered voice.

‘Oh, we get on really well; why?’

‘Phoebe, I want you to take on this job when I leave because you are an excellent worker, reliable, and have an eye on how to achieve success; plus, you are considered a good leader within your team.’

‘Wow, Neil, thanks. I’ll apply, obviously.’

‘Phoebe, Sharon wants this job, and if you don’t fight for it, you won’t get it’.

‘How on earth does Sharon know that you are going?’

‘An interesting question - which I can’t answer. Just trust me, she knows, and she will take this job from right under your nose. Stop allowing her to push you around.’


A few weeks later, after Neil’s resignation became public, Sharon took Phoebe out for coffee and told her she would be applying for Neil’s job. Despite the warning, Phoebe was seriously taken aback as Sharon was junior and had not worked that long at Greens. Frankly, Phoebe had been disappointed in Sharon’s attitude to work and seemed to have achieved little since arriving.  

Sharon’s beautifully made-up face leaned over the hot coffee Phoebe had bought her and gently blew on it.  

‘I’ve been called in by the big boss, Stephen, and told that Greens hope I will become the next Team Leader following Neil’s departure. I just wanted to inform you of this in case you were going to apply, and I didn’t want you to be upset when you weren’t chosen.’

‘I’ll be honest, Sharon, I’m shocked. I was going to apply and frankly thought I stood a good chance.’

‘Well, Phoebe, I held a very similar position to Neil’s when I worked in Hereford.  Greens contacted my old auction house, and they let Greens know how highly they regarded me, which synched it. You know what Greens are like - success and goals are everything, and they can’t afford to make a mistake.’ Sharon leaned forward and squeezed Phoebe’s arm sympathetically.

During the coffee conversation, Phoebe’s low esteem kicked in, whilst Sharon waxed lyrically about all the successes she, Sharon, would personally achieve for Greens.  

Sharon said:  ‘Stephen made it quite clear that he admires your work, Phoebe and feels it would be fun for friends to work together and continue to achieve significant successes. There is plenty of room for two highly motivated women in one team - but the team would benefit from my being in the senior position. Are you OK with this, Phoebe? Tell you what, let me see what I can do to get you a bit more money, yeh?’

Within the first week of the two women working in the same team, and Sharon as the ‘Boss’, it was evident that something had gone wrong. Initially, Phoebe felt sure she’d done something wrong, or that her performance was inadequate, but whatever it was, the workplace had become unhappy. Sharon soon started arriving late and leaving early, leaving the main thrust of the job to Phoebe, who, to get through her workload, had begun to come in earlier and go later. 

In Phoebe's opinion, Sharon’s immediate superior, Stephen, was a deeply unpleasant individual. Phoebe felt that the only possible drawback to getting the Team Leader position was that she might be required to spend time with the creepy womaniser Stephen. Phoebe was amazed at how happily Sharon would disappear for many hours a day as she kept being called into meetings with Stephen leaving Phoebe to run the team independently. Surprisingly when Sharon returned from the meetings, she had nothing to report to the team. Phoebe finally confronted Sharon and asked if anything important was being discussed at these meetings. 

‘Frankly, Sharon, I am practically running the team; shouldn’t I occasionally be invited to these meetings? I need to know what goes on. Neil always kept me informed.’

Sharon went white with rage.

‘What on earth would someone of your low ranking be doing at a Department Meeting? I am the Team Leader, and I make the decisions for the team, so I attend. You carry out orders that are being passed on to you. You don’t bring any ideas to the table, so having you sitting there would be a waste of space.’

Phoebe was overwhelmed by the mixture of emotions crowding her thoughts. Why had she been so severely insulted by the ‘dreadful Sharon’?

In the privacy of her office, Sharon rang Stephen. ‘We nearly had a problem today; that idiot Phoebe asked if she could attend our meetings. Says we’re having too many meetings and not reporting back to the Team.’

‘So Phoebe’s up for a threesome with you and me?’ he said laughingly. ‘Look, pull the old “you need an appraisal” routine; that’ll shut her up’.

Sharon called from her open office door:  ’Phoebe, can I have a word, please?  

‘I am so sorry to say this, but Stephen has asked me to run an appraisal on your work as he doesn’t believe you are bringing anything to the Team.’, said Sharon sympathetically.

‘You’re joking. I’m working flat out here.’, said Phoebe, fighting back tears.

