The Second Vow of Chastity Baker C2

Group of happy friends cheering with wine and beers at boat party. Diverse men and women having drinks at sunset yacht party.

Chapter 2

A New Life

 

The next morning, the newlyweds took a flight to the Florida Keys for their honeymoon. Having only flown once, plane rides was still a new experience for Chas, and she loved it. Charlie made sure to give his new wife the window seat. The flight from Memphis to Miami was a two-hour flight giving Chas plenty of time to admire the view of the clouds and earth below. Just a few years before, she never thought that she would see outside the city limits of Memphis and now, having been to the Maldives with her girlfriends just four months prior, she was getting the privilege of flying to another tropical destination.

Chas could not keep her head out of the window. She stared in awe at the sea of billowing clouds just below them. The morning sun shone brightly in the East.

“Oh, Charlie look at those clouds! It looks like there’s no end to them! “Chas said in amazement.

Charlie just sat there and smiled, enjoying seeing his new wife gaze out of the window and stare out into the vast sea of clouds with child-like wonder. He beamed, pleased to be the man who was giving Chas the pleasure to experience things she had always dreamed of experiencing but had never had the chance. He watched, feeling very much like a superhero as Chas continued gazing at the world below, cooing over the view.

“Wait until you see the ground. It looks nice too!” Charlie told her.

Off on Their Honeymoon

Soon, the clouds had reduced to only a few white speckles and Chas could see the earth below.

“Wow!” She marveled in a whisper.

The ground looked like a vast quilt with squares, rectangles, and other shapes of different colors of green, brown, red, and orange. The roads were just tiny, bright white lines drawn across the squares. She could also see bodies of water which looked like small mirrors of glass reflecting the sun. Then she looked across the blue sky to see the occasional distant white trails of vapor left behind by other aircraft that had left their mark. Chas could not get enough.

She couldn’t see any people or automobiles because they were too far up. But during the descent before landing, Chas could finally focus on the automobiles that moved down the veinous network of highways and roads below. They reminded her of a long trail of ants from an anthill, looking for a picnic.

The Flight

After they landed, the newly married couple rushed through the crowded airport, through the exit and finally caught a cab. It would be a few hours before their Cessna was scheduled to depart for Key West and they decided to do some shopping at a few of the marketplaces near the airport. On the way back to the airport to board the Cessna, Chas stared out the window, mesmerized by the outside surroundings.

“My, gosh! The last time I saw so many palm trees was in the Maldives with Tori and the girls back in December! Oh, I just love palm trees!” She gushed with the excitement of a child on Christmas Morning.

Charlie smiled, loving the fact that Chas appreciated life more than most women. Because she had experienced such a hard way in life, she never took anything for granted like most people tend to. Her appreciation for her new blessings was as pure as the heart of a newborn babe and Charlie only wanted to give her more.

“Wait until we get to the beach!” He said softly, running his fingers through her curls.

The overweight but friendly cabby looked at them through his rear-view mirror.

I take it that it’s your first time being in Florida,” he chirped.

The Florida Keys

“It is.” Chas answered back.

“This is our honeymoon. I’m taking her to the beach this afternoon,” Charlie told him.

“Congratulations, both of you,”

“I just bought a swimsuit, cover and a couple of beach towels,” Chas chirped as she dug through her shopping bags and took out one of the pretty beach towels to show Charlie.

Charlie’s father had given them five thousand dollars spending money for a wedding present. Soon, the couple boarded the Cessna and were in the air again. Chas did just as she had done during the flight to Miami. She could not stop gazing out the window.

During the first day of their honeymoon, they checked into their hotel, then went shopping at a nearby shopping mall. They ate their meals in the hotel cafeteria. Later, they went to the beach. Chas had only seen the beach once and once was not enough. She had become addicted to the sights of white beaches, clear blue water, palm trees and sunny skies. Unable to keep her eyes off her new surroundings, Chas eyed the palm trees, then looked back at her husband.

“Where are the coconuts?” She asked him.

The Beach

“I don’t know. Either it isn’t the right season for them, or we’re not far enough south. I think we have to be within the tropics and closer to the equator to see coconuts, honey,” he told her.

As they walked across the hot sand, Charlie carried two lawn chairs and Chas toted a bag carrying their beach towels, suntan lotion, and sunshades. He stopped and set up the lawn chairs, covering them with the beach towels while his bride stared in awe at the ocean in front of them. She could not believe how blue the water was. The ocean was a beautiful aqua color. And the sand on the beach was a snowy white color.

After setting up their spot on the beach and slathering each other down with suntan lotion, Charlie and Chas ran toward the ocean and got into the water, jumping the waves and bodysurfing. Wading chest-deep in the ocean, Chas looked down at her feet, completely amazed. The water was so clear, so free of sediment, it was as if she were looking through glass. She could see her feet and the white sand beneath them so clearly! She watched as a huge school of tiny fish swim around her ankles with their silvery scales and fins seeming to glisten in the light of the sun. When they grew tired of swimming, Charlie and Chas walked along the beach, hand in hand, listening to the seagulls cry and the crashing wave.

Beautiful Sounds of Seagulls

The newlywed couple spent their second, third, and fourth days on the beach, where they both sunbathed and swam, taking small breaks in between to rub each other’s backs down with suntan lotion. On the fifth and sixth days, they spent their time at an amusement park, riding roller coasters and eating cotton candy. The last night before going back to Tennessee, Charlie and Chas took a twilight stroll on the beach.

