An anonymous friend has been leaving you gifts at work to celebrate each of the 12 days of Christmas. All was fine and good for the first 11 gifts, which were thoughtful. But the 12th gift isn’t actually a gift at all—it’s a photograph of someone you love doing something they shouldn’t be doing and an extortion note demanding $10,000 in cash or that photo goes live on the Internet. What do you do? Write this scene.
Stacy McGee and I, the two most junior clerks at Spitz Onual CA’s, had been volunteered to work from Christmas to January 5 on a project. It was kind of a bummer because it totally cancelled my trip home for the holidays, but that’s the downside of working here. The work needed to get done.
Christmas Day somebody left a dozen homemade peanut clusters on my desk; that’s way too much for one person to eat so I shared them with Stacy. I asked her if she’d done it, but she said no it must have been management or something.
On Boxing Day I found another bag: eleven chocolate cookies. The next day was ten homemade biscuits, and the day after that nine oatmeal muffins. Every day I shared them with Stacy, ‘cause we’re in this together. We’ve become fast friends over shared workload and treats.
On the 29th, it was eight frosted cupcakes, then seven tarts of mincemeat (it had a computer printed label saying so), and six beef samosas on New Year’s Eve. I took one of the samosas to Dave in HR and asked if he knew who was bringing them, but he pled ignorance. He did eat the samosa, though, and we agreed that they were incredibly tasty.
On New Year’s day there were five small velvet cakes, each garnished with a sprig of plastic mistletoe. As a joke Stacy put the mistletoe in her hair. As a joke I kissed her, and we ended up spending the whole lunch break necking. I felt like a teenager again.
The second, third and fourth of January continued the pattern: four shepherd’s pies, three roast squab (again with a note), and two casseroles.
On the fifth there was no food, only an envelope containing a dozen naked photos of Stacy. On the back was written “Ten grand or these go viral” and an e-mail address to contact when I had the money.
When I showed it to Stacy she burst into tears. “My ex-boyfriend got me drunk and took those! What can I do, Tom?”
“What can we do, Stace? I’ll help any way I can.”
Between the two of us we could only assemble about twelve hundred dollars; filing clerks are not rich. But we had to try. After work I sent an e-mail and got back an address, with instructions to come alone.
It was a low-security building so I could just walk up to the door. I knocked and it swung open on its own. The apartment inside was small but cozy, and I could smell the most amazing food cooking. When Stacy walked in wearing a little black dress I knew I’d been had.
“Tom, I’m glad you came. Sorry to set you up, but I hope you like my home cooking as much as you liked my baking. Now we can finish the song.”
And a hot night with Stacy McGee.