Retirement Party Food Fight

After 40 years at the same job, you are finally ready to retire. Your coworkers throw you a party with cake and ice cream. Everything is going well until the end of the celebration when they ask you to speak. Instead of using this opportunity to thank everyone, you reveal a deep, dark secret about your boss that leads to a massive food fight.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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156 thoughts on “Retirement Party Food Fight

  1. Bumblebee83959

    The retirement party was in full swing when I arrived on the scene. At first, nobody noticed that the actual person the party was for had arrived. They were all enjoying their lives, eating the cake and ice cream that was supposed to be for me. I cleared my throat as loudly as possibly, but no one could hear over the blasting music. I really just wanted a calm get-together to break the deep, dark secret that I had held with a firm grip the entire fourty years I worked in the office. So, I did the only thing I could do at that moment in time.

    I walked up to the stereo and slammed the power button. Everything suddenly went quiet as people began murmuring and pointing at me. “There she is!” I heard a booming voice, and turned towards my boss, Mr. Bulla. He clasped me on the shoulder, gesturing me towards the small platform where he usually made his speeches about “our next step forward into the industry.” I snorted at all those memories, but I obliged and walked up onto the stage. He was about to get a shocker that would last a lifetime.

    “Good evening, everyone. Hope y’all are enjoying my retirement party.” I began in a dry, sarcastic tone that made a few people in the front row shuffle uncomfortably. “Instead of saying the usual ‘thanks’ and ‘thank you’ and whatnot, I’m going to get straight to the point here. Mr. Bulla,” I turned towards my boss, who stood square in the middle of the crowd, and looked him in the eye, “How is that wife of yours? I’m sure she’s having a great time. Not to sure about that secret girlfriend you have, though. She isn’t too happy right now.” Even from here, I noticed the beads of sweat that began popping along his eyebrows.

    “Mr. Bulla here has been cheating on his wife with me,” I listened to the ripple of shock pass through the crowd, “And I just had to get it out in the open. This is from me to you…. sweetheart.” I spat the last word as I reached towards the cake that also stood on the miniature stage, took a handful, and threw it splat in Mr. Bulla’s face. He stumbled back in surprise.

    “FOOD FIGHT!” A stranger in the crowd hollered. Suddenly, cake and ice cream began to fly everywhere. I ducked on the ground and crawled out of there before someone could hit me.

    It wasn’t such a bad retirement party after all.

  2. laurentravian

    Everyone was so nice. This just brought tears to my eyes. A retirement party! Well…I guess I shouldn’t have told Myra. She would have told Lenny (probably during the date I set them up on), and he would have told everybody but his plumber that I was retiring. I passed my hand over my eyes.Ugh. forty years of telling people that they weren’t good enough. Rick, my doctor and boyfriend when I was in my twenties, says that I will ruin my feet if I wear another pair of high heels. So I’m retiring from the modeling business. But not before I tell everybody the awful things that Conrad did. “You know, at times like this, I can’t help but think of my sister…she was murdered at fifteen because she wasn’t a slut, and I was blackmailed into keeping the knowledge of her death a secret or I would follow her fate. But tell me, Conrad, how many office interns did you threaten? I know you killed her, Boss.” He panicked. “Th-that’s not true! I never stabbed her!” I smiled. “I never said you did. But you just admitted you killed her. However, screwing a fifteen year old intern is probably also against the law.” And so, I retired.

  3. Melissamcl

    I’ve always liked ice cream better than cake . . . more nostalgic. The more I ate it the warmer I felt. The moment didn’t hold the same glamour as The Good Humor man, but I wanted it to. After doing the same thing in the same place for forty years I looked for satisfaction in the smallest of places.
    “What’s your poison, Ruth?” Simon had always been good to me.
    “More vanilla. Lots!” I smiled back at him.
    Even as newer people, fresh from the preparatory mold, moved into higher and wealthier positions Simon and I had always stayed comfortable in our concessionary corners. Most days I favored the predictable nature of my job; my corner seemed tailored just to fit me and my intricacies. Other days, though, I resented my corner as it defined the outer limits of all that I could be. Secretly, maybe, I wanted to be like them, the younger ones, fresh from the mold so free and clear in their ambitions.
    “Ruth . . . Ruth!” Simon tapped my elbow with a sticky finger. “You’re ice cream is melting. You okay?”
    “Yeah. Sorry, I must have been deep in thought. I don’t know why, it’s not like I’m gonna have much to do after today.” I downed a gulp of the melted cream that soaked my plate.
    “So, what’s it gonna be?”
    “What?” I asked him.
    “The secret. Everyone tells a secret about the boss at their retirement party.” Simon always had a way of keeping me on track. Secret. I thought. There have been so many after forty years. Was it a secret that no one really wanted to be here every day, day in day out? Probably not. Had it been a secret that despite his outer, unapproachable shell, it had been Jim that had pulled this place together and kept it running. It was Jim that had made it all relevant and as he invited me to the pulpit of probable procession it is what first came to mind that escaped me in my moment of prodigious passing. It wasn’t quite a torch, but a candle to say thanks and by the way, I didn’t enjoy every moment but I did it anyways.
    “And one last thing.” I added before stepping down, “I bet you didn’t know that Jim baked the cake, and that , my friends, is why I did not have any! Let’s make sure that Jim gets a really big piece of his cake today!” And so ensued my immortal mark on my little slice of life . . . the annual throwing of the cake. With that, and a smile, I began a new chapter of my life.

  4. joshrene

    I smile all through the ceremony but then at the same time mock my boss through sarcastically and suddenly caring for him… offering ice cream all the time even when he is talking to someone important. I really make sure I intrude all his conversations where he tries hard to pull off as the most perfect person in the whole world. When some one praises him for having the most beautiful women in his company… it is then that I cut in with comments like, “These beautiful women here are hardly got. They come in here beautiful but they go out rotten because of the hard work”. Of course he knows the dark secret. He can not dare answer back because he has always been scared of my anger out bursts. He gives me this piercing eye but I don’t give a damn because retiring means that he no longer has any control over me. When I excuse my self to the corner, he follows me and asks for the meaning of my behavior.
    I don’t tell him the blunt truth because he knows it, only that he is dead scared. I remind him of the day I entered his office desperately looking for a job, and he locked the office door, took out a knife…. just then, the Master of Ceremony calls me up to give my speech… I look back at him and he takes the ice cream like as if it is choking him. Right now, I don’t see him as a Managing Director but as a serial killer. That day, he wanted to kill me brutally like he had done to those who had come before me but he found out that I was not like them. I was scared at first but gathered courage within me and threatened him like as if I was sure he would surrender and eventually he gave up and requested me to keep my mouth shut about the incident or else I meet my ancestors. I have fulfilled this all this while but what of now that am no longer under his control, should I tell on him so as to save my colleagues or keep quiet to save my life? What if others have also been doing the same thing. Eventually, I let out the dark secret and like as if everyone is possessed, the colleagues who have taken his side in no time start throwing food at those who have taken mine. Every one looks so horrible… sirens are heard but they still fight. I look around to see if the MD is part of the warriors only to realise that he has escaped. Just then power goes off!

  5. Matt

    The cake stuck to the walls like old dried plaster and the ice cream dripped from the ceiling like melting ice cycles on a warm winter day. Seeing all that food fly was worth the forty years I had put in with A.J. and Sons Electric. Seeing the cops hall away Junior was priceless.

    Junior, as I called him, had just about ruined his father’s business in just three years after he took over for the old man. At the peak, A.J. had three buildings, forty-five employees and over a hundred clients. Back then it was just A.J. Electric and it was a great place to work. As I walked through the empty foyer I had to dodge landmines of cake and ice cream. Running my fingers through my hair, I collected ample amounts of vanilla frosting. A mere thirty minutes ago I stood by the cake decorated window and informed my fellow employees, now down to fifteen and one building thanks to Junior, that after forty some odd years I was hanging up my volt meter and wire strippers.

    I knew more about electricity and wiring than Junior knew in his five foot nothing baldheaded body. By belittling everyone at any chance he got his short man syndrome had practically run this company in the ground. His lack of people skills had eroded the client list to just under thirty and most of them stayed because I intervened. Junior had to go and I knew just the trick.

    The murmuring of the crowd settled as I took my place in the front of the crowd. Judy Smith stood near the front and her perfume was over powering as usual making my eyes water, I used it for great effect.

    “As most of you know I started this company with A.J. now forty years ago. He wanted to make me a partner but I didn’t think I would stick around that long so I declined.”
    Oohs and awes echoed from the crowd, Junior stood with his boney arms crossed impatiently tapping his foot wanting the party over so everyone could get back to work.

    With my glass raised to my coworkers I continued, “If A.J. could see how Junior has run this company into the ground he’d be rolling over in his grave. God rest his soul.” Junior shot lasers at me as I continued, “A.J. had me sign a document stating that if I made it with the company forty years I would own 51 percent so today, my first day as owner of this company my first duty is to tell Junior YOUR FIRED!”

    Someone from the back yelled, “Go to hell Junior!” and a piece of that nice three layered vanilla cake hit him smack dab on his bald head then the ensuing food fight began. Junior grabbed the large cake knife and headed for me luckily he slipped on some ice cream and a couple of the guys grabbed him and called 911. Comments please.

    1. DRoberts

      Matt,

      This was a good story. You set it up well in the beginning and delivered a great ending. I liked your opening sentence. I have a few suggestions: There seems to be some repetition in the third paragraph regarding Junior ruining his father’s business. I think you clarified it well in the second paragraph, so you might want to trim some of it from the third paragraph. The last sentence of the story would read better if it were broken into three seperate sentences. For example: Junior grabbed the large cake knife and headed for me. Luckily, he slipped on some ice cream. A couple of the guys grabbed him and call 911. This way it allows your readers to gain a better visual of each action, and it reads better. Overall, a well written story.