It was a beautiful night. The stars twinkled in the sky as the ocean breeze blew gentle gusts through their hair. A full moon lit up the sky like day and glinted beautifully on the ocean. They both felt inner peace while hearing the waves roll onto the sandy beach.

“Oh, Charlie! This is such a beautiful place. I don’t want to leave,” Chas cooed.

“I don’t either, honey. But we must go home tomorrow. We must pack so that we can move to Nashville to be near my family,” Charlie replied.

“Oh, well. Who knows? Maybe we can retire here one day,” Chas gushed.

“Ya never know,” Charlie said as he slipped his arm around her shoulders and they walked on.

Moving From Memphis to Nashville

The next morning, Charlie and Chas prepared to leave the Keys. It would be a honeymoon that they would never forget. The next two weeks were spent packing to move to Nashville. Charlie gave a notice of transfer to the MPD. He would be transferring to the Metro Nashville Police Department.

On his last day at the Memphis police department, Charlie was given a going away party by his fellow officers. His fellow officers would miss him very much. Charlie and Chas had already moved their belongings to Nashville, where Charlie’s father had them put into storage. Early the next morning, the happy couple left for their new home. On the way, Charlie and Chas talked and looked at the scenery. They made several stops along the way, Cuba Landing on the Tennessee River, Loretta Lynn’s place, the Buffalo River, all for sight-seeing.

“Before I left for the Maldives with the girls last December, I had never been outside of Memphis. Traveling is such a new experience for me, and I love it. I have always wanted to travel, to get out and see the world. And praise God! It’s happening now!” Chas said, beaming with excitement.

The Trip

“Well, you and I are going to do a lot of traveling over the next few years. I promise you that,” Charlie said with a smile as he glanced at Chas off and on while driving down the interstate.

After about four hours of driving and making frequent stops, Charlie and Chas arrived in Nashville at about noon and spent the night in a hotel. After a refreshing nights’ sleep, Charlie and Chas drove to the home of Charlie’s’ family at around nine the next morning.

Chas was surprised to find that Charlie’s’ family was very wealthy.

Charlie drove out of the metropolitan area and into a countryside of rolling rolls and windy roads. After fifteen minutes of driving through country, Charlie made a turn and pulled onto a long driveway which was about a half-mile long. Chas looked ahead and could see a huge white plantation style mansion with swimming pool. She paused and gave Charlie a puzzled look.

“Is this where you grew up, Charlie?” She asked in amazement.

“It is,” Charlie answered with a smile.

A Huge Surprise

The mansion sat on a huge dude ranch with several beautiful horses. In the front of the house was a huge porch and balcony, garnished by several white pillars. The Riddick’s owned well over three hundred acres of land. The vast acreage was a huge green carpet of grass. Off to the east of the house, on a hill sat a huge red barn with white trim. At the foot of the hill, on the east side of the barn, was the shady lot and stables where the horses were kept. The rest was just flat countryside for as far as Chas could see, with foothills barely visible on the horizon.

Maurice, Charlie’s’ father, was a big-time businessman. He was co-owner of Jarrett & Riddick Advertising. Charlie introduced his new bride to the maids of the Riddick household, Anita and Celestine. Chas was amazed but managed to contain it. She greeted the maids with a ‘hello’, smile and handshake, then looked at Charlie and smiled, wide-eyed and full of anticipation of their future together.

Afterwards, Charlie led Chas upstairs to their new bedroom, and the maids entered, carrying their suitcases and sat them down at the foot of the Alaskan king-sized bed before excusing themselves. Chas looked around the huge bedroom and noticed the fireplace, the huge bed, the huge private bathroom and the French doors which led outside. Chas walked over to the French doors and opened them to reveal a beautiful veranda furnished with white, wicker-style patio furniture.

Getting to Know the In-Laws

“Oh my gosh! This is beautiful!” Chas gushed. She then turned to Charlie and he walked up to her and put his arms around her.

“Charlie, you never told me about any of this. I had no idea that you came from privileged beginnings,” she said in astonishment.

“You never asked,” he reminded her.

“Of course, I did. Remember? Off and on, I asked about how you grew up? What values you were taught, what school you went to…you know? Things like that,” Chas continued.

“But you never asked about our lifestyle and I just didn’t think to tell you,” Charlie replied.

“True. But anyone worth their salt wouldn’t ask questions like that. So, is this where we’re going to live?”

“For the time being. Until we find a place of our own.”

Charlie grabbed a blanket and took Chas around the estate. He showed her the stables where the horses were and introduced her to the ranchers who worked for the family. Chas was taken by the horses.

“The horses are beautiful,” Chas said as she stroked the mane of one of the horses.

“Maybe after dinner, we can go horseback riding. Are you game or lame?” Charlie offered with a grin.

The Ranch

“You know I’m game,” Chas chirped, “But I don’t know how to ride a horse, never even been on a horse.”

“I’ll teach you how or you can take lessons,” Charlie assured.

Charlie took Chas to the lake, where they sat on the blanket and talked, while watching the ducks swim on the water.

“Wow! I’m totally floored by all this! Back in Memphis, you and I both lived in crummy apartments, and I figured that when we got married, we’d live in just another crummy apartment,” Chas admitted. “Your family has so much, Charlie. I can’t help but wonder how they felt about your living in a two-room apartment?”

