portion of the artwork for William Walker's story

Human Resources
William Walker

To the Department of Human Resources:

I am writing this letter to inform you that after our training exercise today, Wanda Molnar felt comfortable enough to divulge that the reason she’s not been able to concentrate on work is that she’s been thinking about stabbing her mother. She explained to me that her mother is old-fashioned and would not like my hair. "No offense. I like your hair. But she’s just like that." I told her that I didn’t like my hair all that much myself. Wanda paused almost as if she were choking. She said again she liked my haircut.

I told her that she didn’t want to stab her mother. "How do you know?" After a second, I realized that Wanda was waiting for an answer. I told her that they would put her in prison. "And you don’t want to go to prison.” Again, she asked, "How do you know?" I told her there were frightening people in prison, and in an odd, dazed way, she told me there might be smart people in prison as well. “Maybe I will move to Europe,” she said. “There’s an idea,” I said. “Maybe you need to get out of the family house and live somewhere else for a while.” She looked down. “I have no money,” she said.

There was a silence, and I explained to Wanda that I wasn’t qualified to speak to such serious issues, and that she should take advantage of the mental health benefits offered by the company. She kept saying stuff like, "But you know. I can tell that you know." I told her that I’d never wanted to stab anybody. She stared at me. “Never?” I told her she needed to speak to somebody qualified, a counselor or therapist, and she said that she’d already spoken to a counselor and she told her to call 9-1-1 if she felt like stabbing her mother.

She said all sorts of stuff about not being able to forgive her mother, and she wanted real answers for how to let go of hatred and how to focus on her work product when what she was really thinking about was stabbing her mother. Wanda told me that she did poorly on her performance review, and if she gets fired her mother will be very angry. Just then one of the managers walked past, and I latched onto her and escaped Wanda.

I’m sure it’s nothing, but due to the realities of gun culture, I figured I should report the incident. Wanda appears to be having some real trouble, and I think she needs to talk to somebody who knows what he/she is doing. Please let me know where you think we should go from here.

Thank you,
William Walker

* * *

“Why did you tell?” Wanda startled me. She was standing beside the recycling bin outside the kitchen area.

I told Wanda that I was concerned about her.

She said that Human Resources forwarded my letter to the Fort Lee Police Department, who drove to Wanda’s house and handed copies to Wanda and her mother and watched them read it.

“The police gave you copies of the email I sent to Human Resources?”

I wondered if I would be able to fight a knife out of Wanda’s hand. Her face was emotionless.

“My mother is angry.”

“She’s angry at who?”

“She’s angry at both of us.”

“Me, too?”

“Yes.”

“Oh.” I told her that maybe now they could talk about their problems.

“We will not talk.” Wanda gasped for air. “I was joking with you about stabbing her.”

Her face was frozen.

“I’m sorry, Wanda. I was worried. If you thought that I was going to kill my girlfriend, for instance, I hope you would try to stop me.”

“You want to kill your girlfriend?”

“No, Wanda. I don’t want to kill anybody.”

“But you’d like to kill her?”


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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 52 | Fall/Winter 2018