“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

Robustness (part 4)

Ezekiel was waiting in the subterrain for a subway train. He fudded the phrase as he said it, and repeated it several times until all the syllables were clear. Someone saw him muttering and made a face. He nodded in her direction until she turned her head and ran away. Had he won?

Though he wasn’t sure what he was waiting for or where he was going, he was confident he would find out. He wasn’t aimless and he wasn’t a vagrant, so he had a reason for being here. In his backpack, he had a notebook, most of which was blank, but a few pages in the beginning had some phone numbers and comments. Leslie was circled, whatever that meant.

Perhaps he should call her, but he didn’t want to talk. The thought of hearing his own voice was too much to bear. Besides, the fact that she was circled meant that he had probably called her already. Maybe she was waiting for him somewhere.

He picked up a discarded matchbook. It had one match left. He put it in his backpack.

Among the odds and ends he had collected included a glow-in-the-dark rubber ball, a Nintendo DS Lite with a brain training game, a self-published book of poetry he would never read by an acquaintance he hated, and a 0.22 automatic pistol, a gun that could shoot things, automatically.

He closed his backpack quickly. Wherever the gun had come from, it was in his possession, and there had to be a reason for it. He felt vaguely threatened. The underground air was stifling, and he couldn’t bear it. He went up the broken escalator to the street.

Leslie was waiting in a nearby square, next to a cube. He was glad he didn’t shoot her.

#automatic-life, #backwards-life, #guns, #idiot, #inventory, #misogyny, #not-misogyny, #uncertainty


The house was sterile most days. The nights even more so; not only still, but quiet. Only in the mornings as the people left and in the evenings when they returned did anything happen at all.

This was fine. Ollie spent his time alone asleep. Twice a day he would make his rounds, lest the house lose his scent, but otherwise he was content to lie asleep on his favorite person’s bed. She smelled like him now. When she came home, she made clicking sounds and gave him food. He didn’t even have to ask.

He heard her clicks and ran to the kitchen. The floor slid under the force of his paws. He approached his bowl and looked inside, though he could tell it was empty from a distance. He looked up at the people gathered around him. They laughed, and he felt his coat bristle.

His favorite person held up her hand. He wasn’t sure what she was doing, and he looked around for answers.

Next to him on the floor was a strange glowing circle. It wobbled slightly, and he lifted a trepidatious paw. They were watching him, more attentive than usual. They wanted him to get rid of the circle, and they were withholding his food until he did their bidding.

He made a lunge for the intruder, but it seemed to dissolve at his touch. It waited next to him, unafraid. That arrogance would not go unpunished, and he made another swipe. He thought he had it, but it darted away from him. At his next attempt, it careened wildly, and as it came to a stop, disappeared without a trace.

They laughed again and dispersed. She poured some food and left him on his own.

The house smelled like the dot.

#animals, #cat, #laser-pointer, #microfiction, #uncertainty