Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction: Workplace Horrors

21 March 2016

Edition 2 Prompt – Workplace Horrors: This One Time At Work


Customer Service – BY ELIZA SHALLARD

She can feel her need to stay employed being outweighed by something akin to bloodlust.

“Sir please-”

“You’re the most incompetent bitch I’ve-”

She stands, smile unwavering, and jams her pen into the man’s throat. She wonders vaguely if it’s the history of anaemia she’d noted in his file, or the shining white counter she’d just cleaned, that causes the gushing blood to be so radiantly red.

Oh if only.

“You tell that quack he’s lost a loyal patient!” As he slams the door of the clinic, Hailey throws her pen across the desk and decides it’s time for coffee.


“Actually the position is unpaid” she said, with a perfectly straight face. “We don’t pay our writers, most of them appreciate the exposure and the opportunity to get published.”

I looked down at the job advertisement I had printed . “Journalistic intern” it read, “25 hours a week”.

“Unpaid” I added, mentally.

“We pride ourselves on developing young writers,” she was saying “after a year or so some of our interns even get the opportunity to move into a paid position!”

Outside on the street I scrunched the ad into a ball and dumped it in the bin.


Until recently I worked in IT. Almost 90 per cent of my job was restarting people’s computers, plugging cords and getting the printer back in action.

Everything else was solvable via a quick Google search and bored dudes on message boards. I was making 80k a year pressing Control-Alt-Delete for people born before the moon landing and I was pretty happy until last week.

It was on that day that I found a giant hidden share folder when uploading Mad Men. I went back the next day to check.

The folder name read ‘we know you know’.

Now I hide.


I stared at the blank page in front of me, contemplating my latest assignment from the editors over at Farrago. I typed a sentence. Then deleted. “Do you have a workplace horror story?”

I whispered to my friend sitting next to me.

“I made a homemade bomb at work once” he told me, without missing a beat. “I mean, I didn’t mean to, it was an accident.”

He blushed red, not exactly a terror threat.

I waited for him to explain.

“Well it involved a popcorn machine full of oil, a half empty lighter and a rubbish bin.”  


Restocking shelves at the chemist isn’t a fun job but it’s even worse when you’re crouching on your knees, lining boxes of Nivea face cream along a bottom shelf of dust – each product placed in perfect rows like cosmetic soldiers preparing for the inevitable attack of the customer wanting a product from the back.  

Suddenly, a pair of feet appears under my nose and kicks off one of its thongs.

My life flashes before my eyes as a set of thick toenails comes into focus.

“Do you think this is Tinea and where do I find the cream for it?”


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