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Contemporary Drama Fiction

It was Ben’s inability to give up that led to the incident at the Staff Christmas Show. Tenacity was often considered a strong characteristic at Foots Sports, the sports shoe design company and Ben had tenacity in spades. Ben was picked first by managers and team mates alike when a big project was underway. It was tenacity that led (eventually) to Ben and Sally going out on their first date. As one date led to another and one big project followed on from the next Ben was sitting pretty at work and away.

“I am so sure that Employee of the Year will be mine this year,” Ben told Sally one late November night while they got ready for bed.

“I would hope so, Benjamin,” answered Sally, but she knew Ben wasn’t listening. He had stopped listening to her since mid-October when Ben had been given the GlowBoot project. This project had been nicknamed the Bee Gee Boot and was known by all to be a seriously big deal. The client had asked for a sports shoe which could be worn on the court or in a night club just as easily, a shoe that three of the very best NBA players would be contracted to wear.

Ben had grabbed this project and vowed to his boss Peterson Foots that he could handle it alone. Not convinced at first Peterson had set Ben some individual projects and Ben’s creativity and desire to succeed always combined well to create brilliance. Eventually Peterson Foots had no choice but to give the ambitious Ben the reigns.

“You will need to keep me and the board in the loop regarding your progress on this one, Benjamin,” ordered Foots Sports CEO.

“Of course sir, daily emails at a minimum!” agreed Ben.

“No, no, Benjamin,” tutted Peterson then. “You do not seem to understand just how big a deal this project is.”

“Mister Foots, sir?”

“There will be daily briefings… You’ll need to keep us up to date every hour of every day… Expect me to call you Sundays too…”

Ben took a moment then to consider just how much he wanted this. He had worked hard to prove himself though and he knew that this would be his best shot at Employee of the Year and that amazing cash bonus.

“You can count on me, sir,” stated Ben as he thrust out his hand to shake on the deal. “The board can too.”

After that Sally found the house she and Ben had made a home began turning into an ideas factory and nothing she suggested was good enough. Ben often came home late from the company and when he was home he was no longer good company for her. Work and life balance became frightfully weighed in the favour of work. When Ben was home he would only talk about the shoe, electronics, comfort, grip, design… Pieces of scrap with what looked like doodlings on them were scooped up and thrown away only for Ben to yell at Sally and accuse her of trying to sabotage his creative process. When things with the project seemed to be going well Sally and those who saw Ben at work were either ignored or bombarded with Ben’s self-praise and constant gloating. When Ben seemed to be in a rut and the project stalled then it was like a cyclone was ripping through Ben’s world and everyone who got caught in his path suffered the wrath of the vicious storm.

Peterson Foots and the members of the board saw none of this though. Ben was determined to have this project end up a success that he could not risk such decision makers from taking the responsibility from him. Ben fudged the numbers, inflating some stats and deflating some costs. Designs were faked failures covered up. None in the office would dare dob Ben in either. Such was the threat of the cyclone, the extremity of storm Benjamin.

By the middle of December Sally could cope with Ben’s moodiness no longer.

“Sally it is mine to lose,” announced Ben just before lights out.

He went to kiss her but found she had already turned away. Sally’s tears wet the pillow and she shook with her silent grief.

“I hope you win it, Ben,” she murmured. “It will be good for you to win that because you have already lost me.”

“Huh? What do you mean?” asked Ben, touching Sally on the shoulder, the first time he had lovingly touched her in months.

“Ben, this project has consumed you and has caused a huge tear in our relationship,” Sally tried to explain.

“I don’t understand,” murmured Ben in reply.

“Of course you don’t,” snapped back Sally. “You have made this solo project your life. You are that determined to do it and do it alone that you have become just that… Alone… And… And… You have not even noticed…”

“So what, Sally?” snapped back Ben.

His project was being threatened and he did not like that, not one bit.

“Ben, don’t,” growled Sally.

“I want you out of our house, Sally,” ordered Ben. “Out now!”

“Suits me, Ben,” muttered Sally.

“Don’t come back until you can support us!”

“That is what you can’t understand, Ben,” sighed Sally. “There is no longer an us… There is only a you…”

Ben couldn’t let his breakup with Sally distract him with only days to go on the GlowBoot project. With the house to himself Ben brought more work home. The final touches on the shoe came together and Ben thought he nailed the presentation to the board and the client. He was certain that he had succeeded where he thought many would have failed and everyone at work knew Ben considered he was a pun intended shoe in for the cash bonus that came with the highest employee honor.

Thus it was that at the company dinner Ben sat smugly with his acceptance speech ready. He was on a table of ten but all there knew that Ben sat alone.

When another’s name was announced as employee of the year Ben’s disbelief burst forth in the form of the worst cyclone any had ever witness.

Three days later Ben was fired; poor employee relationships were stated as the reason.

“We’re a family business, Ben,” explained Peterson Foots. “There is no I in TEAM…”

November 28, 2020 22:48

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3 comments

15:35 Dec 15, 2020

Tim, LOVED IT!! What a great story. I enjoyed reading it very much. I like these kinds of stories where the character thinks they are so sure of something, even if it means pushing everyone away, only to be brought back down to earth. I look forward to reading more of your work🎇✨ If you want and when you have time, I would love your feedback on a couple of my stories!

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Tim Law
21:02 Dec 15, 2020

Thanks so much for your great feedback. So glad you enjoyed my effort. If you get time please check out my latest story Emily and give it a like 👍 I cannot wait to delve into your stories too...

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K. Antonio
19:44 Dec 05, 2020

I liked the way you played with the prompt. I liked the relationship that Ben had with his job and his wife and how essentially this idea of being employee of the year dominated him and infiltrated his life in such a negative way. I do think that that the story could be a bit longer and you could really invest more on the emotional turmoil of the couple and the conflict that's befallen on them because of Ben's ambition. I think the ending is great and well deserved, haha. Feel free to read my story, would love some opinions and c...

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