Mistle-Toe

Written in response to: Set your story at a work holiday party,... view prompt

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Christmas Fiction Crime

When the office dog, Lucy, comes inside the front door with a human toe in her mouth you know that it is not going to be the ordinary holiday party that you planned. Shakira was horrified when she turned around to find Lucy with a human toe hanging out of her mouth. Lucy put the toe in front of Shakira’s feet. She didn’t know where the toe came from and who’s foot it came from but she knew that she had to find out. Lisa, Shakira’s best friend, came into the office a few minutes after Lucy. She screamed when she saw the toe still sitting on the ground. 

“Shakira! What is that?” Lisa sheriked. 

“I think it is a toe.” Shakira said, sounding just as horrified as her friend. 

“What are we going to do with a toe? The party starts in a little over two hours?” Lisa asked.

“I don’t know. I guess we should call the cops and they can find the rest of the body.” Shakira said.

“Okay after the party. We can’t let this get out before the party. I will never get my promotion if Mrs. Willis finds out that there is possibly a dead body in or around the building.” Lisa said, looking at the toe.

“Lisa, are you crazy? We can’t possibly give a holiday party now. “ Shakira said.

“Just hear me out. We will give the party and after the party we will call the cops after everyone leaves and then they can look for the rest of the body this toe belongs to. I know it sounds crazy but I am not about to let a promotion slip through my fingers because of a toe. Do you know how long I worked for this promotion? All the overtime, kissing up to people, coming in early, and even giving up my prime parking spot to that old witch, Shawn just for this job. Come on Shakira. Please just do this for me. I am begging you. Please.” Lisa said as she put her hands together as if she was praying.

“Okay, I know this might come back to bite both of us in the backside but okay. Now, where are we going to put this toe?” Shakira asked.

Lisa looked around the room. She could only think of one place which made sense.

“We can put it in the fridge.” Lisa said

“Are you nuts? With the food? How are we going to do that? I can just see it now, nosey Ned looks in the fridge, sees a toe and faints.” Shakira said, shaking her head.

“I know how that sounds but think about it. We can wrap it in foil and put it all the way back in the fridge and write carrots on it. You know nobody will touch it because nobody in this place has eaten a veggie in years. Paula, the vegetarian is not coming and besides her like I said nobody eats veggies. So, we should be safe.” Lisa explained.

“Maybe that will work.Besides nobody should go in the fridge anyway. All the food will be out on tables. I only hope that nobody finds it or we will be in big trouble.” Shakira said.

The women hung up paper decorations and streamers and a big sign which said Happy Holidays. They took three long tables and pushed them together to make one long one and set out the food. Lisa put the cakes, cupcakes, pies and assorted muffins and donuts on one table and Shakira put the snowman centerpiece in the middle of that table and proceeded to put the rest of the food on the remaining tables. They had something for everyone including pizza from the place down the street which never closes. They filled the punch bowl to the top and placed oranges and lemons around the bowl with the paper cups sitting next to it. Lisa opened a box of orange and grape juice and some cokes and 7-up and placed those on the table near the punch. There were also plenty of water bottles for the people who only drank water. 

They placed colorful bows on the sides of the tables and a wreath on the door. They were now ready for the rest of their co-workers. They also said a silent prayer that nobody found the toe in the back of the fridge. 

The first person to arrive was Betty from the accounting department. Betty was always the first to arrive at every party. She had on her “ugly Christmas sweater” with a gingerbread man on the front and he had a thought bubble over his head which said, “Oh Snap.” She was not wearing her usual three and a half inch heels. She had changed her shoes to black flats. She twirled her black hair as she walked over to the women to exchange hello’s.  Betty filled her plate with the assorted sweets and sat down in a chair in the center of the room. She loved attention and loved to be the center of attention.

Lisa smiled when she saw the next two people come through the door. One of the people was her boss, Ms. Lily-Belle and the other was one of her friends from the mailroom, Ken. Ken ran to her with both arms out in front of him and when he got to her on the other side of the room he gave her a big bear hug. They had not seen each other for a few days. Ken had been on vacation. She loved hugging him. His arms were strong and his body effortlessly eased into hers. It was the perfect hug. 

“How’s it going?” Ken asked.

“Oh it is going.” Lisa said.

Ken frowned and looked at Lisa straight in the eye.

“Okay, what’s really going on? Why the look?” Ken asked.

“No look. It is going fine. I am fine and everything is fine. Now go and enjoy the holiday party, the last one of the year.” Lisa said as she took a half of a step away from Ken.

“I don’t believe you. But, I am going to enjoy the party. Hey did you hang up some mistletoe?” Ken laughed.

“No, we didn’t think that would be appropriate at a work party. But, I have plenty of mistletoe at home.” Lisa laughed.

