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Trash Without Reading

Page 4

Darryl Emmerson

Michelle, she began, thanks for making time to see me. Look, I think you’re doing pretty well here, I know it’s not the greatest job in the place, but we’re pretty happy with you. There’s just one thing. These Facebook messages… what are they about?

Facebook messages?

Yes. Like this one… And Paula brought up on her phone these words: Well you know what a new job is like. Same old, same old… The people aren’t too bad, the usual mix of dopes and try-hards… The manager? OK I guess..

Paula took note of her employee’s neat blouse and skirt, even more, her constant, worried frown. Look Michele these texts aren’t libellous, not even really tactless. But all I can ask is, why? Aren’t you happy here?

Michelle could not speak. She flushed, her breath shortened, and for a second she feared she’d weep. But some force gathered inside her and managed to say…But I didn’t write them…how did you get them? Who sent them?

Paula looked back at her. Well, they’re sent from your account, aren’t they? There’s one that mentions your old boyfriend, Jake, is that right? So they’re yours, aren’t they?

All this was not said accusingly, more with exasperation and a little impatience. But Michelle couldn’t say any more just then, so the compassionate Paula wound up the discussion.

On her way home in the mid-evening – she stayed back to do some extra work – Michelle could feel a continuing throb inside her, a knot of unease… Who was it? Was it Tracy? What did they want of her? How had they got into her life like this?  That night, she had the worst night’s sleep for many, many months, a sleep of course crowded with the sharp, vivid dreams that were now her frequent companion.

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