Thursday, February 17, 2011

Her Dog Day's Just Begun - #fridayflash

Photo: Joana Croft, stock.xchange

Two days ago Janie had asked for the report – two days! And where the fuck was it?
That hometown booze-can with the gee-shucks facade had Janie just where he wanted her. Bosses thought he was some fucked over lost lamb and daddied him for crissakes. Oh poor little bastard, never caught a break; let’s give him a job he knows nothing about; let’s give him a raise; let’s molly-coddle the back-biting, dick-flicking little fuck. Stewart J. Johnson, slurping up to the company teat, ladling whatever petty powers he had over the repressed and the suppressed, the bottom-feeders, the Janies.
Conscientious Janie had her own report, due the next day. 
She could not get it done without a report from Stewart and yet that twerpy little dirt-bag held it back from her as long as he could. Always did. She felt like his lap dog and he was dangling a string of tired pork fat in the air, saying, “sit pretty,” and then eating it himself.
In the last few years Stewart had held off giving his report until Janie was staring down the barrel of her deadline.
If she dared to send him an e-mail asking about it, he’d forward it to just about everyone else in the company, probably even the cleaner who swabbed the office toilets on weekends, claiming harassment. Her e-mails were unfailingly polite even though what she wanted to say was, “Hey Dickface! Where’s your fucking report?” Regardless, the bosses would be like, “Oh poor Stewart, you’re so hard done by,” and Janie would get shit on. It had gotten to the point where she didn’t ask Stewart anything. She just waited for his report. And waited, while the acid taste of bile bubbled up in the back of her throat and choked whatever self-esteem she had left.
See, Janie was at the end of the line. 
The bottom of the barrel. 
The company had several departments, all of which had to get a report done by a deadline they themselves had set. Nobody wanted to do the reports so they all fucked the dog until the last minute, often well after the last minute.
Janie had no such luxury. It was her job to get the quarterly report compiled, proofread, approved and off to the printer’s on time.
Time was important, where the printer was concerned. Janie’s company wasn’t the only one needing the printer’s services; they were so busy that they had to turn people away. Those they did agree to do work for had hard deadlines. And if the deadlines weren’t met, the print job didn’t get done. This was the real world. Something her colleagues knew nothing about.
So there’s Janie, feeling deadline pressure in the throb of her forehead and the crick of her neck.
Her job was a fuck of a lot of work. It couldn’t be done in just one day. Or two. 
Fat lot Stewart cared, though. Or any of the assholes in any of the other departments. Fact is, a lot of people treated Janie like she was dirt under their precious fingernails. 
Every single one of them took some kind of perverted pleasure in making Janie’s job as hard as possible.
All this talk about playing like a team was so much corporate bullshit. Truth was, the ladder-climbing sonsabitches were plunking their asses on a wedding cake shaped toilet, with every layer shitting on the layer below it.
Janie had so much shit on her, everyone thought she was brunette. 
She brushed her platinum bangs off her forehead and tried not to panic.
She looked at the pile of work on her desk and thought, ok, if I take this home with me and work until midnight; if I come in tomorrow at six and work through my lunch; if my computer doesn’t start fucking up; and if Francine in accounting gets her report to me first thing tomorrow, I think I might get done. 
The only good news was she had sent some preliminary work off to the printer’s yesterday in order to save time. Miraculously, Stewart had approved it. 
So that was good, she thought to herself.
Just then her e-mail inbox pinged. A message from Stewart. Oh good, she thought. His report.
“Jeannie: the volume you sent to the printer’s yesterday must be revised,” he wrote. “Please change paragraphs three, five and eight on page eight. Oh, and we don’t need footnotes after all. If you do that, it’s good to go.”
What did he mean, good to go?
It was already gone!
She spent the next two hours making the revisions Stewart requested and then bending over for the infuriated printer, who only agreed to reprint the work when Janie started crying.
She just got through that mess when Stewart e-mailed back to say there was another change coming. 
Janie had to phone the printer back right away. She begged and bawled and the printer called her every name in the freakin’ book, but he agreed.
She placed the phone back in its receiver and a second later it rang.
“Hello?” she said.
“Jamie honey, it’s Francine in accounting. I’m sorry, but I’m not gonna have my report to you until after lunch tomorrow. I know, I promised morning, but hubby’s got two tickets for the Paul Simon concert tonight – it was a surprise for me! Isn’t he darling? He had to wangle some heavy duty crap to get them. How can I say no because of work?”
So. No report from Francine until at least one o’clock.
She checked her e-mail. 
No report from Stewart yet, of course, although there was an e-mail from the company vice-president saying he wouldn’t be shipping the corporate report to her until just before deadline. 
“Sorry, Junie,” he wrote.
Janie sat back in her chair and stared at the ceiling. Eyes wide.
Blood coursed through her veins. She could feel the red in her face. She could hear her own heart, hammering in her chest. Her hands shook.
“Fuuuuuck,” she said as vapid air escaped her heaving lungs.
Enough was enough.
She couldn’t take this powerless shit any fucking more.
Tomorrow, Janie was coming to work with a gun.