  6. Nevertoolate

    Hillsworth I too love this story. Everything has been said by DRoberts. The way you brought in the ‘secret’ about the boss was so well done.

    1. hillsworth

      Thanks everyone for the wonderful, encouraging comments. It’s comments like that from other writers like you that make me think I may some day become a good writer, and actually get up the nerve to try and get published. Thanks again. As it may only be heard around the Pittsburgh area, YINZ are a wonderful, and talented audience.

  7. hillsworth

    “Hey Tony, bring that bum in here.” Louis calls out to the front room through the open door. He’s sitting at a round table with a black tablecloth, and a downcast lamp that gives off the only illumination in the room. Heavy smoke layers hang in the glow, creating a surreal aura around the fat man in the black suit.

    Tony escorts Mikey into the dark room, stopping him in front of the don. “What’s this I hear you wanna leave the family, Mikey?” Louis waves his arm as he speaks and the stubby cigar never loses an ash.

    “No, Louis, I just wanna retire. I been busting kneecaps for, like forty years. I can’t bust’em like I used to.”

    “What’s the matter with you? You know there’s only two ways that you can get out. One, you gotta be dead.” He paused here and smiled up at Mikey for effect.

    Mikey wasn’t liking the way this was going. He felt a bead of sweat trickle down his back even though it was cool in the room. He stayed silent and never took his eyes of Louis. Watched as he took a long toke off the cigar. Watched him blow a couple smoke rings into the acrid air.

    “Or two, you gotta like cake. Do you like cake, Mikey?”

    Unsure of what is going on, with a confused look on his face, Mikey shrugs and says, “Sure, Louis. Sure, I like cake.”

    “Well then, turn around and have some cake.”

    Mikey turns around and the lights come on, revealing about twenty people, each holding a piece of cake in their drawn back hand. Someone shouts “Now!” and the air is filled with Betty Crocker bombs. Mikey can’t get out of the way fast enough and is covered from head to toe. Applause and laughter fill the room.

    Over the next half hour, they all give their congratulations and give their hugs the way only mafia family’s give hugs, and finally they pick up the chant “Speech. Speech. Speech…” There is a tinkling of a fork on glass and the roar ebbs to a dull murmur.

    Mikey holds out both hands and says, “Thank you all, for this.” He turns and looks specifically at Louis, and smiles. “For a minute there, I thought I was gonna have to perform some disgusting sex act like that one time I brought cousin Vinny in when he wanted out.”

    Louis stops in mid laugh and his face darkens to a deep scarlet color. His eyes narrow and the room becomes deadly silent. As fast as lightning, Louis whips out a snub nose thirty-two and puts a bullet between Mikey’s eyes. There are a couple gasps, but everyone knows better than to say anything. Call it respect.

    Louis heaves his bulk out of the chair and waddles over to the mess. “You should of stuck with number two, Mikey. You should of stuck with number two.” He unloads the remaining rounds into Mikeys lifeless body.

    ___________________

    Comments welcome
    ___________________

    1. hillsworth

      Sorry, even after reading it several times I found a typo and I slipped into past tense at one point, when he’s watching Louis and the sweat trickles down his back. Should read,

      He could feel a bead of sweat trickle down his back even though it’s cool in the room. He stays silent and never takes his eyes off Louis. Watches as he takes a long toke off the cigar. Watches him blow a couple smoke rings into the acrid air.

      The things you find immediately after posting….

    2. DRoberts

      Hillsworth,

      What a great story. Well written. You had the right balance of suspense and then made everyone relax thinking it was his retirement party and then Wham! he gets it in the end. Great line: “You should of stuck with number two, Mikey. You should of stuck with number two.” When Louis asks Mikey if he likes cake, I laughed because it reminded me of The Godfather. My mother and I watched the Godfather movies, I-III during a one week span several years ago. I had never seen them before and so we made it a movie marathon week. After watching the first two movies, I turned to my Mom and asked her what the deal was with Italians and cake? It seemed they were always eating cake. And sometimes the cake eating came before someone was going to get whacked. We had a good laugh over this. We have some Italian blood running through our veins and I said to my Mom that that explains why cake is my favorite dessert. It was her favorite, too. Anyway, a great entertaining story. I loved it.

  8. Icabu

    Oh, cool! Did the Fire Dawgs get vettes too?! I started out in the AF as a Dawg and a vette for ceremonial duties would’ve been GREAT!
    Still flying C-130s in 2024!
    Fun read with a familiar feel.

  9. rob akers

    A Bill Rimes Story

    June 2024

    The third C-130 taxied clear of the runway and slowly maneuvered towards the packed ramp gathered to celebrate the retirement of three of the highest ranking men of the Airlift Squadron. Shutting down their engines with air show like precision, the crew entrance doors dropped down and a solitary figure emerged from each aircraft and walked towards a torment of water flowing from three separate fire trucks. Three men met on the tarmac a hugged under the waterfall in the traditional ending in the career of an aviator.

    30 minutes later, the three friends walked into the packed briefing room that erupted in applause and cheers. General Morgan finally got the men and women of the Airlift Squadron to take their seats as he gave his prepared remarks. Colonel Matthew “Wild” Oates followed his friend and concluded his remarks to another standing ovation. Finally, it was the third pilot’s turn to address the assembled warriors.

    Colonel Bill Rimes stood in front of his Squadron as the room exploded in cheers that seemed to last a lifetime. He smiled at his wife Anna, who beamed for the love that was showered on her husband. Finally, Colonel Rimes was able to speak.

    “I want to thank you for the ride of a lifetime. 28 years ago, I went to pilot training with these two men and not only am I amazed that we are still alive, I am shocked that Big M, Little organ, Matty and have been promoted to the highest levels of incompetence. I know that we were never perfect in our leadership but in stark contrast to those who preceded us, we always tried to lead from the front and do the right thing for the Enlisted and Junior Officers.”

    “Now it is my duty to revel the greatest secret of all. You all know that the General, Matty and I are all independently wealthy. There are several rumors of how we got our money. The one I like the best is that we stole it on a money flight in Afghanistan. Others say that we got rich buying the Iraqi Dinar; You know that worthless money is only useful as toilet paper. Someone said we hit the Powerball or won it in a casino. Not true! You guys know how cheap the General is and Matty never goes to the tables because he spends his time at the buffet.”

    In 2004, we bought 5,000 shares of Goggle stock from our tent in Iraq. Since then one thing has led to another and collectively we are worth 100 Million dollars.”

    For the first time in an hour, the room was totally silent. “We would be remiss if we didn’t leave with parting gifts.” As he spoke the words, seven salesmen entered the room with a stack of applications. “Follow the General’s final order and fill out these forms. Corvettes for everyone!” The room burst into applause as beer, Barbeque and potato salad flew in the air.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Can I please be one of their employees??? I so want my mink brown 1980 L-82 Corvette back!! Sob, sob. Lovely story. Everything from the water display, the details of their rumored wealth, and their kindness. I want to be in that story, Rob! Bill is so cool!

      ~Anne

  10. Bonnie Stewart

    I remember the day my friend Wendy and I applied for jobs here when Valley Bakery was just opening. We were fresh out of high school and it was only for the summer to earn some cash so we could travel.
    We had our five year plan all mapped out. Since she was a decent photographer and I had always wanted to try my hand at writing, the idea of freelancing was quite appealing to us. There were always magazines looking for photos and articles. Besides, we could easily pick up odd jobs along the way when we needed to. Simply put, we wanted to see the world.
    The castles and stately homes of England and Scotland. Exploring the shops of Paris and the views from the Eiffel Tower. The churches, vineyards and cities carved in to the Apennines mountains of Italy. Looking for the best silks in India and China. The pyramids of Egypt. The volcanos of Iceland and Indonesia. Once we hit North America again we would zig zag across the country and see some of the natural wonders. That was the plan. Some called it being irresponsible or as my parents put it, having no direction in life. We had preferred to see it as looking for adventure.
    The sound of applause brought my attention back to where I stood with my family, friends and co-workers. There were cupcakes, ice cream and balloons. I was moments away from receiving the golden handshake from Wendy, who is now the general manager, and I, assistant manager. Both of us married with grown children. I’m a grandmother already and Wendy is expecting her first grandchild with in the week.
    Wow, 40 years. It’s surprising how a lifetime can to pass you by when you’re not paying attention.
    I’m asked to say a few words and, as I mechanically spew the customary… “I’ve had many wonderful years here”… blah, blah, blah… I can’t help but think. Even though our early plans didn’t work out, we have still had a great time.
    There has been our weddings, the birth of our kids. Vegas and that dance cage. The Grand Canyon and my clothing down the trail. I couldn’t help but laugh.
    “Hey Wendy, do you remember that trip to California?” She shot me her “shut up” look from the cupcake table, but I couldn’t stop myself. “You booked the nudist resort and you didn’t dress for dinner?”
    I was laughing, so I didn’t see the projectile until… “splat” a cupcake landed squarely on my cheek. As I scooped it off, I saw her grin and the eyes of warning.
    “It’s my last day, and they”, I gesture to the others, “still have to listen to me”
    “Don’t you dare” she laughed.
    I didn’t have to say a word, and in seconds the air was filled with flying cupcakes, ice cream, child like squeals and laughter.
    It would have been a great five years, but it has been a wonderful life… so far.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Bonnie – that was a delightful story. It reminds me of the kind of setting used in cozy mysteries. You certainly could use it as a base for a series if you started earlier in their lives. The story has that light touch, yet plenty of space for drama. Nice!

      ~Anne

  11. MsGenuineLady

    Finally after serving 40 years in this call center prison, the time has come for me to retire. I am going to be a free woman. Free from the balls and chains of my desk and free from the walls of my small cubicle but most importantly free from the daily reminders of never being good enough in the eyes of my perfectionist boss Mr. Stevenson.

