Stealing is Wrong

By Daphne

“Calm down, Max, you’re not going to get fired,” assured Dawn soothingly.

“How can you say that? I just had one major screw up! Mr. O’Neil is going to have my head on a platter for this one. I royally caused a fiasco this time.” Max paced Dawn’s office nervously.

“I think I know a thing or two about royal fiascos when it comes to the Chief (O’Neil’s nickname) and he hasn’t terminated me yet,” chuckles Dawn. Max paused in his pacing to contemplate his coworker’s words of wisdom. There was a certain element of truth to them. If anyone at the Rose Tribune had caused more of the few remaining hairs on Mr. O’Neil’s head to turn grey it would be intrepid reporter, Dawn Meadows.

If it wasn’t a run in her pantyhose or traipsing around the office in her stocking feet, Dawn was causing a PR explosion by exposing another high ranking official that left O’Neil to smooth things over with the board members and the Mayor alike. While she was the star reporter at the publication, she certainly didn’t do things quietly or neatly. There was always a mess to clean up after a Dawn Meadows expose.

Max’s problem was not a run in pantyhose, or going shoeless in the office (as a male he did not have to wear nylons, that was a special dress code just for the ladies of the Tribune). He worked in the mailroom and had accidentally received a package that was not meant for the Tribune offices. Not only that, it was a package that was very dangerous and needed to be handled with special care. To top it off, he accidentally filed the package into his rounds and managed to deliver it onto Mandy Miller’s desk. Max resumed his nervous pacing.

“Max, Many is fine, she did not get hurt,” Dawn stifled a smile at watching Max resume his stressed gait. “She got scared and got a little hysterical but that’s Mandy’s personality, Max. She’s a little over dramatic in the office.”

Mandy Miller was indeed a little over dramatic. She was seen as the frumpy girl at the Tribune. She wore glasses that were too big for her face, a face that was covered in freckles, and her head was topped by a riot of frizzy red hair. O’Neil kept her chained to the office since she didn’t possess the “look” he wanted to Tribune to represent in the public eye, but her reporting work from the office was top notch, otherwise he would not have even bothered in the first place.

All the time she spent in the office watching the comings and goings of the other reporters at work on their adventurous stories overworked Mandy’s imagination and gave her the time to be the queen bee of office gossip. Everyone knew if there were dirt to be had in the office, Mandy would be on top of it.

What had caused Mandy to go hysterical was the arrival of a mystery package on her desk. Not paying any specific attention, Mandy opened the box with a cutter and pulled out the contents while keeping her eye on the email on her desktop. Only when she turned a cursory glance at the object in her hand and noticed she was holding a glass jar that housed several small very scary spiders did Mandy let out a scream for the collective office to hear. She dropped the jar, which landed on her desk, then proceeded to roll off the edge and smash definitively into a thousand pieces on the tiled office floor. She wheeled her office chair back in horror to watch the tiny critters skitter about in all directions, a free for all of survival.

A cacophony of hysterics was followed by some barks from O’Neil about “what the hell was going on out here!?” and soon the excitement was contained by building maintenance getting things in order and turning matters over to pest control and after that, tracing down how the matter came to be in the first place, which turned the spotlight on Max from the mail room. Max, to his credit was able to quickly identify who the package was supposed to be delivered to, contact them, and get them to send over one of their own representatives to ensure the matter was tidied up accordingly.

While everything felt under control, Max could not shake the unease in his gut that Mandy would not be so forgiving of his mistake if the sound of her hysterics was any indication and how she told any staff close enough to listen how close to death she might have been had one of those awful critters gotten a chance to sink their fangs into her! Max put a hand to his eyes and let out a long sigh.

“Relax, Max, Mandy is in the ladies room right now drying her laundry,” Dawn stifled a chuckle at the odd habit Mandy displayed of hanging her undergarments in the ladies room to dry on a line she strung up. She would wash them in the sink claiming only the gentle water of the Tribune’s women’s washroom sink was gentle enough not to damage the fabrics. O’Neil would always throw his hands up in frustration whenever the conversation came up as to the appropriateness of her activity. There was no reasoning with Mandy Miller’s odd behaviors.

“And just how is that supposed to make me feel better?” inquired Max.

“It means that she’s climbed down off her hysterical ledge and is back to doing her usual odd tasks,” reassured Dawn.

“I guess you’re right,” replied Max, giving it some thought. “I’m going to head back over to the Chief’s office though just to double check on things, make sure I still have my job. Thanks for the pep talk.” With that, Max took leave off Dawn’s office.

As Max left, Dawn took a breath and was about to get back to work when she noticed something dreadful. She had a run on the shin of her barely black pantyhose! She quickly opened a desk drawer already knowing what she would find, or rather what she would not find. She glanced up at her corkboard and felt the accusation of the repeated reminders that she had posted for herself: buy pantyhose! She knew that she was out of fresh pair and that something like this would come up and now here she was, an unsightly run and no fresh pair to change into. If she were to be caught by O’Neil, she would definitely be terminated this time. His blood was already up over the spider package uproar in the office. He didn’t need to be dealing with Dawn and her fashion woes today.

While Dawn held her hand to her head and fretted over the slowly growing run on her silken shin, a thought recurred to her. Mandy Miller was drying her laundry in the bathroom at that moment. There was a good chance that she had an extra pair of pantyhose that she might be willing to let Dawn borrow.

