How to use the blog

Welcome to the Mastering Dialogue course blog!

If you are enrolled in the Mastering Dialogue Writing course, you can use this blog to publish your class assignments and other creative writing.

If you are not part of the course, you can find out more on Creative Writing Now’s online writing courses page.

Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to use the blog.

Just a few rules to keep in mind:

  1. Only post your own original work. You may publish your course exercises or your other creative writing. Please only post work that has not been previously published.
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  3. We reserve the right to remove or edit anything posted here. Please keep a backup copy of your posts.

Happy writing!

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No Future

“How about another glass of wine?” said Jason.  “I’ll order another bottle, shall I?”

“No thank you, said Sarah.” If she had to listen one more story about Jason’s project to restore his vintage Daimler, she would scream.

“Well, shall we go somewhere to dance then?  There’s a great club just around the corner.”

“I really don’t feel like dancing tonight.  I’ve had a particularly busy week.”

“Oh sorry. You must be tired after all that travel,” said Jason. “I should have realised you wouldn’t feel like dancing” He leaned forward and took her hands across the table. “Let’s just go back to my flat then, shall we?  I’d love to hear more about your job.  It sounds really exciting.”

“Thank you” she said withdrawing her hands “but I’d rather not tonight.”

“Why’s that?  Is it something I’ve said? Haven’t you enjoyed the evening?  Most people love coming to Barclays.”

“Jason,” said Sarah.  “The meal was delicious and you’ve been very generous but I would really like to go home now.  I will ask the waiter to order me a taxi.”

Posted in Lesson 4, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Second Thoughts

Matt had made his decision. He couldn’t believe he was actually going.  He felt sick at the thought of his parents’ reaction but he wouldn’t have to see their disappointment and he would return next year or maybe the year after and finish his studies.  He’d have to work a bit first so he could afford it but it was his choice, nobody else’s.

“Matt” he heard as he filled in time waiting for his flight to open.  “Where are you off to?”  It was Melanie, one of his tutors who had become a good friend.

“California,” said Matt.

“California?” said Melanie.  “How long are you going for? What about your course?  You’ve got research labs next week and you can’t miss those.”

“I’ve chucked it in,” said Matt feeling horribly embarrassed.  “I’ve had enough.”

“Why on earth would you do that.  Are you mad?”

“I’ve got no life. My mates are all flatting and earning money and having fun and I feel as if I do nothing but study.  It’s not worth it.”

Melanie’s eyes blazed. “Of course it is!  Do you think we haven’t all thought that at some stage? Do you think you’re the only one who’s got fed up with study?  Why on earth would you risk everything you’ve achieved?  What about the Matheson prize?  You’ve got a great chance of getting that this year and look what that would do for your career.”

“I know. I know,” said Matt. “I was really keen on winning the Matheson prize but my parents have been really getting to me.  They still treat me like a kid and I know I can never be as good as my perfect sister no matter how well I do. My mates are going to the US to go surfing and they’ve got a house on the beach. it’s too good an opportunity to miss.”

Melanie stood right in front of him, her hands on her hips.   She reminded him of all the help she had given him at the beginning of his course.  She counted off on her fingers the branches of Science his degree would give him access to.

“Do you want to be seen as a serious scientist or someone who gives up when the going gets tough?” she said. “Think about it Matt.  Use your considerable brain and think about what you are doing. I really rated you.  I thought you had a bit more backbone. And you’ve decided to throw it all in and go surfing with your no-hoper mates? What an absolute waste!” With that, she turned and stormed off without even saying goodbye.

Matt was stunned.  He really liked Melanie and she had gone out of her way to encourage him.  Slowly, he shook his head.  Then he picked up his bag and walked towards the exit.  She was right.  He would be an idiot to give up now and, if he stuck it out, especially if he got that Matheson prize, he would have plenty of opportunities to travel in the years to come.  He only had to last another six months after all.