“Well, they didn’t like it, of course. But I’m not the type of guy who lives off my family’s fortune,” Charlie told her, “And besides, Mom and Dad haven’t always been this well off. Believe it or not, they both came from poverty. They grew up dirt poor.”

They got up, before Charlie took up their blanket and led Chas to the big red barn, where the two climbed up to the hay loft. There, Charlie spread the blanket across the plush, sweet-smelling hay. He and Chas laid across the blanket and nestled against one another. Charlie wrapped his arms around her and drew her nearer to him.

Charlie Tells Chas about His Years Growing Up

“My dad went into partnership with a guy he grew up with and they started a business together. My dad worked his tail off…I mean busted his hump to get us where we are now. It wasn’t always easy. My dad worked long hours to get the business of the ground…sometimes up to eighteen hours a day. There were years when dad was hardly ever home and it was hard on my mom and my older siblings.”

Chas listened attentively as he talked about life growing up. Charlie then looked down at his new wife and ran his fingers through her hair. As their lips touched, he cradled her cheek with one hand. Chas unbuttoned his shirt and pressed her lips against his chest. He loved her tenderly, caressing and cradling her as he showered her flawless face with kisses until she felt dizzy. Chas ran her fingers up his back and through his hair. After lovemaking, they lay beside each other in the afterglow and took a thirty-minute nap.

When it was close to dinnertime, Charlie and Chas got dressed and walked back to that thirty-six-room house. As they walked, Chas had some questions to ask Charlie.

“Charlie, I don’t understand. Not that I don’t appreciate your being a cop, but your family has so much. Why didn’t you just become a doctor, or a lawyer, or even a business man, like your father? I figured that most people that came from wealthy families usually followed in their parents’ footsteps,” she said softly.

Charlie, the Blacksheep of the Family

“Well, it’s funny you said that. My parents did want me to go into the business field like Daddy. But my dream was to become a police officer. Ever since I was a small boy, I have wanted to be a cop,” Charlie said.

“I’ll bet that your parents were disappointed when you told them that you wanted to be a cop.”

“Yes. They were. But I couldn’t pick a career that I wouldn’t be happy with. No. Cops don’t get paid much. But it’s what I do best. It’s what I enjoy,” Charlie explained.

They stopped walking and gazed into each other’s eyes. Charlie cupped Chas’ face in his hands. Without saying a word, they continued to gaze into each other’s eyes.

When the happy newlyweds arrived back at the house, Anita was just putting dinner on the table. Charlie’s’ mother, Isabelle had already started to worry about them.

“Where have you two been? I haven’t seen hide nor hair of you two almost all day,” Isabelle complained.

“I was just showing Chas around the property,” Charlie replied.

Charlie had a large family. The entire family lived in the same household. There were Maurice and Isabelle, Charlie’s’ parents, and his oldest and alcoholic brother, Jim and his wife Lucretia. He had a second oldest brother, Jake and his wife, Katrina. And he had two sisters, Chelsea, who was married to Christopher, and Brooke, the baby of the family, who was single and in college.

A Large Family

“Charlie, son! Glad you and Chas could join us for dinner,” greeted Maurice.

They all sat down to dinner. After saying grace, the family enjoyed lobster, boiled shrimp, stuffed peppers, and zucchini squash. For dessert, Anita served cheesecake with blueberry topping.

The Second Vow of Chastity Baker C1-2

When the happy couple arrived at the hotel, they stopped at the front desk and the clerk checked their reservations, then handed Charlie the key card to their room. After taking the elevator up to the seventh floor, the newlyweds arrived at the door of their hotel room. Charlie unlocked the door before picking Chas up and carrying her inside.

As soon as the door was shut behind them, Charlie took Chas into his arms and they both engaged in a long and passionate kiss. Charlie broke the seal and looked at his new wife.

“I will love you forever, sweetheart,” he said softly.

Chas smiled.

“Wait here, I’ll be right back,” she said.

Chas went into the bathroom while Charlie waited by the wedding bed. During the wait, Charlie changed into a masculine red satin robe, then called room service and ordered two glasses and a bottle of pink champagne on ice. Five minutes passed, then ten. When fifteen minutes passed, Charlie looked at his watch.

“Oh, Chas! I’m waiting, darling,” Charlie called out in a sing-song voice.

Honeymoon!

Suddenly, the door of the bathroom opened, and out stepped Chas dressed in a stunning white negligee. Charlie’s eyes widened as he beheld his wife’s beauty and how the negligee fit his wife’s svelte form. He gazed in admiration, as Chas twirled around the room, showing off her sexy white spaghetti string negligee, smoothing the bodice that hugged her trim waist with her hands, then placing her hands on her hips. She then stood there and gave her new husband a look which said, “Come hither”.

“You look beautiful,” he said softly.

“I’m glad you like it. You look very sexy in that robe.” Chas commented as Charlie approached her. She then wrapped her arms around him and planted a soft kiss on his lips. Charlie reached for the Bluetooth radio and turned on soft music, then danced slowly with his new wife.

“I love you, Mrs. Riddick,” he whispered.

At the sound of her new title and last name, Chas’ heart leapt in her chest as she continued to slow dance with her new husband.

“Say it again,” Chas pleaded softly as he twirled her.