Without wasting any precious time, Dawn zipped out of her office and onto the general office floor. She made a beeline for Mandy’s desk and frowned when she found it to be empty. Where could she be? This question had many answers, as Mandy was the office gossip queen so she could be making her rounds in any number of places, planting her seeds or sensationalizing the latest office story. Not wanting to get caught standing around idly with a run in her nylons, Dawn decided to head straight for the ladies room. 

The door closed silently behind her on well-oiled hinges and Dawn let out a sigh of relief. There was the short clothes line that Mandy used to attach between the wall mirror and one of the stalls, and hanging on it by two clothes pins was a pair of freshly laundered barely black pantyhose. Even the same shade I’m wearing, thought Dawn. My luck cannot get any better today. She was also grateful that the restroom appeared to be empty at the moment, and not wanting to answer too many questions, Dawn acted on her first impulse. She would exchange her ruined pair for the fresh hanging pair, and made a silent promise to herself that she would return the favor by buying Mandy several new pair of hose at her next opportunity. Certainly Mandy would not argue with that kind of exchange?

Taking one last look around to make sure that she was indeed alone, Dawn unpinned the fresh pair of nylons from the line, and laid them down on the sink counter. Then she unceremoniously tugged her ruined pair down hips, down her long thighs, past her knees, down the curves of her calves, over her trim ankles, and then peeled them off her feet, leaving them on the floor for now. Popping her backside up on the sink counter, Dawn carefully placed her toes into the fresh hose and gingerly worked them up her long slender legs, taking scientific care not to put a single run in the fragile gossamer garment. Once she got them up her long soft thighs, Dawn slipped off the counter and did a little funny dance sliding them up over her hips under her skirt to fit snugly against her tummy.

Taking a moment to smooth out any wrinkles, Dawn stood proudly in her fresh laundered hose. It was then that she noticed the slightest discomfort in her toe. It began as a quick shock, then built into a burning sensation that spread from her toe, through her arched foot, racing up the long curve of her calf, showing no signs of stopping as it shot to the top of her long leg. The pain was unparalleled and washed over Dawn in a tidal wave. She felt her strength immediately fail her, and her slender legs could no longer support even her modest weight. Sure that face was changing all the colors of the rainbow, Dawn’s knees buckled and she sunk to her knees feeling an uncontrollable sickness. What was happening to her!?

“Dawn? Is that you?” called a voice from over the top of the bathroom stall in the corner. The words sounded like they were coming from under water to Dawn’s ears. She shook her head for clarity. “Dawn? Oh Dawn, what have you done?” continued to the faraway voice. It was Mandy Miller. Dawn shook her head again trying to make sense what was happening to her, her face felt so hot, there was a sharp needle pain in her toe. The stall door behind Dawn opened slowly and out crept Mandy Miller. “Dawn what are you doing in my pantyhose?” asked a scandalized Miller. Dawn attempted a feeble reply but her words were slurred by the unknown hellish sensation that was ravaging her blood at the moment.

“Dawn one of those spiders got into my pantyhose and was hiding down in the toe of the foot. I noticed it while I was hanging them up to dry. It scared me half to death, so I hid in the stall and called for the pest control with my cell phone, afraid I might get bit. They told me to sit tight and not make a move. One bite from that spider and it would be no more Mandy Miller they said!” As Mandy explained the situation to a drooping Dawn, she noticed the ruined pair of Dawn’s nylons on the floor. “Dawn… did you come in here to steal my hosiery?” Dawn tried to defend herself but the words would not form. “I can’t believe you would sink so low, Dawn! You’re a wealthy heiress and I live paycheck to paycheck, and you would steal nylons from me?” Overdramatically, Mandy stormed out of the bathroom certain to spread the latest embellished gossip of the mighty Dawn Meadows stealing pantyhose from the ladies washroom. Beware girls, lock up your emergency pantyhose, Dawn Meadows is in the office!

Dawn crawled out of the bathroom, desperate for medical attention, now that she knew that he had been the victim of a deadly spider venom bite. The little critter had been so tiny in the reinforced toe of the nylons she hadn’t even noticed. If she could make it out into the office, hopefully it wasn’t too late for someone to call for help. It was becoming so difficult to crawl, her elbows were shaking under her modest weight. To her great fortune, the office was not empty, but just the opposite. She crawled right into a large semicircle of the entire staff. She reached out desperately with one arm to indicate her great need as her voice would grant her no communication. To her great misfortune was the reaction the crowd gave her. They all began to laugh at her and point. The twisted scenario was only more distorted in reality by the hallucinogenic effects of the venom in her blood. Everything seemed stranger, distorted, magnified, echoed.

Mandy Miller was at the center of the crowd, with her arms crossed, a smug expression as the crowd jeered at the poisoned reporter. “Rich Dawn Meadows needs pantyhose? Watch out ladies, lock up your nylons, Dawn might be rummaging through your desk! You need to steal nylons at work Meadows? You’re pathetic. Just ask next time! Here everyone donate a pair of hosiery for poor Dawn!” The jeers continued in various form as her coworkers condemned her for stealing in the office. All the female staff produced an emergency pair of nylons they all kept in their purses or a desk drawer and tossed them at Dawn. Soon she was covered in a blanket of the wrinkly silken garments.

Dawn’s arms gave out and she slumped onto her belly on the office floor, covered in a blanket of pantyhose, donated from the ladies of the Tribune. No need to steal your hosiery Dawn, just ask to borrow a pair. The venom made quick work of Dawn’s slender body. Stealing is wrong, Dawn!

-The End

Illustrations by Madmoiselleclau

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