Ok, a big thanks to Virginia Lee for hosting the third edition of the Absolute Write flash fiction carnival and for kicking me up the butt to write this piece. It’s very important to snap out of the post-Howard euphoria and remember that there’s still capitalism after Howard and there’s still stories to write about how shit capitalism is under Rudd too, because, if I may go on a tangent before delving into my flash fiction, those that don’t get elected are the real architects behind this shit system, the CEOs and business leeches like Kerry Packer, Rupert Murdoch, Bill Gates, Donald Trump and my best mate, Allan Moss, the $33 million dollar man.



“Coming for a beer, Jason?” he asked me. That’s him, a different guy to the guy I knew six months before.

I would’ve had a beer with the guy I knew six months before, but not the guy I know now. Some people try to tell me he’s the same guy, just moved up in the world, “the hard work’s paid off for him.” It’s all bullshit. He’s changed, mutated even.

I once worked with a guy that would turn up late with me every morning, then go out and have coffee for two hours. Now I work with a guy who turns about one hour early and has coffee at his desk.

This guy used to come out for lunch with me for two hours and we’d play arcade games instead of going back to work. This new guy, that they think is the same, eats lunch at his desk and might read the Business Review Weekly.

This same guy I used to work with really did barely 15 minutes of work a day. This new guy spends all day and night in his office. I still leave half an hour early.

“Jason,” he repeats, “You coming out for a beer?”

“No, not with you. You’ve changed. You’re not the person I know.”

“Will you come for a beer if you know that not going will mean you don’t come in on Monday?”

“The boss blackmailing his workers for friends. You really have changed.”

He stood up with anger, he was about to snap, “Don’t give me that boss v workers bullshit. I haven’t treated you any different since I got promoted. It’s only you.”

I fell on the floor laughing. I could even gain enough air to respond.

“What is it? What’s so fucking funny?” Little veins popped in his foreheard. “Name one thing that I’ve done.”

I stood up and tossed my termination letter on his desk. “Did you sign this?” It was signed by him. It said I was fired and not to come in Monday.

“Yes, but…”

“You fire your best mate,” I mimed quotation marks in the air, “Forget that is was him that you fired because all employees are just numbers to you now and then expect me to have drinks with you just like old times. Get fucked.”

I go to walk out as he says, “I didn’t realize that was you. I thought it was another Brad.”

“See, can’t even remember my fucking name, you’ve changed so much.

flash fiction, absolute write, management

15 thoughts on “Mutated

  1. I like that the narrator uses the word “mutated” to describe the drastic change in his one-time friend. The transformation in his work ethic is sort of repeated in several different ways, but I would have liked a few more details on how and why he changed. Good job, though.

    I’ve only read four or five entries so far, but it’s fascinating to see the variations on the theme!

  2. Hi Benjamin, I really enjoyed this – I totally “got” the position of the MC – his friend has become corporate and worse, he’s the new boss. It’s easy to relate to the story and the banter back and forth was palpable. It was all very real.

    The ending threw me off a little since you had written “Will you come for a beer if you know that not going will mean you don’t come in on Monday?” That had sounded like a threat more than a premonition. There might be a smoother way to go about it. But that’s a small detail.

    Really nice job! & I love your website. You are obviously very talented.

  3. It seems odd that such a total slacker would get promoted to boss, but I have seen the effects close-up of someone getting a little bit of authority and a heaping dose of ego and ambition on the side. It looks about like this. Fun take on the theme!

  4. What an enjoyable read (especially for a cubicle monkey such as myself). It hooked me at the start and the dialogue popped. I did notice 3 or 4 spelling errors, though so you might want to do a little clean up, but other than that I loved it.

  5. Is it wrong that I sympathized more with the promoted guy? A real friend would tell a friend that he’s screwing up instead of letting him ride. I actually had no sympathy for the MC at all, really. Perhaps if he had the capability to grow up and realize that his luck was going to run out one day, perhaps it wouldn’t have come as such a shock.

    I also found it a little unfeasible that this man who was seemingly as big of a slacker as his friend was able to get a promotion. I would have liked to see a little more information on the how’s around that so it doesn’t look like someone in upper management went ‘eeny, meeny, miny, mo’ and chose someone at random.

    Overall, an excellent read! The tone was excellent and portrayed emotion well.

  6. Loved this piece. I was completely engrossed in the dialogue. It was believable and real. I do have one tiny issue…. if the boss really didn’t know that it was “that” Brad he was firing, then the whole going for a beer thing makes sense. But the end needed better explanation. The way you wrote the last paragraph makes it sound as if the boss was just using it as an excuse that he thought he was firing a different Brad. If it WAS just an excuse, then the whole beer thing up above didn’t gel for me.

    Overall, this is a great read. Nice job.

  7. This is a fun piece of flash fiction, especially in the dialogue between Brad and his former friend now boss. When I first started reading this, I was wondering what kind of ‘mutation’ Brad’s friend undergoes, but the change turns out to be quite ironic. I know some friends who are now mere acquaintances because of the negative changes in their personalities.

  8. I was expecting a mutation more like, oh, turning into a monkey or the walking dead or something. :) To me, it didn’t feel authentic, and I don’t think it’s just the lazy slacker being promoted. I think there just wasn’t enough of a reason for me to get emotionally invested in the characters – I didn’t like either one of them. Nevertheless, you have a good writing style with a smooth flow.

  9. Pingback: AW Flash Fiction Carnival III | Peregrinas

  10. Pingback: AW Flash Fiction Carnival III | Peregrinas

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