“Mrs. Riddick.”

“Ohhh, say it louder now!” Chas said in a playful voice.

“Mrs. Riddick.” Charlie repeated slower and softer as he gently pressed his forehead against hers.

“Ooo, I love the sound of that!” Chas moaned as she leaned her head against his chest.

Room Service

Minutes later, they heard a knock at the door. Charlie answered it to find a man decked out in a tuxedo, pushing a cart atop of which sat two gleaming wine glasses and a bottle of bubbly champagne half buried in a silver bucket of ice. The porter rolled the cart into the room before Charlie politely tipped him.

“Thank you kindly,” Charlie said before the porter left, giving the newlyweds their privacy. Charlie then popped the cork with the corkscrew, shooting some fizz from the bottle, then filled both glasses half full. He handed one to his new bride.

“To a very long and beautiful life together,” he said, raising his glass.

“Cheers,” Chas cooed.

They clicked their glasses together and sipped their champagne. After putting his glass down, Charlie wrapped his arms around her and pressed his lips against hers repeatedly. They continued to stand in the middle of the hotel room, swaying to the slow, soft rhythm of the music. After turning the lights down low, Charlie hung the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the outer doorknob, then gently closed the door.

Self-Love Irrespective of What Others Think

No lie. This can be hard to do, especially if the people around you hate you and are bullying you. Loving yourself in the midst of bullying and in a room full of people who think horribly of you takes a mountain of hard work when all you hear from others is:

“You aren’t worth a damn!”

“You suck!”

“You’re a drain on society!”

“You’ll never amount to a hill of beans!”

I understand. If you hear that long enough and from enough people, it can break your spirit if you let it. And how you refuse to let it get to you is to see it for what it is- noise pollution!

Here are a few more ways you can refuse to let their abuse get to you.

Give yourself permission to be yourself.

Know that’s it’s okay for you to be you.

Train your inner voice, through practice, to love you unconditionally.

Know that it’s okay to have needs, wants, and desires.

Deny the urge to compare yourself to others.

Understand that it’s okay to walk away from drama, and that it’s not out of fear that you do so, it’s out of smarts and self-care.

Allow yourself to make mistakes and to learn from them.

Realize that it’s okay to leave if you’re in an environment where you aren’t valued.

And lastly, know that it’s okay if people get angry with you.

Realize that if you don’t love yourself no matter your circumstances, it can have negative consequences later. Therefore, it’s so important that you do!

Although you can never control how others view you. And you can’t control what others say to you and how they act toward you. We must realize that another person’s behavior is beyond our control. However, what you can control is how you behave. In other words, you can control how you respond to the behavior of bullies and other idiots who try to steal your joy.

Loving yourself in the face of bullying is revolutionary!

Therefore, you must do what you can to drown out this noise pollution. And how you do it is to see your bullies for the creeps they truly are, think good thoughts of yourself, and remind yourself of your good qualities. Believe it or not, working to think highly of yourself when nobody else does is the greatest act of rebellion against bullies!

Again, see it for what it is. The judgements and verbal abuse you consistently hear from the cowardly creeps around you, is nothing but a bunch of racket. In other words, it’s noise pollution!

When you work to like yourself when others don’t, you refuse to let bullies get into your head. In that, you train your brain to filter out other’s negative comments and remarks that serve no purpose but to damage your self-esteem. Also, you silence that inner critic that would otherwise nag you night and day.

Moreover, when you love and accept yourself, others outside the bullying environment and strangers who have no history with you will be inclined to also love and accept you. No, your bullies and abusers won’t like or love you even if you love yourself, but who cares about them?

So, love yourself despite what others think of you. You will be surprised at how it will protect your self-esteem. When you work to feel good about yourself, even while bullies are tearing you down, it will work as a buffer to the psychological attacks they launch.

You may come out of it bruised but not broken.

With knowledge comes power!

Bullying and Plausible Deniability

Most bullying is emotional and psychological torture. Sure, there are many physically violent bullies out there and they are psychologically traumatizing enough using their fists. However, physical bullies are either (a)not very socially intelligent and persuasive, (b) attack in groups wearing masks over their faces to give them anonymity, (c) so well-connected that they’re almost untouchable, or (d) couldn’t care less about the consequences they will face.

The reason most bullies prefer psychological violence is because there are no bruises, cuts, wounds, scars, or any visible marks on the target’s body. And without visible marks, there’s no proof of the abuse. Therefore, when you report the abuse, the perpetrators aren’t likely to get into trouble for it and you stand more of a chance of being accused of being too sensitive, paranoid, or mentally ill.

These are the reasons I recommend being prepared when you know you must walk into a snake pit.

Here are ways to gather evidence:

1. Document the abuse- I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it many more. It’s crucial to document each bullying incidence and do it in detail. Use the 5W method- (What, who, why, when, where…and sometimes how) write down what happened, who was involved, who were the bystanders and witnesses, why the bullying incident happened (retaliation for reporting a prior bullying incident?) when it happened (date and exact time of incidence) and where it happened (school bathroom, locker room, gym, behind the school, the parking lot, etc.).

2. Wear a body camera- If you live in a one-party consent jurisdiction and the laws permit you to wear one, I recommend you wear a body camera. In fact, I can’t stress it enough! Body cams that record both video and audio are your best bet, but if you can only get a cam that records video, that’s fine too as you can still capture physical attacks and body language. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a video is worth a thousand pictures because if bullying is caught on video, there’s no question that it’s happening and it’s the best evidence you can get!