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Growing Pains

Sam and Mary could hear the booming music as they pulled up outside the house. They could feel the vibrations of the drum beats as they opened the front door.  Mary looked round apprehensively, half expecting old Mr Dawson next door to burst out of his house waving his fists and shouting.

“Jake,” shouted Sam.  “Turn that down.  Now.”  He thumped on Jake’s door then threw it open.  “How many times…….” he yelled but he never finished that sentence.  “Oh my God,” he gasped.  “What on earth have you done?”  He strode into the room and flicked the switch on the amplifier plunging the room into silence.

Jake put down his guitar and his face fell.  “Don’t you like it?” he said.  “You’re always telling me to take more pride in my room and to get rid of all the junk and that’s what I’ve done. I think it looks cool.  So does Brad.”

“I’m not interested in what Brad thinks,” snapped Sam. “He doesn’t have to live here. Who gave you permission to paint your room purple?  Didn’t you think it might be a good idea to ask first?”

“I thought I’d give you a surprise,” said Jake fighting back tears.  “I thought you’d be pleased.  You always say you want me to do more around the place.  I’ve cleared out all my old books and toys and given them to the kids next door.  And next weekend Brad’s going to help me paint an old desk that his Mum said I could have for under the window.  We’re going to do each drawer a different colour.”

“Sam,” said Mary putting her hand on his arm, “we did tell Jake to tidy up.  And it does look a lot cleaner.  All those tatty posters have gone and there’s so much more space.”

“Yes, but purple?” spluttered Sam.  “It’s like a cave in here.  Who in their right mind would choose purple? And imagine what it will be like getting rid of the stuff when we want to repaint.”

“Well, it might not be our first choice but it’s Jake’s room.  I think you’ve made a great job of it, Jake and you must have worked hard all weekend to get it finished.  It’ll be great to have a desk for your homework. She turned to Sam.  “And let’s not worry about when we repaint.  It might not be for years.  Come and have a cup of tea.”

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Driver Beware

Megan slammed the door of the Norton’s Haulage office as she left.  She couldn’t wait to get home and think about something other than work, work, work.  She loved her job but, at times, she felt like everyone’s mother.  Why’s that truck late, Megan?  Have you checked on the mileage stats, Megan?  Do you know where the Morgan Brothers file is?  Can you just take care of this for me, Megan?  Honestly, these big burly men were more like two-year-olds at times.

Megan hefted up the box of files she was taking home to sort for the archives and set off for her car.

“Gidday, Megan,” called a voice.  One of the truck drivers was coming out of the yard gates.

“Do I know you?” she asked.

“Well, we did meet when I came in to pick up my application form,” said the man, “but I guess you get plenty of guys coming in and out of the office. I’m Steve, the new guy.  I started on Monday.”

“OK.  Nice to meet you, Steve,” said Megan briskly.  “I guess I’ll see you round.”  She carried on but Steve came up beside her.

“Let me take that box for you.  It looks heavy.”

“Thanks but I can manage,” said Megan walking faster.  “My car’s just down here.”

“Bet you’re pleased it’s Friday,” persisted Steve.  “Got any plans for the weekend?  Heh, you don’t fancy going to the stock cars with me tomorrow night do you?  I’ve got a couple of tickets.  We could grab a bite to eat beforehand.”

“Thank you, Steve but I don’t go out with any of the drivers,” said Megan firmly.

“I heard you went out with Greg,” said Steve.  Megan stopped and faced him.

“Well you shouldn’t believe all you hear.  Talk about women being gossips!  This place is full of it.”

“It wasn’t gossip.  Greg told me himself,” said Steve.

“Yeah?  Well Greg is a louse.  Now you know why I don’t go out with drivers,” snapped Megan.  “Do you think I want all you guys comparing notes?  Now, if you don’t mind, I just want to get home.”

Steve stood, open-mouthed, as she hurried away then shrugged his shoulders and walked back the way he had come.

