Previously on Heir Force, Kate Worried.
That afternoon, Ruth struck again, with her snide comments. “You think you’re so smart, Langston. I bet you cheated. Somehow, I bet you did.” Kate ignored her sneering lie and focused on her reports. She opened the one she’d started before lunch so she could finish it– if her nemesis would leave her alone. She continued with her report of a drug incident in base housing last night.
Somebody else heard Ruth and hollered, “Hey, Langston, you gonna help me study for my test next month? I could use your brains.”
Kate just ignored him, knowing he said it to get Ruth off her back. Everybody in the office knew Ruth ridiculed her and why. Kate tried to bide her time until Ruth’s next leave in a few weeks.
“Hey, Ruth,” another airman that Kate didn’t know hollered, “maybe you should trade in your camouflage cap for a dunce cap.”
Snickers echoed around the room but Kate ignored them. She had enough to do without Ruth’s troublemaking. Apparently others in the office were bothered by her rude comments as much as she was.
Kate felt more than saw Ruth’s menacing stare and tried not to smile. She kept up her rhythm of typing without stopping. She feared she might giggle and then lose it. She busied herself in her cubicle, minding her own business.
“Go lay an egg, Carter,” Ruth shot back.
Kate hit the print button, turned toward the printer stationed on a desk across the room and removed her report. She just removed it off the tray when a voice interrupted her movement.
“What’s going on around here?” Sergeant Thompson bellowed. He stood in the corridor, his hands on his hips like a father dressing down his children.
Everyone in the area stopped what they were doing and quickly stood to attention.
“Oh, just a little banter between the troops, sir,” the airman who Kate didn’t know spoke up.
Kate kept her eyes on their superior officer and it was a good thing or she might have busted out laughing if she saw the serious look the young airman was trying to put on his face. She curled her toes in her boots, trying to remain calm and collected.
Sergeant Thompson looked at Kate directly. “Is this true, Langston?”
Her toes on her right foot uncurled so fast, she thought she broke a nail. Kate gulped before answering. “Absolutely, sir. Just a little camaraderie among friends.” She kept her eyes just a smidgeon to the left of his head, so she couldn’t see into his piercing eyes.
He didn’t say anything for a moment as he glanced around the room. “At ease then and carry on. Ruth, I need to see you in my office please.”
Kate didn’t dare look Ruth’s way and turned to her document on the printer tray. She took a deep breath and hoped Ruth wasn’t in trouble on her account. It wasn’t her fault Ruth felt jealous Kate made rank and she didn’t.
She had to wait to deliver her report to Sergeant Thompson, since he was busy with Ruth. She gathered the papers on her desk and started filing them. She decided an iced tea sounded good, so she left her cubicle for the break room.
Kate worked the rest of the day quietly, tuning out as much of the noise and commotion as possible and left the office relieved to be through another day.
Stay tuned for Dinner Date next time!