Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This week, the prompt was a starter sentence, and the challenge dealt with time. My offering deals with what could happen if an individual found himself with just a little bit too much time on his hands. Too much time to think and wonder. Perhaps, on occasion, that might be a good thing. In this case however... Please enjoy.


The clock ticked off the seconds, each a piercing reminder that time moved forward. It wouldn’t be too long now before he stepped through the door. Edwin Hoopmeyer. My co-worker. My friend. My Judas. No. Not too long now before he steps through his front door and I put a bullet into his brain.

I’ve been sitting here in his living room, in the dark, for about an hour, waiting. I could have cut it a lot closer since you can set your watch by the skunk. I used to admire and appreciate that trait of his, but now, I choke on the air we share.

How could he do this to me? To me. His best friend, trusted confidante, and ardent supporter. I am the one who deserved that promotion to supervisor. Not him with his ‘content to be crew‘ claim. I am the one who has 15 years of faithful service. Not him with his measly four. I am the one who has been boffing the company President’s skank of a daughter. Then again, I recently discovered, so has he.

That‘s right. How could I not have seen it? She was doing the deed with Edwin as well, the hypocritical bitch. Oh, how entranced she was with me, and how she simply melted at my touch. That lying demon. I’m willing to bet a week’s salary that she told him exactly the same thing. Probably that and then some. She was just using us both to satisfy her own demented desires. I’ll bet she never intended to recommend either one of us for the job upgrade. All she was ever after was a man with a pulse. Didn’t much matter where he was at in life or where he ended up when she was through with him. I should have seen right through that lovey dovey act of hers. And always texting somebody right when I was at the peak of my game. Of course, at the time, that activity was preferable to me having to lock lips with the girl. Her mustache was so much fuller than mine. I did always mean to ask her how she…

I just figured out what all that chit chat on her cell was about. She was playing one against the other and probably telling that slug of a hairdresser of hers that both Edwin and I were going to be kicked to the curb in a hot minute and somebody off the line was going to get the corner office and the raise. Then they would both laugh about it when she went in for her manicure and electrolysis treatments.

Oh yeah. I see it all now. It was actually the one with the comb and the hairspray and the pasted on smile. When the Zone VP’s wife went in to his shop to have her wig glued on for the week, Zorro Fitzmeister himself of Zorro’s Treasure Chest Salon and Boutique, would whisper in her diamond-studded ear to cross Edwin and me off the list of potential promotees. Of all the underhanded, hateful, savage…

No. Damn. It was her. The whole time. The VP’s snake of a spouse. It was she who would deliver the lamb to the lions. She was the link in the chain that I had been missing. Once she completed her beauty ritual with Zorro and received the encoded instructions, she would return home and pass the word onto the eager ear of the next waiting car in their little underground railroad setup: Her gardener, Roland. Yes, yes, yes. Is it coincidence that her gardener is also the one who does the landscaping outside my office and around the company? Oh how obvious their evil little plan is to me now.

So, that’s what Roland was up to, was it? Every time he was landscaping the area outside my office, he made sure he timed it so he would run into me on my way out. That was so he could tell me how much I deserved that promotion, and tell me over and over how hard I was working, and I was so dedicated staying over all those nights to finish my paperwork. Standing outside by the parking lot where God and everybody could hear him. Hear him building me up and not mentioning my dear friend, Edwin at all. Throw everybody off the track, and create the supreme diversion. Totally leaving Edwin out of the picture where the supervisor’s job was concerned. Trying to undermine and completely derail his future--his destiny. And what would possess the ingrate to do such a thing? Everybody knows Edwin earned that promotion months ago. The man had already given the company four years worth of his blood, sweat and tears, and here’s this gardener, the guy who wields the rake and thinks he runs the operation, doing all he can to shaft my very best friend in this whole world out of the prestige and respect this new position would generate. But, it all backfired on you Roland, didn’t it? All your spying and all your lies were for naught, weren’t they? The message never got through in time and the promotion was given to Edwin after all. You see? Right is right. You can’t hold back the mighty sword if it is in the hand of Lady Justice. Fate will not be denied.

My God. It is all so clear now. Something has to be done to curtail all this backbiting and sabotage by this spawn of Satan. Something must be done before he can actually succeed in destroying another man’s dreams and divine right. He believes that no one knows what’s behind the mask he wears, but I have seen the serpent that lies beneath. Changing his schedule this week so he can be on the road tomorrow afternoon to spend a long weekend at his cabin on the lake, alone. Like his leaving so abruptly following the promotion announcement wouldn’t raise any suspicion…

Oh, there’s Edwin’s key in the lock. I can’t wait for him to come in so I can let him know I’ll always be there for him. He never has to ask for help or support, because I will make sure it’s there before he even knows he needs it. The man’s a saint.

“Didn’t mean to startle you, buddy boy. I bribed your Super to let me in so I could surprise you. Drinks and dinner on me, okay? We need to celebrate your well-deserved promotion to Supervisor. You name the place, and it’s all my treat. And we can take our time too, pal o’mine, since I don’t have other plans any time soon. At least, not until late tomorrow afternoon. Thought I’d take a nice long drive. You know, out by the lake. Somebody I know has a cabin there…”


  1. "I am the one who has been boffing the company President’s skank of a daughter." That made me laugh, Joyce.
    But I kind of get the idea that the narrator is actually more hopeless and less deserving than he realises, and perhaps the best man got the job anyway ... ?

  2. Totally awesome! It creeped me out big time.

  3. This reminded me of Poe Joyce, in its slow claustrophobic build up of obsessive tension. Then we have your usual dry humour, a perfect balance, and a great ending.

  4. Ha... The train of thought is perfect, a tense spiral of conspiratorial office politics... Well done Joyce! I love reading your stories.

  5. Matt, thanks for your comments. You know what? I do believe you're right. Our narrator is about 51 cards short of a full deck. I do feel strongly that the best man got the job. I'm not sure I'd want Mr. Conspiracy Theory supervising MY employees...

  6. Hi BB, Thanks for stopping by. So glad this creeped you out. Someone sitting and thinking WAY too much can be a very dangerous thing.

  7. Richard, As always, thank you for stopping by and commenting. I wanted it to start out simply and straightforward, knowing what would occur. Then, a very sick mind started thinking too much and I wanted it to spiral way out to left field somewhere. So glad it went where I sent it!

  8. Ingrid, Thanks so much for your comments. So glad you enjoyed my 'talk about making a mountain out of a molehill' tale. I wanted to build it up from something potentially possible to somewhere only the sickest of minds could take it. This was such dark fun to write!