This is a 519 word short that just kind of materialized. It's not fantasy, or sci-fi (I probably shouldn't be wasting my time on it),but the story wanted to be told and for any cubicle-dweller you can probably relate. Ending needs something else, but I can't imagine I'll work on it further, so here ya go.
The below excerpt is © 2011 Clifton Hill, all rights reserved.
John could not believe his luck. His best friend, Rob, had just gotten hired and was working in the cubicle next to him. John could never stand his co-workers, and finally, at long last it seemed the doldrums of work were on their way out the door. It was his buddy’s second day and John had plenty planned.
But when his friend showed up for work wearing a horrid assortment of hyper-colored floral prints, short khakis and a lei—looking like nothing more than some random Hawaiian sightseer—he scowled. “What the heck are you wearing, Rob?”
Rob gestured to the garish display. “It’s Hawaiian-Friday, the girls up front said everyone was dressing up for the team-building exercises today.”
John shook his head. “Yeah, sure, all the losers are going.” He smirked and gestured to his own grey slacks and silk dress shirt. “I’ve got no time for this team-building crap. Blow it off and come with me early to lunch. I know this killer Thai place. The chilés will blow your head right off, and the waitresses are smokin’ too.”
Rob rubbed a clean-shaven cheek. “Um, sorry, John, I kind of need this job. I can’t blow this off. It’ll look bad.”
“That’s a load of—”
Rob’s face made John choke to a stop. “What’s up, boss?” He turned, as smooth as his slacks, his smile twice as glaring as his shoes.
“John. I’m glad you could finally bless us with your arrival.” Gene stood there in his Hawaiian best, his face as humorless as a rectal exam.
John chuckled. “You know traffic, Gene. Moves slower than the company’s stock price.”
“You’re right. I do know traffic. I know that it could never move faster than your mouth, but it somehow manages to get everyone else here on time, and whether team building is a joke to you or not, it is part of the work day. You know about work, right? It’s that thing you should be doing Monday through Friday.”
By now, John had his mouth firmly shut in sheer amazement. Since when did Gene grow a pair?
“Perhaps it is an odd sort of karma, but your friend’s fortuitous hire allows me to finally do this. If I had known,” said Gene, looking between the two friends, “I would have hired him a week ago.”
Gene shook a piece of paper under John’s nose.
“Now John, even your too-cool-for-the-light-of-day eyes should be able to tell through those opaque panes you call sunglasses that it is pink. Normally I would take you into my office, save your pride and make the whole thing quiet and without spectacle, but I just can’t seem to find even an ounce of patience. Here. Take it. This is yours. You’ve earned it.”
John looked down at the pink slip, then back at his friend, his replacement.
Rob barely had the decency to look down at his team-building sandals.
Snapping the paper out of Gene’s hand, John walked out the door, not needing another minute in that pit of losers and sycophants.
“Good, great. Thai sounds great to me!”