Mack's workaholism had finally caught up with him, and he had very badly needed a vacation. After months of his wife's begging - and some prodding by his boss - he finally took a break. In late April, while their two daughters were still away at school, Mack and Katie spent ten days hiking and climbing their way through the mountains of Peru. No schedule, no computers, and almost no cell phone signal. It took two days for Mack - a salesman - to adjust to this disconnection, but before long, it was heaven.
Their return flight arrived at its Logan Airport gate at almost midnight on Sunday and as much as it pained him to do so, Mack went straight to bed without checking his voicemail, or taking so much as a peek at his work email.
The next morning, he returned to the office a few minutes late, but energized and ready to sell. He had been selling ad minutes for the local all-news radio station for almost three-and-a half decades. He was good at it because he loved it, and he loved it, because he was good at it.
The side door through which he had always entered refused to acknowledge his key-card. So did the main entrance. He had to be buzzed in - after a lengthy hesitation - by the receptionist, who regarded him as one might a ghost, or a suit-wearing llama. Mack thought little of it, as he'd probably only seen her twice in all of her five years at the station.
Then things got weird. The sales department, a section of eight cubicles, was empty and quiet. Then, things got bizarre. Mack's cube, his home away from home since the last year of the Carter Administration, was in disarray. The PC tower was gone, as was the printer, and there were three boxes on the desk. They appeared to contain all of his personal belongings. There was a post-it note stuck to the now-orphaned computer monitor. Mack leaned in to read it, and things got ugly.
"Dear 'Valued Employee' -- We regret to inform you that you're position has been eliminated. You will be paid for today, provided you take your personal belonging;s, return your badge to H.R. and leave the premises without incident. We 'appreciate' you're years of service. Sincerly [sic], you're 'favorite' boss, Gregg."
Mack sat for the last time in his old chair and lost consciousness for about thirty seconds. When he managed to refocus, he experienced a near-seizure of gut-punching shock and panic, followed by heartbreaking sadness. It was too much to process, so his brain did what it always did in times of crisis, and found one thing on which to focus.
That gutless little prick fired me by sticky note.
He staggered to the little prick's office, but found no little prick. There was no one around, so Mack zombied back to his cube to gather his belongings. His peaceful, controlled, pacifist nature was nearly overwhelmed by a tsunami of thoughts of going absolutely postal, but after a few reps of the breathing exercises he had learned in college, he relaxed.
First, he wrote a note on the back of an old sales pipeline report:
"Dear 'Boss' -- You are the most cowardly piece of shit I have ever met, and you seem to have no idea what quotation marks are 'for.' I won't bother to ask how you sleep at night, because I already know. You cry a lot and suck your thumb. At least, that's what your wife told me, after I 'fucked her' at the sales retreat in Palm Springs in 2010. Oh, and she at least know's that A) an apostrophe doesn't mean 'Look out - an S is coming,' and B) your name has too many Gs in it. Anyway, see you in hell. -- You're (really? REALLY??) favorite 'valued' employee, 'Mack'"
He held the note before him and admired his work. Then he breathed a long, heavy sigh of defeat, crumpled the paper and stuffed it into one of his boxes of your-services-are-no-longer-required. He grabbed a post-it pad, peeled off the top piece and scribbled three words upon it. He found the mail cart, loaded it with his boxes, and wheeled toward the side door, slapping his note onto Gregg's door on his way past.
So. What three words did Mack leave for his boss?
This post, inspired by more true stories than I care to recall, was written in response to yet another prompt from my brethren (and sistren) at STUDIO 30 PLUS.