Corporate Villain

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Commercial Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

When the line between the good guy and the bad guy is blurred.

Submitted: November 03, 2017

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Submitted: November 03, 2017



Corporate Villain 

By DoberGirl50 


“But, I just took out a second mortgage.” 

“Your personal life is irrelevant to your employment agreement. Please sign here.” Vince pointed to the signature line on the separation documents in front of Bob Jones.  

“You’re taking food out of my children’s mouths!” 

“You’re receiving a generous severance package.” 

“You call this generous? My family can last 2 months tops on this! Why is this happening? I’ve worked here for 10 years and have been a top performer. I know the recession has been hard, but you cut back on expenses. Like you for example. What are they paying you to fire people?” 

Vince sat expressionless. “Mr. Jones, the current economic condition has necessitated a reduction in workforce. Your position has been eliminated, and you’re receiving a severance package. You will be eligible for re-hire in the future when new positions become available. You’ll need to collect your personal items and leave the building within the hour. If I could please get your security badge.” 

“How do you sleep at night?” Bob asked with disgust. “You sit there in your suit and tie with a straight face like you don’t realize you’re destroying lives. When your parents asked you what you wanted to do when you grew up, I bet you said, ‘I want to destroy livelihoods while I collect a fat consulting fee and live off the misery of others’.  

“There’s no need to insult me, Mr. Jones. Please sign here.” Vince once again pointed to the signature line. 

Bob stared at Vince for a long, hard moment before snatching up the pen and scribbling his name. He pushed back hard from the conference room table sending the rolling chair flying backward and stormed out. The door banged against the wall as he exited.  

Vince exhaled. He scooped up Mr. Jones’s paperwork, tapped the bottom edges on the table and filed them into a manila folder labeled ‘Jones, Robert – Engineering.’ The next folder he picked up was labeled ‘Davis, James – Development.’ 

“I’m ready for Mr. Davis,” he spoke into the intercom 

Ten more to go. 

Later that afternoon, Vince walked to his car to find his tires slashed. Nonplussed, he looked around to see if he could spot the culprit. An aisle over, he saw a man in pressed black slacks and a white button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up leaning against a car smoking a cigarette. His expression was dark, and his hair was disheveled. They made eye contact.  

Vince turned back to his car, unlocked the doors and put his briefcase in the backseat. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the man drop his cigarette, rub it with his polished black shoe and begin to walk in Vince’s direction. Vince was accustomed to being approached in parking lots, so he reached for the pepper spray in his pocket. 

“Relax,” the man said. “I’m not going to hurt you, and I’m not the one who slashed your tires although I’m not sorry it happened. You deserve it.”  

Vince tried to place the man’s face. 

“You don’t remember me, do you? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. The execs hire you to do their dirty work, and it’s all just another day at the office to you, isn’t it?” 

Vince remained passive with his finger on the button. The man was close enough now that he could smell whiskey on his breath. 

“My name is John Simpson. Iworked here for 12 years. I was Sales Director and brought in millions of dollars last year alone. What do you think the company will do without its Sales teams?”  

Vince didn’t answer. 

“Ah. I get it.” John said. “You’re just the paid consultant without any skin in the game.” 

John looked for a reaction. Getting none, he said, “I waited out here for you because I wanted to let you know that my wife and I just had a baby. She was laid off last month, too.”  

As Vince weighed his escape options, a tow truck turned into the parking lot. 

“I called a tow for you. Maybe a random act of kindness will help you to be a better person.” John took a few steps backward, gave Vince a final harsh look, turned toward his car and walked away. 

Vince put the pepper spray back in his pocket 

Two hours later, Vince pulled into his driveway. He was exhausted and shaken from the confrontation with John Simpson. He sat in his car without turning off the engine to calm his nerves before going in the house.  

John wasn’t the only person to confront him in a threatening manner, but there was something that he said that rattled Vince. As he replayed the conversation in his mind, he realized what it was. John had intimatedthat he was a bad person. Vince became angry. What did John know about his life? Six months ago, Vince had been enjoying a successful career as a Human Resources Director for 15 loyal years before he was laid off and had his own life turned upside down. Did John think he enjoyed firing people? He hated it. Like John, Vince had a family. He had to provide. This was the only thing he could find, and the salary wasn’t enough to make ends meet.  

A news clip on the radio broadcast the current unemployment rate in his state. He switched off the radio, sat in his car for several more minutes, and began to pray. He asked God to heal the economy so that people could get back to work to provide for their families, and he asked for strength to lead his own family in hope and patience. He finished his prayer, folded the receipt for the new tires, and put it in his suit jacket pocket so his wife wouldn’t see it. He got out of the car, walked passed the LSU flag where his son went to college, and walked into the house. 

“DADDY!” came the shout of his jubilant four-year-old daughter as she flung herself into his arms.  His pregnant wife watched from the hallway with a tired expression and forced smile. 

Vince knew he could do it all again tomorrow. He had to. 

© Copyright 2019 DoberGirl50. All rights reserved.

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