Blood on Her Hands–Part 1

Blood on Her Hands–Part 1

bloody-handBlood on Her Hands

Pierre LeCompte whistled his favorite tune from Phantom of the Opera as he pushed through the lobby doors that morning.  Although it had been nearly a month since his promotion to vice president of human resources, he secretly looked at his business card daily to assure himself he wasn't dreaming.

Pierre was the youngest vice president ever appointed in the French-owned company.  His rapid rise through the corporate ranks was no accident.  He had excellent mentors and worked very hard to master the English language, assimilate into American culture, and learn the employment laws.  Although Pierre still retained a slight accent, he communicated clearly and effectively with both management and the line employees in the factory.

That morning as he strolled through the lobby, he casually noticed three unusual-looking people sitting in the reception area.  He checked his watch.  It was only 7:45 a.m.  Rarely did visitors arrive at such an early hour.

Two of the visitors were frightening-looking women in their early to mid-30s.  Both were as large as a pair of Sumo wrestlers and wore angry expressions on their faces.   A leprechaun-like gentleman, clad in a finely tailored Armani suit, was sandwiched between them.  He continued to pat the hand of the woman on his left, whose nostrils flared with the greater anger.

 Pierre breezed past the receptionist on his way to grab a cup of coffee.  By using only his eyes and a slight tilt of his head, he communicated silently, "Who are those people?"

The receptionist whispered, "Mr. LeCompte, these people arrived here at 7:30 a.m.  They are waiting to see you.  The woman in the black dress is the wife of Leroy Calhoun, one of our assembly workers.  I don't know who the others are."

Pierre looked toward them and smiled.  The women glared back.  The diminutive gentleman in the Armani suit nodded and responded with a wide grin. "Please, tell them I'll see them as soon as I get settled," Pierre instructed the receptionist.

Pierre walked into his office, hung up his coat, and set down his briefcase and coffee.  He reviewed his calendar and observed that he had no meetings scheduled until 9:30.  "Good," he thought, "I won't have to change my schedule, and I can give Mrs. Calhoun adequate time." 

Since Pierre's secretary had not yet arrived, he took a deep breath and personally went to the lobby to greet the mysterious Mrs. Calhoun and her entourage.  As he approached the group, Pierre smiled and said, "Hello, I'm Pierre LeCompte.  I understand you wanted to see me.  Would you like to come to my office so we can talk privately?" he asked, motioning toward the hallway that led to his office.

 Mrs. Calhoun, the menacing woman in the black dress, stood up immediately.  Pierre tensed as he felt the floor vibrate from her weight. "I'm Lucretia Calhoun, Leroy Calhoun's wife.  This here is my sister, Ruby Mae Watson, and our family mortician, Mr. Tyrone Fogel."

"It's my pleasure to meet you," Pierre responded, shaking their hands.  He privately was thinking, "Mortician?  What in the world is she doing here with a mortician?"  Then he motioned again to the hallway, and said, "If you'll step this way . . ." 

While Pierre arranged for them to be comfortably seated on the sofa and wing chairs in his office, he asked,  "Would any of you like some coffee?"

All declined.

"Well, then, how can I offer you assistance?"

"We're here to tell you Leroy died this weekend," Lucretia announced.

"Oh dear, I'm sorry," Pierre said, offering his sympathy.  "How did this happen?"

"He came home drunk as a skunk and abusive as hell," Lucretia scowled, "so I shot the damn SOB, dead."

Pierre was speechless.  While he was trying to formulate a question, Lucretia continued matter-of-factly, "We're here to find out how much life insurance he has and if there's any pension money for me.  When Leroy and I got married last June, he told me he had a $30,000 policy.  That should cover a first-class funeral and leave me some money to fix up the house."

"Amen," said her sister Ruby Mae, with the undertaker, Fogel, nodding in approval.

Pierre remained silent as he scanned their expressions. The sister furrowed her brow in concern, while the undertaker smiled with obvious delight that money would be available for a grand funeral.  Pierre still wasn't sure what to say at that point, but finally managed to ask, "Were the police involved in this matter?"

"Yeah, they were there," Lucretia said.  "They took pictures and brought me down to the station, but I'm out on my own recognizance.  I just want to know what benefits are due me."

"Yeah, they were there," Lucretia said.  "They took pictures and brought me down to the station, but I'm out on my own recognizance.  I just want to know what benefits are due me."

Pierre instinctively knew that Lucretia would not be entitled to any death benefit until she was cleared of any criminal charges.  His mind searched for a way to gracefully get them out of his office, without having to tell her that directly. 

"Let me check the records for you and verify the benefit amounts," he suggested.  "If you'll excuse me, I'll be back shortly."

Pierre calmly left his office.  As he headed for the office of the corporate attorney, Jean-Claude Moreau, Pierre felt perspiration begin to bead on his forehead.  Fortunately, Jean-Claude was at his desk.  Pierre felt instant relief knowing that he would not have to face the trio alone.  "With this group," he shuddered inwardly, "I not only need legal counsel, I probably need a bodyguard, too."

"Jean-Claude, mon ami," Pierre began in French, and quickly briefed his colleague of the unusual predicament.

As they checked the records together, they discovered that Leroy's benefit had, indeed, been $30,000.  Unfortunately, when he  changed jobs from supervisor to assembly worker two months ago, Leroy's benefits were reduced to $10,000.  Furthermore, the profit-sharing plan contained only $1,500.

"Mrs. Calhoun is going to be one unhappy lady," Pierre said.

"Unhappy is an understatement," Jean-Claude said, pointing to the line on the document that indicated the beneficiary.  "Look here."

To find out what why Lucretia will be so unhappy, click here.

Excerpted from Sex, Laws, & Stereotypes, by N. Elizabeth Fried, Ph.D.©

No comments

Leave a reply

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *