Wednesday, August 25, 2010

SHORT STORY: All Work and No Play

Work.  The driving force in our lives.  What would the human race be without it?  There would be no one to build cars or roads or buildings.  There would be no one to stock grocery store shelves or sell computers.  There would just be...nothing.  A life without work is a life without purpose.  Isn’t it?

David had a good life.  Not a great life but a good one.  Wife, kids, pets.  He had everything a man would ever need but nevertheless he yearned for more.  It wasn’t good enough to be good at something, he had to be the best at it.  Lately he had been struggling endlessly to meet the expectations of his superiors.  He knew that someday his hard work would pay off.  And you never know, today might be that day.  You see, David worked in an office building (you know, one of those giant skyscrapers you’d see in a big city) and there was a new position that just opened up down the hall.  It came with a personal office, an assistant, and of course...a big raise.  David wanted it more than anything.  He knew by days end the position would be filled.  He had been the first to throw his hat in the ring and surely they’d notice that wouldn’t they?  “David...the eager young go-getter.”  It’s everything they never knew they wanted.  So he had hoped.

David anxiously waited in his cubical the entire day.  He could hardly wait for them to announce they’d selected him to fill the position.  He was the most qualified and had been working with the company the longest of the whole bunch.  Surely his hard work would pay off.  It had to.  On the far wall of the work room the clock ticked and tocked.  It grew louder and louder as time seemingly came to a standstill.  The anticipation was excrutiating.
     Then the room went silent.  No ticks, no tocks.  Just silence.
     David peered over the cubicle wall.  He could see his boss standing in front of everyone, waving his hands towards him...drawing them in for the announcement.  David slipped past his cubicle wall and slowly walked towards his boss.  That’ll be the last damn time I ever step foot in a cubicle ever again.  Today is my day.  Carpe Diem. He thought.
     Carpe Diem.

     “Attention!  Can I get everyone’s attention please?” David’s boss proclaimed to his workers.  “Thank you.  I just want to take this moment to thank all of you for your hard work and dedication.  Without it, we would not be here today.”
     Mine most of all, David thought.
     “Now as you all know, Ted moved up as our new Co-President a few days ago.  Since that time we’ve been looking for a suitable candidate to fill Ted’s position within the company.”
     This is it, this is where all my hard work pays off.
     “I know many of you have submitted your applications for the position.”
     Here we go, he’s going to say it.  “David McMullen, you are our new Customer Relations Manager.”
     “But after a grueling screening process we regret to inform all of you that we have decided to bring in an outsider.  We’re hoping that someone that doesn’t work here can bring some fresh ideas to the table and help to make us a better company.”
     “What...” David grumbled in a low tone.  It was more of a grinding actually as his teeth crunched together and moved sporadically left and right.
     “We really do appreciate all that you’ve done for us.”
     David stepped forward, unable to contain the rage building inside him.  “Appreciate what we’ve done for you?  Appreciate what we’ve done for you!?”  He said it twice as if the first time didn’t exactly sound right so he said it again in a more directed tone...directed towards his boss.  “If you appreciate our work so much, why don’t you make one of us the new manager?”
     “David, it’s not that we are out to punish any of you.  We just believe a fresh perspective can do us a lot of good right now.”
     “A fresh perspective?  I’ll tell you something.  I’ve worked here for well over a decade.  I’ve slaved for you, done everything you’ve asked...and more.  I’ve more than excelled at everything that’s been put in front of me and now you’re telling me that there’s no chance in hell that I will ever become a manager because you’re looking for a ‘fresh perspective’?”
     “David please, you’re making a fool of yourself.”
     “Oh no sir.  I’m no fool.  No fool indeed.”  David had so cleverly concealed the miniature sword letter opener he had swiped off a nearby desk that his boss didn’t know what had happened until it was over...knocked to the floor, hands clasped to his neck, and gasping for air.  Blood began to pool around his head from the gash David had left in his throat.  He looked up at David, the screams of terror and chaos surrounding him had gone seemingly silent for the moment.  All he could see or hear was David.
     “I’ll tell you what boss, I hope I can give you the fresh perspective you’re looking for.”  David bent over and pulled his bosses hands from his throat.  He thrust the letter opener into the already open wound and began to saw away at the flesh.  The miniature sword was sharp enough to cut the skin but it got difficult towards the back of the head...through the spinal cord.
     When the job was done David grabbed his boss’s head by its hair and lifted it high in the air.  “Fresh perspective!”  And David laughed harder than he had ever laughed before.  Insanity Laughter.  He continued to laugh at his boss’s severed head until the police arrived shortly after.

Work.  Is it the place we go to earn a living or is it the place where we are living.  Does a job get so intertwined with the soul that it becomes more than making money?  When does work stop and life begin?  We all have a job to do.  There’s no denying it.  But to what end?  Life has purpose and to people like David work is life.  Don’t let it become you.  There are far greater purposes in this world.  Find yours.

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