"I can come right now if you want," Lila responded, always eager to please.
"Fine, then let's walk together," Shelly said as she watched Lila push herself away from her desk. It seemed Lila had been gaining weight lately, and as Shelly observed her more closely, Lila's walk had taken on a slight waddle.
"No," she thought, "couldn't be. She's never missed a day of work, never complained about anything. She's so shy, too. I can't even imagine her with a man, although she is kind of attractive," Shelly further mused.
By the time they reached Shelly's office, she dismissed her thoughts of Lila's weight problems and focused on the business at hand.
After the meeting, Lila gathered all the project data and returned to her desk. In her typical, steadfast manner, Lila worked on all the details and completed the assignment in two weeks–one week ahead of schedule. When Lila walked into Shelly's office on Tuesday, she smiled and quietly asked, "Do you have a moment, Shelly?"
Shelly had been out of town for the past week and had arrived home late Monday night. So when Shelly looked up at Lila standing before her, she was somewhat startled. Lila appeared to be her former lithe self. Since Lila was so private about her personal life, Shelly didn't feel comfortable about making a comment. Instead she replied, "Sure, Lila, have a seat."
"I finished up your project a week early," she began nonchalantly. "Are there any other special projects you need me to work on? I have the time."
"That's wonderful, Lila!" Shelly beamed. "As a matter of fact, I do. It's some special research for the Norton account."
"Just tell me what you need to have done, and I'll get right to it!"
"Boy, I wish I had three just like you, Lila," Shelly said sincerely and began to explain the project.
In the meantime, unbeknownst to Shelly, Charles Gavin, the human resources manager, was investigating a complaint about Lila. Several employees had noticed a malodorous scent emanating from the trunk of Lila's car. Charles went to the parking lot early that morning to smell for himself. The stench was so strong and so foreign that instinct told him to involve the local authorities. When the police arrived, they looked worried and said they needed to obtain a search warrant. Several hours later, they returned with a warrant and Detective Bradford. Together they opened the trunk of Lila's car. Much to their horror, they discovered two dead infants wrapped up in blankets in Lila's trunk. It appeared as though the infants were not full term, perhaps two to three months premature. Pictures were taken, and the remains were immediately removed and taken to the morgue.
Charles asked the police not to apprehend Lila in front of her co-workers. He would arrange for Lila to come to the Human Resources Department. Then he called Shelly.
"Shelly, this is Charles Gavin. We have a problem with Lila. I can't go into details right now, but I'll fill you in later. Will you ask her to accompany you to my office? Just tell her it has to do with a project you're working on."
Shelly didn't like the mystery. It was uncharacteristic of Charles to keep her in the dark. "Charles, what is this all about? I don't like lying to my people."
"Trust me, Shelly," his voice almost pleaded. "I'll tell you everything when you get here."
"Okay," she said reluctantly, "but I don't like this."
Charles had asked the detective to accompany him to his office. He asked that the uniformed police remain out of sight. He was worried about frightening employees and wanted to hear Lila's explanation.
When Shelly brought Lila to Charles's office, Detective Bradford was seated at the conference table. "Please come in, Lila."
Lila edged closer to Shelly. She was clearly uncomfortable and started to shake.
"Lila, this is Detective Bradford. Detective Bradford, this is Lila Callow and her supervisor, Shelly Sexton," Charles continued. They all nodded to each other and took seats around the conference table in Charles's office.
"Lila, we had some complaints about an odor coming from the trunk of your car," Charles began. "It was so unusual that I called in some experts, and they told me I had to get it opened to look."
"You opened the trunk of my car without my permission?" Lila blurted. "What right did you have to do that? How dare you! My car is private!" Lila started to cry.
Shelly was shocked. She had never seen Lila ever lose her cool, much less express any form of real emotion.
"Do you know what we found, Lila?" Charles asked compassionately.
"Yes," she sobbed. "My babies."
"Her babies!" Shelly thought, clutching her stomach in a sudden wave of nausea. "My God, what has she done?"
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Excerpted from Outrageous Conduct: Bizarre Behavior at Work©