“Oh is that an invitation? “ Ken laughed.

“Oh Ken please. We have been friends since the second grade. I am not trying to see you like that and you know it. Besides, have you forgotten about Kacy?” Lisa asked.

“Oh yeah, your long distance boyfriend. Where is he? I don’t see him.” Ken said, looking around the room and laughing.

Ken walked away laughing while most of the other co-workers arrived. Shakeria was making small talk to most of them. She had just finished talking to Anna, one of the vice presidents, when Lisa walked over to her and tapped her on the shoulder.

Shakeria jumped and quickly turned around. Lisa was standing there with a cup of punch in one hand and a bottle of water in the other. She held out the hand with the punch and handed it to Shakeria.

“So far so good. Nobody has gone into the fridge. I think we are safe.” Lisa said.

“I hope that you are right. Wait. Where is Lucy?” Shakeria asked.

“Lucy? I don’t know. I haven’t seen that dog since before the party started.” Lisa said.

“Maybe she is sleeping somewhere. You know she likes to sleep.” Shakeria said, looking around the room.

The women chatted to everyone at the holiday party and they even sang some Christmas Carols when the unexpected happened.  On the last verse of the song “Jingle Bells” Lucy appeared. She ran straight to Shakeria and in her mouth was another toe. Shakira almost fainted. 

One woman did faint and spilled her drink all over the man standing next to her. While some of the people at the holiday party ran to help the fainting woman, most of the people walked slowly towards the toe and Lucy. 

“What in the world is that?” A woman with short red hair who worked as the receptionist screeched. 

“I think it is a toe.” A male's voice screamed  from behind the woman in the crowd.

“No, it is not a toe. It can’t be.” Lisa said as she picked up the toe from the ground.

“It looks like a toe.” Sheila who was one of the vice presidents of marketing said.

“Oh, yeah, it does but you know someone was playing a practical joke and it is not a real toe it is a toy toe.” Lisa lied.

“Why would anyone bring a toy toe to a holiday party?” Shelia asked.

“Well, you know it was probably my friend, Hen, he doesn’t work here but he is always trying to play practical jokes on me and he was supposed to pick me up so he’s probably out in his car laughing right now. Now, don’t let this ruin the party.” Lisa said.

“Yes, let’s not let this ruin the party. We have to do our secret Santa gifts.” Shakira chimed in. 

Lisa and Shakira weren’t sure if anyone believed the lie about the toe but they didn’t really give them too much time to process what they had just seen either. 

“I’m not in the mood to do any secret Santa’s. I just want to go home. The party is pretty much over for me.” Sheila said as she walked away to grab her coat on the coat rack.

The sentiment was echoed by all of the co-workers at the party and one by one they collected their coats and their secret Santa gifts under the tree. The party was over. 

“Well, Lisa, this is one party that nobody will forget.” Shakira said. 

“That’s the truth. Now what are we going to do about the two toes that we have?” Lisa asked.

“There is only one thing we can do. We need to find out what foot these toes came off of.” Shekira said.

“Umm, don’t you think we need to call the cops for that? We aren’t cops and we aren’t even private detectives so how are we supposed to find out where the toes came from?” Lisa asked.

“Lisa, don’t worry. We are going to call the cops but first we need to find out if there is a body somewhere close that goes with these toes. Aren’t you curious to find out where they came from?” Shakira asked.

“Ok, I am curious but not stupid. What if there is a killer running around out there and looking for his next victim? What if he is looking for more feet to remove toes from and he happens to see us and our pretty feet? We need the cops.” Lisa said.

“I just said that we would call the cops just not yet. Now, come on. We need to find out if there is a person out there near our building missing some toes.” Shakira said.

“I don’t like this at all.” Lisa said.

The women locked the front door to the building and walked around the building looking for anything they could find. It didn’t take long before the women found something. Not exactly what they were expecting to find and the color from both of their faces drained. 

“Lisa, do you see what I see?” Shekira asked. 

“I can’t help it. It is right there.” Lisa said.

“Well, now we know it is not human toes we found, or Lucy found rather.” Lisa continued.

“Nope. It looks like you were right. Someone did play a trick on us. The toes are fake and came from a dummy which someone probably made for Halloween and left it there. But, they did a damn good job because those toes look so real. I wonder why nobody noticed it before.” Shakira said. 

“Good question. I am just glad that it turned out not to be a human toe and glad that we still have all of our toes. And really glad that we didn't’ have to call the cops. Now what are we going to do with the toes and the fake body?” Lisa asked.

“Well, put it in the trash where it belongs. I bet that everyone will be talking about this party for years to come.” Shakira laughed.

December 30, 2022 01:26

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