A Very Inappropriate Holiday Greeting:
It was a mid afternoon conference. John Swain was sitting with his 'assistant' Amalia and was talking about her coming retirement.
"I don't like it a bit," he said, shaking his head.
"Now, don't get so grumpy with me," Amalia replied. "We both know that his was coming. Josh and I just have some plans that we need to act on."
"So, it's off to Arizona?" he asked, smiling now.
"Yes," she said, "Closer to the kids and all. It'll be nice for us."
"I'm sure it will," he said, "And I'm only being selfish with my grumpiness."
"I know that," she said. "But there are some good candidates for my position. We've already been through that."
"Yes, we have," he said to her, "And I agree."
"So, what do you think, John?" she asked. "If you don't mind my asking."
"Of course, I don't mind," he said. "You know your job even better than I and your input on this topic is certainly important."
"Well," she said then, "I've been thinking about Carloe Burke."
"Yes," he agreed, "So have I."
"She's young and very talented; she has a bit of a background in accounting and some economics plus her major area was pr. It should make her a fairly good fit."
"Looks that way," he said.
He thought for a moment and then said: "With you off for the holidays and then with your ride into the sunset with Josh to Arizona, I believe that I'll start right away. I want to have a talk with Carole and see what she and I can come up with."
"Good for you," Amalia said. "Best way to proceed. Offer her a nice package?"
"Yes," he said, "It's certainly a leg up from her work out of the secretarial pool and all."
"Bet she'll jump at the chance," Amalia said. "And I will be available for advice"
"Well, I guess I hope so. I really don't want a lot of time when we have to swan around and re-design the wheel," he answered.
"Now, John, don't go into a new relationship with an assistant in a grumpy way," she chided.
He laughed then and said: "You are so good for me. Who else around here would ever take the time to tell me to calm down, when I need it?"
"Well," she said, grinning with him then, "The truth his that you are so normally level headed that it hardly seems to be an issue. It's really been only this one time."
"Yes, you're right," he admitted, "Got my knickers in a twist it has; just as we get things settled and humming, away you go off into the sunset."
She laughed then and said: "You make me sound like an old horse!"
They both laughed at that.
"Well, boss," she said, "Anything else?"
"Only this," he said, opening his desk drawer and handing her an envelope. "Happy Holidays and Blessings for Arizona. Please don't be a stranger."
She hugged him then.
"Working with you has been such a pleasure," she said, "And this is so nice of you."
"Enjoy," he replied, "And my best to Josh. Amalia, love, it's been better than wonderful!"
"Yes, it has," she said, "Be good to Carole Burke."
"Will! Promise!" he said, "No Mr Grumpy!"
She grinned as she left his office.
To himself, after she'd left, and was getting her things in her office to make her final departure, he said: "Hope Carole is nearly as good!"
Again, to himself he said: "Almost finished now; I need to get home and have a drink. Need to think about this. Though Amalia's mention of Carole Burke certainly agrees with my own assessment. I'll just go over her things again to make sure that I haven't missed anything."
He settled back then and opened Carole Burke's employee folder and worked over it for the next half hour.
Carole Burke, at that point in her life, was 28 years old. She had been out of the house and on her own for already a number of years. She'd been raised, after the death of her parents in an accident, by an older and remote Aunt. It had been fine but never really good for her. She got her education, paying her way, as she went with the work that she did, and her elderly Aunt had died just as she was finishing her education. Since then, it had been her life for herself. She was making it slowly; she started at the bottom at work and was fine with that; she was very careful with her finances, and usually very sensible. It's possible that her one area of lack of sense was her boyfriend, Ken Swan.
John was about finished with the task of reviewing Carole's folder, when he got an e-mail notification. He was surprised, since the e-mail came on his private account and not on the business account. He also noticed right away that it was from Carole Burke.
He set the employee folder aside and thought to himself about the oddity of this kind of occurrence, this coincidence.
He opened the e-mail and just stared. There was a picture of Carole Burke totally, completely naked except for a Santa Claus hat.