    My retirement party was coming to an end and I smiled as I slowly made my way to the podium, listening to the chant of my fellow co-workers “Speech, Speech, Speech“ they cheered in unison. Tears filled my eyes as I looked into the tired eyes of my co-workers, my friends and my cellmates because I knew they still had time yet to serve but there they sat with their brave faces on as they indulged into their cake and ice cream awaiting my final words.

    “Ah-hem“ I cleared my throat as I stepped up to the microphone.

    “I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to have had the privilege to have met and worked with each and every one of you…and well….. they say a picture says a thousand words so Mr. Stevenson this one….“ – SPLAAATTT!! I could barely see out my eyes through the cake and ice cream but it was enough to see the smiles on every single persons face except Mr. Stevenson`s who stood there mortified still holding on to what was left of the cake he threw at me as a life size photo of Mr. Stevenson taking a crap in the office garbage can was portrayed on the wall behind me. He knew I had that photo, he must have seen it coming, unlike the 30 plates of cake and ice cream that were now heading his direction. “I guess you are not so perfect yourself“ I said with smile as I licked the icing of my lips.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Very funny! I liked her compassion for her “cellmates”. That was a nice touch – their tired eyes. Funny about the photo! At first, I thought that the photo was iced onto the cake top, and he threw the cake at you because of that. But on second read I learned that the photo was on the wall behind you. Just a practical question – how was it that the boss hadn’t seen the photo before that moment, or the group hadn’t reacted to it? It’s a dilemma, unless he just walked in the room, or she pulled aside a curtain that was covering it. You still had about 150 words left, so you may want to consider a solution to that technical problem. Otherwise, a very enjoyable read.

      ~Anne

      1. MsGenuineLady

        Thank you for your comments and feedback, I appreciate it. I really like the idea of the photo iced on the top of the cake. The questions who ask are also great questions, perhaps I will focus on more detail in my next response and use the 500 words if needed of course.

        Thanks Again! 🙂

  12. elclipo

    I arrived at the office to be received by a mob yelling “Surprise!” to the top of their lungs. There were people from all departments, from manufacturing all the way up to the Executive Officers.

    The group parted like the Red Sea did for Moses revealing a large table. On it sat a wonderful red velvet cake. I would say it was a beautiful cake but any cake with my face on it cannot be called beautiful. Next to the cake was the ice cream and further left was an assortment of cookies. The group clapped as I admired the table arrangement then suddenly silenced. My supervisor came behind me and put a hand on my shoulder.

    “Hey bud!” he said. “How does it feel to be retiring?”

    “Feels great Bob.” I said with a smile.

    He turned and addressed the employees. “Help yourselves to cake and ice cream people. It’s time to celebrate.

    As the employees ate Bob’s secretary handed him a large plaque. He addressed the employees one more time and after reading the inscription on the plaque he shook my hand and handed it to me. I looked at the group, smiling, as flashes of light came from all directions. After he let go of my hand he gestured the employees to be quiet.

    “Paul was a great employee and will surely be missed.” He said. “Any words of encouragement to your coworkers Paul?”

    I waited a few seconds to let the clapping die down before I spoke.

    “Thanks for this honor.” I said. “I love spending time with all of you and will certainly miss you. What I will not miss is being ignored and worst of all being passed for promotions.” I put my hand on Bob’s shoulder. “Don’t be shy Bob. Why don’t you tell them your promotion criteria?” Bob stared at me in silence. “He uses a dart board. Piece of cake!” All of the employees started booing.

    Someone threw a piece of cake that landed on Bob’s chest. A ball of ice cream came a second later. Bob threw his cake aimlessly towards the employees hitting a table, splattering frosting all over the CEO. The room fell silent as the CEO wiped his suit then picked up his cake and threw it at Bob, hitting him in the face. That was all the employees needed and the massacre began. Cake, frosting, ice cream, and all sorts of flatware flew across the room towards Bob covering him from head to toe.

    I picked up the remainder of the cake from the table and crushed it on Bob’s face. “This is what I think of you Bob! What we all think of you!”

    I walked over to the CEO and shook his hand. “It was a pleasure working for you sir but I think is time to take out the trash.”

    “I agree,” he said. He looked at Bob and in his best Donald Trump impersonation he said, “Bob, you’re fired!”

    1. annefreemanimages

      elclipo: Enjoyed the read! nice detail, nice interaction between Paul and his boss in the beginning. Felt very natual and real. I liked the secret – that Bob picked his promotions with a dart board. Very creative! Too bad it’s only 500 words, because I would have enjoyed a few sentences of Bob reacting to his secret being revealed, the crowd processing the implications, and Bob trying to say something to get himself out of the jam he was in. That would have made the food fight following a more satisfying reaction, because we’d have more of a chance to feel what the rest of them were feeling. Will you post it on your site?

      ~Anne

      1. elclipo

        Thank you for the feedback. I’ve thought about posting a longer version of some of these prompts on my blog. I do have to do some heavy editing in order to make them fit within the 500 word limit here.

  13. Nevertoolate

    I was looking forward to the day I retired for a long time. I never thought it would come. I often thought about just plain quitting or doing something outrageous that would make them fire me and have to give me a big payout to keep me quiet.
    For 35 of my 40 years as an employee of Knuckledown Security I was perfectly happy. I was secretary or assistant to a series of bosses, most of who moved on to bigger and better jobs, elsewhere or up the ladder with the company. Then for the last five years I ‘put up with’ Mr. Bean who not only couldn’t keep his hands to himself, he threatened to scupper my retirement if I reported him to upper management. It was too much of a hassle for me to pursue this any further – it could end up in court, I’d be out of work and it was his word against mine. Eventually Mr. Bean and I came to an understanding; we tolerated each other and I took the attitude that “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t”. He was not popular with many other people in our department though. I was just biding my time and I let him know it.
    Since the mainstay of Knuckledown’s business was investigation and industrial spying for our clients both Mr. Bean and I were privy to information that was top secret and we had each signed non-disclosure agreements. So, although the employees mostly got on quite well together and were friendly with each other, we did not openly discuss the company’s or clients’ business.
    The company had arranged for a lovely 3-course dinner for my retirement with a big cake to follow that was inscribed “Happy Retirement Geraldine”. Then the President gave a little speech and presented me with the customary gold watch. I thanked him profusely. I was encouraged by a few of my colleagues to make a speech. I thanked them for their friendship and said how much I had appreciated the working life at Knuckledown. At this point the cake was being cut and distributed among all the tables. Mr. Bean was sitting at the same table as me and, while still talking, I picked up my piece of cake and squashed it in Mr. Bean’s face. At the same time I said, “I told you I would get you back one day, Darling”. I then told everyone “Feel free to join in – my husband has a sense of humour that it has taken five years for me to discover”. Nobody came away unscathed. All had cake, cream or icing on one or more parts of their body.
    I am thoroughly enjoying my retirement and Mr. Bean has now joined me.

  14. Bandrews

    Robert cleared his throat and adjusted his glasses on his thin, beak-like nose. He ran his fingers through his short, graying hair as his co-workers looked on expectantly. They had gathered in the break room. Lunch had been provided for his retirement party. He had been waiting forty years for this day, and now was his chance. Mr. Brown the chief editor, stood in the back with a smile. He had no idea that today was his undoing!
    “It’s been a good run, everybody!” Polite applause met Robert’s words. “I suppose this is the part where I’m supposed to reflect on the highlights of my years as editor for ‘Wildlife Today.’ Drone on about the peaks and valleys of working for one of the largest outdoor magazines in the country? No, no. I’ve got something much more interesting planned.”
    A murmur ran through the small group. Mr. Brown’s smile had fallen and his dark eyes narrowed. He opened his mouth to speak, but Robert cut him off.
    “See, I’ve been wondering about something. How is it that our magazine has managed to dominate the market so completely? How is it that our information is so accurate when we don’t employ anyone on this staff who, if I’m not mistaken, has ever even gone camping?”
    A few of the employees exchanged words. A few curious glances and nods of agreement here and there. Mr. Brown had begun to move for the door when Robert leveled his finger accusingly.
    “That is because Mr. Brown is a bear!”
    There was silence. Mr. Brown had frozen halfway to the door. All eyes turned to look at the eight-hundred pound ursine inexplicably dressed in a tailored suit. Mr. Brown turned his massive head toward Robert and growled.
    “Oh, don’t you talk to me like that! You may have fooled everybody else on the staff, fleabag, but not me! I’ve known since the day you hired me! Did you honestly think you could get away with it? A bear living among humans? It’s unnatural!”
    Mr. Brown drew himself up to his full height of six foot, standing about on the level with the age-yellowed refrigerator in the back of the break room, doing his level best to look intimidating.
    “None of you ever noticed! Not a one! Haven’t you ever wondered why the only lunches the company ever paid for were honey, salmon and berries? All the time! Or why the head offices are in Yellowstone? It’s obv-”
    Slap! A large salmon hit Robert in the face, knocking him over on his backside. Mr. Brown slowly raised his paw to his muzzle, licking the delicious salmon juices from his claws. He looked about at the assembled employees, who were speechless. Robert slowly found his feet, grabbing the fish by the tail and scowling.
    “It’s on, throw-rug!”
    Mr. Brown seized another fish from the large platter on the table beside him, roaring a challenge. The two rushed at one another, fish raised high and poised to strike.

      1. Bandrews

        Thank you very much, Anne! Honestly, I missed the “massive” part of the food fight, so I kind of ended up red-faced there. Still, for writing it quickly, I think it went all right. Not my best, certainly.

  15. suzannew

    I hate being the center of attention and I just knew that I was going to be asked to say a few words at my retirement farewell. So many decisions: what to wear, what to say, my head was swimming. Why should this be so tough? After all, I’ve worked with these people for nearly 40 years.

    “Parting is such sweet sorrow,” well, that’s not true, I can’t wait to get the hell out of here and away from the micro management of my manager who is the same age as my youngest son. I need to think of another opening line. Could I just get by with a smile? Maybe I could fake being overcome with emotions and unable to speak. No, I had to get to the task of writing at least a few words of parting and I pressed the remote on the blaring television.

