Stories from students at Jakarta International School
George Harris stared over the top of his glasses at Lily Nivine. His eyes had an
evil glint, and his hands rubbed together under the desk. Finally! He would fire
her! His heart burned with anger. Over the last few weeks, he had noticed her
taking time off. She had taken lots of time off, which had left him constantly
without a secretary.
Once, when she had been absent, he had gone to her house in the off chance of her
being sick. It wasn't like that at all. He had peered through her window and had
been welcomed with a happy sight. Lily Nivine sitting in the middle of a circle
which was composed of her children. Comforting them, stroking them. He didn't
have kids anymore, thanks to some serial killer out there. They had been killed,
along with his beautiful wife! Now, if she was his wife, she would never have
done anything like that!
"Mrs. Nivine," he said over the intercom. "Please come to my office. I have some
disturbing news to tell you."
She rushed in. "Is it about Peter, Tommy, Jane, Kate, or Fred?" she asked
"Actually," he told her, glorifying in the moment, "it's about you."
"Me?" she laughed, running her hands through red hair that stood on end. "Why
would I be of any consequence?"
"It's just a little matter of your job," Harris replied coolly. "As of now, you don't
"But . . ." A look of shock registered on Lily's face. "I'm fired?"
"Here's your letter of recommendation," Harris said quickly, shoving it into her
hands. "Good luck."
"Kids, I have some bad news to tell you," Mrs. Nivine said sadly. "Today, I was
"Oh, Mom!" cried Kate. "How could he?"
"He did," she replied flatly. "I'll go job hunting tomorrow."
The next day, Mrs. Nivine's efforts proved to be useless. She went to job, after
job, after job. Every time she got the same line. "We're very sorry, but we cannot
hire you for reasons we may not disclose at this time."
After the fifth time, Lily finally lost her temper.
"What's the matter?!" she exploded. "What are these reasons? I have five kids,
and no job! That's a very bad combination!"
The representative of the United States Embassy (she was interviewing to be a
secretary) softened, seeing Mrs. Nivine's expression.
"Have you looked at your letter of recommendation?" she said under her breath,
then smiled. "You do not seem experienced enough for this job," she said in a
voice that was too nice for Mrs. Nivine's liking.
"Thank you," Mrs. Nivine said, in a sweet voice. "I'll see other places with jobs
that I can do."
At home, she desperately called a friend.
"Margaret, is that you?" she asked the person on the phone. Hearing the reply, she
said, "Good. I need you to fake a resume. Say I've worked at the United States
Embassy. You do work there, don't you? Good. When they call, say that I
worked there for five years, at least. I got laid off because of financial problems,
with the embassy that is. They needed to cut a bit of the budget, so they laid me
off. Got all that?"
"I hope you know I'm only doing this because you have five kids. I couldn't have
them starve," Margaret replied dryly
"Yes, I worked at the United States Embassy for five years," Mrs. Nivine said,
cultivating her carefully constructed lie. "It was a wonderful learning experience."
"I highly doubt that," came a voice from the next office. George Harris stepped
"And who are you?" Mrs. Nivine said, knowing that her efforts were futile.
"You know who I am, Mrs. Nivine," George Harris said in a tone that was barely
hiding contempt. "I am your former boss. Remember me?" he mocked.
Her interviewer looked puzzled. "You're from the embassy?" she asked Harris.
"No," he replied. "I work for Wal-Mart. Mrs. Nivine used to work for me. She
never worked for the U.S. Embassy. Her letter of recommendation is fake." His
voice had a nasty tone to it now. "Her resume is fake."
The interviewer turned to Mrs. Nivine. "Is this true?"
"Never!" Mrs. Nivine said, shaking her head furiously. "I never saw this man in
my life. I never worked for him!"
"I have proof!" Harris practically snarled. He turned to his briefcase. It wasn't
there. Somebody had taken it. "I do!" he protested. Then it hit him like a shock
of lightning. He had taken all the evidence that Nivine had worked for him in his
briefcase. If someone had taken it, he had no proof. Computer files, her old
resume, even her jacket that had been left hanging on the back of her chair was
there. Without it, she might as well have been working for the embassy.
Behind his back, Mrs. Nivine smiled as she saw Margaret wink at her. She was
the one who had taken his briefcase, with all the evidence.
"I'll be back later with proof!" he snarled.
Later, in his office, he thought about what had happened. Who had taken his
briefcase? Why? He turned a question over and over in his mind. Why am I
angry with Lily? What did she do? Then he knew. She had reminded him of his
family. His wife, his three kids, all died by the hands of a serial killer a month or
two before. His wife, Heather, had had the same red hair, the same loose curls.
The same defiance. He had never forgiven her for dying, and leaving him without
a wife, kids, a family. The very serial killer that had killed her had been her
brother, whom she had known was mentally ill. But she had insisted that he visit
them when George's flight was canceled. He had never forgiven Heather for
letting her brother, whom she had known was dangerous, visit them. It had been
all her fault!
What have I done? He thought desperately, then realized there was nothing he
could do that would repay the debt he owed to Lily Nivine. He had ruined her life,
left her kids to starve, and been absolutely impossible. Just because she reminded
her of Heather! In return, he had openly snarled at her, and given her a letter of
recommendation that was less than recommending. In fact, he had openly
castigated her use of time, her constant 'holidays,' and her lack of experience.
Now wonder she had had to get that person to fake a resume! There was only one
thing he could do for her.
He began typing:
Dear Mrs. Nivine:
Enclosed is a new letter of recommendation. I realized that I have given you the
wrong one. No wonder you couldn't get a job. This one is more flattering.
P.S. I'm sorry for my earlier behavior. It was terribly rude of me. Forgive me.
His anguish was over. His debt had been repaid.
By Leilani Uyehara