“I quit!” she says barging into my office, unannounced.
I recoil, for her appearance will never cease to surprise me. We’ve been working together forever but I can’t get used to how emaciated she is, her black dress clinging in all the wrong places.
I’m used to those outbursts. Every now and then she has a crisis of conscience and decides that she wants a change of career.
I blow one last smoke ring, put my cigarette down and lean forward, chin on hand, feigning an interest.
“What’s up? Did anything happen?”
“Yes something happened! The same shit as usual happened! There was a malfunction on a school bus. There were 57 kids on it for fuck’s sake! Fifty. Seven.” She leans across the desk, bony finger outstretched and face too close for comfort, and I draw back. I don’t like her face. I don’t like the way she points that finger at me.
“That’s just too much. I can’t take it, I quit.” And she pounds the desk so hard, her dress slips off her skeletal shoulder.
“OK. OK. I feel your pain. Let me think of a solution. Because quitting would be a shame. Remember, you’ve got tenure. And you’re pretty damn good. And it’s not like you’re qualified to do anything else. You’re probably tired, I get it, you’ve been working endlessly, and it’s repetitive and sometimes gruesome. How about I give you the afternoon off? I know it isn’t much but you’re kind of indispensable.”
She paces a bit, thinking, rearranging her cloak.
“OK. But a complete half day. No last-minute emergencies. I’ll be off this afternoon. The world will keep on turning. The world might actually feel grateful for it.”
And she grabs her scythe and walks out, slamming the door.
B F Jones is French and lives in the UK with her husband, 3 children, and cat. She works as a digital marketing consultant and moonlights as an aspiring writer. She has flash fiction published in The Cabinet of Heed, Spelk Fiction, Storgy, Idle Ink, Train Lit Mag and Bending Genres.