Posted in Lesson 1 | 1 Comment

Mastering Dialogue Lesson 1

“Hi Babe,” he said deeply and charismatically, one shoulder leaning against the frame and his hand hooked onto his hip. He looked barely over 16 years old, still with a pimpled face but a body just emerging into its full masculinity.
Oh god, Kim thought. Here I am stuck at the bus stop and I have to deal with this.
“What’s your name?” he let his eyes wander up and down her body while he grinned from ear to ear. He didn’t even try to hide his leering.
“Ahhh, um, Kim.” She couldn’t help but be polite. She felt sorry for him yet uncomfortable and annoyed at the same time.
“Hi Kim. I’m Steve.” He leered at her. “I live on Watson Street.”
“Oh, that’s nice. What a nice place to live,” Kim tried to be as bland as possible. Why do we have to be so kind?
The bus stop, she noticed, was full of kids like him, but younger. Help would soon be on the way.
“Stevey, Stevey….”laughed a man, coming to her rescue. “We need to form a line over here, to wait for the bus. Please don’t bother this nice young woman.” And he gently swung Steve around by the shoulders while the man, the caregiver, mouthed an apology to her.

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Lesson 1

Finally, the event at the university Alyssa worked at was over and she gingerly slipped into her brown coat, slinging the fluffy blue and white scarf around her. She imagined putting her feet up on her couch and sipping a nice cup of tea before getting to bed.

Opening the door of the conference centre, she realised that it had started drizzling during the course of the evening. Pausing, she took a deep breath and then stepped outside into the crisp fall night and enjoying the light mist on her face. Walking through the dark streets, she let each detail of the event go through her mind, making mental notes on items to follow up the next morning at work and to prepare the post mortem for her meeting with her director.

Deep in thought, Alyssa did not notice that one of the guests of the congress had called out to catch her attention and jogged over to catch up with her. When she finally heard her name, Alyssa glanced over her shoulder. She saw this Mike/Martin or Marvin guy jog toward her, his open coat billowing out behind him. What the heck was his name again? She remembered that they had been introduced and she had briefly talked to him, before finding an excuse to get away. Conceited, that was it, Alyssa thought. That’s what she didn’t like about him.

Mike, or something like that, was impeccably dressed in his navy blue suit, light blue dress shirt and purple tie. His shoes were reflecting the street lamps on the side of the road.

‘Ugg, he is trying too hard. NO, his name is Marvin, right,’ she mused. Marvin, ticked none of Alyssa’s boxes for attractive men. He was an average looking guy, thin hair and being too concerned with his appearance. But worst of all he had a beard. For the life of her, Alyssa could not explain what it was with beards that she did not like. It was an instant turn off for her. Aside from that, this guy had this condescending tone when the two of them spoke.

Slightly panting, Martin reached Alyssa. “Alyssa, Alyssa, wait! Did you not hear me calling out for you? I called three times. I wanted to ask you if I could walk you offer a ride home? But now I see you are walking. I..”

“Oh no, that is really not necessary,” interjected Alyssa. “I quite enjoy the walk right now. Good time to relax after this long day, right?” Alyssa fidgeted and picked up her speed a bit. Feeling the need to be polite she added, “did you enjoy the congress?”

“Oh yes, I did. It was a nice enough event. Would you mind if I walked you home? I had really hoped we could have chatted a little bit longer earlier at your organization’s booth. Too bad your manager sent you on an errand, right?”

Did he just wink at her? How do I get rid of him?’ Alyssa thought. “Oh no, that is quite alright. As I said, good time to wind down. And..”

“Listen, Alyssa,” Mike interrupted. “I was wondering if you wanted to go for a drink tonight or maybe sometime this week. I thought we had instantly clicked earlier  and I wanted to get to know you a bit better. ”

“Uhm, really? Oh. Thanks. I am just really busy right now and simply exhausted at the end of the day. Sorry.”

