Occupational Hazard

Ahhh, the joys of a 9–5 job. We’ve all been there; frustration with management, feeling betrayed by co workers. What happens when work irritation boils over and the effects of rash decisions come full circle. This might become a large piece depending on the feedback I get. 


The microwave was a hot commodity during this time. People scrambling, burning their mouths and fingers like masochist. The mood was intense, survival was in the air. Last month’s company wide layoffs kept some of the factory workers on edge. They weren’t quite sure what group was next or when it would happen.

“Eric. You’re definitely next to go. You’re worse than anyone of these guys.”

Mark pointed to the different occupied tables in the cafeteria. Eric kept his head down with his eyes closed and right leg shaking under the table. Mark sat across the picnic style tables, treating it like a podium.

“You know we haven’t seen eye to eye since you started here. Multiple write-ups to human resources, falsifying time entry I could go on but to get to the point, Im letting you go. I can’t say I’m sorry because I’m a little relieved, but I think it’s better for everyone.” His sadist smile was the tipping point for Eric.

“This is some bullshit. Fuckin bullshit. I’ve been here for 10 years and this is what the FUCK I get?! 10 MUHTHAFUCKIN’ years,” he said as he held up both hands, fingers spread apart.

“You want to do this now, in front of everybody.”

His knuckles met his supervisor’s glasses with a crack. Both bodies fell back and over the tables. They started to wrestle on the floor as security rushed in. Eric got up and headed to the door.

“Fuck you and this fuckin’ shitty ass company.” His hand was bleeding but he was so enraged he didn’t even notice.

He slumped into the car driving mad. Envisioning his dad, laughing at him. “You aint shit!” His dad’s voice crowding his mind. He pulled up to a local bar and started drowning his anger in whiskey. Social media kept him occupied for hours; scrolling thru photos of half naked Instagram models and exotic cars. He scrolled to Isabel’s account. She had been the best thing in his life. But once again his ego and arrogance had pushed her away. Eric squinted across the counter blurred from the whiskey shots, she was right there with her new man; a bald lanky guy with a thick beard.

He proceeded to walk up to her and chat, but her man wasn’t having none of it. Eric staggered toward Isabella when he felt a forearm in his chest and deep voice vibrate his head. “Hey, step back. She don’t want nothing to do with you.” Eric didn’t appreciate anyone putting his hands on him, especially this asshole. He looked at his ex with sarcasm “Really?” He slowly backed away and started shouting

“Hey Isabel, I hope everything is good. I see you got somebody new, you could do bett — .” Before he could get the er out of his mouth he felt a sting to his cheek. Out of reflex John countered with a right cross and the altercation ensued. After a minute of tussling around the bar the fight flowed outside. Trash talking went back and forth eventually John walked back inside and grabbed his jacket. John and Isabela walked out to a very quiet sidewalk. Eric, barely putting one feet in front of the other, headed to another bar.

“He’s such an asshole. there’s soo much going on with him. The last time we spoke I thought he was doing better. After today’s performance at work it appears not. He wasn’t crazy when I was with him,” Isabella ranted.

“I’m so sorry John…”

John froze. He wanted to take time to think before he spoke. “No worries. I wish him the best, and I know you do too. From what you told me, I think he’s trying to be a good guy, just has some unresolved serious issues. But I wouldn’t mind if I never see him again.“ They drove to John’s place for dinner. Isabella grabbed some alcohol and cotton swabs to tend to John’s scraps. She looked into his brown eyes as she blew on his sable skin. The blows turned into kisses on the neck, then on the chest. His arms wrapped around her waist while her legs surrounded his hip.

The alarm went off at 7:30am. His forehead was covered with beads of sweat as he opened his eyes and looked through the ceiling. Isabella’s limp arm draped over his chest. John softly spooned Isabella. She smiled with her eyes close and dragged her legs, one by one out of the bed. Standing in the bathroom doorway, she brushed her teeth with John’s toothbrush. He knew he had strong feelings for Isabella, but didn’t know if she was the one. Granted they had only been dating for less than a year, but they all their time together. John got up from the bed and surveyed what he was going to wear.


He walked into the office with a smile on his face. He’d been at the company for almost 3 years now. He enjoyed the work, but enjoyed it more when Isabella started 2 years prior. Isabella worked in a different section of the company. Her and John often cross paths during the day. She got in a little earlier than him, but left early.

“Hey you!” John said as he sat in the cafeteria. Isabella came over and sat. “How are you?” Isabella retorted. He just looked at her and smiled.

“What?” Isabella said. John just kept looking and smiling

“You’re beautiful and I’m lucky” he said. Isabella’s face flushed red and John grabbed her hand. All sorts of thoughts went through her head. She loved John, but didn’t want to push or force the relationship. Isabella put her hand on his nape and pulled him closer. They shared a slow kiss. The moment was interrupted when Lisa came into the break room. “Ohhh, OKAY! Can I join?” She giggled. Lisa walked over to the table and put her hands on John’s head. They all laughed.

“I will talk to you later” John said in Isabella’s ears. She leaned over and kissed his cheek. He headed back to his desk and started looking thru emails. John didn’t especially love his job, but it was good money and safe. He had gotten laid off before. It took him nearly a year to bounce back. He was a quality control officer. He examined spreadsheets all day. Looking for inefficiencies in production problems that others couldn’t solve. It was tedious and boring but John liked the slow and easy pace. This was sleep walking compared to his former life. The day was progressing as normal. John looked at the watch; 11:23. He picked up his phone and texted Isabella. “Hey, what’s for lunch today?” He was thinking Indian but liked to get buy in from Isabella.

“I’m not sure, I’ll let you know soon.” Isabella headed back to her cubicle, smiling with her eyes at John as she walked away.

“What the Fuck?!” somebody yelled. They busted through the door. The office heads popped up like confused meerkats in the Serengeti. The commotion started as a dozen masked men entered the side entrance of the building. John headed to the hallway peering around the corner. “Come here, sit down and don’t move” the big one whispered. People started assembling in the cafeteria, one by one they were sardined into the room.

“Welcome, welcome. Have a seat, get comfortable, grab some popcorn. Jackie, come on in. Sam, lovely to see you.” The room filled up quickly with confused faces. The voice sounded strangely familiar. Bodies lined against the walls and in each corner. A man approached Eric.

“The exits are locked. All signals are jammed. Let’s get on with it. “
Isabel and John sat in the corner, trying to stay hidden in the group.

“You remember that training we had a few months ago. That Run, Fight, Hide shit, ” John said as he surveyed the room.

“I can’t believe this. I know this dude, he used to work here.”

Each of them were armed with 2 guns, a few with shotguns. The black kevlar vests made them look even more intimidating.

The building was under construction so the exits were taped off and rerouted. They took advantage of the situation and secured one way in and one way out.

“Some of you have been here for a long time, longer than me. Loyal to this blood sucking company. This, institution, corporate bullshit at it’s best.

“Eric walked over to his former supervisor, got right in his face. “I know a lot of people in here hate your ass. You love being a dick, so today you’re going to see how it feels to get fucked.”

He scanned the room looking for John. “Where the fuck is this motherfucker.” he said under his breath. “Grab the bag and tie em up.” He paced the room like a drill sergeant, a smirk on his face, his eyes moving deep in thought.

1 comment

  • You can’t just leave us hanging like this :( !! I hope there’s some beauty in his ashes later in the story.. keep writing !


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