David timidly knocked on the office door. He opened it ajar, peeked his head in. “Miss Jones? I’m here for the 10 o’clock appointment…”
She looked up from her desk. “Yes, come in, come in. Close the door behind you, and please, have a seat.”
David was a young man in his mid 30s. Good looking. Clean shaven. Well dressed. Overall he seemed like a nice, friendly, easy-going guy. Not the kind of man she usually saw in her office. But then again, Miss Jones had come to learn all men were pigs deep down and poor behavior can come from any of them.
He quietly closed the door and sat in the seat in front of her desk.
Her desk was cluttered with folders and paperwork, binders and psychological textbooks. Corporate policy manuals. Stacks of blank forms to fill out. Her name plate – Alison Jones – sat on the front of her desk, facing David in his chair, with the subtitle: “Sexual Harassment Counselor.”
She eyed him up and down. He sat there, nervously. Usually the men they sent in here were restless and irritated. Even angry. They often didn’t believe they did anything wrong. They just wanted to hurry up and get this over with. Her job, of course, was to show them the error of their ways. Make it a safe workplace for women to co-exist peacefully, without fear of inappropriate male chauvinistic behavior or sexually suggestible situations. Her job was to put these men through company-mandated therapy. To avoid law suits, mostly. But Alison also loved her job. She loved straightening out bad men. Teaching them. Correcting them. Making them “better” men.
David looked at her.
She was beautiful. Late 20s. Smart. Sexy. Great body. The kind of girl most guys in the office would hit on – if she didn’t have the power to have them fired for doing it.
She dug through her scattered, disorganized papers, searching for one specific file. “Name?” she asked.
“David Hathaway,” he replied.
“Hathaway, Hathaway…” she said, still searching. “Ah! Here we go.” She pulled out his file and began reading it. “David Hathaway. IT department. Caught sexually harassing… oh my goodness. Every woman in accounting under the age of 30.” She shook her head, staring at him past her smart glasses. “And the receptionist on the Third Floor and the CEO’s personal assistant. Tsk, tsk, Mr. Hathaway. You’ve been a very naughty boy.”
“There’s been some kind of mistake…”
“I’ll tell you where your mistake was, Mr. Hathaway. We just had a sexual harassment seminar two weeks ago. You were asking to get caught, my friend.”
“No, that’s just it, I didn’t do anything wrong!”
“Mhm,” she replied. “That’s what they all say. You were just joking, right?”
“No!” he said.
“No? Oh, you mean it was supposed to be a compliment.”
“It’s not that.”
“Ahh. I see. You really do believe women are inferior to men in the workplace and you had every right to say what you said.”
“No,” he pleaded. “You gotta believe me. I’m just as surprised as you. I didn’t do or say anything!”
“Is that so, Mr. Hathaway?”
“Yes! I was working at my desk this morning, doing business as usual, and all of the sudden my superior tells me to report to you ASAP.”
She gave him an incredulous look. “So you’re still playing innocent?”
“I am innocent!” he said.
“Uh huh.” She reviewed his file. “So it wasn’t you, from your email address, sending lewd pictures of men screwing bent over women, saying to our female employees, that this was the ‘position they deserved’?”
“And it wasn’t you, who sent photos of your dick, to all the women in accounting, asking them to calculate its internal rate of return when merged with their ‘private business’ and how much they thought your ‘personal assets’ were worth?”
“I see. And I suppose it wasn’t you either who told the receptionist on the Third Floor that you’d like to, and I quote, ‘make a real woman’ out of her?” she said, reading it from his file. “I had your supervisor confirm everything. All these messages came from your own email account, sent from your personal computer, that only you have password access to. Did you share your password or computer with anyone else?”
David lowered his head.
“Mr. Hathaway,” she said, getting impatient with him, “usually when someone comes through my office door, it’s an isolated offense. They made an inappropriate gesture to the wrong person. They thought it was just a little harmless flirting but the feelings weren’t reciprocated. Or maybe they’re just idiots and didn’t have the decency to hide their porn when an office mate walks by. For them, I just need to set boundaries. Tell them to do better from now on. Have them apologize to any co-workers they made uncomfortable. Easy. And then I stamp their forms and send them back to work, and everybody’s better, everybody’s happier for it.”
“Fine,” he said, “then do your thing and stamp my form.”
She sighed. “But you sir… I can’t help you if you won’t admit to your wrongdoing. I can’t correct your bad behavior if you deny ever having done it.”
“I didn’t do it,” he said, leaning back, arms crossed. A little too confident and cocky, for her tastes. Almost… smug.
“You are hopeless, Mr. Hathaway. Computer logs don’t lie. Your own boss caught you. I have copies of the emails and pornographic images and disgusting videos you sent. I have complaints from multiple women, who all said they asked you to stop, and yet you kept sending. You even told some of them, and I quote, ‘women are only good for two things: fucking and serving men’.”
She leaned back into her chair. Fingers pointed over her lips, thinking. Sizing him up. What was she going to do with him?
“I’ll give you one last chance, David Hathaway,” she said in no uncertain terms. “Did you or did you not send all these emails?”
“I work in IT. Don’t you think, if I did that, I would’ve hid my tracks better?”
“Unless you got careless. Or didn’t think you’d get caught or be punished.” He smirked. An involuntary reaction. That was it. She had him. He didn’t think he’d get caught. Didn’t think he’d get in trouble. Or didn’t think he was actually doing anything wrong. “Tell me, Mr. Hathaway, honestly… Do you really believe women should be, well, I’ll just come out and say it – sex objects? That their purpose in life is to serve and pleasure men?”
“You can’t prove anything.”
“Alright,” she said, humoring him, playing along. “Then if it wasn’t you, who?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you have enemies, Mr. Hathaway?”
“No. I mean, I don’t think so.”
“Someone who might want to frame you? That is what you’re saying, isn’t it? You’ve been framed?”
“Yeah!” he said, lighting up. “That must be it!”
“Let me tell you what I think really happened.”
“I think a nice looking guy like you… mid 30s, still single, works alone in the IT department with a bunch of other nerdy, single guys…Probably the crowd you’ve hung out with your whole life. Computer geeks and nerds. Top of your class. But never top choice of the dating pool. So now you’re alone and feeling a little frustrated. Don’t really know how to talk to women because you never actually have. Probably have been relying on porn to get by since high school, and it’s warped your mind, and you can’t tell right from wrong anymore. You’re perverted, corrupted, badly trained. You simply don’t know any better. You think it’s okay to talk to women that way. You think that’s what actually turns them on, that that’s what they actually like to hear, because you’ve seen it happen that way over and over and over again in the fantasy porn you watch. And now you got caught, you know you’re in trouble, and you know we’d know if someone else did it… so you’re hoping to lie your way out of it, plead ignorance, play dumb, hoping this will all just go away. But the truth is, if I stamp your form and send you back out there, you might quiet down for a bit, you might cover your tracks better in the future… but the core issue remains unresolved. You still think of women as sex objects.”
“Yes, I mean no, I mean wait… Only part of what you said is true!”
She nodded. “I can see I’m going to need to permanently correct you, Mr. Hathaway. You’re a piece of work and I’m going to have to put my magic on overtime to fix you.”
She grinned deviously. “Do you know why I have a 100% success rate, Mr. Hathaway? Why there’s never been a repeat offender who’s come through my door?”
He looked back at the closed door. Something didn’t feel right. He looked back at Miss Jones. She was waiting for his answer. “Um… no?”
She held the palm of her hand towards him. A pink energy began to glow from her hand, illuminating his face. She smiled brightly. “You’ll find out.”