‘Yes, but not at a very high level, is it Phoebe? Frankly, a school leaver could achieve more than you. Sorry, not my words - Stephen’s words. I think he’s got it in for you. I suggest you keep a very low profile as far as Stephen is concerned.’

Phoebe arranged to see the Head of Human Resources on the team members' advice, who were genuinely devastated by Sharon and Stephen’s opinion of Phoebe’s work. She told Margaret that things were not going well.  Margaret didn’t seem surprised that Phoebe had requested an HR appointment. Margaret discussed moving Phoebe from her present position to a different team where her skills and talents would be better used, and meanwhile, the existing unit would be split up. 

‘I feel the whole team is being punished for no apparent reason’, said Phoebe. “It’s a great team, and I think our achievements will disappear if you split the team.’

‘Certain things are going on in the team that I am not at liberty to discuss. Whether you had come to see me or not, the decision to split the team up had already been taken.’, said Margaret kindly.

By the afternoon, Phoebe’s notice to quit had been placed on both Stephen’s and Margaret’s desks, and despite being requested to re-think things and withdraw it, Phoebe left Greens by the end of the week.


Phoebe's good reputation was known in the auction houses, and soon she was enjoying her new job. She had been offered a senior position with a rival auction house in the Stockyards, where her obvious abilities were acknowledged.

‘Greens must have been stupid to allow you to go’, said her new Company.


Sharon was annoyed when things hadn’t gone entirely to plan. She had only meant to put Phoebe off the track regarding her affair with Stephen and had to shut her up about the regular ‘meetings’ she was having with Stephen. Phoebe leaving was the last thing Sharon needed. Sharon desperately needed Phoebe’s hard work and keen, insightful thoughts to achieve the team's goals. Plus, with Phoebe efficiently running the team, Sharon wasn’t required to work too hard but could still greedily receive the salary and accolades that should have gone to Phoebe.  

With Phoebe leaving, Sharon was seriously concerned that she would have to work much harder and complete all the Projects in which Phoebe was an expert. Added to her woes, Stephen seemed to have lost interest in her since he had been required to undergo a long and searching interview with Margaret in HR. Stephen had been furious that he had been asked to report to HR and blamed Phoebe’s departure.

Sharon had been meeting Stephen regularly for illicit intimate trysts. Sharon felt this kept her job safe and her lack of skills carefully hidden. As far as Sharon was concerned, most men, particularly Stephen, were a bit stupid and easy to manipulate. She’d happily used this mode of operation to advance her career for years in Hereford before coming to Fort Worth. Unfortunately, her fiancee had found her out and had ridiculously called off their wedding!

Margaret, the Head of HR, explained to Stephen that the team he was in charge of had disintegrated into complete disarray, and the Green Executive had requested that it be split up.

As his angry, petulant face turned towards her, clearly about to start shouting and screaming, Margaret calmly said:

’How’s your wife, Stephen? Your children?’

‘Why are you asking?’

“Oh, I think you know Stephen. Unfortunately, the whole Company seems to understand how you have been conducting your afternoons with a team member. I think it’s time you arranged Sharon’s farewell at Greens, particularly as the team’s goals are unmet. I leave it to you to offer Sharon resignation or the sack.


Sharon left the building, feeling her world was not quite going according to plan. Internally though, she knew that with her looks and charm, coupled with her ruthlessness, something would soon turn up, and she would quickly acquire a new job.

As she walked along the road, musing about her next steps, she saw David approaching her.  

‘Surely he’s forgiven me by now’, she thought.

‘Hi David’, she squealed excitedly. ‘Long time no see’.

‘Hi Sharon’, he said quite cheerily, ‘Gosh, this is a surprise. How are you?’

‘Fabulous, what are you doing here’?

‘Well, I had hoped to see Phoebe and ask her a favour. Is she still at work?’

‘No, David, she left Greens a while ago and now works across town. Was it anything in particular?

‘No, well, …. yes. I want to invite her to a friend’s wedding with me, but I can’t find her number. Have you got it?’

Sharon suggested they go for a drink together, and she’d hunt for Phoebe’s number during the drink. Once they were seated with drinks in front of them, Sharon began to flirt outrageously and whispered to David:

‘I could come to that wedding with you if you’d like?’ leaning closer to him.

‘Sharon, this is a shame, but I’ve got to run. Let’s meet up soon and finish this drink properly?’ he kissed her gently on her upturned lips and left.

David got into his car and immediately rang Phoebe.

‘How’s it going?’ asked Phoebe.