3. Keep a digital recorder handy- These are good for recording verbal altercations and many of them today can play recorded sound that is clear and not muffled.

4. Make 3-4 Copies of your evidence- Whether it’s documentation, body cam recordings, or digital audio recordings, it’s always best to make several copies of the evidence because schools, companies, and other entities are notorious for (deliberately) misplacing and losing a target’s evidence of bullying. Yeah, I know. Convenient, isn’t it?

5. Keep each of your copies in different (undisclosed) locations- This is so important! Because, if you think school districts and companies haven’t snooped through a target’s office, or worse, hired people to break into their houses to search for evidence they can dispose of, you’re wrong! When it comes to the threat of being sued, schools and companies will resort to anything, and I mean anything!

6. Screenshot and save any nasty and abusive emails, texts, or private messages- Very important! Any time bullies resort to cyber-bullying you via email, text, or private message, they automatically leave a paper trail! Screenshot it, save it, and, if need be, print them all out. Make copies of them and the files. Store each copy in an entirely different place (your house, your grandma’s house, your lawyer’s office, etc.) Store them in a fireproof safe!

They snoop through your garbage when you put it out on the street for the trash-men to pick up the next morning, break into your vehicle, and other nefarious things to cover their butts. I’ve read many an article about these things happening to targets of bullying, whether in school, the workplace, or community. And in today’s world, bullies are now targeting their victims for surveillance drones and school boards are targeting parents with electronic surveillance as well, then spreading their private information and pictures of children to some evil entities.

It’s a very dangerous world nowadays and you never know what sick people you just might be dealing with.

gavel and soundblock of justice law and lawyer working on wooden desk background

I can’t stress enough how important it is to gather your own evidence. Quietly do your own investigation. It’s pointless to rely on the school or workplace to investigate for you because the results will only be in the bullies’ and the investigating entity’s favor, not yours! Never, ever trust anyone else to gather evidence or investigate for you. When you’re targeted for bullying, you cannot afford to trust anyone but yourself and I’m not joking! When you’re bullied, it’s not the time to be lazy. The only person you can depend on is you. Only you can gather the evidence you need to prove that you’re targeted by bullies, take legal action, and get justice.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Triumphing Over Workplace Bullying (Part 5)

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(Continued from Part 4…)

Six months after Darnell and I walked away from the workplace cesspool, that was Shady Grove Living Center, the fit finally hit the shan. I was outside walking my dog when a neighbor, who still worked at the nursing home, stopped me to relay some exciting news.

Beau, Harry, and Cammie, better known as “The Thieving Three,” had all been fired from the facility earlier that day- only an hour or two earlier, in fact. The news had traveled that fast!
She told me that the owners of the facility had suddenly shown up and had the three of them escorted off the property. An Acting Administrator took Beau’s place. A temporary Bookkeeper/Payroll Clerk and Head of Maintenance took the positions of Cammie and Harry.

Over the next few weeks, several others were fired as well. The DON (Director of Nursing) was let go after stealing narcotics to feed her addiction to pain pills, as were a few other nurses. The owners also terminated the dietary manager and several CNAs- who had all been loyal flying monkeys to The Thieving Three.

So many got the ax and within such a short amount of time. The owners cleaned that place out. After it was all said and done, I could probably count on one hand the people spared.

It was the buzz around town for well over a month. After they were terminated, Harry and Cammie were so scared and humiliated that they threw everything into two U-hauls and skipped town. Surprisingly, Shady Grove never pressed charges and I was told that it was because the nursing home was afraid that pressing charges might tarnish it’s reputation.

Harry and Cammie moved somewhere around middle, TN, somewhere close to the Tennessee River. Cammie ended up working for the County Medical Center there, in the same position she had at Shady Grove. Later, she committed the same crimes there; only the Medical Center didn’t let it slide as Shady Grove had.

They pressed charges and Cammie was found guilty. The judge sentenced her to three years in state prison but she only served two.

I’ll never forget the tyrannical reign of The Thieving Three over the employees of Shady Grove, and neither will I forget their downfall. This is why I firmly believe that most bullies usually get their just desserts in the end, just as these bullies did.

Sometimes, you must let your bullies do what they do until they get too cocky, too careless, and end up falling on their own swords.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Triumphing Over Workplace Bullying (Part 4)

(Continued from Part 3…)

I remember a night when one of the flying monkeys, Shelly, a CNA, approached me in the hall, from behind and began screaming, cursing, and threatening to jump me over a rumor that had it that I was stabbing her in the back.

She threatened to attack me there on the spot physically, and there were bystanders!
When I turned around, faced her, and called her out for being unprofessional, Shelly became twice as angry.

Later, I was afraid that I might face termination because Shelly had escalated the confrontation to an unprecedented level. Also, I’d seen so many others whom these people had pulled the same tactic on getting fired left and right!

I remember thinking,

“Well, if I do get canned, they won’t be able to say they didn’t have to work hard at achieving that goal! At the very least, I’ll leave here knowing I put up one hell of a fight!”

One of the bystanders was Deb, the charge nurse, and Shelly’s supervisor and buddy. Therefore, I knew that Deb would sweep Shelly’s behavior under the rug and paint me as the instigator.

