I tried flash fiction for the first time, limited to 450 words with the prompt ‘workplace drama.’ I came up with this quick and dirty tale.
By the way, it’s not wish fulfillment. I like
most of my colleagues. Even the one who sniffs all day. Even the one who uses my mug. MY mug, with Wonderwoman on it. Even the one who puts the tea bags in the general waste bin even though the composting bin is right next to it and everyone knows a polar bear dies each time someone doesn’t recycle properly.
No Eye In Team
Annie took a deep breath as she arrived for her last day at work.
In the kitchen she hunted fruitlessly for her mug. Never mind. It would’ve been petty to take it with her anyway.
He was already at his desk—the next desk to hers—like he’d been every day since she’d joined. Gregory Fisher never took a day off.
Even with flu he’d come in, spluttering and sneezing beside her. He’d done no work for a week but made sure management knew he was there. Annie’s liberal application of hand sanitiser made her hands crack and bleed but didn’t halt the virus, and she exhausted her sick days shivering and coughing in bed while work piled up for her return.
Gregory could still brag that he hadn’t taken a sick day in 27 years.
He smirked at her as she approached. “Slept through the alarm? It’s alright for some, part-timer.”
Annie was on time like she always was, but not an hour early like Gregory always was.
She smiled politely as her eyes zoomed in on her Keep Calm and Think of Home Time mug. It sat on Gregory’s bomb-site of a desk with a streak of dried coffee down its side. He picked it up and slurped loudly with meaty lips.
As she logged in, he began the tuneless humming. It stopped 207 minutes later when he went for lunch.
Annie relished the silence before walking to the fridge to retrieve her sandwich.
It wasn’t there.
Gregory sat at the breakfast bar, laughing sycophantically, with three managers. Half of Annie’s sandwich was in his thick hand and the other half was already fuel for his afternoon humming session.
Her stomach was unsettled with the excitement and anxiety of leaving. She could skip lunch. Again.
When Gregory returned to their desks he turned the air conditioning on. The vent blew cold air directly down her neck.
Not long to go now.
Gregory made a phone call to his biggest-paying client.
“Charlie, that is music to my ears!” he boomed. Annie winced. “I’ll send you the docs right now.”
He reached over Annie for her stapler, without asking.
She withdrew a biro from her pen holder and jammed it into Gregory’s left eyeball. There was a noise like a wet fart then beautiful silence.
Annie shoved the pen in as hard as she could, stood up, and tucked her coat over her shoulder.
“I quit,” she announced to the sea of horrified faces gaping over their dividers. “Best of luck for the future.”