By Joseph Logsdon
Regina Madison hated her boss. She was a shy woman, so shy that she didn't even consider the possibility of getting married. From her perspective, all men were evil, corrupt animals. If she had the chance to take advantage of one of them, she would certainly do it.
"I'm glad you decided to see me, Mr. Brent," Regina stated, sipping her coffee.
"I have to say, Regina, you usually don't ask to see anyone, let alone me," Mr. Brent laughed.
"Very true, very true," Regina replied.
"So, what can I do for you? You're doing well, I hope?"
"Oh, yes, never been better. In fact, I've decided to take a little vacation," Regina stated.
"You see, Mr. Brent, I'm a very poor woman, so poor that I can't even afford to live in my apartment. It's not that I blame you, it's just that, well, I blame you," she laughed.
"What do you mean?"
"Oh, come now, we both know what we're talking about. Day in and day out, I sit in an office, hoping to get noticed. Still, for whatever reason, you won't give me a promotion. I've earned one, haven't I? Why, if it weren't for me, you couldn't keep this company running. I know that, you know that, the whole company knows that. Why won't you give me a promotion?"
"Would you like me to be honest?"
"Of course, always," Regina replied.
"It's not that I don't trust you, it's just that I don't think you can handle my kind of business. Every time someone gets out of line, I have to silence them. It's a dirty job, and it has no reward. You don't want that kind of life, do you?"
"Well, why not? If I were a man, you would give me the job, wouldn't you?"
"That's beside the point, isn't it?"
"Maybe, maybe not," Regina stated, removing a photograph from her pocket.
"Guess," Regina laughed.
"Regina, you wouldn't do anything foolish, would you?"
"That depends, are you willing to negotiate?"
"What do you have in your hand?"
"Oh, nothing much, just a photograph. If you look close enough, you'll see the body of Ryan Nelson. He used to work for you, didn't he? Why, just the other day, I saw him in the office. If I recall correctly, you were arguing about something, something very important. What, may I ask, were you talking about? Oh, wait, I already know the answer to that," Regina laughed.
"Bitch, I don't know where you think this will get you, but I can assure you, if you don't give me that photograph, I'll fucking kill you," he threatened.
"You killed him because he was going to expose you, because he was going to make you less of a man. Oh, that's right, you're already less of a man," she laughed.
"What do you want?"
"Well, for a start, I want a promotion, and as long as we're being generous, I would also like a raise, my own office, and a paid vacation," she stated.
"And what do I get?"
"Nothing," she answered.
"What do you mean?"
"If I give you this photograph, I'll no longer have any power over you. By keeping the evidence, I'm securing my future," she hissed.
"Sorry, no deal," Mr. Brent stated.
"Do you want me to give this to the police?"
"Well, the thing is, you were never going to give it to the police," Mr. Brent laughed.
"What are you saying?"
"Did you enjoy your coffee?"
"Are you saying, that all this time, I was drinking poison?"
"I told you, it's a dirty job, and it has no reward," he laughed.
Before Regina could respond, she collapsed. When she finally awoke, she was in a very strange place. The room was dark, so dark that she couldn't even see her own hand. Unknown to her, the body of Ryan Nelson was in the room. He was dead, and as far as anyone knew, Regina had killed him.
"Open up, this is the police," a voice commanded, knocking on the door.
"Hold on, I'll be right with you," Regina stated.
To her dismay, the officer didn't wait for permission. In almost no time at all, he broke down the door. Turning on the light, Regina saw the cold, dead corpse. She had been framed, and the sad thing was, she couldn't do anything about it.
"You did this, didn't you?"
"Why, of course not," Regina stuttered, trying to remain calm.
"How do you explain this, then?"
"I've been framed, I tell you, framed!"
"Yeah, and who would want to frame you?"
"You have to believe me, it's true, every word," she cried.
"Sure, tell it to the judge," the officer laughed.