“I’m going to need the graphs by today, Dave.”
I looked up at the voice that had startled me and my heart sank. My dickhead boss stood there, arms folded as if I was keeping him from more important things while waiting for my reply.
“B-but sir, you said I had all weekend to finish them just yesterday.”
He smirked, the sly, oily-son-of-a-bitch sneer that gets the blood boiling with rage. I couldn’t stand that man and he knew it. “I can replace you no problem you little bitch,” he said while pointing a menacing finger at me.
“I’ll stay late tonight,” I sighed trying to hide my disappointment. There goes my weekend plans. No wonder I don’t have a social life.
“That’s my boy!” He grinned, twisting his dark bushy moustache and sauntered off, whistling some annoying tune that would no doubt get stuck in my head for the day, adding to my already dilapidated mood.
I hated that fucking moustache. Maybe it was that fact that I couldn’t grow one or that I would appear a pedophile if did have one, either way I hated his lip hair and everything that it stood for. The cherry on top of it all, it looked good on him! God must have favored him when he created a Tom Selleck look-a-like and I got to look at that face all goddam day long.
My douche boss’ name was Richard Bernson the III. He was in his early fifties; his grey, streaked hair was slicked back in a dignified manner, resembling a 1930’s mafia gangster. His moustache, as I already described, was well pampered and trimmed perched on his upper lip looking magnificent as ever. Although getting rather old in age, he still appeared remarkable in every way. He worked out regularly, tanned a few times a week and wore the most expensive suits money could buy. He had a tongue that was quick as a snake’s, undressing you in ten minutes flat or making you feel two feet tall, depending on your sex and how attractive you were. He was the whole package. To this day I still hate saying it but I envied that man.
Then there’s me, a 25 year old grad student who’s worked his ass off his whole life to end up with literally nothing. I had gotten a job here as an intern halfway through my junior year of college, hoping that it would land me a good position when I graduated. I was the model pupil as I stuck close to all the big wigs, hoping to learn as much as possible. When I finally graduated, I strode into my boss’ office delivering the good news with confidence, expecting that I would be rewarded with a relatively important job position. I had learned from the best.
He blankly stared at me. His wrinkled his well groomed moustache. “So?” was all I was repaid with.
“Well sir, I’ve finally graduated so I was hoping for a full time permanent position here. I’ve learned a lot and I’m ready to put that to good use,” I choked out, feeling my high hopes slowly dripping to the floor. This conversation should not have gone like this.
He pulled out a portfolio and began sifting through it, seemingly unaware that I was still there. A moment later he slammed it shut, folded his arms and gazed at me, his eyes creased in scrutiny.
“I guess I can fire Bob from marketing and you can take his place.”
I froze. I didn’t want this.
“I-I don’t want to have somebody fired because of me…” I managed to squeak out.
My boss let out a guffaw that shook the room and made my ears ring. “I hate that guy anyways! Never liked his sense of humor! Plus he has kids so I can never get him to stay late.” Clearly this man was insane but I did the one thing I regret most of all in my life: I accepted his proposal.
So there I was: a young man carrying with him high hopes and a positive mind, ready to make changes in the real world. I was feeling great! But it wouldn’t last long.
I was never the talkative type, always choosing to eat lunch by myself while enjoying a good novel and seldom joked around with others around the office. I was a forgetful sight at the most, with slopping brown hair and bleak eyes, skinny as a rail while appearing to have never made it to adulthood. My collared shirts never seemed to fit me correctly and my tie looked as if it was trying to strangle my tiny neck. I wasn’t off to a good start you could say.
Begrudgingly I started at the bottom of the totem pole. Life was hell as I knew it but I strode on, hoping that one day it would pay off, being rewarded with a higher position and/or new and better projects. I was a quick learner with new ideas that I hoped to share with the office but every time I had built up enough courage to disclose them at our weekly meetings, Mr. Bernson would shoot them down faster than a duck against a 12 gauge. Nothing I ever shared seemed to promote any change or significance. I suffered quietly, each project meeting leaving me fuming as I left holding my broken inspirations. I would sit at my desk, letting the anger fester until all I could do was silently hate my boss, cursing his name until I left work.
Over time, I simply hid my proposals from the world, focusing my time and energy into simply kissing as much ass as I could, hoping that this would net me some sort of success. I would laugh at the various jokes, get coffee, take on extra work for managers but it left me in the same position I was in before: nothing. I was in basic terms a forgetful sycophant. At this point I’m ready to throw in the towel, I’ve settled into this dull, unrecognized lifestyle. Then things get worse.
Mr. Bernson at this time was accused of sexual misconduct in the workplace by an anonymous source. Everyone was aware of his sexual nature with the ladies but it was merely kept hush from the higher ups, swept underneath the rug if you must. Quid pro quo was a relative word in the office. I would watch in disgust as new female employees were promoted within weeks of being hired while I was stuck in my tiny cubicle indefinitely. Once the news had reached Mr. Bernson that corporate was coming into town to interview random employees, he became enraged. He needed to make an example out of someone that if you talked, your life would be miserable. For some unknown reason that I can’t explain, that person happened to be me.
He called me into his office one morning and began loading me with a plethora amount of work, none of which I could fully do, while threatening me with my job if it wasn’t finished in an ungodly short time period. I was so perplexed on why he punishing me of all people but I stayed mute, taking the beating, trying not to show I was urinating in my pants while he ranted and raved at my work ethic.
“I have four other little pissants that would give their left nut to have your job!” If there were four other people that wanted my position, I wanted to be the first to talk of its horrors. Nobody should be put through what I did.
That was six months ago. While his sexual fiasco had been quietly filed away, he never fully seemed to stop torturing me at every chance he could. I had countless nights where I would have to sleep at the office to finish work or had to reschedule appointments I could no longer keep because of something work related. He made my life hell. For some undetermined reason I stayed there, still holding on to that small notion that one day I might get to move up in this place.
One day I found an ad on a website for a position with a local magazine, a sure sign that maybe I could get away from this nightmare. I applied and much to my doubting, they called me for an interview. I was very nervous, as I was with most things but the interview went as smoothly as I could have imagined it. The editor for the magazine was a friendly fellow, greeting me with a power handshake. After the main interview, he announced that I would get a second and to bring a letter of recommendation from my current employer. I froze with his last words. That meant Mr. Bernson had to write a letter stating that I was a sensational employee and that I would benefit this new magazine. With the best smile I could gather, I shook his hand and thanked him for his time.
As I left I couldn’t help but wonder if Mr. Bernson would really be that cold as to deny me the letter. Had I not showed my hard work and dedication these past years? I was torn between asking him and forgetting I ever went to the interview, believing it may not be worth the heartbreak if it didn’t happen.
The next day, I decided that do as I must, I had to try. With timid steps I entered his office, my speech desperately threatening to fall back down my windpipe. I closed my eyes, clearing my throat and began. It only took about thirty seconds but it was the longest thirty seconds of my life. After I was finished, Mr. Bernson simply sat there, arms folded, suspenders taught against his large body.
“So let me get this straight, you want to leave here and work for this other magazine.”
“Uh, yes sir.”
He stood up, his massive figure dwarfing mine. I couldn’t help but hunker down, as if to shield myself from his impending doom. To my surprise, he simply began to laugh but not the laugh of happiness, it was with a deeper menacing tone, like he was mocking me. “If you leave this place Dave, I’ll make sure that no one hires your fucking ass within a 1000 mile radius!” I can honestly say my heart hurt in my chest. I liked to think I had experienced somewhat of a heart attack hearing the news come from him. I was stuck here forever.
This is the reason why I hated that man so much.