Sure enough, she did. These people had a way of turning everything around to fit their narrative and getting others to agree with it.

The other guy was always to blame.
It was always the other guy’s fault.
It was never their fault, and they were never wrong.

They reported the incident to Darnell and suggested that he terminate me right then and there. When he talked to me about it, I calmly explained that Shelly had approached me from behind in a very threatening manner, that I feared for my physical safety, and didn’t know what she would do had I not faced her down.

And by this time, I’d worked under Darnell long enough that he knew the kind of person I was and that I was only taking care of myself.

So, again, Darnell went to bat for me. Also, I had made an awesome friend out of Jane, who was another charge nurse at the nursing home. She, too, went to bat for me as did several of my coworkers.

Each time nothing happened to me, the bullies only became angrier and crazier, until they were all out for blood!

It was then that I starting noticing Jules hovering around in the hall just outside the door to the laundry room. Later, I’d see him milling around nearby anytime I’d stop in the hallway to greet and talk to friends. And I’ve got to tell you! He gave me such a creepy vibe!

Next, I began seeing him standing across the street from my apartment, smoking a cigarette. And I could tell he was watching my apartment. Now that freaked me out!

I found out that he and the neighbor across the street had begun dating and that he was there to see her. She didn’t allow smoking in her house, so he had no choice but to smoke outside. Still, I didn’t feel any better. I felt as if I was being stalked!

I knew why he was hanging around so close. Jules was an eavesdropper for Cammie and her group, listening in on our convos in the laundry room and my discussions with friends in the hallway. Everybody knew it because he’d eavesdropped on many others.

My instinct also told me they’d enlisted him to watch my house. He was watching to see what company I had over- looking for any information with which to report back to Cammie.

The fact that Jules’ girlfriend lived across the street from me was a convenient cover for him and they knew it. Although I knew what was going on, I didn’t speak of it because I knew I couldn’t without sounding completely nuts. I did the best thing by keeping it to myself but filing it in the back of my mind. The only people I told were my closest family and they knew I wasn’t kidding.

Luckily, his girlfriend was a good friend of mine and I knew she only kept him around because she was lonely. So, I used it to my advantage, and cozied up to her a little bit more so she would volunteer to tell me little tidbits about what he was doing. Sure enough, she confirmed my suspicions.

Not much later, Darnell, having himself become a target of the vitriol that inflected the workplace, announced to us that he had put in his two-week notice of resignation and was moving on to a better job and a better work environment.

Although we were happy that he’d finally found something better and was getting out of that hellhole, we were also deeply saddened because we’d miss him so much. We saw Darnell as our fearless leader, our Captain Ahab, and our hero!

What kind of leader would the new supervisor be? And would they protect us from those devils down the hall as Darnell had?

Choosing not to leave anything to chance, I decided that I’d put in my notice as well. Being the type of woman who would always think ahead, I knew that once Darnell was gone, I’d be totally at their mercy. I had a sickening feeling that the next supervisor would toady up to the bullies in the upper echelons of management and the social order.

Strict Boss: Angry upset young business woman with blank speech bubble on white on gray background. Vector illustration.

I knew that Cammie had long waited, with bated breath, for the day when Darnell would either quit or get fired. Then, she could begin working on the new supervisor, ingratiate herself in them, and turn them against us.

Sure enough, my closest coworker told me she’d overheard Cammie saying precisely that, and she was recommending that the new supervisor terminate three of us. Knowing I was one of the three, I quickly filled out my two weeks notice of resignation and gave it to Darnell.

Darnell introduced us to the new supervisor. She was a short, dumpy woman in her forties and by her facial expression, which was hard and cold, I made the conclusion that putting in my notice was the smartest thing to do and gave myself a pat on the back.

Spy Snooping Spiders Spies Covert Intelligence 3d Illustration

Off and on during the last two weeks, I’d catch those tiny micro flashes of suspicion and contempt the new supervisor would flash toward me and a few others. And the bullies were completely enraged once word of my pending exit reached their ears. But once I was out of there, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I was quite proud of myself for having escaped that toxic place and walked away from the job with confidence and my self-esteem still intact.

But the best and juiciest part is yet to be told!

(Continued in Part 5…)

Triumphing Over Workplace Bullying (Part 3)

(Continued from part 2…)

Everyone knew about it, but it seemed they were afraid to report it. It was also evident that Harry and Cammie were getting fat off the embezzlement and not only those two but the administrator (Beau) too.

We secretly referred to these three ringleaders of the bully group as “The Thieving Three.” Fran, Marilyn, Misti, and Jules were their lieutenants. At the bottom of this little workplace cabal were the flying monkeys.

There were so many policy violations and illegal activities happening right under our noses. They are as follows:

1. Beau had his Winnebago RV on the property for Harry and Jules to do repairs on during work hours. Again, this was all done out in the open.

Beau knew that most were too scared to talk about it. So, why put in the extra effort to try and cover it up? He would have them work on his camper, therefore neglecting the repairs the nursing facility needed. They would also work on his car. Can you imagine how much Beau was saving on auto repairs while he ran that nursing home?

2. Fighting and Assault on Company Property.

And by the administrator himself! Beau was having an affair with another employee. When her husband found out, he came to the nursing home to confront Beau. And Beau invited him out to the parking lot to fight. And the two men got into a brutal fistfight in the parking lot, in broad daylight, in front of God and everyone. And it happened while Beau was on the clock!

