Short Story – Another Round of Layoffs

by kalbzayn on December 31, 2006

Another Round of Layoffs

Four quick button presses. I hate this part of the job. “Parker, can you come in here?”

I heard the sigh. He already knew. “Sure. One sec.”

I would not have blamed him if he took five minutes but I did start to get annoyed when it took ten. Being annoyed makes it so much easier.

“Parker, I think you now why you are here. Corporate has decided to cut staff and you are one of the people we are laying off today.”

No eye contact. Everybody thinks that picture on the wall was so fascinating today.

“You mean you are firing me.”

“No, we’re laying you….”

Parker finally made eye contact. I made a mental note to hang another painting in the room. “Is there a possibility that you will be hiring me back anytime soon?”

“Well, no….”

“Then, you are firing me.”

I grabbed the stack of papers in front of me and tapped the edge of the stack against the desk.

“We need you to sign these papers. They are all standard forms. Two weeks severance. Outplacement and resume services. We’re going to do all we can to….”

“What happened to your window?”

“A bird flew into….”

Parker walked around the desk to look out the window. “That must have been one big….”

Well, no more time to procrastinate. I swapped. Instantly, instead of staring at the stack of papers, I was staring at the open window and the bodies below. Twenty-nine layoffs already. Thank God this was the last. Parker was younger than the others. Climbing onto the window frame was much easier in his body. Before Parker had a chance to say more than “What the…” I made him jump and then swapped back to my body. The ugly picture comforted my momentary vertigo.

“Aw, shit. What happened to that window?”

Manuel would never end up on the layoff list. You can’t downsize the maintenance man no matter how many times they cuss in front of management.

“I’m not sure what happened but there was one big, dead bird on my desk this morning.”

“Why didn’t you call me. It’s almost lunch time. Nobody is going to come out here in the afternoon on a Friday. I’ll have to find some way to patch it for the weekend.”

“Sorry. I’ve been really busy and the breeze felt nice. I should have called. I’ll take care of patching it in a little while. You have more important things to do.”

“Hey, I don’t tell you how to do your job. Just let me get through.”

I looked below at the people I had laid off. Another round of cuts was scheduled later in the year. I could not handle that.

“Sir. get down from there. You are going to fall. Help! What the….”

Manuel was much smaller than I had been. It would take a little while to get used to seeing things through his eyes. The first thing I would have to do is find some cardboard and duct tape to patch that window. Crazy gringos.

 

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{ 6 comments }

Bonnie December 31, 2006 at 11:06 pm

That was totally unexpected Mike! Well done. Happy 2007!

MOM January 1, 2007 at 9:33 am

Nice Job! I expected the first ending but you surprised me with the second more thoughtprovoking ending. Is there going to be a sequel about the stress of maintenance work. I don’t think so. MOM

Paul January 3, 2007 at 12:37 pm

Nice story. I enjoyed it. I especially thought the dialog was well done and believable. Nice work.

kalbzayn January 3, 2007 at 10:28 pm

Thanks for the feedback everybody. Maybe I should quit writing on a high note.

Tammi January 19, 2007 at 5:53 pm

Really, really good stuff. I love writing that is fresh and unusual. Keep writing on a high note;)

kalbzayn January 23, 2007 at 6:27 pm

Thanks Tammi. I’m trying.

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