    As my manager bent over the richly decorated cake that was ordered by one of her minions, picked up by another, and paid for from the company “slush” fund, she lavishly placed the cake on the conference room table as if to say, “See what a terrific Manager I am.” I was overcome by emotion all right as I placed my hand on the back of her dark, curly, Velcro like hair and shoved her head into the center of the cake.

    It was worth the 35 years of corporate bullying just to see the shocked look on her reddened face covered in butter cream icing.

    “Yes, I’m going to miss all of you so terribly much,” I mused to myself, especially seeing my Manager, Betsy in the most awkward un-lady like predicament. Was she sending me off or was I making a mockery of her management skills? She couldn’t breath, she gasped with arms flapping in thin air while trying to reach for a napkin. My co-workers were unsure whether to laugh or hand her a napkin and simply looked on with astonishment.

    Instead of finding a napkin or something to clean the icing from her eyes, Betsy grabbed a handful of cake and flung it randomly into the onlookers. Chocolate cake laden with the sweet, gooey roses landed on the CEO’s designer framed glasses.

    Not to be outdone, the mailroom clerk scooped up a glob of cake and hurled it toward one of the administrative assistants who he had been trying to woo for months. Shock filled the crowd like an ocean wave. Was this a new trend in retirement sendoffs?

    I could hear a distant phone ringing. Was the ringing from my soon to be replaced cubicle? It was my home phone. Where was I? Oh, what a dream! No speech was necessary for tomorrow; I’ve just said it all.

    1. DRoberts

      Suzannew,
      I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Excellent writing. I loved this character and how you portrayed her feelings in a realistic and non-melodramatic way. What a surprise at the end when we find out that she was playing out her retirement party in her mind. I laughed at: I was overcome by emotion all right…. and shoved her face into the center of the cake. That description of action was great and written just right. As a reader, I appreciate that you made sure there were no misspelled words, etc. It made the reading of your story enjoyable. It is apparent that you took the time to revise and made sure it was your best work before posting it. Also, your writing style is a good example of less is more. The only suggestion I would make is giving your main character a name. Great story, great read.

        1. suzannew

          Thank you so much for your kind words! I am a technical writer by trade and really struggle when writing fiction that it’s too abbreviated. Thanks again, I truly appreciate your feedback.

          1. DRoberts

            You’re welcome. I agree that short stories are a challenge because of the word count limitation. If you’re not already, you should try writing a novel. It allows you more room to develop your main character and to build a more complex plot. The character in your short story could be someone you could build a story around. I got a good feel for her personality and sense of humor. You could expand on that. Maybe, after her retirement she ends up doing something out of character that lands her in some kind of trouble?? Have you read the books by Sophie Littlefield? She’s a new author that came on the scene two years ago. The title to her two books are: A Bad Day for Sorry and A Bad Day for Pretty, in that order. Your character kind of reminds me of the main character Stella Hardesty in Littlefield’s books. These books are classified as mystery and can be found at Barnes & Noble. They’re very good because of the humor, suspense and Stella herself. Just food for thought.

  16. sanchez0210

    Balloons hung around the room like bubbles in the sea, itching to escape. I felt my skin give way to goose-bumps as they brought out the cake. I could barely breathe, the room seemed suffocating. Waves of anxiety almost rendered me to my knees. It was my retirement party, my moment of freedom, but I still felt like a prisoner locked behind the truth.
    I had spent countless hours behind my desk, trying to think up the next big slogan or the commercial that people will talk about for years, crafting the idea to perfection. I missed dinners with my family; I missed school plays, first kisses and broken hearts. I traded them in for money. I never thought to regret it until that one horrible night 20 years ago. I made a decision that would haunt me for the rest of my life, a decision that robbed my soul for a company that robbed my life.
    The sound of a champagne bottle bursting open centered my thoughts back to here and now. Margret was holding up champagne flutes by the “Congratulations” banner in the Conference room. I was holding a paper plate with a piece of cake – a fork stabbing the heart of the raspberry filling. I didn’t even know how it got there; my mind was so far away. If my co-workers knew what I knew they wouldn’t be smiling, passing around drinks and reiterating what an asset I had to been to the Company. Countless people patting me on the back telling me what a great job I’ve done, but they didn’t know the truth. I was at the top of the food chain, preparing myself for a drop.
    “Excuse me everybody” I said, my strong voice slicing through the chatter of everyone in the room. “I would like to make a speech, my last speech. Consider it the last meeting I will lead that you would have to dread through!” I can hear my voice conveying my guilt flawlessly. Giggles floated around the room.
    “Bill, please, those weren’t SO awful, I think mine are worse!” Greg, the President of the Company, chimed in from the back of the room. His smile was so wide and dead at the same time.
    “Throughout my 40 years at this Company, I have sacrificed a life for a passion that harbored my soul and challenged my mind. I had a chance to meet with wonderful people who demonstrated their dedication to the Company repeatedly and strived to make us the #1 Marketing Agency in the Nation. It is with great sorrow that I leave my position today. Before I depart, there is something all of you must know…” Before I knew what I was saying the worlds were falling out of my mouth like vomit.
    “Twenty years ago Greg and I stayed late working on a project. It was around 11:00pm that Stanley showed up, aggressive and drunk. As some of you may know, Stanly was a Manager with big ideas and a big heart.”
    Greg seemed strapped to his chair. I suspected him to lunge at me, but he seemed immobile. His legs were shaking and the color was drained from his face.
    “He was family man, well appreciated, and well respected. Greg and I were the last people to see him alive.”
    Complete silence stung the room. Glances were being shot from one employee to the other like firearms.
    “You see, me and Greg helped mold this Company, but when the desire to obtain all power takes over a mind, a corruption begins to unwind from inside. We stole clients from hundreds of companies, we stole employees and we stole money. Greg and I were the ultimate thieves; deception had become a part of our blood. Yes, fellow workers, we even stole from you. Stanley, the intelligent man that he was, figured out our schemes. He busted open through the office doors drunk and threatened to bring down our empire of millions. We killed him that night, wrapped the phone cord around his neck and strangled him until he no longer had any breath to utter our secrets.”
    Employees backed away, fearful and in disbelief. I was a murderer. My mind had been stuck within a prison of its own every dreadful day after that night. I wanted to be punished, I deserved it.
    My eyes shift to the back of the room, Greg sprung toward me, his face full of red,red rage. He threw tables up, coming in my direction, food flying everywhere. Employees were screaming, some were running. Most stayed to watch the show, curiosity overpowering fears. Before I knew it my feet were knocked from under me and Greg’s fist was clashing with my jaw, my cheeks, and my nose. No one dared pulled him off and I didn’t dare fight back. I was tired. I let him hit me until my world turned black.

    Feedback appreciated.

    1. annefreemanimages

      A powerful story. I really liked how you presented his dread in the beginning: the word coming out like vomit, the fork stabbing the rasberry center of the cake. That was neat. What a revelation! And what a great take on the food fight!

      ~Anne

  17. neonpen

    The moment that I waited so longingly for had finally come. It was finally time to retire after forty years of toiling at the underwater basket weaving company. During those arduous years, I must have weaved at least a million or two baskets. It is only fair, then, that my farewell party summarizes my contributions to the company in equal measure by providing ice cream and cake as a symbolic recompense. I received no ornate watch, emerald plaque, or check for appreciation of my long years of service. Ice cream and cake was all I got in return for my trouble. And trouble, indeed.
    I tapped my glass to get the attention of my soon to be former colleagues and supervisors. I looked around the room and saw that some were still wearing their diving suits, dripping ocean water onto the floor into puddles. Where was Shirley? She needed to hear this most of all.
    “Thank you for coming out to this wonderful farewell. As you all know, I enjoyed working with all of you over the years. But as all good things must come to an end, I now begin life anew. “
    The crowd nodded in approval, smiles abounded. Cake was being stuffed into mouths and ice cream melted in unattended bowls.
    “We have accomplished so much together, haven’t we? Remember, John, when you and I accidentally entered into brackish water and the adhesive we used to mend our bamboo strips was made inert due to the varying saline concentrations?” Everyone laughed uncontrollably. That saline can be tricky to master at times.
    And then, I poked the embers. “But best of all, remember when we found out that Shirley couldn’t swim? A brick could swim with more finesse and agility than Shirley could any day!”
    Silence erupted. No one dared to speak. I knew that it was only a rumor that Shirley, our boss, could not swim. It was unfathomable to believe that the very person in charge of the entire department could not swim. If one could not swim, one could not weave. This was treason. And I enjoyed every moment.
    “So,” Mary asked, “are you saying Shirley cannot swim?”
    “Yes. Shirley cannot swim. I assure you that this is a fact.”
    At that precise moment, Shirley entered the room. She was holding a glass of soda in one hand and a plate of cake in the other. She was completely unaware that she had just entered a hostile environment. But she was soon to be informed.
    Everyone turned to look at Shirley. Without hesitation, dozens of projectiles began to fly in trajectory to Shirley’s face.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hi Neonpen. I was intrigued by the work that they were doing in the story. Is it a real thing? Sadly, because I didn’t know enough about the work – weaving baskets underwater – I didn’t make the connection as to why they would be so angry that Shirly couldn’t swim. You did say it was treason, but I didn’t know what it was the case. Forgive me if I’m totally misreading this!

      ~Anne

      1. neonpen

        Thank you for your thoughts, Anne. Underwater basket weaving is not a real occupation. I only used the idiom for comedic purposes. I got the idea because I just completed a course in college that was no more helpful to me than weaving baskets underwater.

    2. jhennigan

      I liked this a lot. In addition to not being able to swim being treason, I loved the other anecdote with saline and adhesive. That little touch of insider jargon went a long way.

  18. jmiff328

    The cake wasn’t that great, but what did I expect after forty years of service? I have become somewhat of a cake coinsure, with all the old men and women retiring, or more accurately, running away from this place now that the youngsters are ruining it.

