Fiction Friday – 13 February 2009 Downsizing
This Week’s Theme: Your character hears this on the answering machine: “Sorry to have to deliver such bad news on the phone, but I thought you would want to know as soon as possible. Your whole department is being phased out. Downsizing, you know.”
“Sorry to have to deliver such bad news on the phone, but I thought you would want to know as soon as possible. Your whole department is being phased out. Downsizing, you know.”
I pause, my mouth full of coffee, and almost spit it out. Shit. I need this like I need a hole in the head.
“Your work for us has always been exemplary, and… I like you. That’s why I’m giving you a heads up. So you get a chance to make a move before the cuts start.”
Swell. Yeah, cos Henderson is that kind of stand-up good guy. I’m getting the call because he wants to poach me for his department. Well y’know what Henderson, screw you. I know you’re behind these cuts in the first place.
“Get over here when you can, and we’ll talk. The rest of your department… I can’t do much about that. O’Brien and Shaw have already been released, and I think Merivoc is having his contract terminated this morning.”
Watch me. I’m not coming anywhere near the office. Tough break for Merivoc. His wife has just had a kid, not sure how they’ll get by now.
“Anyway, I’ll see you soon, I hope. Take care. And don’t dawdle. Once the axe falls, I can’t do anything, so I need you here with me before they shut it all down. Good luck kid.”
I close my eyes and take a deep breath in. I’ll see you when hell freezes over Henderson. So much for this industry being recession proof. I smile. Could be worse. No mortgage to worry about, no family to get concerned about. Screw the company, and screw Henderson. I’m just going to get up, walk away, and lose myself.
The sound of tires on the gravel driveway cause me to snap my eyes open. Henderson wasn’t joking about the axe falling. I slip out of the chair, and walk to the door. I can see two people approaching the door. So this is what redundancy looks like.
The door bursts inwards under pressure from a heavy boot as the men from the company force their way in, guns drawn. Maybe Henderson did me a favour with the tip-off. I grab the first guy by the arm, swinging him around and using him as a shield against the second guy. With my left hand I find a pressure point in his neck, and squeeze. Instantly he stops resisting, in too much pain to fight me. With my right, I take control of his gun hand, and squeeze of two rounds into the second man’s chest. No silencer. Amateurs. I let the first guy drop to the ground, and swing my foot into his face. From the crunching sound, he’s not getting back up.
I step through the splintered doorframe, and out into the drive. Shame about the mess, but that’s the landlord’s problem. I’ve got some jobhunting to do.