Perhaps to Dream

Original photo © 2009 sflovestory CC BY 2.0

Head down in the middle of her solid mahogany desk, eyelids blocking the mid-morning sun from the searing pain behind the bridge of her nose, the expanse of her office morphed into a loosely packed suburb of rich greens and blues. A month of late-night facts and figures melted into the insanity of random imagination. Her Starbucks dark-roast tasted like Kahlúa. The bottle of store-brand ibuprofen became a mailman in sexy shorts, delivering packages of happiness.

“We finally made it!” she bragged.

He wrapped strong hands around the back of her shoulders and her aching neck muscles, and firmly massaged. “Mmm,” she groaned, and stretched and relaxed her neck.

“I’ll pick up the kids and meet you at six?” he said.

She nodded, laid back on her mahogany deckchair, closed her eyes again, and sipped her Kahlúa. A long, deep sigh.

Then thunder boomed from the overcast sky.

“What the hell do I pay you for?!” The voice pierced through her brain.

“Ssh,” she mumbled to the intruder, with his doughnut gut, hulking shoulders, and close-cropped greying hair. “Inside voices, please, Bart.”

“Hey, you do the wine, you pay the time.” His voice remained as loud as before.

“I’m not hung over, and that doesn’t even make sense,” she said.

“Right!” The thunder felt like it was getting closer. “Look, I don’t care what you do on your own time, just don’t let it affect your work performance.”

Breathe deeply. Jackass. “What do you want, Bart?”

“We need to move Project Limerick up another month. I need an updated schedule by five this afternoon.” He smirked.

“Half my staff is out with the flu,” she said. “And I don’t even know what we can trim to do it a month faster.”

“We aren’t trimming anything. You’ll just have to rearrange the schedule and work faster.” He turned to leave.

“In what universe?” Pang! A burst of pain shot through her left eyeball, and she squinted.

“Look,” he said, “I don’t care what you do in your free time, but when it starts interfering with your job performance, I begin to get concerned. You can sleep at home, not at work, or you can find a job that doesn’t interfere so much with your personal life. Got it?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “I’m leaving at five, so get that schedule to me.” He slammed the door on his way out.

A tear appeared at the corner of her left eye. She sniffled.

When was the last time I had “free time”? Anger. She couldn’t remember.

Nausea tunneled through her torso.

When was the last time I had a personal life? She remembered the last boyfriend she had lost. He was nice. Not every man is a jackass.

That thought consumed her last bit of emotional energy.

Now on automatic, she walked through through the cubicle passageway toward the exit. Bart stood in an employee’s cube-office, and she took just enough time to shoot him a “Fuck you!” on her way past.

She slumbered for over 18 hours, and dreamed sweet dreams.

The next morning, over craigslist and coffee, the company CEO called her. He said most of the department had walked out the previous afternoon, inspired by her act of defiance. Her fault.

Then he said, “So Bart’s not with the company anymore. Can you take his job? At least for a little while?”

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Ahhhhh, every disgruntled employee’s sweetest dream… Nicely told! :)

Wow. Thanks, Catherine. :D Perfectionist me, I can only see what I could change to improve it. :) -TimK

Oh, does it have to be a dream? I like the idea of this truly happening for her. Great job with describing the emotional turmoil!

Great to read, I like the way her thoughts morph from hungover reality to dreaming and back to reality, and the ending struck a really feelgood chord.

Deanna & Steve, thanks so much for your comments and your kind words.

Deanna: the house in the suburbs with the good-looking guy & kids was a dream, but the jackass boss was real. (And the boss getting the boot when his entire staff rebelled, that was based on a real-life story. :) )

Steve: actually, she wasn’t hung over; she was overworked and needed sleep, because had been working too many late nights. But her boss was accusing her of being hung over.

If I revise this story, I’ll try to clarify these points. Thanks so much for the comments!

I bet she will turn out to be a much better boss than Bart! And what Steve said – I thought the dream/reality bit worked well.

Hi again, it was the line “Her starbucks dark-roast tasted like Kahlua” that made me think it was an aftertaste from a drinking session.

Loved that ending…dream come true for most folks I would think.

Thanks for the tips. Glad that so many people enjoyed this story.

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