    “All right everyone, back to work now. Bill has some work to do before he gets out of here I think.”

    I shook my head. I couldn’t even enjoy this nasty cake without this thirty-something creep telling me what to do. I’ve been thinking about what I could do when I left for some time. I had it narrowed down to, taking a leak in the creep’s office, or putting some of my extra-strength laxative in his food. This cake has given me the perfect opportunity.

    I packed the rest of the sheet cake, pulled out the pill bottle and opened a few capsules onto the top of the cake then cut a small piece and walked it to the creep’s door.

    I knocked quietly, reinforcing the image of the poor old man to him. “Come in!” came his yell from the other side of the door. I obliged and stepped into an L shaped room with one side filled by a desk with file cabinets. The other side was taken up by a putting green. The Creep was sitting on the front of his desk spinning a putter in his hands. His shoes were off and the room smelled like feet. Ugh.

    I put on a smile “I brought you some cake boss.”

    His nose instinctively turned up at the grocery store masterpiece. “Uh, thanks Bill but I just had sushi.”

    “It would mean a lot to me if you would have some.” I said

    “Ok Bill, but you can’t say I’ve never done anything for you.”

    “Never Sir.”

    I left the man alone to enjoy his cake and went back to my desk. A short time later, my boss ran out of his office heading for the restrooms. His face was red and sweat was pouring from his body in buckets. Everyone in the office slowly turned their heads and raised their eyebrows. Quiet mummers and short giggles escaped into the air.

    When the Creep came out he was furious. He stared me down the entire walk back to his office. I briefly wondered how he knew it was me, but I figured he had the time to piece it together while on the pot. He went into his office but left the door open. I couldn’t see inside sue to the blinds being closed but soon enough he came out carrying the rest of the cake.

    “You son of a bitch!” He yelled and threw cake at my head. I managed to duck and miss most of it but a loose piece caught on my cheek. Somewhere, someone in the office laughed and then was joined by many others. Soon even the Creep let a smile slither onto his snake face. That smile turned into a knee slapping laugh that sounded like a wild animal caught in a trap.

    The smell hit me before anyone else, even the Creep. Everyone else was still laughing when the smell leaked around to their noses. The Creep looked at me with hate in his eyes and said, “This won’t be the last time we see each other Bill.”

    I nodded my head as I watched him make another run to the bathroom. I left that day with cake on my face, but happiness in my heart.

  19. tmarsden68

    The charade was about to end. Relief and fear battled. How would they react? Would they understand? God, I hope so. Here it goes.

    “You know I hate attention, but thank you al.” My voice was monotone and crackly. The thump of my heart was distracting. Garth Benson looked nervous and sickly.

    “As you know, I’ve dedicated my life to Welmark, Incorporated. It’s vision. Its customers. And you, the employees. I hope I made good decisions over the years.” I struggled to speak.

    “But one decision I made 25 years ago, I deeply regret.” Puzzled looks swept across the room. “As you know, Garth Benson took the reigns as CEO of Welmark in 1987. Or at least that’s what we led you to believe.” Garth moved toward the podium.

    “But, Garth Benson never actually worked for Welmark. I never worked for Garth. He actually worked for me.” Confused murmurs spilled over the room.

    “In 1987, the Board selected me to run Welmark, but I wasn’t sure I could handle it. After fifteen years, I knew the business well. But I feared the responsibility. I feared failure. I feared losing touch with all of you. But I wanted the job badly, so I accepted it under one condition. The Board allowed me to bring in a phony CEO. An actor, for lack of a better word, to assume the CEO position but without any real authority.” The silence was thick.

    “Since 1987, I’ve been the one running Welmark. Meanwhile, Garth has dutifully taken the heat for my decisions. When we laid off 200 employees in 1996, Garth shielded me from the fire of my decision. When we bet heavy on mortgage backed securities 2005 and suffered major losses in 2008, you were rightfully upset. But at the wrong man.”

    “At the time, my idea seemed brilliant. I could make tough decisions without personally paying the consequences. But over the years, I felt more and more like a coward.”

    The crowd became agitated. Anger and confusion fueled the room. They felt betrayed and bewildered. What was going to happennow? Who was going to lead them?

    “So with my retirement, as you probably guessed, Garth Benson is also retiring. My replacement, Jeffrey Stone, will take over as CEO.” Stone nodded in agreement. He had been made aware of the situation when he accepted my position. Benson, Stone and I stood together in a show of unity. But the crowd was about to turn.

    I didn’t see the first piece of cake, but it hit me square in the face. Frosting stung my eyes. For the next sixty seconds a barrage of cake, punch, cups, plates and forks pelted us like a fierce wind. When I was finally able to open my eyes, the crowd was exiting in a furor. They hated me, but I was finally free.

    Comments appreciated.

  20. Icabu

    Pitre’s gnarled hands ached as he stacked the last of the canned tomatoes on the shelf. After forty years, retirement beckoned to Pitre. Surah baked him a cake and they opened the last carton of ice cream to eat with it. Surah had worked the cash drawer since she was fourteen and wore her hair in pigtails. Her brother Bashar unloaded the trucks and swept. The store had never made enough money to allow any of them to leave the desolate countryside for greener pastures. The storeowner’s tight purse strings saw to that.

    Ever optimistic, Bashar brought out his guitar, singing gaily. Falling under the young man’s spell, Pitre took Surah and danced around the shelves of groceries. For a short while, the desperation of their lives gave way to the spontaneous joy.

    Soon, the music and laughter filtering from the store attracted more of the townspeople. The small store filled with dancers, clappers, and merriment. Surah’s cake disappeared quickly, but Pitre withheld a small piece for Lilyth. The young girl swayed and dipped, dragging her clubfoot and clapping with her stump arm. Pitre hugged the child, feeling her mirth behind her chocolate smeared face.

    Hating himself, Pitre rang the service bell he kept by the checkout counter. Everyone quieted. “Thank you, all, for making this last day so delightful. It’s with a heavy heart that I must inform everyone that the store will be closed after today.” The gasps and moans of his neighbors saddened Pitre. “The owners are not seeing enough profit here and will no longer provide stock to sell. They have found riches in selling arms and drugs and are no longer in the grocery business.”

    Drained to his soul, Pitre shuffled to his cot in the back of the storeroom. The commotion began as he lay down. Where his neighbors had laughed and danced moments before, they now shoved and struck as each fought for every scrap of food they could carry.

    Pain deeper than the tumors consuming his body tore at Pitre as he listened to the townspeople ravage the store he’d labored and sweated in for forty years. Their shouts and screams pierced him. He shivered when he heard the glass window break. There would be nothing left, he knew – for anyone here. With a shuddering sigh, he closed his eyes.

    1. jhennigan

      Wow. I love your take on the food fight element here. When I was young the famine in Somalia was all over the news and there was a clip of people fighting over food at some sort of aid drop off that made me sad in a way that I can’t really put into words. So yeah, that image pushed my buttons. Also contrasting this with the one you posted before with Herman and all the puns on character names shows a lot of range.

      1. Icabu

        As a guest in some ‘third world’ countries, I’ve seen incidents similar to what you mentioned. Providing humanitarian aid was both satisfying and deeply painful at the same time – as you said, beyond words.
        Thanks for the feedback. I challenged myself to write both ends of the scale for this prompt.

          1. Icabu

            A lot of intense, unforgettable images leaving indelible impressions to draw from. Thanks for the feedback.

    2. sprattcm

      I really enjoyed this one. I can only reiterate what’s already been said: Life leading up to and beyond retirement doesn’t always look like what we most often think of, and your treatment of the food fight was both startling and obvious in a way that challenges the way we see the world.

      That being said, I do arrive at the end with a couple questions. I can see that the form of these prompts engenders peculiarities like the need to be terse and economical yet still try and cover the same ground you might in a longer piece.

      That being said, I am wondering about Lilyth. She has a clubfoot AND a stump arm. Calling attention to both of these in the same sentence without some deeper connection to the story leaves me feeling like there’s a checkmark in the box next to “Token Crippled Girl” on the cast list. A girl dancing with either of those ailments might accomplish the expression of joy in the face of poverty that I think you’re going for, though with more subtlety.

      Similarly, the mention of Pitre’s tumors in the final paragraph opens a door that we never go through. Might I suggest that an earlier mention of Pitre’s tumor pain (perhaps resulting in his forced retirement) could help complete a narrative circle? When I first read this, it felt as if you blighted Pitre with tumors for the purpose of establishing his credibility in feeling pain. If we learn that he is retiring early because he has cancer, then later when you use the pain of the tumors to analogize the pain he feels about his town’s abject destitution, we have a visceral handle on his capacity to feel pain and the detail feels organic rather than forced.

      All that being said, thank you for taking the time to submit this. Take what I say with a grain of salt, because I’ve been out of the writing groove for a long time and the writing muscles are rusty, so i could have no idea what I’m talking about.

      -Chris

      1. Icabu

        Wow – I appreciate your thorough critique of this story. Yes, the 500 word limit does force painful omittance of desired details. As for Lilyth, she is patterned after many, many children in desolate areas I saw – many of the crippled, due to non-existent prenatal care & poor nutrition, had additional injuries because they rummaged for souvenirs and such since they could not run/play with ‘normal’ kids, routinely tripping booby traps. Nothing ‘token’ about them. Pitre’s tumors are as routine as age spots, which were also not mentioned – both were lived with & dealt with as much as the rest of the desolation. I compared Pitre’s internal pains to the pains eating away at his town – both terminal with no aid in sight and neither given second thoughts.
        Thanks for the thoughtful input.

