A close friend, Olivia worked until yesterday for a "dynamic company leading us into the future". She'd known for weeks that her job was about to go but under the most indifferent of Human Resources' hackers, Olivia - who works frikkin' hard and is a highly-talented artist/designer - pre-empted the public humiliation before the company's massive middle-management team - and walked out.
This was the inspiration for my latest entry to the Six Sentences network, who have already published two of my (Lily Childs') flash pieces under their themes of Mind Games and The Mysterious Dr Ramsey.
THE CORPORATE CABARET
They are fantasy, the words that battle inside your head; rapid exchanges of dialogue between you and him, between you and them… you play out the inevitable conversations over and over until you are convinced - you are the victor - you will win the argument, you will get through the meeting with calm and certitude, with guile and confidence.
In the daydream your colleagues and bosses, overwhelmed with the sense - the absolute common-bloody sense - of what you are telling them applaud your articulate delivery, nodding all the while as your sparkling wit sways their naturally suspicious natures.
You enter the room to mumbles and quiet coughs; not one of ’Da Management’ meet your eyes - they’d rather look away, down at their notes, up at the ceiling than at the pitiful creature - the speaker - called in for the lip-service process of defending her team’s service or face the cuts, the inevitable cuts and slashes dictated by a rotting economy and a ruthless big business run only by lawyers and accountants with not a creative brain-cell amongst them.
Old tricks work best to chase away the flutters in your gut; you stare at the over-large chairman - who doesn’t invite you to sit - and peel his clothes off in your head, stripping him until he is squatted on the crapper, grubby underpants at his ankles, belly squashed hard over his wide-spread thighs, a fat finger lost inside his face as he digs about in his hairy nostrils. You have the whole group naked in seconds; thongs here, Y-Fronts there, Harriet Groves wears big knickers spangled with laddered holes - the elastic perished to nothing - whilst beside her Bob Timpkin’s wife’s frilly pinks adorn his feet as you imagine him, oh so noisily and unpleasantly, evacuating his bowels.
You are as ready as you’ll ever be; you sip at tepid water from a plastic cup, waiting to be introduced as the chairman spiels on about reports and strategies and policies and corporate measures that frankly go over your head until finally he speaks your name - he shuffles his notes to pretend to look for you, trying harder than usual to make you feel insignificant - ‘Thanks, erm… yes - Fiona, look Fiona, I’m sure you don’t mind but we’ve changed the agenda and would like you to talk about your marketing budget instead; I’m sure you’re fully prepared… don’t, no please, Fiona, don’t leave, we want to hear what you have to say; Fiona, Fiona… shit, Timpkins - this is your fault.’