  1. Harsh. I've been in Janie's shoes - didn't bring a gun, though. Maybe that would have worked better.

  2. I hope Janie has a cheering section. There have been days… there have been days…

  3. Mr. Fetched - I believe you'd look good in pom-poms.

  4. A little of Cathy's grumpiness seems to have bled into this one. Hope you are actually feeling better, hon. I'll wave some pom-poms too.

  5. Man I been gone a few months and Cathy's turned into a seething writer of grit lit! This is excellent, I love the fury dripping off the words. that's no mean achievement to pull off.


    Marc Nash

  6. I'm blushed, panicked, and exhilarated all at the same time. This must have felt great to write. The title is perfect.

  7. Do I sense just a little auto-biography in Janie's frustration? :) Spray 'em with lead Janie! (Cathy leave your shootin' irons at home!)

  8. Holy fek...that was a lot of swearing. Not your usual fare, but we really got a sense of her frustration...can hardly wait for the sequel.

  9. I'm sure most--if not all--people in the corporate machine have felt this way more than once. Good look at the situation. And while I don't want her to face the music she's eventually going to have to face, I'm rooting for her in the moment.

  10. My stomach is churning, Cathy. I don't want a life like that... O.o

    Looove to have you back to fridayflash. I've missed your stories!

  11. Thanks, guys! I'm actually feeling GREAT! I was just wondering what goes through the mind of someone who brings a gun to work. How frustrated must they be to bring it to that level! Yeah, Alan, that was a lot of swearing. Hope my kids don't read it. Or my mom! Marc - Grit Lit! Suddenly I feel like John Wayne
    (John Wiswell called me hon! Squee!)
    Thanks, Lou, I liked the title, too. But I gotta credit Steve Tyler for that one. Yeah, it did feel good. Real good. Better than, y'know, chocolate ice cream.
    Harry - "shootin' irons" ... everything you say just sounds like it's coming out of a saloon!
    Eric - Thanks for the rootin'! Aw, maybe she'll go home and take a Midol and be over it by morning.
    Mari - has anyone told you yet today how adorable you are??

  12. Great stuff. The frustration BLEEDS off the page. Hope you feel catharsed. Peace...

  13. A bravura piece, Cathy ... Wonderful!! I dig that style of yours!

  14. Everything resonated with this one, Cathy, from the corporate shenanigans to the exasperated use of profanity, which, if we're honest about it, many of us revert to when pushed to the limits. A great piece here, and you deserve a standing ovation.

  15. Lots of F-bombs there lady. My favorite part is the wedding cake toilet - that's great.

    So, you were wondering what it's like to want to go postal? How come you never asked me?

  16. You'll find me even more adorable now that I've got a coming back gift for you at Randomities. :)

  17. Damn, I don't miss that corporate bullshit at all. Poor Janie.

  18. This made me screech with laughter. The language... really packed a punch. I remember one foul ex-colleague and I have to say thank goodness that is all behind me.


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