The Employee

By Joseph Logsdon

Clark Rains was a very sad man. As a boy, Clark viewed the world as harmless and innocent. As time passed, Clark realized that the world was full of hatred and grief. Clark wanted to make a difference in society, but could not defeat the capitalist system that he lived in. After several agonizing years, Clark finally decided that he could no longer live in a corrupt and evil economy.

Clark had been working as an accountant for many years. Despite his ability to perform tasks quickly, Clark had failed to earn a promotion. Within days of receiving the news that he was going to be fired, Clark decided to get revenge. One rainy afternoon, Clark walked into his employer's office with a stern expression on his face.

"Mrs. Hepburn, can I speak to you for a moment?" Clark asked.

"What is it, Mr. Rains?"

Without further hesitation, Clark approached his employer. Like most employers, Elizabeth Hepburn was a strong and stern woman. Clark had admired her for many years, but his opinion of her had changed.

"Can I be direct with you?" Clark asked in a nervous voice.

"Mr. Rains, I wouldn't want it any other way," she replied.

"Why are you firing me?"

"Mr. Rains, I want you to know that your impending termination isn't personal," she said in a calm and collected voice.

"But why?"

"We cannot afford to keep everyone on our staff," she answered.

"Why is that?"

"You ask a lot of questions," she laughed.

"Yes, and I expect answers!" Clark shouted.

"Calm down, or I'll be forced to call security, understand?"

"Sorry," he replied.

"Now, what do you want to know?"

"Why are you firing me?"

"You're a very talented man, but our company has suffered a huge financial loss. Because of that, we are terminating certain staff members."

"Why terminate me?"

"Luck of the draw, I guess."

"That's bullshit!"

"Mr. Rains, there's no need for that kind of language, especially when you're addressing your boss."

"You're not my boss, you're a tyrant!"

"What do you mean?"

"I've been working for you for years, but what have I got to show for all that work? If I were a bigger man, I would've left this job years ago."

"That's very touching, Mr. Rains," she laughed.

"You don't understand, no one understands."

"What are you talking about?"

"I wanted to become an artist, but I didn't have the money to attend college. After years of waiting for a big break, I decided to join the workforce. At first, it seemed like everything was going to work out, but that all changed when I joined your company."

"How so?"

"To you, I'm just a robot, something that you can control and play with. Like most of your employees, I spend the day typing, sitting, and pacing. I know you think that you're a kind boss, but you're far from it."

"Well, at least you're free," she laughed.

"You would like to think that, wouldn't you?" Clark grunted.

"What do you mean?"

"After I leave here, I will have to find another job. Most people live their life as if they're going to be rewarded for being mindless slaves, but I know better. America rewards the wealthy, not the poor and unlucky. I will have to find work in order to live, but why should I live if I'm unhappy?"

"If everyone thought like you, the world couldn't function."

"Maybe you're right," Clark replied as he left her office.

Several days later, a mysterious man rang Clark's doorbell. Within seconds, Clark answered the door.

"Can I help you?" Clark asked.

"Is your name Clark Rains?"

"Why do you ask?"

"I'm working for John Olivier."

"Yeah, so?"

"John Olivier is the owner of many corporations."

"What does that have to do with me?"

"Were you fired recently, Mr. Rains?"

"Why do you ask?"

"If you were fired, John Olivier has an offer that he would like to discuss with you."

"What offer?"

"As you know, John Olivier is a growing force in the corporate world, but he is not without competition."

"What are you getting at?"

"Your employer is threatening to expose Mr. Olivier."

"That's very sad, but what can I do about it?"

"As her personal accountant, surely you know something about her, something that she might not want revealed?"

"What price would you pay?" Clark asked.

"If your information is correct, we will pay you a fortune."

Clark was shocked to learn that he would soon be free of the workforce, free of debt and worry. For the first time in his life, Clark felt that his life was changing for the better. Sadly, nothing lasts forever, at least nothing good. Within hours of being contacted by the mysterious man, Elizabeth Hepburn asked Clark to join her in her office.

"You wanted to see me, Mrs. Hepburn?"

"Clark, I'm so disappointed in you."

"What are you talking about?" Clark asked in a nervous voice.

"I thought you would pass the test," she stated.

"What test?"

"I thought you were my friend, I guess I was wrong."

"What are you talking about?"

"It was not only an act, it was a test," she exclaimed.

"What was?"

"I was never going to fire you, Clark."

"What do you mean?"

"I wanted to promote you, I honestly and sincerely did."

"Why didn't you?"

"I had to be sure that you were loyal, that you would defend me, even if I refused to defend you. I can't believe that after all these years, you would still betray me."

"There isn't a John Olivier, is there?"

"Sadly, you were too stupid to realize that!" Elizabeth shouted.

"So, what happens now?" Clark asked as he wept.

"Clark, you're fired!"

"You mean it this time, right?"

"I'm afraid so," she answered.

"Well, it looks like we're back to where we started."

The End