Mia dreaded Monday mornings. She loved her job but hated how manic Monday’s are at her job since she got promoted. She had worked in the library since high school and now only 10 years later she was the assistant director sitting in a sweet office with a view to die for. She often looked out of her office window and pinched herself because she knew this had to be a dream. A dream she didn’t want to ever end. Until one Monday morning she thought she was in a nightmare at 8am.
Mia sat in her plush office chair and threw her purse in the bottom drawer of her desk and turned on her computer. It was time to do the dreaded e-mail check. Last Monday she got an email about two people quitting, one on probation and not job related probation, two people written up for various reasons and the elevator on the second floor not working and that was only in the top ten things of problems. Then she saw something that threw her for the biggest loop of her life. It was marked personal and confidential. Mia clicked on it and did a double take at the words on the screen. She had to read it twice because she couldn’t believe what she was reading.
Greetings Ms. Parker,
It has been a long time since we last spoke. Ten years to be exact in college. You know, I’m sure which party it was and what happened at that party. Most importantly what you did after the party. Now, since you are this big time director I have come to get what you owe me. Remember that you do owe me. So, you will follow my explicit instructions carefully to the letter. If you do not there will be a big BANG. The Big Bang will come to expose you. Now, in one hour check your email again. Follow what it says.”
Mia knew exactly who this was from. She couldn’t believe that she would do this to her now. She knew that she owed her but assumed that she would just have to write a job reference or something later in life but blackmail was not what she envisioned. She had no choice. She had to do it.
An hour later she checked her email.
“Mia, go to the first floor and in the Mystery section you will find a book called “The Return of Sender.” Take that book off the shelf and turn to page 100 there you will find a note do what the note says. At noon you will get another email. Remember I will be watching you.
Mia went to get the book. She politely smiled at the patrons in the Mystery section. She searched the shelves. She didn’t see the book. Small beads of sweat ran down her face as she looked again. She didn’t see it. Maybe she was messing with her, testing her. She looked on the other side of the shelf and even on the floor and the tables. She couldn’t find it. She swiveled her body around in a circle and looked up at the top shelf of the bookcase. There it was. Mia pulled the step stool the shelvers used to reach the high shelves and grabbed the book. She frantically turned to page 100 and read the note.
Good girl. You found the book. Now step two is to check your desk. On your desk you will find a big Manilla envelope and a brown paper bag next to it and next to that a black briefcase. Open the briefcase and follow the instructions. Hurry Mia, you have five minutes.
She ran back to her office and opened the case. She found a piece of paper with some numbers written on it almost like a combination lock number. But, it was too long for that. Mia didn’t have time to process what was inside the case before another email popped up on her computer screen. Mia closed and locked her office door. She clicked and read. She couldn’t believe it.
Take the piece of paper and don’t lose it. The piece of paper has an account number on it. I need you to go to the fiction section of the library on the second floor and there on the tenth shelf you will find tucked in between two books, The Life of Mine and Two Birds, a small brown envelope. Take the envelope and open it and read the directions. You have four minutes.
She wondered what would be next. She certainly didn’t have any money if that is what she was looking for. She wasn’t rich making library money. But, she did what she was told and read the note tucked inside the envelope. She was to come back to the library after work, after it closed and she was supposed to go to the directors office and look behind the picture of the flowers across from her desk and remove the picture. There she would find a safe. The combination of the safe would be taped under her boss desk. She was to open it. She didn’t have to worry about security because the system would appear to be turned on but it would actually be turned off. After she got the safe open she was to remove the contents and place them in the Manilla envelope and then place the envelope in the paper bag and put the paper bag in the briefcase. Then she would wait for further instructions.
Mia just wished she had been honest with many people about that night and that party. She wished that she hadn’t agreed to take Colten home that night and she wished that she insisted that she drove not him. She had to do what she had to do. She didn’t know that telling her best friend, Rita, would come back to bite her in the butt years later. She trusted Rita.
Rita graduated from college and she was going to marry the love of her life and get her dream job working in the library. Her sweetheart from college had other ideas about marrying her. He didn’t. He wanted something else entirely. He wanted to move to New York City. He wanted not to have kids or get married only to work on his career. Rita was devastated when he broke up with her and felt her world was ending. She never got her dream job. She ended up working in a dull boring job she hated being a receptionist in a law office. She was what they called the face of the business. She hated that. She just noticed the article by accident. She was scrolling online wasting time between phone calls at work when she saw it. Her former best friend had gotten a plush dream job in the library. That was supposed to be her job and her life. Mia had everything she wanted. Now, it was time to take some of that back. She couldn’t have the job or the life Mia had but she could have something else. Something that was just as important to her.
Mia made a big mistake telling her about what happened after the party on that night. They went to the party together. It was going to be the last party of the year until they all went off to college. They were all young and full of passion for their futures. They had big dreams and big plans. Mia danced most of the night with Chance. Chance was one of the more popular kids at the party. He was a jock. He played football and baseball and if it weren't for Rita he probably would give Mia the time of day. Although Mia was very pretty she was also very shy. Colten was there too. He was Chance’s best friend. He was the one who hung around Chance to get girls. He called the girls “Chance’s leftovers.” Words Mia didn’t like. Rita introduced Chance and Mia. Rita danced and talked with her boyfriend, Ryan. Ryan, the man who broke up with her after the party. Ryan told her he had something to tell her and when he took her home he broke the news that he was leaving the state and wanted a fresh start. He needed that. He was sorry, very sorry.
