One Last “Oops!”

In Contests on August 23, 2015 at 9:05 pm

Here’s one more entry to the latest Work Stew writing contest. The prompt was to write about a workplace mistake, real or imagined, and this entrant imagined a whopper. Thanks to Rick Blum for giving me permission to share his story.

–Kate Gace Walton, Work Stew Editor

A Good Day

By Rick Blum

1599_Dilbert_1BPulling into the parking garage on a rain-soaked Thursday morning – too late for a covered space – I could taste disaster in the air.

Yesterday’s work day had ended badly, with an exchange between company CEO Sam Boynton and me about the efficacy of my latest research project being the main point of irritation. My insistence on staying the course despite some unexpected findings were met with a cold “We’ll see about that,” from Sam.

Entering the building’s spacious third-floor foyer, I shook out my umbrella over a giant snake plant, then walked past the glass elevators, hiking up the two flights of stairs to the company’s top-floor office suite.

As I rounded the corner to my office, the sight of VP of Human Resources Diane Vollmer was an ominous sign. Perched stiffly in the chair next to my desk, she greeted me brusquely, then motioned for me to sit.

Tossing my briefcase loudly on a cluttered desktop, I turned to Diane, who generally looks fetching, but seemed to exude wickedness this particular morning.

“So did that douche-bag Boynton send you in here?” I coughed out trying to make it sound like a joke.

Ignoring this intemperate remark for the moment, Diane got right to the point: “Peter, you pushed Sam’s button once too often. I’m afraid he wants you gone…now. I’ve got a package all put together for you: two weeks salary and three unused vacation days. And you’ll be off the health plan the end of the month. Sorry I couldn’t get any more out of him, but, you know, Sam’s pretty hard-headed, and you didn’t do much to help yourself, like calling him a douche bag just now, for instance. Anyhow, you need to pack up your personal items asap. Security will usher you out.”

Though her words were not at all unexpected, I still felt too stunned to do much more than grunt acknowledgement and start packing.

After filling a small box with family photos and a few odds and ends (including a talking Dilbert doll that would chirp out Things are looking up whenever dropped on a hard surface), I tossed my briefcase, which the security guard dutifully inspected in case it contained a company-owned paperclip or two, and the box onto the ergonomic chair I’d purchased several years ago to quell a perpetually achy back and headed down the hall.

By the time I reached the front door, which the guard was holding open in case I suddenly forgot how a door handle worked, numbness had morphed into full fury. So when the elevator door directly across the hallway was miraculously open, I gave the chair a shove propelled by six years of built-up anger.

It was then that I remembered that the elevator walls, toward which my chair was now hurdling at warp speed, were made of glass. The next few milliseconds seemed to last hours, until, in dismay, I saw the chair burst through the back wall of the elevator.

Rushing to the railing next to the elevator, I arrived just in time to see the last few feet of the chair’s descent…right onto the head of Sam Boynton, who had been enjoying – perhaps for the last time – his morning latte grande.

As Sam crumpled to the floor to the horrified looks of his sycophantic entourage, I could hear a faint but familiar voice cry out Things are looking up.

“Well,” I thought, “This is turning out to be a pretty good day after all.”


  1. Rick Blum teases us with a wily story that promises to turn into some sort of April Fool’s joke right up to the end – when it doesn’t. Events take on their own momentum, rallying readers to his side as his luckless anger ratchets up a bad situation into a worse one. Sharp writing, believable plot and a surprise ending anyone who suffered a mean boss can cheer. Yar.

  2. If you ever run this again, I have a doozy!

    Tom Melancon “Playing at a House Party Near You”

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