‘Going well. Got her when she was vulnerable - no job, no boyfriend - it’s easy to reel her in. I can’t wait to dump her. When are you going to ring her?


A few days later, Phoebe rang Sharon, ‘Hi Sharon, how are you?’

‘Phoebe, my goodness, long time no see.’

‘A little bird tells me you’re back with David. Happy?’

‘Oh yes, it’s wonderful. What a fool I was to finish with him. What about you, how’s work? I’m not at Greens any more. I think I’d honestly outgrown it; not a good Company.’

‘Well, this is why I’m ringing. I’d heard you weren’t at Greens any more. I’m at Turners, as you know. Fabulous company. Great salary, good benefits and a pleasant place to work. Listen, Sharon, there’s a job going here. I’m getting promoted, and my job will be available - very similar to the job in Greens - you’d be able to do it with one hand tied behind your back. Interested?’

Phoebe prattled on and continued to paint a picture of the perfect job.

‘They’re interviewing Friday. Shall I arrange for you to come for an interview with Joyce Dickenson? ……. Great. I’ll give her secretary a ring and book you in.’

She texts Sharon shortly afterwards and told her to turn up at the Turner Head Office at 3.00 pm Friday and ask for Joyce Dickenson.

Sharon excitedly rings David and tells him her news.

‘Phoebe says I’m bound to get the job because of my background at Greens.’

‘You’ll get it easy, Sharon. After the interview, I’ll take you out for the best meal in town to celebrate. I know you’ll get the job.’


Sharon walks down the road towards the Turner building. She looks fabulous. Her makeup is perfectly applied. Her new interview dress fits exquisitely around her slim waist and hips, and her new stiletto heels clip-clip along as she swings her hips. The City men in their broad-brimmed Stetson hats and expensive designer Bolo ties turn to look at this gorgeous woman as they pass her on Main Street. Sharon smiles, aware of how good she looks.

She walks into the building as if already a respected staff member and confidently approaches the Receptionist.  

‘I’m here to see Joyce Dickenson for my interview at 3.00. Could you tell her secretary I’m here?

‘Who are you here to see?’ said the sour-faced Receptionist.

Slightly annoyed at the stupidity of the Receptionist, she repeats slower and louder, ’Joyce Dickenson’.

‘You must be in the wrong company. We don’t have anyone called Joyce Dickenson working here.’


Sharon left the building in a haze. She furiously jabbed Phoebe’s number into her phone but couldn’t get Phoebe to respond. She rang David, working hard not to cry and ruin the makeup that adorned that beautiful face.

He answered, clearly talking to someone else as he picks up.

‘Yes’, he says in a less than friendly voice.

‘David, I honestly think Phoebe has set me up. There is no Joyce Dickenson. I felt such a fool when the Receptionist said she hadn’t a clue whom I was talking about - and apparently, no interviews are being held this afternoon.’

‘I know. Phoebe and I have been laughing our heads off, thinking about you prancing around with your smart interview clothes on.’

‘What!  Did you know? I don’t understand why either of you would find this funny!’

‘It’s funny in the same way you found it funny sleeping with my best friend whilst going out with me.  It’s funny in the same way you managed to shift Phoebe from the job she adored. I would suggest you return to Hereford, but I hear through the grapevine that few people would welcome your return.'

Sharon could hear David and Phoebe laughing hysterically.

Sharon, incandescent with rage, disconnected her phone, swirled around on the expensive stilettos and agonisingly went over on her ankle. She felt violently sick in her stomach from the excruciating pain and looked up and down the pavement for her Knight in Shining Armour. Alas, the pavement was empty.  

Sharon painfully limped up the road, her makeup smeared and wearing an ugly expression on that once beautiful face.


‘I hope you are free tonight, my lovely partner in crime; I have booked a table for two in The Cattle Club.’

‘Are you asking me out on a date, David?’

“You bet I am. Surely you must be the most gorgeous woman in the whole of Texas,’ and the two snuggle into each other and kiss.

June 30, 2023 12:19

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Michał Przywara
20:40 Jul 11, 2023

Something was suspicious as soon as we learned how quickly she dropped David. This Sharon's a real piece of work :) It's almost admirable how easily she uses one person to reach another, stomping all over them as she climbs. A very quick pace. But alas, it was not meant to last and all caught up with her. And having used and abused everyone, she no longer had anyone to count on when she needed them. Justice, certainly. Though I wonder if she's learned anything. Thanks for sharing!


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Mary Bendickson
15:13 Jun 30, 2023

Sweet revenge.


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