Assigning Blame

Winston grabbed the two pages he’d just printed and took a thorough look at both.  One wire order, one approval.

“Ron, we need to talk, it’s important.”  Winston closed Ron’s office door behind him.

Ron pretended to have been doing something other than following the Phillies game on his computer.  “Give me one sec,” he said, eyes fixed to the screen.

Winston planted himself in a chair.

“Okay, what’s up?”

“I logged into the PNC account today to make the China wire and our balance didn’t look right.  Take a look at this transaction.”  He handed the two pages to Ron.

“Seventy five thousand even.  That’s odd.  What’s it for?”

“I was hoping you knew.  I don’t know of any bills for that amount.”

Ron glanced up at Winston, back down at the printout, up again and now locked the other man’s eyes, his expression a combination of anger and fear.

Winston, expectant, held Ron’s stare.

“Who’s the beneficiary?”  Ron asked.

“It’s a numbered account at a bank in the Caymans, no name attached.”

“When was the wire made?”

“Last week.”

“And you know nothing about it?”


“Did you ask Dan?”

“I wanted to discuss it with you first.  You know he and I are the only ones who have access to the system, and the wire was made via his login ID.”

“But any wire made with one ID has to be approved by the other, and from what you’re saying, you didn’t approve it.”

“Look at the second sheet of paper.  It’s an approval for the wire made via my account, but I didn’t do it.”

Ron’s stare became more intense, searching for weakness in Winston’s face, a flinch, any implication of phoniness.  He got nothing, but kept quiet, waiting for what he knew Winston would say next.

“Dan has access to my password and I can access his.  Just in case something happens to one of us, we keep them written down in the safe.”

“Dan’s worked here twenty years.  You’ve been here three.  Are you accusing him of stealing seventy five thousand dollars?”

Winston shifted gears, looked away from Ron, appeared personally hurt by Dan’s alleged thieving.  “I don’t know.  He certainly doesn’t seem like a crook.  I’m just presenting you with what I know.  Maybe someone else got the passwords from the safe.  You wanna call the police?”

“Seventy five fucking thousand.”  Ron shook his head, slapped the desk in front of him and turned in his chair, away from Winston.  “Dan’s not the type to do something like this.  Something’s not right.”

". . ."

The boss turned back to his employee.  “Get out of my office.  I’ll handle this from here.  I’ll tell the cops and see what the banks can find out and," Ron's eyes widened, "rest assured I'll get to the bottom of it.”

Winston nodded and left Ron’s office as quickly as he could.  He imagined himself, as he often did, sitting at Dan’s desk instead of his own, thrilled for a moment and then suddenly angry, yet again, recalling the day he stealthily learned that Dan had been sleeping with his wife.


  1. Oh revenge is a great motivator isn't it! Nice story!

  2. For some people (real and fictional) it most certainly is! Thanks, Helen, for the comment, glad you enjoyed this one.

  3. I snorted at the reveal at the end. That was kind of a funny double-turn of motivations to come about after the long conversation about cash.

  4. Oh Dan, you naughty boy, Payback is imminent.

    I wonder how Winston's wife is going to react? :)

  5. Revenge is sweet! LOL Nice ending.

  6. Ouch! I wouldn't want to be Dan right now.

  7. John, thanks, I hoped readers wouldn't see it coming.

    Steve, I'm not sure about Winston's wife, perhaps I'll write a follow up. Thanks for your comment.

    Hi Sonia, thanks for stopping by! Glad you liked the ending.

    Chuck, I wouldn't want to be him either. Good to hear from you, thanks!

  8. Great twist at the end.. There's a real sense of the knife going in!

  9. Welcome, Tom, and thanks for your comment. I always worry that a twist in the final sentence won't come off well, so it's reassuring to know when people enjoyed it.