Free Sapphic Short Story – Cookies and a Pirate

Cookies and a Pirate.

The air-conditioning vents rattled louder than ever before in a stifled newsroom.  A few journalists were sniffling and there was a shuffle of chairs. Someone was tapping their fingers, no, not fingers, Greg was clicking the thrust device of his pen into his cheek. He did this often when his nerves became stretched.

Since we got the devastating news, none of us attempted to leave the office. There would be no more deadlines to meet. No stories to tell. Our last edition zipped through the printing press and was being collated despite distribution being put on permanent hold.

No future plans or purchases were necessary. No reason to eat the chocolate chip cookies in the break room that Nancy brought this morning. Who could eat with all the verbal shit we had already consumed today.  Me; I loved cookies, but I was too scared to walk out of the newsroom and into certain death. I’d rather smother in my fears and bide my time with my coworkers.

Nancy brushed her long red tresses; a few strands found their way to the floor. Never had she been so brave as to groom her frail hair in front of us prior to our inevitable termination.  David buttoned his shirt sleeves and adjusted his tie. Strange how comfortable a good appearance was to some right up to the end.

Roger hacked up phlegm. He had been doing this for years. To my dismay, even with his chain-smoking, he lasted as long as the rest of us. I couldn’t stand the bigoted asshole, but what I felt about him didn’t matter, not anymore.

Tanya was the first to stand. Her short dark hair was gelled in place per usual. Her big hazel eyes, the ones that often teased me, were shaded by a baseball cap. With slender arms long enough to embrace the tenth muse she reminded me how hot it was in here. I hadn’t the courage to ask her out in the seven months she worked here. Too late now.

Senior journalist David Dickens yelled at her. “You can’t leave. None of us can.”

Before exiting the room, Tanya turned to flip him off. It must have been easy for her to be exactly who she wanted to be knowing she had nothing to lose.

Greg stopped poking himself with his ballpoint pen and expanded his chest to show David the trans flag on his shirt more clearly. “Everything is temporary, but death, and we all know it’s my head on the chopping block.” He said this as if he were alone in our inevitable demise.

Nancy slapped her palm down on her desk and set him straight. “No one is coming out of this catastrophe unscathed. It’s fucking doomsday, y’all. We knew it was coming but none of us had the guts to do anything about it.” She pulled out a tube of lipstick and smeared vibrant red across her lips. “I for one prefer to go out in style.”

The faint sound of horns honked and there was a screeching of breaks. A loud crunching noise seeped through the windows from outside. Out of habit, I looked at my smartwatch as I did during most major events. Eleven-thirty-four a.m. It’s good to know the exact time in which important things occurred even if I wouldn’t be here to write about it.

Screams of horror filled the streets, although the chaos began hours ago for us. It seemed we all thought it was safer to stay behind these dense walls.

Fearful; I’d rather cling to hope than face the reality of what would soon hit our world with a fierce punch. I sank lower into my chair and braced for the impact.

I was the shortest one on the team. I also was the shyest. Therefore, I always sat furthest to the back. From my desk I would see the deadly bomb penetrate the barrier we foolishly thought could protect us. And yet, breathing a second longer than David and Roger seemed like a win.

The voices of two people talking on the other side of the door got everyone’s attention and all heads turned to the left. One of them sounded like Tanya. The other person had an unfamiliar voice. Somebody new.

The knob turned slowly, then stopped. My heart was thumping in anticipation. The door swung open and in walked a… a what? Is that a pirate with Tanya? The stunning brunette was wearing a red bandana, a long-sleeved lacy white shirt, and black leather pants.

David, of course, had to show his tiny cock attitude and said, “Out with it. I don’t have all day for this queer nonsense. I’m a family man and unlike some people here, I need to get home to my wife and children.”

The pirate smirked. “I can assure you, Mr. Chickens that my time is much more valuable than yours. I intend to say what is on my mind when I damn well please.”

David’s neck and face turned a bright red at the misuse of his surname and Greg let out a snort.

Okay, that was fucking hot. Even a confident Tanya stumbled in awe on her way to her desk.

I mustered the courage to look at the beautiful pirate again. We locked eyes and panic silenced my world. Their mouth forged vocal expressions while my deceptive heart mutated into a percussion instrument, making it impossible to hear her words. The pirate extended one arm and gestured toward the window. David scratched his bald head. Others simply opened their mouths, dumbfounded. Not knowing what the Pirate had conveyed to my coworkers, I proceeded to gaze at all-consuming eyes.

The skipper slapped their palm on a table, knocking me out of a trance. “Goddammit, are you telling me not one of you knows what time a fucking piece of shit car hit my Bentley? It took place right in front of this window not long ago. You must have heard it.”  They yanked the bandana from their head, allowing long and thick, tar-colored hair to fall below erect shoulders.

I gulped with yearning. It’s over. Nothing to lose.

“Elev-eleven-thirty-four,” I stuttered.

People were yelling and three buff security guards rushed into the room to clear everybody out. In a daze, I tossed my backpack over my shoulders and made my way toward the door. The pirate stomped in front of me. “Where do you think you’re going?”

I tried to look away from beguiling brown eyes but was held captive. With trembling lips, I asked, “Aren’t we all fired?”

The pirate folded their arms across their chest. “I said everyone was terminated but you.”

“This is utter poop,” Tanya yells in my face as she pushed past me and out the door. Deserted, left alone with the pirate–I’m grateful not to have ever asked the gelled-haired woman out.

The pirate, taller than me by a foot leaned down to get a look at my eyes.

“I’ve never met a timid news reporter before.” Do you need a doctor? You’re breaking out in hives.”

I glared at my arms, angry, yet foreboding. Sure enough, big red welts were bursting everywhere. The urge to scratch was almost unbearable. Oh no, this shit wasn’t embarrassing at all. I grabbed Benadryl from my front pocket and popped one into my mouth, only to have it get stuck in my dry throat. Fuck my life.

The Pirate pointed to her a lapel pin on the collar of her shirt–She/Her. The woman in front of me smirked, then said. “Are you alright? Do you need water?” She placed a warm hand on my bicep. “Let me help you.”

 So, this is what euphoria felt like. With the pill only half dissolved, I choke out. “Did you say I’m the only one who isn’t fired?”

My potential new boss bared a toothy smile. “This company’s entire staff was unskilled–menial workers at best. I need an observant assistant to serve under me.”

Under her? I sat down wishing the antihistamine worked faster so it wouldn’t appear as if I had a lethal disease. Did she say under her?

The pirate came so close to me, that I could smell the champagne on her breath. “I’m bringing in skilled journalists who will replace the incompetent ones I just fired. You will answer any and all questions they might have about this place. Understood?”

“Aye, captain.” Fucking shit–such a dork. It was impossible to sink any lower in my seat.

She laughed. “Well, I’m certainly the captain of this ship. Now be a good mate and walk with me to the break room.

Once there, the entire bag of cookies Nancy left behind came into view and my mouth watered. The captain called our feast a no-frill first date. Cookies with a pirate was how that pivotal day ended, and I eagerly devoured them both.