Half-way through the shift and I was behind schedule. Panting, blisters popping, I paused for a 15-second break.
The urgent alerts from the GPS strapped to my head couldn’t shake the bliss.
Six seconds later the floor manager showed up. “That’s it,” he said. “This is a verbal.”
The GPS parroted the threat. “Verbal! Verbal!”
“Two more and you’re fired!”
Humans weren’t meant to micromanaged to the nanosecond by computers. I snapped. My lightning fast quick draw would have been enough to take out Wyatt Earp himself.
I scanned him right in the face. He screamed. I ran.
A drabble is a short storm form consisting of exactly 100 words.
Every story has a beginning…
Ack. God, I hate that shit. Of course every story has a beginning. No shit, Sherlock. And every journey begins with a single step. Blah blah blah. Unless, of course, it’s The Never Beginning Story. I’ll bet that story doesn’t have a frickin’ beginning. Because it’s never beginning. Hells yeah! That makes sense to me. I may have to do a 42-part web series on the never beginning story. I’d like that.
Here, let me take a crack at this sort of nonsense. “Every story can be told at least two ways.” Cryptic enough for ya? Whatever. This is my story. And it all begins on a Tuesday morning not too long ago…
I knew it was my wife. Through the plexiglass that separated us (conveniently sprinkled with air holes) I sensed that see she was angry. Her nostrils flared. She was about to speak.
“Don’t,” I said, interrupting her before she started. “Something has gone wrong, hasn’t it?”
“Good morning, Tom,” she said. “Yes, something has gone wrong.”
“Closer,” I said. “Closer, please.”
She took a step forward and the light from my room illuminated her a bit more fully.
“Tom, you …,” she started, but I sniffed at the air between us, thick with tension, and she hesitated.
“You don’t smell of garbage,” I said. “Sometimes you do, but not today. No, not today. It’s my job isn’t it? A man’s job, but sometimes you still have to do it yourself. You stand there in your fancy shoes and try to pretend your husband always does his share of the chores. But today he didn’t, did he?”
I sniffed at the air again, longer this time. “No, he didn’t. And neither did you. But the smell of garbage is still there. Not from you, no. From the kitchen. From the bin that your husband didn’t take out. Isn’t that right, Clarice?”
“Yes, it’s Tuesday morning, isn’t it? Monday is when he takes out the trash. Because we all know what happens if he doesn’t.”
“Do you know what you look like standing there with your fancy shoes and your faith in your husband? You look like a rube, Clarice.”
Her eyes showed momentary surprise. She was shaking now.
“Last night you heard it, didn’t you? The awful sound of your garbage not being picked up.”
I pressed on.
“You still wake up sometimes, don’t you? Wake up in the dark and hear the silence of the garbage not being picked up?”
“And you think, if you could somehow motivate poor Tom, that garbage would be gone by now, don’t you? You think if the garbage was gone, you wouldn’t wake up in the dark ever again to that awful silence of the garbage not being picked up.”
“I don’t know. I don’t know.”
“Thank you, Clarice.”
Eh? The other way of telling the story? It goes like this: “Tuesday morning my wife told me I forgot to take out the trash.” Now you tell me. Which version did you like better?
What the fuck? It’s another Monday. In honor of this start to a new week, I offer for your consideration how last week started. This is a true story. Only the pains have been changed to molest my innocence.
It’s Monday morning. I am feeling physically ill as I get ready for work and haul my ass across town. Don’t worry – the manifestation of physical symptoms is routine for me.
As I walk in front of the business towards the door, I can already hear the raised voices of Boss and Cow Orker through the wall. I heave a heavy sigh. I already know that which awaits.
Continue reading →
A few times a week I host an informal meeting. It’s a small, semi-private affair attended by me, myself and I. Just the three of us.
No, don’t call the nice men in nice white coats just yet. It’s not like that. At least I don’t think it is.
The attendees are not variations of the current me or echoes of my id. It’s not quite that simple.
In addition to myself, the meeting is most graciously attended by the me of before and the me of next.
In my first book, How To Destroy Your Employees, I document many effective methods for managers to be complete dicks.
Perhaps it’s time for me to start working on the updated Second Edition.
As indicated above, my new boss has this annoying habit of treating me like I’m an idiot. Oh, rich irony! He’s so dumb he doesn’t even know he’s the one who’s dumb.
I won’t bother to go into the minutia of a myriad of details. Suffice it to say he reminds you of things you already know, speaks authoritatively about everything (Cliff Clavin much?), interrupts when you speak, shuts you down when you are explaining that you do know some things yourself (and then explains them again), etc. Yada yada yada. All day long. Every single day. For the rest of your life. Rinse. Repeat.
It’s gotten to the point where I literally feel queasy just from the sound of his motherfucking voice. Continue reading →