  21. Chilo

    “Congratulations!”
    Everyone cheered as I stepped into the staff lounge. All kinds of faces stared at me. Their little twinkly eyes and recently whitened teeth suffocated me. My only salvation is the ridiculously huge banner’s reminder that it has been 40 years of the same job. God only knows I’m ready to retire. My coworkers: all glad to take some time off from their duties by throwing this party with cake and ice cream, the whole bit.
    “Speech! Speech! Speech!”
    Of course it was going to come to this. I might as well join the festivities and take this opportunity to thank everyone for their ongoing reminder of the end of the line, but I’m not going down alone.
    “I’d like to thank each and every one of you for this joyous occasion. You don’t know how much it means to me to know there are people who will miss me.”
    “Ahh, chucks!”
    “Keep going Alexis!”
    “Nevertheless, I want to repay you by telling a story; please, bear with me.”
    I looked around the room and I spotted him. How fitting it all seemed.
    “There was a time that I believed everybody’s business was their own, until Facebook showed up and taught me otherwise. Learning to Google and all that has brought to my attention certain events I would rather forget… events where a certain individual posted photos of himself spanking a life size gorilla doll.”
    Suddenly, the room fell quiet and all eyes met mine. It was not easy standing in front of everyone who confided in me for the past years, but this dark secret must be told.
    “That individual is Mr. Ryan, our boss.”
    They all turned to witness the reddening cheeks of Mr. Ryan. In turn, he threw a sandwich in my direction. However, it hit the person in front of me. She turned and threw something back and everyone started a massive food fight. Only the sound of sirens echoing in the distance broke it up.
    They found Mr. Ryan’s body covered in lettuce, cream, and other pastries. If only my coworkers knew the truth. Mr. Ryan was not the sort of man to offend anybody, but it gave me great satisfaction to see he get his “just desserts” for making me retire before my prime.

    1. jhennigan

      Chilo, I like this but it felt like it was building to something that never materialized. I am going to assume that Mr. Ryan did in fact die, and I’m fine with that, because screw that guy. The narrator seems to have a lot of contempt for him. I guess something to think about would be making the secret something more deserving of death than spanking a life size gorilla doll. I dunno. It felt like you started with a disgruntled employee, then the secret was sort of funny, but then it got dark…unless I just misunderstood.

      1. Chilo

        No, Mr. Ryan did not die. Maybe left unconscious, but if I were to continue, other employees would meet the same fate.
        I was just trying something new: a bit of humor and darkness combined. The good thing is that it’s a draft and there are so many ways to go!
        Thanks for the feedback =)

  22. catbr

    So it’s finally happening. My last day of work. Hurray! I can hardly wait to get out of this dump. I’m finally going to have all my time to myself. Forty long years, and not much thanks for all the hard work and overtime I put into this place. Yeah, I sure won’t miss this place at all.

    “Could you come in here for a few minutes Erin?” The words jolted me out of my “reminiscing”. Bossy’s voice has never lost the ability to grate on my nerves, like the sound of fingernails being scraped across a blackboard.

    “Be right there Reginald.” Trying to sound attentive, I walk into his office.

    “So, how are you today? Looks like this is your last day. What have you got planned for the rest of your life?” Reginald laughs.

    “Not much. Just a lot of relaxing at first I guess.”

    “It’s too bad about your leaving us. We’re all going to miss you around here. You always were such a good listener and could cheer everyone up all the time.”

    “Oh, you don’t have to say that.” What a jerk you are Reggie. A real slave driver among other things. I wonder what everybody would think if they found out about your dirty little secret.

    “Well you just take it easy today and don’t do much of anything. When the day’s over the office is going to throw you a nice little party. That’ll be fun, won’t it?” With a big stupid grin on Reginald’s face he says this, like I’m supposed to bow down and kiss his …

    “Yeah. I’m sure it will be. See you later.” I leave his office and do exactly that. I spend the rest of the day talking to everybody and have a nice lunch with my co-workers. But in the back of my mind I can’t help thinking about of how much of a jerk my boss is and what he did a couple of years back. I had always kept it a secret because I didn’t want to lose my job.

    “Hey everybody gather round.” There’s that annoying voice of his again. “Erin why don’t you get up here and give us a farewell speech.” Reginald gives me a smirk and a wink. Hey Reggie why don’t you go to hell I think to myself. With everyone’s cheers and applause I regretfully make my way up to the fancy lace lined table where the cake and the ice cream are nicely displayed.

    “Thankyou Reginald for asking me up here to say a speech. I’ve worked here for 40 years and I thought I’d seen it all, but then you dear Reginald took over running this office. You always liked telling everybody that you couldn’t give them the raise that they deserved because things were a little tight. Maybe next year, but next year never came.” I looked at Reginald. He was looking a little nervous and sweaty.

    “Guess I surprised you that evening a couple of years back when you thought you were here all alone looking at the computer screen planning your big company rip-offs for you and your little tart. You promised me then that you’d stop what you were doing if I’d only keep this a secret. Well the cat’s out of the bag now and so am I, out of here.”

    I couldn’t believe what I did next. I took the huge carton of ice cream from the table and turned it upside down on top of Reginald’s head. I couldn’t believe how good that felt. Others in the office were looking quite stunned and then started throwing their cake at him. What a mess! Things were way out of hand.

    I knew now that things would be better for the hardworking honest people who worked here. Laughing to myself looking at the crying, cake and ice cream covered mess of Reginald, I knew my job here was done and I could retire in peace.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hi Catbr. I enjoyed the character’s mental commentary. My one suggestion is that when he picks up the ice cream and dumps it on the boss’ head, don’t pull the punch by saying, “I can’t believe what I did next.” It’s believable – he’d held onto this secret for years and now he just let it rip because there was no longer a reason to hold it in. So you can just let that scene rip. Get into the action. Then, in the last paragraph, you can have him reflect on on good it felt and the job being done. just a thought.

      ~Anne

  23. annefreemanimages

    “Take the Bull by the Horns”
    A Rett Bonneville Story
    By Anne M. Freeman©

    I paused after performing a somber song, tuning my guitar to create some emotional space for the audience prior to starting the next song in my set. Then I stepped up to the mike.

    “This is a story song about a lovely old lady I met in the Cayman Islands. She’d lived in luxury there for 30 years. It was a soft, breezy night, the kind that urges you to tell stories about your life to strangers. Her name was Charlene. She was a secretary during the era when ‘moving up’ meant ‘on your back,’ she told me with a laugh. She’d slept with her boss until he was the CEO of a big company and she was his executive secretary. This is her story about the big retirement party her boss threw her on the day she retired.

    “Ridin’ the Bull”
    By Rett Bonneville

    Opening Chorus
    Well, I rode him high
    And I rode him low
    I rode him up to the top
    And life sure felt like a rodeo
    Until the day that it stopped

    Verse 1
    That was the day Miss Hot Stuff was hired
    So young and bleached and plumped
    And though I retained my desk at his door
    I was without question, trumped

    Soon after her, Miss Buxom appeared
    Hot Stuff was suddenly bumped
    And each after Buxom had tried for the ring
    Until their ambitions were dumped

    Chorus
    Well, you rode him high
    And you rode him low
    And you tried to ride to the top
    But then you fell like a rodeo
    And that was the day it all stopped

    (“Charlene said, ‘By then, the women in the room were wide-eyed and horrified. Someone whispered, Bitch!’ Charlene then turned on the men.”)

    Verse 2
    Hey High Achiever, you know that proposal
    The boss said the board had it shelved?
    Backstabber grabbed it and took all the credit
    But Backstabber tumbled as well

    Landshark, you come up with numbers and schemes
    So the company profits would swell
    But one day the profits just disappeared
    And like all the others, you fell

    Chorus
    You rode with him high
    And you with rode him low
    And you tried to ride to the top
    But then you fell like a rodeo
    And that was the day it all stopped

    (“Charlene then said, ‘There were red and white faces everywhere. A lamb chop winged across the room and hit Miss Buxom in her face, smearing her make-up as it slid down between her breasts in her low cut dress. Suddenly, food missiles flew in every direction, accompanied by yells, shouts, and growls. The boss had disappeared. Charlene slid out the door to the kitchen, hoping to quickly reach her car and drive off. Just outside the back door, however, her boss’ limousine sat, the engine running. Her former boss opened the back door and waived for Charlene to get in, grinning.’ ”)

    Verse 3
    He said, Charlene, after all of these years
    You’re the only one I still respect
    Come to the Caymans, run off with me
    And I said to him … oh, what the heck

    ###

      1. rob akers

        My weekly Rett fix. I like how she is the faciliator and brings the two people together in her unique way. You do a great job of keeping her consistant. I also love how you work a song into your writting. You are teaching me how to pull this off. Thanks.

        1. annefreemanimages

          Glad to be of help, Rob. Looking forward to see how you work it out with a song. I remember you mentioned that with the bar fight story, too. One of these days, a song is going to show up in your prompt!

