The Devil You Don't Know

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A cautionary Christmas tale. Cover by Booksie member Markie Bee. https://www.booksie.com/users/markie-bee-223538

Submitted: December 18, 2018

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Submitted: December 18, 2018

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The Devil You Don’t Know

Isn’t it strange that, when it comes to work Christmas parties, there are so many people there that you don’t really recognize. Perhaps they work in other departments to you, or at odd hours; some people even seem to work mainly from home these days and never seem to come in to the office. In spite of the fact that you have worked at the same job for the past ten years there are still some strangers in attendance.

Take that woman over there by the drinks table. She is so at ease, chatting away as she pours out drink after drink for the various members of staff who wander over for a refill. You don’t remember seeing her before, and she is quite a looker; you’d remember her if you had seen her wouldn’t you? Perhaps she’s done her hair differently or her make-up; maybe her outfit is totally different to that which she usually wears to work. A lot of your workmates have opted to either dress up or dress down.

She laughs as someone approaches with a slight stagger in their step, leans forward to exchange a few words. Your drink is almost empty so you swallow it down and head over. She asks what your poison is, then tops up your glass with a generous measure. It must be at least a triple standard shot. Well, why not? Christmas parties come but once a year, after all.

Hi,” you say. “I’m Evan. I don’t remember seeing you around here. Have you been here long?”

She smiles. “Oh, I like to move around a bit,” she answers. Non-committal, then; no name either. But she is happy to indulge in a bit of gossip along the lines of who fancies who, and the romanticness of office affairs. Not the sort of thing you’d usually be discussing but that drink has warmed you to the topic, especially when she pours you a top-up.

The entire party is getting a definite drunken air to it. People that barely talk to each other are kissing, groping, and several are heading off into empty offices. Doesn’t take much imagination to work out why.

This woman who seems so at home begins taking snaps. “It’s only once a year, after all,” she says when she notices you watching her. “It’s good to have memories.”

Through blurry eyes and an alcohol-fogged brain you watch her taking snaps of your co-workers, released from their inhibitions at least in part by her generosity with the drinks. She definitely seems to be concentrating on those that are getting rather....intimate.

Do you want me to take your pic?” you ask. After all, if it’s really memories she’s after surely she would want to see herself there, in the midst of the party.

But no, she shakes her head, aims the phone camera straight at you and takes your picture. Kind of flattering that she should want to remember you, isn’t it? She seems to be getting ready to leave now, perhaps you should take her home or at least out to her car....or perhaps a cab. Again she declines your offer.

I’m fine. My car’s right outside.”

Should you be driving?” you manage to ask.

Me? Of course. Unlike everyone else here I’ve been sticking with water!”

She’s gone then, and you can’t help noticing a nasty taste in your mouth caused by a feeling of unease. No, you’re imagining problems where there are none. It’s just the drink making you paranoid. Perhaps you should have stuck with the water like her; then again, what fun is a sober office party.

The following day you click on to your social media site, only to be confronted by your own face, unmistakeablysnapped the previous night. ‘Pick-up declined’ is the caption that goes with it.

You frown as you tap in the address of the company website; then select the ‘social events’ sub-heading. There they are, all your work-mates, uploaded in full color, uninhibited to the max.

You can only feel glad that you behaved. So there might be a bit of an embarrassment attached to the caption, but that’s all. You didn’t actually DO anything. But that woman, you knew she didn’t belong. She was there, intent on making trouble, nothing else – the devil you didn’t know.


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