MIRROR, MIRROR

Submitted into Contest #139 in response to: Start your story with the words: “Grow up.”... view prompt

9 comments

Fiction Suspense Thriller

GROW UP my mind yelled and shouted. 

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  

Do some of us ever grow up? I mean how old is this guy standing in front of me spewing his vitriol hateful speech right into my face. Jake smelled the flat air of alcohol and almost threw up when spit landed on his cheek. He gagged, his eyes bugged out and stepped back to get ahold of himself. This joker laughed mockingly at the way Jake handled that episode. Wiping his cheek with the back of his hand, it was all Jake could do not to deck him right then and there. He could and would have, had it not been for his new colleague, who held onto the balled-up fist made as Jake got ready to sucker punch him.  

The slight shake of his head said it all, “Don’t do it. That fool is not worth anything. Keep your cool.” I closed my eyes and lowered my head. With lips puckered and clenched teeth I uttered a few too many inappropriate words as the idiot turned and wandered away. 

“Did he drink the Kool-Aid or what?” This guy was so out of line Jake did not know what else to say. He drew a blank given that the day was supposed to be a positive end to a monthly increase of sales, not a shout out party by one angry individual. 

Mel Seamuh looked right at Jake, had him turn around and in a calm demeanor, walked with him down the hall and out the front door. They strolled down the sidewalk for a bit until the two stopped and Mel paused to make a point. “Jake,” and he let out a deep sigh of frustration. “Abercrombie is a miserable old derelict. We both know he needs to be shoved out the door, but” he continued “the family is not seeing any of it, not in the way we did.” Mel went on to smooth the horrible confrontation Jake just encountered as a new member of the team. “We’ve all had to face his lack of any kind of civility over the years. But it seems like this family ignores the obvious regardless of any confrontation never mind how much effort we all put forth to keep the company afloat.” 

Jake did not understand the way he was treated. As a new recruit, he came with high marks in his knowledge and skill set for this position. And to be treated like a minion was so not right. He was the youngest but schooled in manners and to be treated like he just got out of kindergarten was so wrong.   

Mel told Jake to let it go, not to forget what was meant and said but to put it away and turn around. Jake nodded and agreed. He would not let someone else decide his fate. So, with renewed confidence, Jake decided to play to a higher level and braced for any fallout that might come his way. As it turned out one of the brothers approached him to have a conversation. Jake was surprised and nervous at the same time. 

They walked up a set of stairs to the top floor office. The brother motioned Jake to take a seat and proceeded to take his seat at the desk. “So” he began, smoothing papers in front of him. “I understand there’s been some distorted behavior issues with you and my brother.” The conversation was amiable, and Jake was relieved that the discussion was only a peace gesture and not a termination. He apologized and said to just cast it all aside. “You are a bright face to this company. We need young people to continue to keep our image known.” Glass was their eye candy. Mirrors were their number one item and a reflection to the many creative ways which lead to develop the latest trend. This year they saw an unusual increase in the demand for one-way mirrors. This was due to the volume of the need for people to secure their money and objects of interest, high-powered weapons being number one. The company was under the radar as to the many people of interest who needed to purposely lock away their funds for a rainy day. It was a high-class level of people and the ways they were needing to safeguard their livelihoods. Secrecy that led to a spy ring of a greater magnitude across the world was the anchor that created the top-notch branding for their unique product. High level government agencies needing ways to up their level of world leadership brought to light more of their invention. Jake was immediately and without hesitation awarded his own level of high clearance. He was sought out and became their one and only recruit of the year. The company needed to raise the stakes to a new and unforeseen level of maximum efficiency.    

Abercrombie was the axe the company used to create a ruse in order to judge the caliber of a new employee. He needed to create a foul character to test Jake’s stamina and strength due to the fact he would be coming across some heavy individuals who would make or break him in one way or another. This job was not for the faint of heart.  

Sitting in the office, Jake was still trying to absorb the magnitude of what he signed up for when the door quietly opened. He turned and was surprised to see Mel who was on his side from the beginning and Abercrombie. Of all the people he never wanted to cross paths with again. Now he was very puzzled. 

Mel spoke first and cleared up the confusion. “Jake” he began sincerely, “you proved yourself from the start. May I congratulate you first.” Mel went and shook his hand. Next a completely different Abercrombie spoke. He commended Jake for not knocking him unconscious first and secondly not showing an overreaction to his theatric performance. The two brothers shook Jake’s hand and told him that from this moment on to always look in the mirror first because the real reflection of an individual’s merit will be crystal clear.  

April 02, 2022 02:32

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9 comments

John K Adams
21:53 Apr 15, 2022

Debbie, I think you have a strong story here. But it seems to get buried in dense prose paragraphs. Even the dialogue, which usually opens things up gets lost in the verbiage and endless, jargon filled paragraphs. The result ends up being emotionally disengaged and feeling like wading through a boilerplate contract. The story, could be told more passionately by dramatizing it more. The kind of test you describe could, by the end, be a triumph for Jake and a huge relief for the reader to realize it is all staged drama. I have learned to re...

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Debbie Curtin
00:18 Apr 17, 2022

Thank you for your comments John. I need to stop waiting until the deadline is like hours away to reread and critique my story. You are so right with reading out loud more.

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John K Adams
02:21 Apr 17, 2022

Making time for the editing is a must. I have a pretty good schedule but that last polish takes time and sometimes I have to hit post, even when I'm not 100% satisfied. I write once and edit about three times. Hemingway app helps with cumbersome sentences. I don't always follow its advice but it makes me aware.

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Debbie Curtin
19:02 Apr 17, 2022

Thanks John!

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John K Adams
22:25 Apr 17, 2022

You are very welcome!

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05:21 Apr 07, 2022

Hi Debbie! You have an impressive vocabulary! I had a little trouble following the story at times, and there were a couple instances where it switched to first-person narration and I wasn't sure whose POV it was. Thanks for sharing your writing :)

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Debbie Curtin
19:48 Apr 07, 2022

Thanks for your thoughts. I seem to always write as the deadline is hours away pushing myself to just finish. Need to reread more than once before I hit send : /

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Tricia Shulist
14:29 Apr 04, 2022

Interesting story about the benefits of self control and staying true to one’s ideals. Thanks for this.

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Debbie Curtin
19:17 Apr 04, 2022

I appreciate your response. Thx

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