For three solid months, Darren tormented Cory and I was forced to watch utterly powerless to help. Cory made me swear I wouldn’t interfere. Despite what Mrs. Randolph had taught her children, ignoring Darren didn’t encourage him to move on and find a new victim. He delighting in wielding whatever imaginary power he believed he had over everyone but Cory was his favorite target. Meanwhile, I counted down the days until my probationary period was up so I could confront “Mandy”. I’d counted; I had eight-six days to work out exactly what I wanted to say and how I was going to knock him down a few pegs. I just had to wait for day ninety-one.
On day eighty-nine, the unthinkable happened; my grandmother died. According to the doctors, she’d had a heart attack and died in her sleep. I was grief-stricken; she’d been everything to me: mother, father, and grandparent. Mom had flown in for the funeral and, presumably, to cash in on everything that had been left to her. Even though I was still technically in my probationary period, my supervisor met with HR and they had granted me one week of leave. I was only getting paid for three of those days but I didn’t care. Cory, Sherry and Mrs. R. were a huge help to me. We managed a modest funeral service with a luncheon back at Grandma’s house for her friends and the family. Mrs. Randolph and Sherry did most of the cooking. They’d also stocked the refrigerator so I’d have plenty of food on hand for visiting relatives. Mom was too busy taking inventory and mentally calculating how much money she’d make selling the house to worry about feeding visitors.
The day after the funeral, a man came knocking at the door. I’d assumed he was a door-to-door salesman but his business card said he was a lawyer. He explained that he was the executor of Grandma’s estate and came to read over her will with us. I’ll never forget the look on Mom’s face when he said Grandma had left her house, and everything in it, to me. She was livid! She vowed to get her own lawyer and contest the will but I knew she wouldn’t. She’d lose and she knew it. In the end, she was content to take control of the stocks and savings account Grandma had set aside especially for her. She and her man packed up and left the next day. She’d managed to clean out Grandma’s jewelry box too but I didn’t really care about that. I rattled around in the empty house, cleaning up the mess my mother left behind and wondering what I was going to do without Grandma.
That evening, I saw Cory’s car pull in next door but he stormed straight into his house. I couldn’t help feeling a little hurt that he hadn’t stopped in but Sherry came by to explain. Cory hadn’t wanted to worry me; he’d figured I had enough on my plate without having to worry about him but Mandy had increased his taunts while I was out of the office. The bullying had escalated to full-fledged attacks after Cory filed another complaint with HR. Sherry told me that the HR director had called both Cory and Mandy in for a meeting and Mandy was forced to apologize. Playing the apologetic role, the next day Mandy bought Cory a cupcake from a local bakery and gave it to him at lunch. An interesting tidbit that Mandy decided to leave out was that he had secretly laced it with laxatives.
With tears in her eyes, Sherry told me she had to get Cory’s gym bag out of his car and bring Cory his sweatpants to wear home. Mandy and a few of his lackeys hid in the men’s room stalls and wouldn’t get out. They told the entire office that Cory pooped his pants. To add insult to injury, Cory’s supervisor had to give him a write up for violating the company’s dress code; sweat pants were strictly forbidden.
A fury like I’d never felt before filled my entire being. Talking was out….Mandy needed to know what it was like to truly suffer. After Sherry left, the thought consumed me. Like a caged tiger, I paced the house trying to formulate a plan. I’d never really sought revenge before but I could not sit back and ignore the abuse any longer. Despite my rage, my mind was a blank. Furious, I snatched a can of soda from the fridge and it exploded all over me. A torrent of profanities flew past my lips as I stomped to the basement to throw my clothes into the washing machine. It was there, in the basement, that I was struck with inspiration.
My grandmother’s house was built back in the old days, meaning it was built back when homes still had root cellars. As a young child, I couldn’t wrap my head around the need for such a thing; life without electricity was beyond my comprehension. Grandma never really used the root cellar for anything other than additional storage but I decided it was time to use it put it to good use. The Christmas decorations were about to find a new home. The root cellar was the perfect place to exact my revenge.