Word Count: 500
That’s Above My Pay Grade
By Josh McMullen
The whole house became engulfed in pure white, then just as quickly, went almost completely
black, save for the moon, its light breaking through the window. Dahlia and Farley sat against
the door holding on tightly to each other's hand, trying very hard not to even breathe out of step.
They had met each other in the office. She was an eager young employee, on the absolute fastest
of fast tracks to an executive position. He had already been with the company ten years, and he
knew he was going nowhere. It wasn't fair, but that was their pre-arranged lot in life. Their
stations had been assigned at birth, and advancement was impossible.
Farley thought she looked absolutely ravishing: long legs that, as the cliché goes, went all the
way up, and an hourglass figure that made her look like a Barbie doll. Everything on her was
absolutely perfect, almost as if she had been preserved until her 18th birthday.
Farley, though, had the ravages of office life on him, just like everyone else. He had gained a bit
of weight, his hair sat in a dirty blonde glob on top of his head, and his skin broke out at the
slightest contact with the air. Nevertheless, she had noticed him on her first day, extending her
hand and introducing herself as Dahlia Simonson before being chided for fraternizing with the
Since that day, Farley had wanted her as he watched her flitting from desk to desk, chirpily
dropping off work assignments. Every time she stopped at Farley's desk, she would greet him
with a smile and a wave, flipping her black hair, which was almost as bouncy as she was. Then
she would walk away, her hips swaying in a cardinal-red miniskirt, and Farley had to slap
himself to quiet his imagination. The thoughts always came back at night, the illegal fantasies
getting more and more obscene.
That was before that fateful day in March. He had been running late, and arrived at his desk just
before Dahlia did. She greeted him with a coy wink and a more coy wave. His assignments were
the usual shower of busy work, but he was shocked by a note, written in loopy letters with a
green pen: Meet me in the copy room. One hour. Tell no one.
He didn't have to be told twice, and he had barely set foot there when he was met by the most
brazen of illicit actions: a kiss, right on his lips. It obviously escalated quickly.
He wouldn't know how they found out. It didn't matter how, since now, his life was at risk. They
both sat against the door of his house, holding each other's hands while outside, the agency sat in
a holding pattern. Without even thinking, he planted a kiss on her lips as if it was the last time,
just as the banging of a battering ram began against the door.