          Thanks, ~Anne

  24. jhennigan

    COMMENTS WELCOME, AS ALWAYS

    The food fight had become something like the sugar-water baths winning players gave their coach at the end of a championship. Everyone knew it was coming, but it was considered bad form to let on that you knew.
    Over the years, what had been spontaneous had to be codified. Goggles and ponchos were handed out at the door. Human resources sent an email that was close to a hundred words long and concluded with the command to “have fun!”
    I had been there from the beginning, and I knew what was expected of me. I always had.
    I surveyed the crowd of about 150 in the rented hall. A woman young enough to be my granddaughter lost her footing in the thick blue tarp that the company supplied to the venue. There were only three people whose name I knew, a handful more whose faces I remembered seeing before, and a teeming mass of nameless, faceless up-and-comers.
    Many of the young ones had followed the letter of the dress code while mocking the spirit. There were men in fedoras and women in denim. Their hair was meticulously crafted to appear out of place. I had made such gestures once.
    I stepped to the microphone, checking the button on the back of my poncho one last time. I looked out over the joyless ovation standing on plastic hoping that I looked sincere. When the crowd was quiet I spoke.
    “In 1994,” I began. “Before many of you were born.” I paused for laughs.
    “I sent my resume to a little start-up company called Organic Information Systems.”
    Some hoots and hollers.
    “I interviewed with a guy named George.”
    George started the company with assets that he had to fight to unfreeze after serving a year for perjury.
    “And George talked to me about dreams.”
    George made me take three different polygraph tests.
    “George said that there were two kinds of people in this world.”
    George held off an inquiry long enough for me to erase my research and shred my documents.
    “George was a man of principle.”
    I had to cancel a family vacation to testify before Congress.
    “There is no one in this world I trust more than George Nichols.”
    I raised a champagne flute and was mimicked by 150 others.
    “And there is no greater company to give the last 40 years of my life to than OIS.”
    Most, if not all of the people in front of me would be out of work within a year.
    “So raise your glasses.”
    A few would almost certainly be in prison.
    “And in the tradition started 35 years ago by genius, innovator, friend–George Nichols–at his own retirement…”
    George left the company to me and my partner and fled to Nicaragua.
    “….food fight!”
    Twenty minutes later, I shed my cake splattered poncho and slipped outside to hail a cab, having done all I could.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Interesting. I liked the contrast between what he said and what he knew in his head. And the “food fight” statement at the end ws great. I think I would have liked the narrator to have done some act – I have no idea what, that was as powerful as the story was, rather than just leaving. Maybe something like, they’d all read the e-mail he sent to them before closing up shop that would clue them in to the impending disaster and give them a chance to protect themselves – something like that? Maybe he sent the e-mail from an Internet Cafe using a made-up hotmail account that spilled the beans on the crummy boss? That would have been as powerful an act as was the dialogue going on in his mind, as it seemed he cared. Just a thought.

      ~Anne

    2. JR MacBeth

      Well told! Clearly, this writer would have made excellent use of a larger word allocation. 500 words goes way too fast. I was sort of picturing bits and pieces of that movie, “The Informer”. Great job!

    3. sanchez0210

      Interesting take on this story. I liked how the reader was able to know his true thoughts, it made for a vivid picture of hypocrisy at its finest. Well done!

  25. Icabu

    It looked like the spiked punch was beginning to work. Herman sat back and listened to giggles begin to erupt around the conference table. After forty years of (somewhat) dedicated service, he wasn’t going out with a boring retirement party like poor old George had two weeks ago.

    As a present to himself, Herman stood, a little unsteadily, and clanked his fork on his plastic punch cup. The dull thump did little to capture the attention of the steadily growing rowdier table. He cleared his throat, twice, launching into a phlegmy cough. Catching his breath, he finally had some of the group’s attention.

    Herman remained quiet while several people clapped before he even started his speech. He bowed to them and almost tipped into his styrofoam cake plate.

    “I’d like to announce, just moments prior to my departure to the warm beaches of Retirement City, FL, how to have an illustrious, lengthy career at Do It To Us, Incorporated. Like many of you, I started in the trenches and worked my way up that golden ladder.” He paused for a few whistles and catcalls. “Then, about ten years ago, I found that the most comfortable, profitable, and rewarding position to be over, under, and (sometimes) behind Mrs. Standoffisch, our lusty company President. Cheers!”

    The silence was broken by CFO Mr. Moneypenny’s fist slamming on the table. In his unexpected inebriated state, his hand hit the rim of his plate and launched the remains of his uneaten cake, soggy with melted vanilla ice cream, into Executive Administrator Miss Twinnpeek’s bosom. Her scream pierced through the low-keyed murmuring. Jumping from her seat, her cup of punch, recently filled by Mailroom Manager Mr. Dedletter, flew straight into Human Resources manager Mrs. Firenhire’s lap. From a long-standing feud between the two ladies, the soused Firenhire threw her remaining cake at Twinnpeek. Dedletter, who’s crush on Twinnpeek kept him loyal, joined the fray and shoved Firenhire’s face in her untouched plate of spongy cake. Customer Service Manager Don T’Cair, with a flair for Firenhire, jumped upon the table and tossed the remaining cake atop the mailman’s head.

    Grinning with foolish glee, Herman took Sharen Standoffisch’s hand. “Shall we retire to your office for one last locked-door meeting?”

    With a brief glance back at the cake and ice cream wrestling match atop the conference table involving most of her management team, Sharen put her arm around Herman’s waist and strode with him to her corner office. “We’re really going to miss you around here.”

      1. rob akers

        Who says they can’t continue to get their freak on after he leaves. A good twist would have been if his wife was present but he didnt know it, or her husband was in the office waiting on them. Good Job overall.

        I accidently posted this on the wrong post. sorry

  26. bobp

    Last night, was the last time I would ever go to work, I retired. The company gave me a very nice retirement dinner, and everyone chipped in with a giant cake shaped like a big flat screen TV, and the best Honey Hut ice cream sundaes for everyone. The party was going well, maybe a little too well. Food, cake and ice cream were not the only things served. The bar was very generous.

    I was the company’s first employee, and so I knew everyone’s secretes, even George’s. George is the founder of Innovation, Inc., a creative think tank. I was the chief engineer, at least the oldest and as such looked everywhere for ideas. I looked in all of the usual places, libraries, newspapers, books, the internet, and some not so ethical places, (Phone calls, eaves dropping, gossip, etc.) As I said, I knew just about everything about everyone. I was generous with my work, so if I found a good idea in someone else’s dirty laundry I gave them credit, and if the secrets were best kept private, they were.

    This worked out quite well because everyone else did their share of dumpster diving too. It was a great game and we had a lot of fun. Everyone, that is, except George. He was the most sour, taciturn person you ever met. The kind who, when you said “Good Morning”, would growl back “Bah Humbug”, and leave you gaping with awe and vehemence that he put into his voice. Don’t get me wrong George was a great person to work for, he paid well, respected you, and the work environment was great, he was just a sour puss. So when I discovered his secret he told me that if I ever told anyone he would fire me on the spot. Well now was my chance. I couldn’t be fired, and I just had let it out, no matter what the consequences.

    After they brought out the cake and served the sundaes, I stood up, took a long sip of my drink, cleared my throat, “Ladies and Gentlemen, and all of the rest of you sots, I have an important announcement”. The noise settled down. I gave George a meaning full glance, and heard him whisper “Don’t you dare!”

    An evil smile crossed my lips, “Too late George, it has to come out sometime you know” I stared back. “Ladies and gentlemen, as you know I have been here a long time, and have absolutely no scruples. I spy on everyone and when it suits my mood, I occasionally let a secret or two slip” George was getting up out of his chair. I knew that this was going to be good. “Our well beloved sourpuss and the founder of this feast, has a secret that I have kept for nearly forty years. Before he became the guiding light of Innovations Inc., he was “I better be quick I could see George’s hands flexing, “was clown for the greatest show on earth, The Ringling Brothers Circus”. Just then George flew trough the air and landed right in the middle of the cake.

    That was it, everyone broke out laughing, and before you knew it cake, ice cream, chocolate syrup and anything else that was laying on the table was flying though the air.

    After it all was over, George came up to me and smiled “Thanks.”

    1. jhennigan

      Good job building the suspense, and I like that George eventually comes around. I was kind of hoping for a little more detail in the reveal, but I know word count makes it tough in these things. I think you have something good to work with if you wanted to spend more time with it though.

  27. Apenner

    “Come on, Annie. We want cake.” Jeff yelled from down the hall. I knew everyone in the Conference Room was waiting for me to cut the cake. It was my party, my retirement party. Forty years!

    Barbara, my secretary, whispered something to Don and giggled as I walked into the room. My co-workers stood around the table looking at me, plates in hand. I smiled when I saw the cake. Barbara must have ordered it. It was a sheet cake, in the middle was a clock made of frosting. All the numerals were scrambled at 6:30. Under the clock were the words ‘WHO CARES?” I knew that it was Barbara’s way of saying ‘fuck you.’ She was always late for work and left early and there was nothing I could do about it. No matter how many times I admonished her, wrote her up, or went to my boss about her attendance nothing was ever done. When you work for the government, or screw the boss, you just don’t get fired.

    Barbara handed me the knife and I began cutting small squares of cake. I put a slice of cake on a plate and handed the plate to Barbara to put a scoop of ice cream next to the cake and pass it on. Our assembly line was interrupted when my manager, Colin walked into the room, impeccably dressed as usual. Colin was a new manager; out of all the people in the room, he was promoted to the Director position last year. I guess he thought the promotion made him more important than the people who used to be his friends; more important than me.

    “Congratulations, Annie.” Colin said, extending hand

    “Thank you, Colin.” I smiled and shook his hand.

    The room began to chant “Speech.” I turned to the crowd, and for some inexplicable reason I started laughing.

    “You know what this reminds me of?” I turned to Colin. “This reminds me of ten years ago when I called in sick on my birthday. We met at the Weston Hotel, remember?” I looked back at my co-workers. Colin’s eyes begged me to stop. “We were naked, sipping Champagne and eating cake and you picked me up and plopped my butt down right on top of the cake! Do you remember?”

    Colin shot me a look of repulsion before Barbara grabbed her little square of cake and chuckled, “Colin.” Colin turned to Barbara and she smashed the cake in his face. Colin tore off a handful of cake from the table and threw it at Barbara but it missed and hit Monica in the shoulder. Don tripped trying to get out of the way, but fell into Monica. Monica screamed “FOOD FIGHT!” as she tossed a handful of cake.

    I stepped into the doorway away from all the flying cake. I glanced at Barbara; gave her a knowing wink; grabbed my purse and walked out of the building for the last time.

    1. jhennigan

      A good scene. I noticed some things being repeated, like the third paragraph. “…cutting small squares of cake. I put a small slice of cake…” or the second to last paragraph where you use the word “cake” several times. Its a little thing, but if you establish that cake is what is being eaten you can save on words and fit more description or characterization in. Just a thought. Nice work and thanks for posting.

