Jonathan Powers, award-winning playwright, sits at his mahogany desk in his penthouse overlooking the Thames and stares vacantly into space.

Half an hour has passed since he heard the devastating news.  It seems Miss Clarke lost control of her car, the policeman had informed him, and hit a tree.  Sadly, she didn’t survive.

Miss Clarke, his dedicated personal assistant, who had idolised him and hung on his every word.  Miss Clarke, who had devoted her life to him, attending to his every need.   Miss Clarke, who had expected so little in return.

***

Miss Clarke’s working day began at 9 am.  It would rarely end before midnight.  Yesterday was no exception.  The deadline for Jonathan Powers’ new play was looming and the vital twist in the final Act continued to elude him.  He paced the floor in a foul mood; it was Miss Clarke who had borne the full brunt of it.

Driving home, mentally exhausted, what was uppermost in her mind?  Her warm, comfortable bed?  Or the memory of Jonathan Powers’ face, contorted with rage, spewing verbal abuse?

***

The shock of Miss Clarke’s death has temporarily shielded Jonathan Powers from the full impact it will have on his life.

He will not meet that deadline.  And he will never again write a successful play.

How easy it had been to exploit the vulnerable and besotted Miss Clarke.  Rob her of any recognition for the brilliant flashes of inspiration that, over the years, had injected humour and emotion into his lacklustre plays.  Given them life, without which, they would never have enjoyed their long runs.

And, on that fateful night, when she’d struggled so desperately to summon the inspiration Jonathan Powers demanded, and was now so dependent on, how easy it had been to crush her adoring heart.

What was Miss Clarke’s state of mind as she headed home?  How did she come to lose control of her car on a quiet, familiar road?

These are questions that will continue to haunt Jonathan Powers over the long years ahead.  No longer the darling of the theatre… a reclusive and forgotten man.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
1 year ago

That’s a very powerful and thought-provoking piece of writing, Linda. Hopefully a lesson in there for other people who take their PA’s for granted. Nicely done!

Genya Johnson
Genya Johnson(@genya-johnson)
1 year ago

A story full of emotions. If only he had showed her how much he valued her work. Now, without her he is nothing.

Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
1 year ago

Loved it Linda! You portrayed a classic example of a parasitic relationship and exploitation. Inspiration is not something one summons at command. One is left wondering if Miss Clarke just had enough…

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Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
1 year ago

This is such a compelling story that brings many work relationships into perspective. Sadly, too often people in positions of authority will abuse this privilege by verbally abusing those who strive to please them. This was well written and definitely thought-provoking.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

This story is heartbreaking. I wish people will not take for granted those who are there for them, stay for them, praise them, and do everything to please them.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago
Reply to  Linda Rock

Yes, Linda. I agree. Hope they will realize that.

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe(@eric-radcliffe)
1 year ago

Hello again Linda, another powerful piece of writing from you. The story you wrote can be read not just from Miss Clark’s (I like the way that you have not given Miss Clark a first name) or Mr Jonathan Powers situation (I like the reason you chose the name Powers) but it can be every teenager, ha, ha. And fit into the lives of all those who are selfish, even to a lesser degree. 10 out of 10.

Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
1 year ago

I’m sure Miss Clarke would not want Jonathan to waste his life…perhaps he will change his ways and be an inspiration to others. We can only hope, although I suspect he will wallow for the rest of his life. A great interpretation of the theme, Linda. I enjoyed it very much 🙂

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
1 year ago

An excellent piece of writing, Linda! My thoughts went to the recent, award winning movie The Wife, with a similar relationship where the man became successful and famous. I’m sure that there are many narcissistic and demanding Jonathans out there and likewise many Miss Clarkes, working hard without being appreciated. A very powerful story!

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti(@dipayan-chakrabarti)
1 year ago

Your story stimulates careful consideration, Linda. Jonathan Powers fails to appreciate the value of his secretary and thereby represents the common human folly.

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti(@dipayan-chakrabarti)
1 year ago

You’re welcome, Linda.

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