The Other Writer
It's just best that way.
Cas had always wanted to be a writer, and when he was finally hired, he hated every minute of it. The job was solitary, boring, and brain draining. And those were the job’s positive attributes.
He had zero interaction with fellow writers and wasn’t convinced there actually were other writers. Every morning he arrived at his desk and dreaded to see what kinds of emails he’d have to respond to before tackling his daily tasks.
His boss told him in an email on the last day of his first week that he was getting better but needed to step up his game if he was to continue. He gave him a few examples, and concluded the email with this phrase, “First warning.”
What’s he want me to do? I can’t do this. I really need something else fast.
But on he labored until lunch. He stopped off at a fast food restaurant and was back at his desk within the hour, cranking out line after line after line. The system was set up to save every piece of data he wrote. Where it was saved he hadn’t a clue, but he was sure someone was monitoring what he wrote in real time.
Cas really didn’t want to be a clock watcher, but the boredom and tedium was draining him of all creativity. He noticed his work was becoming more and more sarcastic the longer he wrote and the longer he stayed closer to quitting time.
“Quit,” Cas said out loud in his office. “Just find something else, Caswell.”
“Cas, there you are,” his boss Duggan said. “I thought you were working from home. You can do that, you know that, right?”
“Oh hi, Duggan. No, I didn’t know that.”
“But before you get all excited about working from home, let’s talk about your work.” Duggan plopped into a chair, leaned back, and clasped his hands behind his head. “You said you could do this work in the interview, but now I’m not too sure.”
“Why? What’s wrong? What’ve you noticed? I saw your examples but they really weren’t clear.”
“I see sarcasm throughout your work.”
“You could tell, huh?”
“Afraid so. Like this one here: ‘Don’t be such a loser. Get a job.’ Not exactly encouraging and helpful. A bit funny if you’re employed. Insensitive if not. Or, or this one, ‘Do you really think a message inside a fortune cookie will bring you wealth and happiness?’”
“Yeah, I see what you mean. Guess I’m not cut out for this kind of writing.”
“You’ve got talent and honesty, Cas, but not in the Fortune Cookie Message writing business.”
Before Cas walked out the door, he glanced at the last Fortune Cookie Message he wrote: Today will be a gift to you.
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