“Have a great weekend ahead, Mr. Fulmer.” Brian glanced up and flashed a toothy smile at his colleague, Chastain’s secretary. Amy was shy and timid, a sweet thing, fresh out of high school, struggling at being a girl in a grown up world. “And I can’t thank you enough for the loan, “ she whispered. “I’ll pay you back half of it as soon as my check comes in next week,” she said, twisting a finger around a lock of her strawberry blond hair. Brian knew the act was a flirty come on, probably her sad attempt to compensate him in some way, one he didn’t doubt many of his colleagues would have welcomed. But, Amy was not his type. “I told you, Amy, it’s not a problem. You take your time with that,” Brian replied, keeping his tone friendly but firmly uninterested. “Hope it works out for you.” He observed the young girl bob her head in embarrassment and scuttle her way through the rows of cubicles towards the exit. He settled back into his large leather chair, the rocking causing a squeak to emit below it, and mentally reminded himself to have a word with Maintenance on Monday. His hand was just about to hover over the optical mouse at his workstation when a knock rapped over the glass of his office entrance. “Working late again, Brian? TGIF! Come on, join us at Fives for a couple of hours,” Steven, the accounts manager, said in his deep voice that reminded Brian of Vin Diesel’s rendition of “I. Am. Groot.” He listened halfheartedly as Steven babbled on, distracted by the shiny folds of Steven’s double chin that bobbed in tandem with his excitement. “Come on, man! Bebee will be there… You know, you’ve got a chance to tap that…” he ended with a wink. “Hahaha. I wish,” Brian have a drawn-out sigh, looking around his desk. “I can’t. Got to get these reports out,” he said, indicating the stack of folders on his right. “Engels wants them first thing Monday morning.” Steven nodded in understanding, but he stayed as if paused in motion at the door, his body swinging back and forth on his heels. “Yes?” Brian prompted, trying very hard to stifle his impatience. Steve responded with a shrug: “That was a really good thing you did for Consuella, you know…” Brian flashed his teeth, “It was nothing; any of us would have done it.” “Well, maybe not everyone.” As much as Steve’s praise fed his ego, Brian knew he would never achieve enough good to ease the torment that tortured his very existence. “It’s nothing, really. Her husband’s a bastard; she and the kids needed a place to stay. My sister is away anyway,” Brian explained in a matter-of-fact way, hoping to nip the conversation in the bud. He saw the gleam in Steven’s eyes and knew that additional tidbit of news would spread through the office grapevine before the end of Monday. Steven was a terrible gossip, his round abdomen area veritably bursting with information he gleaned (or made up) about the people around him. But, there was no fodder for Steven’s rumor mongering. Brian was merely helping out a colleague in a spot of trouble. Brian released a relieved breath when Steven responded with another reluctant nod. He hoped his justification appeased Steven, at least for now. After another awkward pause, Steven waved his goodbye and finally retreated. Brian crept to his office door and glanced out to the office area for any other source of interruption. He smirked noting the empty cubicles ahead and locked the door behind him. He was free to resume his surfing. The first site he visited was his online banking website. In response to the pop-up reminder, Brian authorized his monthly contribution to that charity sponsoring a child in war torn nations. The next transaction he made was a $10,000 transfer to a Cambodian account, the details of which he had just received in an encrypted email. Once the transaction was shown to be successful, Brian breathed a sigh of relief. A click on the remaining tab in his browser opened to the image of a young boy reclined against a vintage leather sofa. There was a haunted look in the depths of the lad’s dark eyes set off by the curls of brown hair that teased the edges of the boy’s forehead. The boy’s nubile chest was attractively hairless, the apex of his pale thighs smooth in contrast to the hair that had obviously only just begun to form at the groin, the small dark member lying limp in its folds, nonetheless calling to attention. In that moment, Brian forgot all the promises he’d made to Mother last Christmas, all the responsible deeds he’d racked up this past year, and pushed aside all thoughts of his social and professional reputation. He licked his full lips, filling the gaps in his vision by letting his mind loose, imagining the hint of distress or perhaps fear in the youth’s countenance. Slowly, Brian leaned his head back against the squeaky high-backed chair and shut his eyelids, rubbing the heel of his palm against the front of his work slacks, the intensity of his breathing now amplified into deep huffs. Despite the mounting warmth of his room in response to the deactivation of the office central air-conditioning, Brian shivered. He smiled in anticipation of the delightful things he’d perform on a similarly aged boy he’d arranged to be visit in Cambodia next weekend.
Bio: Tina Isaacs, a Malaysian lawyer, has published in various anthologies and Southeast Asian Literary Magazines, and won the Runner-Up Prize for the D.K. Dutt Memorial Award for Literary Excellence 2015. Tina holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Tampa, Florida and is presently working on her debut novel. Follow her work on www.tina-isaacs.com