“Who’s the new lady friend?” Russ Simon’s officemate Joel nodded at the redhead who had just walked over to the Hors d’oeuvre table.

“That’s my sister Karen.”

“Ohhh.”  Russ waited out Joel’s pregnant pause. Finally,  Joel said, “She seeing anybody?”

“Married.” Russ wanted to punch the people who had asked that question, all four of them so far. He hated office parties. And he hadn’t expected the single men to circle his sister like a bunch of goddamned sharks. In fact, Joel’s red nose suggested he had been partaking a little too heavily of the cash bar.

Karen came back with two crackers coated in something pink that looked suspiciously fishy.  She offered one to Russ, who declined.

“Hey, Russ, glad you could join us!” The office administrator’s peppermint squeak preceded her arrival next to Joel.  “Who’s… OH! This is your sister, isn’t it?”

Russ nodded. “Maggie, meet Karen. Karen, this is…”

Maggie cut him off. “I recognize you from your wedding picture!” The woman spoke in exclamation points and question marks, every sentence ending in a register at the outer range of Russ’s hearing.

Karen crinkled her forehead, “I have to ask,” she said. “Where have you seen my wedding picture?”

“Russ has it up in his cube.”

“I’m touched,” said Karen. She leaned over and kissed Russ’s suddenly hot cheek.

Maggie chirped on. “Karen, you and your wife have the cutest little girls! I would just die for freckles like those.”

Beside Russ, Joel blew out a breath. He muttered,  “Damn. She doesn’t look a thing like the dyke on your wall.”

Russ turned slowly to face Joel. “What did you say?”

“It’s true. She’s got real long hair now, and…”

Russ punched Joel, then watched the blood blossom under his colleague’s nostrils. He wiped his knuckles on Joel’s shirt as Joel brought his hands up to his face. “You hit me!”

Russ shook his head. “I knew I should have never come to this damned party.”


There’s a NEW word at Trifecta this week. And it’s somewhere in that story up there 😉



About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Spiderweb — 32 Comments

  1. I assumed Karen was married to a man…I was so wrong – nice twist 🙂 Glad Russ decked the rude office mate. I'd say it was justified!

    • Mwahaha, my evil plan revealed. Karen is probably the only one who doesn't think Joel was worth it.

    • Glad you liked it. There wasn't room for Karen's reply, but I think she was pretty mortified. She's used to settling these people with words.

    • Thanks! And the hell of it is that Karen is liable to give Russ an earful because she didn't need him to go doing the big brother thing and screwing up his workplace when she could have told Joel off quite pointedly herself.

  2. Hey, how are ya? Came to visit. Love the ease of your dialogue. And that this is third person but you can still hear the spoken if that makes sense….

    • Glad it comes through! Sometimes, my characters all sound like me 🙂

    • Yay! You are absolutely one of my inspirations when it comes to misdirection. It's a skill I'm working to master.

    • Oh man, and at the office party too. Just one more thing to go wrong, really.

    • Now, of course, he has to deal with the aftermath in the office AND from his sister.

    • Heh, I kind of think Karen wishes he were a little less protective. She’s of the mind that you can win people through non-violence.

  3. Nice! I too got caught by surprise, and I should know better, being married to a woman myself. 🙂 I would *love* to see Karen's reaction, though. And I find Ross' aggressiveness very interesting. There must be more than one evening's worth of baggage there, to set him off like that.
    My recent post The Moon and My Mother

    • See, I think Karen’s outraged. Notice her surprise that he’s got her wedding picture up in his cube. I think that gesture is very unlike him. It’s not that he would be unsupportive of her – quite the opposite – he’s a bit too supportive. Hanging the picture shows the depth of his He’s very much the protective older brother, but he’s struggling with his role in her life. He isn’t sure she ever REALLY grew up (nevermind that she’s married with children). Russ may be reeling from a resurgence of the need to protect her from the world, but Karen’s been taking care of herself for a long time now. She’s used to creeps like these, and she knows a few withering statements that don’t require her to bloody anybody’s nose to deflate the asshole in question. She knew Russ always supported her, but he’s not the type of brother who goes around giving out hugs and cheek pecks. He’s just not very emotive, and it surprises her that he’s got the picture up. But then she realizes what’s going on about the time Russ bashes Joel, and by then it’s a bit too late to match words with words.

  4. Joel should learn to keep his mouth shut. I don't blame Russ for giving him a shiner.
    I was wondering why Russ was uncomfortable about his sister being quite popular with the men. The next half of the story explained why.

    This is nicely written as usual. 🙂

    • And also he's just a very protective older brother who is bigger on action than words.

  5. I love the descriptor, peppermint squeak. Perfectly evoked a sound in my mind. And I am so glad he socked that punk, he had it coming.
    Thanks for sharing this with us. We look forward to seeing what you do with the new challenge.

    • Awgh! Somehow you wound up in the spam. Thanks! I want to think he had it coming, too. But then I’m working on my anger management, so I try hard not to believe that. (I just write it.)

  6. I love the phrase, peppermint squeak. It so perfectly evokes a particular voice in my mind. And I am so glad Russ socked him, he totally deserved it.
    Thanks for sharing this with us. We look forward to seeing what you do with the new challenge.
    My recent post Trifecta: Week Thirty