Excerpt From Next Book

The following is an excerpt from my next novel, which is currently untitled. It involves eighteen months in the life of an office drone, a subject I am unfortunately all too familiar with. I’m roughly thirty thousand words into the manuscript, and I’d imagine I’m about halfway done. I’m hoping to tidy it up and release it in early 2015. 

Unannounced, I left the office in a daze and meandered over to a cafe on the other side of town. I needed to be away from the misery and confusion for a while. A long walk and a cup of Joe would have to do. I ordered a 16 oz. latte with one sugar and sat at a table over in the corner. The place was near empty. Perfect. I needed solitude or some facsimile of it.

“You a Prince fan?” The barista asked me. He wore suspenders and had a handlebar mustache. I privately dismissed his affectations as needlessly forced and ridiculous, all while I stroked my own desperate attempt at facial individuality.

“Big time.”

“Cool,” he smiled. “Yeah, I love his early stuff – you know, before he went a bit mad.”

I nodded.

“He became a bible-thumper at some stage, didn’t he?”

“I believe he did.”

I retrieved a folded piece of paper from my pocket and read it. The email from earlier. I wanted to absorb it, to try and understand the intended message. I kept getting stuck on certain phrases:

We will undertake a significant number of redundancies across the business.

I respect and appreciate the personal impacts this may have on you.

I’d always suspected that there was a chasm in almost every sense of the word between management and employee. In years past I had attempted to view things from their point of view, to have respect and empathy for the unique pressures that they faced in their elevated positions. But this email confirmed for me one thing above everything else: they haven’t the slightest concern for us as people. We truly are just numbers to them; salaries in human form. A compensation package to unload in times of economic dirge.

My coffee arrived and I sipped. It was too hot. I sat back and let it cool, allowed my mood to lighten.

I thought about where I had gone wrong in my life. What precise moment was the tipping point that lead to me sitting in some dingy coffee shop next to an adult bookstore on the precipice of the central business district, pondering my shitty existence? Indeed, the proverbial axe had not yet fallen, but it was only a matter of when, not if. The email said so, and in assertive Arial typeface.

I thought about the man that sent the email, and wondered if he was nervous about keeping his job. I was pretty sure he was safe. He sent the email, after all. He drives a stylish sports saloon, probably German in origin. He wears suit imported from Milan, crafted from the pubic hair of his underlings. He hires and, perhaps more critically, he fires too. I thought about him, some robotic executive drone, sitting in his plush ergonomically sound leather throne looking down on his loyal subjects, and I yawned.

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