“But what about the weekend?  That would work better, right? I know this really nice restaurant in downtown with live music on the weekends,” Mike trailed off.

‘Self-confident much, huh?’ thought Alyssa. ‘He did not get the hint. Not one bit.’

“Sorry, it was Michael, right? I am sorry, this was a crazy night and I didn’t catch your name right.”

“Yes, yes, you were right. Michael it is. But my friends call me Mike,” Mike smiled at her.

“So Mike, sorry, that was nice of you, but I really have to get going now. It’s late. I don’t even know you. It was nice to meet you. Have a good night.” Alyssa tried to hurry away, but Mike caught her wrist and swung her back around. “Alyssa wait. I, …”

Alyssa snapped “Hey, let me go!” she snatched her hand back. “Take your hands off me.” I said no, did you not get the hint?”

As few passers by started noticing their conversation, Mike let go of Alyssa’s hand. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you. I just want to walk you home and…”

“No Mike, sorry!” Alyssa remarked sharply. I’ll be fine by myself. Good night.” Without awaiting his reply she hastily ran away and caught up with other people walking down the road. At an intersection, Alyssa hopped onto the next bus and when the doors had closed she fell into the next empty seat, her heart pounding.

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Mastering Dialogue, Lesson 1, Exercise 2

Jessica walked down the street with long strides, kicking up the dry leaves with every step. Just a few minutes ago, she had left the office for the day and looked forward to meeting her sister Joyce at the new Aftermath Lounge & Bar for a relaxing drink. As she rounded the last corner onto High Street, she all but collided with a short, rotund man, barely keeping her balance.

„Sorry,“ she exclaimed.

„Watch where you‘re going, woman!“ shouted the man, red in the face, with an angry voice. Then he looked at her and did a classic double take. „Is that you, Jessica?“ he asked incredously. „Jessica Snyder! I almost didn‘t recognize you. It‘s Barney, Barney Blunt! I haven‘t seen you in ages! How do you do?“

Jessica had stopped in her tracks when he adressed her so familiarly. Barney Blunt? She couldn‘t place the name nor the face. Who was he?

„I‘m sorry, I don‘t recognize you, Mr. Blunt,“ she replied cautiosly.

„Ow, come on, Jessica! Don‘t you remember? I was always hanging out with Joyce, Mary, John and the others!“ Now he looked expectantly at her.

Suddenly she remembered a rather short and thickset boy, hanging around her sister‘s clique, somewhat younger than they and rather unprepossessing with pimples and stringy hair. He hadn‘t improved much, she thought.

„Ah, yes, now I remember. You were always hanging around Joyce and her friends when we were in highschool.“ That sounded rude, she noticed. „How are you?“ she added, and immediatly whished she hadn‘t. Even back then, she couldn‘t abide him.

He beamed. „Well, I say, I have done rather well lately. You know, flipping houses. There is really money in that, good money. I just bought another house, back there on Maple Way,“ he boasted. Maple Way was an expensive neighborhood only a few blocks from where they were standing.

“Uh, that’s nice. Sorry, I have to go. Nice seeing you!” she tried to end the conversation and get away from him. Suddenly he grabbed her arm. She shrank back and he let go immediately.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you. But I want to invite you for dinner, like, to celebrate… how about tomorrow evening, at Carlisle’s” he stated pompously, naming the most expensive restaurant in town.

Shaking her head, Jessica took a step sideways, trying to pass by him. “No, thank you. I have other plans,” she replied. “Good bye!”

“Wait! What about another day? Jessica, please!” Now he sounded whiny.

“Sorry, no. Like I said, I have other plans,” she repeated. She really did not want to go out with him, but he insisted again. Now his voice had an unpleasant low, nasal tone and his eyes had a cold glint.

“Come on. It’s only dinner. Or are you so high and mighty nowadays that you snub an old friend like this?” Although he hadn’t raised his voice, he sounded downright menacing.

