Going Nuclear

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: The Imaginarium
A short story inspired by the Imaginarium Picture Prompt 8.

Submitted: May 20, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 20, 2017



Going Nuclear!


When I first got this job I was so pleased. I’d wanted to work in advertising but it was so hard to get a foot in the door. Several times I had applied for interviews, not even to receive a reply. The next time, I vowed, I would lie; give myself a bit of experience, a bit of on-the-job knowledge and hope that no one bothered to check up.


The agency was a big one, not the top but a long way up from the bottom in the success tables. The job was right for me. I knew I had just what it would take to make a success of it. I lied on my application form and, when the interview came, I lied there too. But, hey, my little bit of false achievement got me what I wanted. The job was mine!


There were about ten of us in the office, plus the boss who had his own space but spent quite a bit of time out with the rest of us. He was obviously in charge; if he started talking, everyone listened. We were a team but he called the shots.


During my first day I learnt that his easy-going nature lasted as long as things were going smoothly. He was the sort of person that would heap praise onto someone that had achieved something special; but he also had a hell of a temper. If things went wrong or your messed up, watch out and take cover.


There was a big campaign up for grabs. The boss had his eye on it but who to pick to go and pitch for it. Not Sonia, she’d been and failed at securing contracts before, and not Tom for similar reasons. I’d only been in the job for a week and was pretty untested. But on paper, with all my false accomplishments, I was the next best qualified.


Work up an idea! Go and wow their socks off!”


I had three days to come up with an idea, such a unique and original one the clients would not even think of looking elsewhere. No problem! I had so many ideas to work with. My first problem was to pick which one to go with.


I had thought we would be working on my idea as a team but I was wrong – this was my baby to go out and sell. I worked on it all day and I worked on it all night, apart from those two or three hours I just had to give in and sleep for. It would be okay, I told myself. I could handle it!


And just in time I had what I considered a pretty impressive presentation to go in with. They were sure to love it. And according to my calculations it would be well within their product promotional budget. Again, I thought we’d approach as a team, or at least two or three of us would go along to sell the idea. But once more it seemed that I was wrong and would be facing the prospective customers alone.


I have to say it went pretty damn well. They all looked interested, and any questions they fired my way I answered as best as I could. “We’ll let you know,” somehow morphed in my head to ‘It’s in the bag!’ which is what I went back and announced.


To say the boss was effusive in his praise would be an understatement. He made me feel like some kind of superstar, and he paid me a hefty bonus too. I know I should have been cautious, shouldn’t have gone out and blown the lot, but hey......’It’s in the bag!’


Several days passed and there was no word. Not one single phone call was made by our prospective clients. They did not contact me, the office, the boss. He was starting to give me strained looks, and several times I feared he was going to call me into his own office, ask a few more detailed questions.


And then the phone call came. Not from the clients though, no longer prospective apparently, but from one of our rival agencies. They told the boss all about the contract that they had secured – the one that I had been so sure about.


There was an air of doom about the office. None of the usual chatter or banter could be heard; everyone was busy and stayed busy. I was about to take my seat when the boss opened his door and gestured to me to follow him back inside.


I could tell from his face that the news was bad. I didn’t need to see Sam look towards me then drag his finger from one side of his throat to the other to tell me I was in really deep trouble.


Remind me what you said, Tony. You know, when you came back from making your pitch.” His voice was calm, controlled, but the anger was still clear.


I stood and looked dumbly towards the boss. His face is like stone, his eyes cold. That door was looking very inviting.


You don’t remember? Let me try and jog your memory.” His voice is starting to rise. Just slightly but I’m getting a real hint of what is about to come. “It started, ‘It’s in......’ Do you remember now?”


It’s in the bag,” I said, quickly and quietly.


“’It’s in the bag!’ But it wasn’t our bag was it?” He’s leaning forward, his face is turning a violent shade of red.


I look down at the floor, begging it to open up and swallow me.


All lies! Just like your c.v. I checked!” He is roaring, going nuclear! “Clear your desk and get out now!”


I did not need telling twice. I picked up my few belongings and I ran. Advertising wasn’t what I’d thought it would be anyway, way too boring. But I’d think of something else that I am uniquely qualified to do!

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