Opening the store as she did every morning, Moira had scooped a few spoonfuls of coffee into a filter before she noticed the notice, taped neatly to the front of the shelf.

“To: All BirdLand™ Employees (Including Management)
Coffee Is
thank you

She pressed the brew button and spent more than a minute making sense of the sign before ripping it away. The owner didn’t speak to her often, choosing instead to communicate in these passive aggressive telegraphs. This was fine. He could make whatever edict he wanted, but Moira was the one running the store, and she couldn’t do that without first a cup of coffee.

All of her staff came a few minutes late, and she had to remind them that she was required to give them all demerits, though she wouldn’t. “But please, be on time. I know we don’t get customers this early, but it’s still important.”

She hated scolding these kids, because they weren’t kids. They were in their twenties. Some were even in their thirties, older than herself. They were only late because they didn’t want to come to work. She understood. The feather caps were but the smallest of their daily humiliations.

“You know what? Let’s not wear the plumages today,” she said, and she waited for them to understand. “Don’t follow your sentences with birdcalls either. In fact, let’s be human beings today.”

They seemed confused, but she urged and assured them. “Just relax.”

“She said take off your hats! F—weewweet!

As they set up displays and checked inventory, she poured herself a cup of coffee. On her computer, she opened a new document and started typing.

“Coffee for management and customers only”

#animals, #authority, #chain-of-command, #hierarchy, #humiliation, #retail, #sheeple, #work


In her recent interview with Success magazine, Ruth-Allen Kapoor related the advice her father gave her time and time again throughout her childhood. “If you give anyone a chance, they’ll take advantage of you.”

Following this adage, Kapoor founded her first company, a local bakery, at age nineteen. In but a few years, her cutthroat business instincts had made her cupcakes a household name, and following that empire, she expanded into tech. Whatever else might be next for Kapoor, we know she’ll come out on top.

As the news blathered on, she set her cat on the floor again. “When will you learn? You’re not allowed up here.” The cat looked up at her, and in a minute had forgotten the upheaval, back on her lap. Ruth-Allen stood up.

Her husband would be home soon. If he wasn’t, he was sleeping with his boss. According to their email correspondence, they met once or twice a week, usually during business hours, but sometimes they liked to do something nice to pretend they were a couple. Confronting them seemed pointless for now, but someday, the knowledge would come in handy. Ruth-Allen had the emails archived.

The cat mewed at her. “No. You don’t get anything unless you’re quiet.” The cat mewed again.

Her father was dying. He wanted help with medical bills, but then who knew what else he’d want?

As the cat mounted its designated sitting spot, Ruth-Allen rubbed its fur in even strokes. “Don’t think I’m going easy on you,” she said, feeding it. “Don’t think I’m not in charge.”

#authority, #business, #cat, #cupcakes, #cutthroat, #cynicism, #microfiction