Jessica had gotten angrier with each word. She gritted her teeth. Who did he think he was? Controlling her irritation, she took a deep breath.

“Barney, I’m not going out with you. Please leave me alone. Bye.” She turned and started to walk away.

“Didn’t change at all, like back then. Arrogant bitch. Some day, you will regret this, I swear,” he muttered angrily as he stared after her.

At first, she went by the Aftermath Lounge & Bar, looking back over her shoulder. When she couldn‘t see him any longer, she turned and slipped through the door.

Alex S., Nov. 2nd, 2017

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Lesson 1

Sun-hi stepped outside her home to take in the new neighborhood. She desperately needed a break from the mountain of boxes that still needed to be unpacked.

“Sunny, don’t wander off too far, dear. I don’t want you getting lost the first week,” Sun-hi’s mom hollered from inside.

“Mom, that was one time! And I was 6!” Sun-hi shouted behind her before heading down the driveway to get a better view of the street. Looking down one way, then another, she decided that a short walk to the corner of the block and back would be safe enough and not give her mother a panic attack.

As she neared her driveway on her way back, a teenage boy looking to be about the same age as her jogged down the driveway of the house next to hers. Sun-hi slowed her walk as he neared, keeping her gaze forward but watching him out of the corner of her eye.

“Hey, how’s it going? You moved into the house next door right? My name’s Nick.”

Sun-hi froze, her anxiety kicking in at being spoken to, and by a guy no less.

“Um, are you okay? Not trying to be weird or anything, I was just excited to see someone my age moving into the neighborhood. The rest of the neighbors are either old couples with no kids, or young couples with small kids. I was hoping that we could talk? Maybe go hang out, get to know each other?” He looked at her with hopeful eyes, a small smile on his face.

“I, uh, I. . .a date?” Sun-hi stammered, her nerves on overdrive, heart racing.

“No! I mean, not really, I guess? I was thinking more of hanging out, as new friends, maybe? Sorry. What do you say?”

“I, um, I have a lot of unpacking, and my mom is probably worried about so I should head inside,” Sun-hi stammered out as she tripped her way around Nick back to the safety of her new home.

“Oh, okay. Maybe some other time.” Nick replied sadly as Sun-hi began to scurry away.

“Wait, you never told me your name!” He hollered at her retreating back.

Timidly, Sun-hi paused as she reached her door.

“It’s Sun-hi,” she said as she disappeared inside.

Posted in Lesson 1 | 1 Comment

To Leave or Not to Leave Lesson 2 (Optional)

Lesson 2 – Exercise 3 (Optional)
Taking sides


They all decided to meet in their favorite haunt, “Mackintosh Bistro” on that Friday night. Shelly and Vicki beat Alex there and rushed inside out of the rain. The restaurant was brightly lit. So much so, that the glass bowl containing a candle on each table was unnecessary, but lent a hint of atmosphere. The floor was black and white checkered and matched the tablecloths on the round, wooden tables.
When Shelly and Vicki were seated, Vicki spurted out, “You shouldn’t have left Mike!”
Vicki never was one to mince words. Even on things that weren’t any of her business. She was known as the judgmental, busy-body of the church. If there was anything that was going on, personal or not, she had an opinion and she wasn’t afraid to share it. She was also bossy. Her way was the only way to do things. Shelly, who was the only person who could match Vicki in her opinions. She stood up to her.

That is, usually. This was the first time that Shelly shrunk back in her chair, and silently traced the rim of the cup of coffee in front of her. Her eyes welled up with tears as she thought about Mike and how he had betrayed her. She thought about the look her friend Grace had when Shelly walked into the restaurant in time to see her husband kissing her best friend.  Her thoughts were shattered as she heard Alex greet Vicki. Shelly dabbed at her eyes and she watched Alex sit down and grab the menu.