After the fight was over, Beau sent word to every employee that if they uttered one word about the incident at work or outside of work, they would not only lose their jobs, but he’d make sure they didn’t work anywhere else.

3. Embezzlement.

Beau, Harry, and Cammie were robbing Shady Grove blind! Beau made off with several hundreds of thousands of dollars, as did Harry and Cammie. And they were moving up in the world quickly. They all suddenly bought new vehicles and vacation homes on the lake. They began taking lavish vacations and taking them anytime they wanted. For the professions they were working in, they were living high.

Cammie was the payroll clerk and bookkeeper of the facility. She would take the money and doctor the books to make everything look legit. Her husband Harry would clock in, fill out bogus work orders, leave for the day, then come back that night and clock back out before going home. They would also take as many days off as they wanted in a year instead of the allotted vacation time allowed.

Cammie would also make herself Power of Attorney over widowed and childless residents with no families. And she would do this by talking them into signing legal documents, agreeing to leave any assets to her and her husband once they passed away.

Cammie helped her teenage daughter get hired at the nursing home as the person who passed the snacks, juice cups, and the pitchers of ice and water around. She fixed the wages so that her daughter would make twenty dollars per hour on the job, which brings me to the next violation.

4. Nepotism.

Harry and Cammie fixed the system where her children and family got first dibs at any jobs. When the nursing home hired these family members, they would receive massive hourly wages, anywhere from double up to five times the going payments for the job.

It didn’t take long for the whisper to spread, but we had to be careful who we talked around because there were eyes and ears everywhere and increasing in numbers.
Beau, Harry, and Cammie ran the place. Right or wrong, anyone who challenged them in any way, was bullied and mobbed out! And so was anyone who slighted or stood up to any of their favorite people.

Again, Cammie increased her attacks. More and more, she’d provoke me, but I wouldn’t bite. She and the cabal instituted several smear campaigns against me and a few others, but we only doubled down in our resolve not to let them shake us.

I must tell you that it got rough at times. On a few occasions, the payroll clerk and a few CNAs threatened to catch me out and do physical harm. But it never happened, and back then, I went out all the time. I was lucky.

Although the provocations were stressful, I was able to put my hand up to her, tell her what I thought of her, then walk away.

Darnell was excellent! He was a quiet guy, yet firm when he had to be. Darnell was like me. He kept his mouth closed and observed everything that went on around him. The man was much smarter than what people took him to be. He knew what was happening, and he took care of us!

I could never have been more grateful to have such an awesome supervisor. However, this only made the bullies more desperate.

(Continued in Part 4…)

Triumphing Over Workplace Bullying (Part 2)

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(Continued from Part 1…)

In the last post, I talked about how everything started out great and that I was well-liked by almost everyone. I also mentioned the incident when I responded in kind after Candi, a CNA, caught a bad attitude. Needless to say, I found out that, right or wrong, talking down to her was a no-no because she had connections.

And over several months, one by one, many people turned against me. Luckily, several of my real friends knew how Candi was and had no respect for her. They were the people who had my back, so I can say that I did have allies who took care of me.

However, there was a clear division at Shady Grove Living Center. There was the administrator, who I’ll call *Beau, *Cammie, the payroll clerk, the department heads,*Harry (who was Cammie’s husband), one maintenance guy, whose name was *Jules, and two CNAs, *Shelly was one and *Cheryl who were two flying monkeys. On our side were my supervisor Darnell, all of my coworkers (except for one suck up), a charge nurse, and the rest of the CNAs who had my back.

At first, the bullies made false reports about me to Darnell. On the days after my shift (I worked part-time in the evening), the third shift CNAs would complain that I hadn’t stocked the linen closets on each of the halls and that they had no clean bed pads, bedsheets, nor gowns for the residents who soiled their beds during the night.

But because I always thought ahead and could easily predict what these people would do, I had made sure to pull out my cellphone and take pictures of all my finished work at the end of my shift.

Once I was done stocking the linen closets, I took photos of all the  shelves inside, chock full of freshly clean linens. I then took pictures inside all the empty barrels that were marked “dirty laundry,” before clocking out and going home. And, with the time-stamps on each image, there was no question I’d done my job.

I took pictures every night, at the end of the shift. And I had proof to show Darnell every time they lied.

When that didn’t work, the bullies only turned up the harassment, as word quickly spread throughout the nursing home that I’d taken pictures of all finished work.

In a way, it was funny because each of the linen closets was directly across from a nurse’s desk, where the bullies would sit around and gossip. And I remember overhearing them make snide remarks about my camera and my taking pictures, to which I’d only snicker and chuckle to myself.

Harry, the head of maintenance, would talk pretty ugly to me, but I knew I wasn’t the only one because many times, I’d see him talk terrible to several others- even a few who worked for the nursing home. So, I didn’t feel like the Lone Ranger.

And because I’d already been a target of bullying in school, I knew what to expect as all bullies pull pretty much the same tactics, only adult bullies are much more sophisticated with it. Therefore, I was able to prepare, stay a few steps ahead, and outflank them.

During this time, I began to witness a couple of the bullies in this workplace clique commit a few illegal activities. On one instance, I worked a double shift to cover for a coworker who was sick.