In the middle of the night Mia called. She told Rita that she had to come and pick her up and she needed help. Rita snuck out of the house and took her mom’s car and drove three miles to Cotton Park where Mia was. When she got there Mia was dissolved and her hair was dripping wet. She looked frazzled and scared. When Rita pulled up in the car Mia ran to the car and screamed for her to drive fast.
“What happened?” Rita asked.
“Well, you know I left with Chance, and he was drunk. I knew that I should have driven. Why did I let him get behind the wheel. Friends don’t do that.” Mia said, shaking.
“What happened?” Rita repeated.
“ We were driving down Peer Road and you know how dark it is on that road right? Well, he was swerving the car and I told him to pull over. I was going to drive but before he could pull over bright headlights blinded us and before you knew it we crashed on the side of the road. He hit a car. It was bad. I got out of the car and checked on him. He was alive but bleeding from a cut on his forehead. I checked on the person in the other car. It was Molly and Dean. Dean was driving and Molly was in the passenger's side and she was covered in blood and slumped over. Dean was not breathing. I didn’t know what to do. I got scared. I grabbed my purse and ran as fast as I could. I found a phone booth and called you. I ran. I should not have ran but I did. I am so scared. Nobody can know that I was in that car. If anyone found out I would be in big trouble. I would lose my scholarship. I didn’t even call for help. I am a terrible person. I just left them there. They could have died or been dead. ” Mia explained.
“Mia, calm down. We will call the cops now anonymously. Nothing is your fault. Nothing at all. Now, just let me handle everything from here on out. Nobody has to know anything.” Rita said.
The girls never talked about that night again. Until Rita saw the article. That is when she put her plan in motion.
Mia did what she was told. She emptied the contents of the safe in her boss office. The safe was filled with diamonds and stocks and bonds. She didn’t know where or how her boss got all this and how Rita knew about it. All she knew was that she found herself in the middle of yet another crime. Mia went back to her office and waited for what would come next.
Rita pulled into the parking lot of the library and took the service elevator up to the third floor where Mia’s office was. She opened the unlocked door and Mia was sitting behind her desk with the briefcase sitting on top of a stack of papers on her desk. Rita did not say a word, just held her hand out for the briefcase.
“Why do you think? You aren’t that stupid. Or are you?” Rita said, moving closer to the desk.
“Maybe I am. Tell me anyway.”
“Mia, Mia, Mia, the golden child. You always got what you wanted. All you had to do was flash those pearly whites and twirl your hair and you would get everything you wanted. You got the job I wanted and the life I wanted. This should be my office not yours.” Rita said angrily.
“Rita, what are you talking about? That sounds crazy. Everything I have I worked for it. I worked hard. It had nothing to do with me smiling and twirling my hair.” Mia said.
“You never saw it but I did. I saw all the things you got because of your good looks. Sure you would play the shy card but you knew how to work the system. And another thing, don’t you ever call me crazy. I am not crazy. Oh, well, maybe crazy like a damn fox.” Rita continued.
“How did you know that my boss had diamonds and stocks in the safe?” Mia asked
“Oh me and your boss are old friends kind of. Before she became your boss she worked at the firm with me for two years. During those two years I found out a lot about her. Seems that her old man is rich. But, when he passed away about a year ago he didn’t leave her anything. She knew where he kept these things and she stole them and she needed a place to hide them and when I heard that she got promoted to the director's job I knew that she would find a way to hide them in her office and I was right. I wasn’t sure until one day I came to visit her and I noticed that the painting across from her desk was a little off center. After she went home and the library was closed I came back and broke in. I dated a security expert so I knew my way around security systems. Besides this one is not exactly state of the art. I found the safe and the combination taped to the bottom of her desk and knew that I had to find a way to get them without me actually stealing them. So, then that is when you came in. I knew that you worked there with her. I saw that in an article I read. I knew that you would have easy access to the safe and so I sent you that email. I knew that nobody would ever suspect me. You were my fall girl.”
“You did all that for the money?” Mia asked.
“Why yes and to get even with you. After all, don’t you know money rules the world? But, I have to do one more thing. I can’t take the chance of you telling anyone about this so I need to get rid of you.” Rita laughed.
“Rita, you don’t need to kill me. After all, you said I was your fall girl. They will blame me and I will go to jail. I won’t say anything about you. You have what you wanted. Please, girl, we are best friends. I love you. Please don’t kill me. We can make this work. I won’t tell a soul.” Mia pleaded.
Rita pulled out a small gun from her purse and pointed it right at Mia’s chest. She took a step back and laughed. But before she could pull the trigger something happened. The door opened and Rita felt someone push her from behind. Rita fell to the floor and the gun landed across the room.
The police came in at that moment and arrested Rita.
“See, Rita, I am not as dumb as you thought I was. I went to the police and my lawyer the minute I read your email and I told them all about that night and all about what you were trying to do, blackmail and we set this whole thing up to catch you. I may lose my job over this and may even lose other things but I will be damned if I was going to lose my life. I should have not trusted you that night and I should have done things a lot differently but I am here now owning up to my mistakes. Something that you will never do.”
Mia also left in handcuffs that night but she paid her debt to society she moved far from her town to New York City.