Alex had waited to speak to Shelly until she regained her composure. She patted Shelly’s hand and mouthed the words, “It will be alright”, although she knew that it won’t be for a long time.

After the waitress came and took their order, Vicki, in her strong voice, said, a little too loud, “Mike is a catch. Don’t you agree, Alex?” Without waiting for an answer, she plowed on like a bull in a china shop, “Besides, God hates divorce.”

Alex shot back, “I believe that you’re referring to Matthew 5:31, 32 which states, , ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’[f] 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.’ Shelly has a right to divorce Mike. After all, she did catch him with Grace.”
Shelly burst out in tears. “Stop it! I’m confused enough. I still love him. We have been married 20 years, and went through a lot in those years.”
“Yeah, like when you caught him with Janice. Do you remember that?”
The sarcasm was not lost on Shelly. Her answer was to turn and gaze outside through the window. Tears began to trickle down her pale cheeks.
Seeing one of her friends verbally beat up on Shelly broke Alex’s heart. She could only touch her hand again. Shelly looked back at her.
“I’m sorry. I’m a mess. I should have stayed home tonight.”
Alex shot a look at Vicki that said, ‘shut up’. “No, Shelly. We were out of line. I can see how hard it would be to turn your back on him. Alter all, he was your first love. You need time to figure this out.” She looked back at Vicki. Back off! She hoped that Vicki got the message and wouldn’t continue to run Mike down.
She didn’t. “Mike’s nothing but a sleazy creep. How you can even consider going back to him is beyond me. There would be no way that I would allow him to step one foot into my house if he did that to me.”
Shelly threw her napkin down, scooped up her purse and ran out of the restaurant. It was impossible for Vicki not to understand the daggers Alex shot at her.
“What? I only told her the truth.”
Alex sighed and followed Shelly to her car.

Posted in Lesson 2, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Lesson 8 – Queen Bee of the Amazons

“Ms. Queen Bee is in.  Look out,” said Barbara.  “I clocked in late but I had been here and she docked me for a whole hour.”

“Terrible,” said Ann.  “She’s done that to me too.  There is no recourse with the Queen of the Amazons.”

“We’re all going to hang out in the amazons if this keeps up,” said Barbara.

The aka “Queen Bee,” Martha overheard part of the conversation and stepped out of her office.  “Barbara, come into my office.”

“Yes, Ms. Martha,” said Barbara.

“What is this here?” asked Martha.  “You don’t like the style of my management?”

“What do you mean?” asked Barbara.

“You know,” said Martha.  “Queen Bee of the amazons?”

“Oh, not you,” said Barbara.

“Are you sure?” said Martha.  “You didn’t say that?”

But Barbara couldn’t tell a lie.  “I don’t think it’s fair we get docked just because we forgot to clock in the computer when we arrive at work.  I was here and on time!”

“You don’t do you?” said Martha.  “Well, I’m the boss here.  And if you don’t like it, there’s the door.”

“Well,” said Barbara.  “I’m not the only one that thinks it’s not fair.  Don’t just blame me.”

“Oh, believe me, I won’t,” said Martha.  “I’m completely fair.”

Barbara frowned and looked perplexed.  She said, “How’s that being fair?”

“I’m fair and square,” said Martha aka Queen Bee.  “I’ll just fire all of you and fill this company up with temporaries.”

A look of stark terror came over Barbara’s face.  She grew pale and stoic.

The telephone rang and Martha answered it.  “You’ll have to go now.  I’ll talk to you later,” Martha said to Barbara.

Barbara left Martha’s office and walked back to her cubicle feeling dejected.  She sat in front of her computer but found it hard to work with the recent spate of bull floating through her head.  She thought, I’ll tell you this.  That’s sure one way of cutting the budget.  With temporaries you don’t have to pay real wages and benefits.  Yeah, sure.  There are a lot of slackers in this company who show up when they want to and don’t work when they’re here.  But she, Martha shouldn’t be taking this out on me because I work and I don’t take time off.  Our boss, Martha is the biggest slave driver could be why some people just give up and become slackers.

aka Queen Bee finished her phone call and walked out of her office and quietly pussy footed around each employees cubicle one by one as to sneak up behind them.  “Why aren’t you answering the phone?” she asked Suzy.

