This story is by J. A. VenDeor and was part of our 2018 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Heather clicked on “Submit,” and a window popped up on the screen.
You are an Introvert.
Share on your profile.
She was about to exit out of the brain-numbing Facebook quiz; another window appeared in the bottom corner. A Skype message from her manager.
“Have you sent a follow-up email?”
Heather simply stared at the message, her hands dropping to her side, shoulder slumped. The screen still had the quiz open; she was looking forward to taking another one that will sort her in a Hogwarts house. The Skype icon kept flashing, asking for attention she did not want to give. Why are you controlling me, she thought.
“Also, why is your status “away” we have things to complete.”
Without her consent, the new notification appeared. How dare you! I did not allow you, and you still force into my life. She closed out of her Facebook and walked away. Her short trip to the kitchen at this hour is invariably for a glass… a bottle of anything that offers company. This mate gave her silence without pity, just enough drag in her feet without judgment or call for an uber and always ready to get into bed with her naked or clothed without asking for breakfast in the morning.
Josh, just couple of years old, red, with warmth, cupped in her hand and he was ready to smooch her away when another ping broke their silence.
Her phone glared in her dim lit apartment, reminding her, she had company. You are summoned
She bowed to her master and picked up her phone, leaving Josh at the counter, and walked to the table with her laptop.
“Responded this afternoon, see the email chain,” expressionless, Heather waited for her reply.
“Frwd it to me again, please, AND asap.”
She searched the email, typed the standard “FYI” instead of “FUCK U” and hit send.
She quit of out skype and re-opened the document that she lasted checked a few hours ago.
It made sense. Everything about it made sense. Following Patie’s footsteps to a happier future CANNOT be a bad thing. Patie, who’d left this godforsaken job three weeks prior had already forwarded appointment letter to Heather to start asap, “you’re welcome anytime, any day!”. All Heather had to do was to hand in her resignation because she was too much of a chick…introvert to say I QUIT.
Her cursor blinks under the word Sincerely. Sincerely for fucking what? For the loss of sleep for two years, for her visible “coffee and carbs” belly from eating local sandwiches with soggy lettuce that doesn’t bite? Or for her grays at 27 and hair-covered brush that she is too sick of cleaning.
Heather K. Bennet
She hit Save and then Print. It was a split decision. Tomorrow is eight hours away, she told herself. I can change my mind. Her demeaning little shit of an internal voice told her. The printer groaned in the background as she picked up her self and walked into her bedroom.
Josh was left untouched on the counter, light still on, her laptop still open.
She kicked away her pants that laid at the entrance of her bedroom into a corner with her other unwashed laundry. This weekend, for sure! She’d promised herself. She picked up the resignation from the printer, folded in half and put it in her purse. Her fingers brushed the cold, metal barrel and she smirked. It’s been three months and not once has the beeper on the metal detector has gone off.
She reached her hand to her back and snapped her bra open and pulled it out of her t-shirt. It fell exactly next to another bra from a day ago, “air drying” off sweat; ready to go back to work tomorrow. It’s been a while someone taken off her bra for her. She climbed into bed, her phone still handcuffed to her. She pulled the covers and unlocked the phone. Her mother’s text was still unread from this morning. She finally opened it.
Hey! Called you again last night. So excited to see you this weekend. I know L C Chatsworth is the perfect new start for you. You need this change!! Dad and I are waiting for you.
A week ago, Heather had called her mom, sobbing, when she lost her best friend and decided enough was enough. After asking for the time off 120 in advance for a wedding on a Friday, her manager had canceled her leave a day before.
“Things get tough. You’re still learning. We all sacrifice. Life goes on. I am sure your friend won’t even know you weren’t there.”
You psycho bitch, was Heather’s reactions to her manager’s text as she was packing bags to leave.
She canceled. Stayed back. She went to work on Friday while her friend walked down the aisle without a maid-of-honor to her side.
27 years of love and relationship, Ctrl+Alt+Del.
After a week of deliberation, her occasional non-introvert, borderline-confident self, told her to quit this job for good. And go for the job her ex-co-worker had offered her for significantly more money and something Heather did not have… a work-life balance. Her parents supported her decision, because of their little connection to this company, L.C. Chatsworth. They had refinanced their house and business, and like any parents, they trusted their local Joe Smith, Finance Expert (as per his business card), fresh out of Marketing program from a local college, who sold them the best refinance deal and promised a future with great benefits and zero financial worries. Because L.C. Chatsworth has your back, they don’t just finance; they set you free! The bank was a success with her parents and obviously a right choice for their daughters next career move. I mean look at Joe.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Heather walked into the lobby of the office. The metal detector remained silent like a faithful companion, keeping her secret, a secret. She held her bag close to her chest as though her resignation was going to hop out and go do the thing she was too scared to do. She repeatedly checked the zipper to ensure; it wasn’t accidentally open. What is the letter falls out and her manager happens to pick it up. Really?!? When was the last time she actually SAW you? She would have told you to put some makeup on and hide that ugly zit, like she did, the last time she “LOOKED” at you. Heather really hated this voice in her head. It was too sure of itself.
As she came closer to the elevator, she saw the DEVIL.
“Did you get me a coffee?”
“No,” Heather said not looking at her and pressed the elevator door.
“That’s ok; we have some things to discuss, also need the report that you couldn’t finish last night and…”
Heather lowered her bag to the floor and opened the zipper. The other Heather was taking over. She reached into her purse and felt the folded letter. I will not get on this elevator.
Between the two elevators in the lobby was a tv screen playing the News. Heather looked up when she heard “BREAKING NEWS.”
“We’re reporting live from the New York Stock Exchange. The US economy has lost 1.2 Trillion Dollar in stocks. The open bell hasn’t even rung, but I don’t think it will today. Major U.S. banks are laying off people in hundreds and thousand, amongst is the leading the bank pioneering housing and business refinancing is L.C. Chatsworth, erasing 700 Billion Dollars in value…”
The elevator doors chimed and opened. The resignation still in her grips about to surface out of her black purse. Her eyes still locked on the tv screen. All she was seeing was changing shapes and colors. Choice. Said the voice in her head, but which voice? Which voice said it? Her lips went dry, hands trembling. The elevator chimed again.
Which voice said it? Tears, pooling in her eyes.
“Come on, get on, we still have a job,” manager.
Heather got off the floor holding her bag with one hand, while other still inside holding the letter. Just then she felt the cold metal again. She kept staring at her manager as the doors slowly closing in. She released the grip on the letter and moved her hand over the gun in her bag. She stepped inside and closed her fist around the handle. She turned around and faced the door as her manager had ignored her entirely and moved on with portion of her life asking for attention through her phone.
The doors shut.
The doors open.
The fluttering body of the manager slumped on the floor. Heather bent down and picked up her manager’s phone and continued typing the unfinished email.
Subject: Auto Reply: Out of Office