She had auburn hair that shaded a bit to red, instead of to black. She had nicely shaped and prominent breasts with large, cap-like nipples. Her pubic hair, which, in the picture that John was staring at, she was displaying, was also auburn and a bit on the reddish side, with curls in abundance.
In looking at the picture, he only surmised that she also had a perfectly lovely ass.
"My, my!" he said and then finally came out of his shocked state and looked at the message. Then he understood.
The message was to a 'Ken Swan'. The e-mail address was ksw with an address. It was close enough to his private e-mail address of jsw that the mistake was obvious.
The message went on: "Here it is; please, please don't ask for more. And please, please don't go spreading this around to your pals. Merry Christmas." It was signed 'Carole'.
He was so taken by the picture of this lovely, lovely young lady totally naked, except for her Santa hat, that he got fairly lost in thought.
The thing that woke him from his revery was the knock on his door.
"Yes?" he said.
The door opened and it was indeed Carole Burke.
"Amalia wasn't there," Carole said. "I just thought I'd knock. You said you wanted to see me. I know it's almost the end of the day and all."
John had an inward flash of light when she said that 'you wanted to see me', after receiving the note and picture.
He smiled at her and got his mind back on business but he also realized that he needed to let her know about the mistake she'd made with the e-mail addresses.
"Um, let's sit here," he said to her, pointing to a sitting area on the other side of his office.
"Yes, thank you, Mr. Swain," she said.
"No, please," he said softly. "Make it John."
"Yes, John," she said. "Thank you."
John Swain was, if nothing else, a straight forward individual. Where they stood was always very clear to anyone dealing with him. He was, despite his crankiness about seeing Amalia go, easy to deal with, extremely kind and a very generous individual. At his current age of 37 he was pretty settled in many of his ways. He had grown with the business with both his Dad and his Uncle Craig, until it was obvious that he was the right person to take over, which he had. The business had grown at a tremendous rate. In the process there had never been any important or permanent 'girlfriend'. He constantly told himself that there was ample time for that kind of thing, and the business was taking up most of his time anyway.
John Swain was also determined, in most situations, to deal with things head on. It's what he did then with Carole.
"Before we talk about what I have in mind," he said, "I need to show you something, Carole. I just got it in an e-mail."
"Yes," she said, obviously curious about what he meant.
"It's this," he said to her and turned the laptop around so that she could see the e-mail that he'd received.
Carole gaped at it but only for a few seconds and then she let out a screamed 'noooooo' and had her face in her hands and was crying bitterly.
She looked up, as soon as she could and said a very sobbing: "I'm so sorry, Mr Swain..."
She tried to get a hold of herself and went on, still sobbing: "It was a mistake."
"Yes, I know," he said.
She put her head in her hands again and was crying now again.
"Carole," he said.
She looked up at him, and took a tissue from the box that he put in front of her, to wipe her eyes.
"Here," he said, and, as she was watching, he trashed the e-mail and then completely, securely emptied the trash. "It's gone," he said then.
"Thank you," she said.
"Care to tell me?" he asked, putting a hand up in the air and said: "Don't if you don't wish to. I don't want to pry unnecessarily."
"Ohhhh," she wailed, "It's that Ken that I'm dating. He's been deviling me to send him a picture of me naked. It's been all he's been talking about for a few weeks now."
"I see," he said.
"This is so hard," she wailed softly.
"Don't do it, if you don't wish to," he said to her.
"No," she said, "You've been unconsciously drawn into this by my mistake and I need to say this."
"I didn't want to do that but finally decided to give in. I sent it to your e-mail address instead of his," she said, shaking her head.
"Carole, there's no harm done here; if you don't want this Ken to have your picture, he doesn't and now I don't either. It's taken care of but think about whether you trust him enough to send him that kind of picture or not," he said softly.
"Oh, I really don't," she said, "I regretted it as soon as I sent the picture. I just stomped away from the computer in a fit, after I'd done it."
.... There is more of this story ...