“But miss Martha,” replied Suzy.  “The phone rings off the hook.  I’m doing the best I can.”

“I’ve been watching the stats,” said Martha.  “Is that the best you can do?  We can’t have any dropped calls?  Not one.  Do you hear?”

“Yes, mam” replied Suzy.  “No dropped calls.”

Then Martha came upon the next victim.  “Why isn’t that report finished yet?

“Ms. Martha,” said Sally.  “There are three thousand accounts and you gave it to me just two hours ago.”

“I want that report finished by the end of the week,” said Martha.  “Or else.”

“Yes, Ms. Martha,” said Sally.  She felt like she could hide under her desk.

Martha went out to her next victim sneaking around the corner quietly to the next cubicle.  “Why aren’t those documents finished?”

“I have one hundred documents to verify,” said Rebecca meekly.

“I want those documents finished by the end of the day,” said Martha.

“Yes, mam,” said Rebecca. “I’ll try.”

Ms. Queen Bee continued to buzz around to each of her slaves cubicles giving each one orders about how they should perform until she got to one employee in particular.  Guess who but her best friend and favorite who did nothing but socialize all day every day.  “Keep up the good work,” said Martha.  Then the Queen Bee made her rounds to Barbara’s cubicle.

“I finished typing your packet of forms,” said Barbara.  Amazingly Martha/Queen Bee did a flip flop.

“That was fast,” said Martha.  “You are the fastest and the most accurate one in here.”  There was no love or favoritism between the two of them but Barbara did have fast fingers.

“Thank you,” said Barbara feeling relieved that maybe Martha was just venting when she wanted to fire everyone and replace them with temporaries.  Maybe, she really wasn’t talking about her.  Boss Martha’s own job was on the line if her own boss didn’t feel like she was getting the output from her employees under her immediate supervision.

Something must have been biting Martha the time I was in her office this morning, thought Barbara.  Maybe, I should learn to overlook her sudden outbursts.  I’m doing my job.  I don’t know if she isn’t.  It could be this company is just a magnet for all of the slackers out there in the world.  They really are like flies stuck on glue paper with no where else to go. This company takes in everything that walks on two legs,.  They keep some of the worst incompetent people, deadbeats for years to come employed in the company as if they were their own flesh and blood.  That may be good for job security but something has to give.

Then something started to give.  An email was sent to all employees.  Barbara opened the email from the Division Chief.  It says that some of our jobs are going to be outsourced, she read.  Barbara then felt a breeze come through the office.  What was that that just whooshed by, she thought?

It was the Division Chief who passed by her cubicle about to give a speech to all the employees.  “I’ve heard concerns about the email I sent.  But I promise you that your jobs are secure even though there is going to be some outsourcing of some projects and functions from within the company.”

The next month four people were gone out the door.  Was it from unintended consequences?  Or, was it planned?

Several employees confronted Martha.  They all said, “They said no one was going to lose their jobs due to the outsourcing.”

Barbara thought, ha, ha.  My sweet revenge.  I lied.  But then said, “Those people are just not with us anymore.  Have no worries.  I want to tell you that you all are doing a great job.”

Yeah, I guess we are as long as we feel the lash of her whip forced to do ten times more than what can be reasonably accomplished within forty hours a week, thought Barbara.

One year later everyone was let go.  It wasn’t because there was no job.  Well, there was.  They were either outsourced or filled up with temporaries.  The company decided to clean house.  They were on a budget.  Actually, the company did this recycling of employees every so often.  They said they needed some fresh blood.

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