Early one Saturday morning, I saw with my own eyes Harry walk into the back door of the nursing home, dressed in camouflage and his bright orange hunting vest. He crept down the hall past the laundry room, then stopped at the time clock and clocked in. Harry then filled out a bogus work order, then left.

He didn’t return until late that evening to clock out and leave again. I’ll never forget the look on his mug when he saw me sitting outside on my last break as he drove by in his shiny new pickup. And when I told a trusted friend at work a day or two later about what I’d seen, she wasn’t at all surprised.

“Girl! He’s been clocking out and going home on the weekends since I’ve been here! And I’ll tell you something else,” *Brenda told me, “Cammie’s been embezzling from this facility, and she’s been ripping off some of the residents who don’t have families- weaseling them into signing papers to leave their assets to her when they leave this world!”

I felt my eyes pop out of my head as Brenda gave me an ear full!

(Continued in Part 3…)

Triumphing Over Workplace Bullying (Part 1)

Before I go into the story, I want to tell you that very few people ever come out the winner if they’re a target of bullying in the workplace. I say this because when I worked in the toxic and poisonous environment, I’m about to tell you of, I saw so many people who fell victim.

Droves of innocent workers ended up losing their jobs and some, their careers because of the evil actions of a clique of psychopaths who were handed power they had no business having.

These employees were the best and the kindest people, and my heart broke for them. It still does when I think back.

In late 2007, I began working for a sanitation company that contracted with *Shady Grove Living Center in Oakley. My supervisor, *Darnell, and my coworkers were the best. Sure, we had our disagreements and our spats. Still, I could never have dreamed of working with a better supervisor and team. And on many occasions, we’d have so much fun together!

Another great thing was that we didn’t work for the nursing home, only for a separate company contracted with them. So, in reality, no one at the nursing home had any power over us, though they loved to think they did.

I was already well aware that the site was very toxic, but I always stood back and observed the people and the goings-on around me. And during my first week of employment there, it didn’t take long to figure out who the troublemakers were.

I made sure to avoid the drama queens, the gossips, and the bullies and went on with my business. Another beauty was that there was a long corridor between the actual nursing facility and the sanitation area, so we didn’t have to work with them nor be around them much at all.

The only time I saw any of them was toward the end of the shift when I’d roll the laundry cart full of clean linens down to the main building to stock the linen closets.

Therefore, for the first year and three months, everything went smoothly, and no one bothered me. I got along with everyone and was seemingly well-liked. That is until I put one snarky CNA in her place for trying to be a smart alick.

This CNA, whom we’ll call, *Candi, had it in her mind that those who worked in the laundry department, were beneath her and expected them to carry hers and everyone else’s water. Although the CNAs didn’t make any more than we did, Candi and a few others had no regard for us. They didn’t see us as human beings because we worked in sanitation.

After I schooled her, Candi felt anger and indignation. So, she stormed away and cried to her buddies in the nursing home clique. She couldn’t stand that I’d smart-mouthed her, and “how dare” I talk to her like that. Oh! “The nerve of” me!

And she took the rest of the day off as a stress leave because she was so upset. And I knew why she was so peeved. She was the type who couldn’t handle being told a thing or two by someone she deemed inferior.

It’s hilarious when I think of it! But that’s when the bullying began.

(More in Part 2…)

* Not the real name of the person or entity.

5 Ways Bullies Set You Up to Fail

If you are a target of bullying, you must understand that your bullies will have slick ways of setting you up for failure. You must also learn to recognize these tactics, so you’ll be able to protect yourself.

Here are these tactics:

1. They distract you from your work. Workplace bullies deliberately distract their targets from their projects with constant interruptions, which are very time-consuming. Bullies know that if they can stall their targets, they’ll cause them to miss deadlines.

 If you have a coworker who’s constantly distracting you, politely tell the person you’re busy and will be with them when you’re able or lock the door to your office if you have one. This may or may not go over so well, but you’re still asserting yourself and that’s important too.

2. Withholding information. Bullies deliberately prevent targets from having the information needed to do their jobs. If you are a victim, they will cause you to miss important meetings and deadlines, which can put your job and career in jeopardy.

If you find that you’re not getting the proper information to do your job, find other and creative ways to get your needed info. Keep your ears peeled in case someone has a big mouth.

3. Overloading you with work. Bully bosses will either overwhelm their targets with extra work or assign tasks that are impossible to fulfill or complete on time. They may even make them work extra long hours to stress them out and keep them from getting adequate sleep. Bullies know that a person can’t do their jobs as effectively if they’re sleep-deprived.

 If this starts happening, it might be wise to quietly begin looking for another job. Tell no one of your plans to leave and for Heaven’s sake don’t tell them where you’re going! The last thing you need is for someone to make a quick phone call and cause your future employer a change of heart.

4. Misleading You. Bullies will sometimes give targets wrong times and dates for deadlines or meetings. This is done not only to sabotage you but to humiliate you and make you look incompetent.

Again, find other ways of finding these things out. Never trust your boss if he’s bullying you and never trust your coworkers either.

5. Giving you meaningless or degrading assignments. Bully bosses will often take targets off their regular work assignments and give them degrading or subservient jobs, such as cleaning the office bathrooms, making lunch and coffee runs for everyone else, serving coffee to the rest of the team, or emptying all the trash.

Again, this is when it might be time to begin looking for new employment. But do it in secret!

With knowledge comes empowerment!