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


“You’ve been doing a wonderful job for us, and we’d like to offer you a promotion.”

The memo on her desk did not state her name or who it was from, but Madeline appreciated the sentiment. She rather wished the document went into more details as to the nature of her advancement, but she would not complain. She would just keep doing what she was doing, because it seemed to be woking.

“I got a promotion today,” she told her partner, who improvised a quick celebration.

“Don’t lift a finger. Let me handle everything.”

An hour later, they were eating cake and frosting from two distinct piles, and they opened the bottle of wine they were given when they moved in together.

“Where are they putting you?”

She was already in a supervisory role. As the head of engineering, she really wasn’t sure what more she could be doing. “The next step up, I guess.”

She didn’t mention the promotion to her department. They performed a solid day’s work, and she was the orchestrator. She stayed late organizing invoices. By the time she was finished, Mr. Gerkin had already gone home.

“We haven’t discussed the details yet, but I’ll talk to my boss soon.”

“Don’t let them jerk you around like that. You go in tomorrow and you find out what’s going on.”

Mr. Gerkin looked surprised to see her when he came in and saw her in his office. She showed him the memo.

“Thank you for all your hard work. You’re the only one I can trust.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Who’s watching your department while you’re here?”

Madeline wasn’t sure. Mr. Gerkin gasped and jumped into the hall, now flooded in a thick black liquid. It continued to rise, over their heads.

“So, about my promotion…”

#business, #microfiction, #success, #uncertainty


The office was somewhat colder than the air outside, and he kept his jacket on even though he had been told he could take it off. Mr. Jennings would be just a minute, the receptionist had told him. He shivered. The room must have been less than fifty degrees, and he didn’t have anything to do but shiver.

The man came in like he’d been skiing, in full parka and followed by a St. Bernard. Terrence felt out of place in his business suit, especially as the dog came over and rubbed itself all over him.

“Down, Bully! Down!” shouted Randall Jennings, CEO of FullStop Software. “I’m very sorry, but you’ll be happy to know she’s an excellent judge of character.”

Terrence gathered enough composure to nod. The dog’s prolific slobber had made him wet, and he felt colder. “It’s quite all right,” he said. He cleared his throat. “As I’m sure you’re aware, I represent an up and coming team of developers who, though they may not command the resources you—“

As the dog started barking, Terrence forgot how he’d phrased his proposal. He’d spent all morning rehearsing it.

“Bully! Don’t mind her, Mr.… what did you say your name was again?”

Terrence was about to answer the question when the dog revealed her fangs. The sight was startling, as a St. Bernard’s jowls rarely recede. Her bark was deafening, and her growl shook the room.

“Do you mind if we lose the dog?” he yelled.

“I never do any business without her,” Mr. Jennings yelled back. “She’s an excellent judge of character.”

She lunged forward and tore into Terrence, who had no time to react. The medics came quickly. Jennings did all the talking.

“Bully wouldn’t hurt anyone,” he said. “Get him out of here.”

#animals, #business, #character, #inner-demons, #microfiction