Benford’s Visit by Emmett Dulaney

“This isn’t good,” the auditor mumbled as he stared at the mountain of expense reports from our division. I thought it was a comment on the size of the pile but Jerry recognized right away that the aside was directed at something inside the pile. We glanced at each other and waited to see who would break first. It was me.

“What did you find?” I asked, my voice squeaking. Any sound would have been discomforting after sitting mutely in the room for two hours while this guy silently moved papers back and forth. We had gone several years without a visit from corporate of any type and then, out of the blue, this guy showed up unannounced and wanted to see twelve months’ worth of originals. Jerry told him to take a hike, but it turned out that wasn’t an option and we had to set up a folding table in the middle of the office then sit near enough to him to answer questions.

“theznumbersnaughtreal” he incoherently muttered.

When Karl is Right by Emmett Dulaney

Karl and I were disagreeing about the possibility of catching the flu from an individually wrapped Little Debbie when I rear-ended the Crown Vic at a crossroads halfway between two nothing towns. I knew it was sitting at the four-way between the cornfields, but it never occurred to me that they weren’t going to roll […]

No Hard Feelings by Emmett Dulaney

“No hard feelings,” Daniels said as the budget meeting ended and he offered his hand.

“Then try Cialis,” I told him as I headed for the door. Every dollar he wrangled for his research came at the expense of mine.

“Livingston! I’d like to speak with you,” I heard over my shoulder and recognized the voice of the new dean – something that had been quiet throughout the whole meeting.

“Do so during office hours,” I responded and kept on walking. Now was not a good time for junior to espouse something from his management book of the day. My throat was dry and I desired something other than what came from the fountains.

Curiosity and the Compliance Officer by Emmett Dulaney

Whenever Becki heard the faraway hum of the printer at N.V. Labs, she would bolt from her cubicle like a race horse leaving the gate. If anyone saw her, she’d feign looking for a particular print job even though she had not submitted one. She just liked skimming through the papers before their owners arrived and seeing what they consisted of. Sometimes, she would get lucky and find racy correspondence or completed complaint forms about fellow coworkers.

Tuesday, it was the watermark of “Private” that caught her attention first. She skipped to the body and started speed reading. While she didn’t understand all of it – and had to read it hastily lest the rightful owner show up at any second – it was clear that someone in the company wanted to fraudulently restate earnings so a handful could unload their stock. As the assistant to the assistant comptroller, there was no way she would allow such a scheme to transpire on her watch.

Fathers of Otherwise Lost Sons by Emmett Dulaney

Usually, when my teenage son comes into my bedroom I think, “So this is how it is going to end,” and stretch for the box cutter taped beneath the headboard. Normally, he just wants to apologize for coming home late or murmur that he mistakenly thought it was his room. “Pa?” he half-whispered the night […]

Fan Letters by Emmett Dulaney

People are supposed to read your sports blog and chuckle at your wit, I am sure. Up until recently, I was one of the rubes doing so along with all the others who start their morning checking scores. Then I realized that you weren’t making me laugh with you; you were having a laugh at […]