    2. annefreemanimages

      Enjoyed it. I was a little confused at the narrator’s thoughts about her secretary: at the beginning of the story, the secretary was saying F-you with the cake, and the narrator made a disparaging remark about government work and screwing the boss regarding the secretary. It set me up to believe that the secretary was screwing Colin. I anticipated that the secretary smashed the cake in Colin’s face because he was also screwing her. But then, it appeared that the narrator and the secretary were in cahoots with regard to starting the food fight, and it had nothing to do with what I anticipated. I was a bit dissappointed with that because it jarred with the story’s seeming set-up. Did I misread that? Otherwise, you did a nice job with natural language.

      ~Anne

      1. rob akers

        Who says they can’t continue to get their freak on after he leaves. A good twist would have been if his wife was present but he didnt know it, or her husband was in the office waiting on them. Good Job overall.

        1. rob akers

          Please disreguard the above post. I got confused and posted it to the wrong story.

          I like your story and I like how Anne causes a stir and walks out as it gets cranked up. That is how I like to say good bye as well. Good Job!

  28. shadesdown2001

    40 years of working with the same people on a daily basis that developed into a family like environment for many of us. Rick, the boss, was standing at the back of the crowd as everyone cheered and celebrated my departure. I wanted so badly to show my love for everyone I had gotten close too through the years. But the one thing that just weighed heavy on my mind was something that only I knew about the boss that no one else ever knew and that I longed to have the opportunity to air it out to everyone in the office.

    Everybody has said their piece, their heartfelt sob stories about me and some even took their turn with speaking of their final punchlines at some of the things I had done against their approvals. But like I had always done in years past, I acted as though I was not personally affected by their harsh and uncalled for words about me during my retirement party but instead, just gave a smile and a nod as each one took turns gaining laughs at my expense. .

    But, now it’s my turn. Everyone is cheering “Speech” and slowly guiding me to the front of the room onto the makeshift stage made of unopened cases of copy machine paper.

    As I stood there in silence carefully scanning the faces of everyone in the room, I instantly see the good old boss man standing off to the side of the room as though he expected me to leak out his secrets about how he personally felt about each of his employees who he depended on for years to do his bidding.

    “Thank you all,” I begin to speak out loud as I throw my hands in the air trying to calm down the still cheering crowd.

    As the crowd begins to slowly silence, I once again raise my glass of wine in the air as to toast to a long awaited goodbye. “I know it has been a long time coming for all of you to witness my departure. Well, that day is today and I have waited for years in the making to see this day come to life. Now, to each of you who have been here for close to as many years as myself all know that Rick has made us all wish our retirement days would come quicker than life could deliver them,” I announce with a laugh.

    I look over the heads of the crowd to see Rick, the now smiling boss man smiling as he slowly makes his way to the front of the crowd as though he was the best man of the party.

    “As many of you may know, I was promoted a few years ago to department manager because it was something I knew I could handle with the help of my co-workers. But how many of you truly know the truth behind me being able to get that promotion?” The room got quiet with shocked faces all around the room aa Rick’s mouth did everything but fall to the floor beneath him. “I got that promotion because I was the only one who caught Rick screwing Nancy in the printer room and also found naked photo’s of each of them posted all over the Internet. I was able to blackmail my way into getting that promotion and use that little tidbit of information to my advantage.”

    Nancy who was sitting at the back of the crowd, jumped up from her seat and ran out of the room. As she exited, someone had thrown a piece of cake at the back of her head as the remaining cake landed on top of Rick’s head as he ran through the crowd to comfort Nancy after I released their secret that was more than 10 years old.

    1. annefreemanimages

      An interesting approach – the narrator admitting that his promotion was because of the blackmail. That took guts! I have to say, I ended up likiing Rick for not abandoning Nancy. It showed him to be a bigger man than the narrator.

      ~Anne

  29. mariagavila

    “So it is with great sadness, that I now leave this wonderful company…” That’s how I had begun my script for my goodbye speech. I was in the middle of the company conference room, with all my co-workers gathered around me, partying and enjoying my last day with me. The room was packed tight like sardines in a can, and it was starting to smell a little askew as well. I saw Sarah who had sat in the cubicle next to mine for the last five years, and I thought “Man, I’m not going to miss her.” Her voice always a notch above everyone else and her incessant complaints racking my nerves. Johnny Q, the balding, tummy-budding, manager wanna-be was putting his “Grease” moves on Lisa who was clearly unimpressed. Janice with her wig dancing on top of her head and Ramón with his too tight jeans, hugging even his blood clots stood off to the side. What a bunch we made, and yet I had managed to stay all that time.
    I look at my crooked fingers from all the typing I had done and I was saddened. But only for a little while…
    “Hey Susie, say a few words!” I heard from somewhere in the crowd. The voice was deep. I think it was David, the mail guy. I couldn’t tell for sure, I had only spoken to him in passing.
    I walked to the front of the room and standing there in front of that crowd I felt like it truly was my moment and I needed to make the most of it.
    “First off, thank you all for the cake and the ice cream and all the good wishes. It has been a long time coming and I will now get to enjoy my youth…” (a few chuckles throughout the room there). What youth, now?
    “But before I go I wanted you all to know that Travis, the general manager, likes to dance in a tu-tu after hours.” The room went completely still, with an occasional snicker or two, and then a massive eruption of laughter.
    Johnny Q was unable to keep hold of his dessert plate and a chunk of chocolate cake landed on Lisa’s bosom. Of course, with her firecracker temper she aimed her kool-aid cup in his direction and missed. So now, Sarah had a big, red stain on her dress. And then everyone wanted a piece of the action. I looked at the mayhem in the room and smiled. Yeah, this was the best retirement party ever!

      1. rob akers

        Good Job keeping things clean and easy to read. Not sure that dancing around in a tu-tu is that big of a deal. You could have made that a more descriptive image to strengthen the secret. Example if he was 6-7…350 pound former football player type. Good Job overall.

  30. penney

    After forty years, I thought retiring was going to be a big deal. Yah, they’re going to throw me a party later but, the anticipation of the impending occasion is like a lump of vomit making its way slowly up my throat and tasting it before it actually happens.

    I have spent all my time in the laboratory being the official taster, a somewhat peaceful existence. It was anyway, until Mr. Wiener, the CEO of Cakes & Ice Cream Forever, invaded my inner sanctum.

    I was in the back cleaning the spoons when he came in. He didn’t see or hear me, I guess, because he just seemed in his own world. Looking from side to side like a snake checking his surroundings, he slithered along the edge of the counter. Six beakers of trial ice cream flavors were about to go to the next stage of tasting, the market room. He bent over the first one and with the noise I only hear my husband make when his toothbrush hits the back of his throat, he hocked a loogy into each container.

    “God, I hate this shit, I hate kids, I hate all of it,” he said to himself and walked out.

    Holy shit, I couldn’t believe it! What do I do? I thought about it. Now after forty years, I knew exactly what to do.

    That night, at the party, everyone was happy. Company cake and ice was all you could eat, not for me. When the time came, it was my turn to speak. For the first time ever, they would hear from me. I thanked them for nothing, and with a breath I told them what I had witnessed. Utter silence enveloped the room. Suddenly, perfectly shaped ice cream scopes arched across the air directly at that SOB. I was done.

    1. annefreemanimages

      An innovative idea. Did something like that actually happen, or did you come up with this crazy boss? Interesting. I agree with jhennigan – the actual speech would have been terrific. I find that I write the story, and then go back and take out most of the beginning. That’s where I find most of my padding.

      ~Anne

      1. penney

        Thank you. I came up with it. I was trying to come up with a secret and the cake and ice cream thing kid of just jumped at me, to mix it into the job. A boss in the closet or stealing seemed cliche. But ohhh, a boss coming “out of the closet?” I guess I’m just a little twisted.

  31. Bensusan

    Oh … my … Goodness. Forty years. Forty years of back breaking tedium. Up the ladder, down the ladder, fill the basket, empty the basket. Pack the boxes, stack the boxes, load the trucks, empty the trucks. How on earth did I do it. Should anyone ever tell you that noodle picking is not hard work, remind them of Ramen, brother of Romulus and Remus. While all the bickering and fussing and murder and mayhem may have led to the founding of Rome (which would have happened anyway, because who wouldn’t want to live near all that pizza?), Ramen was the true genius. Seeking peace and serenity, he took to the hills, invented chickens, and hence the Ramen Noodle Empire that we have today. This all happened at some point between about 750 BC and 1958. I may have skipped some other relevant background information there, but back when I might have been interested in doing a bit more research on the matter, beer was the second food group next to Ramen noodles, and frankly, I was more interested in Helen who lived in the apartment upstairs. She had cable.
    “For he’s a jolly big —-, for he’s a jolly big —- …” O, the gaiety, the frivolity! How fortunate I am to have such wonderful friends, such supportive coworkers. Cake, ice cream, a portable outhouse that locks from the outside and you can only get out when after four hours someone really has to go and forgets the rules of the game and lets you out, for Pete’s sake gosh damn it – this event has it all. My colleagues are so nice they have been trying to throw me a retirement party for years. “This year? This year?!” They get so sad for me when I say not yet.
    “Speech! Speech!” cries Mrs. A. “Here, here!” hollers Mr. G. “Cheesy-eyed wonder bug,” grumbles Mrs. P. I have so many thanks to give, so much for which I am grateful. What a wonderful moment! I feel like how Tiny Tim (not the tip-toeing one) must have felt when Clarence gave him wings and all that money after Scrooge made him crash his car into the tree, and after his Dad had to work late all the town folk got together and gave money to the Santa Claus down at Macy’s. I felt like that. Just all jumbled up and jittery inside.
    “I am not a thief – oh, wait. Wrong retirement party. I am so pleased to be here. I love it here. All the trees are the right height. Not too tall, not too short. I like the cars. I like driving them, riding in them. Getting from point A to point B in them. And Boss Man is retiring – I kept it a secret for the sake of the prompt – so I am staying!”
    Doves soar, music blares, food flies! It’s good to be me. What? The outhouse again? Oh, I love that game!

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