Prairie Fire, a spicy shot of tequila and tabasco
Bernard finished the letter of resignation with his signature and a small flourish. He didn’t, however, add his usual two kisses. They didn’t seem appropriate under the circumstances. He read the letter, checking grammar, spelling and punctuation. It was all so important. An incorrectly positioned comma, for example could result in all sorts of confusion and he couldn’t risk any misunderstandings.
With a sweep of his arm, he moved the stuffed teddy bear, the small cactus in the Mexican hat-shaped pot, the travel set of Newton’s Balls and the fluorescent pencil case aside, to reveal the long scorch mark on the top of his desk. It ran from the front to the back, finishing just in front of where he was seated. He stood up and looked down at his chair. The greasy stain and singed line were all that remained of his predecessor although arguably, there might be a few bits of him embedded in the wall behind the desk. The crater in the plaster had been repaired although the burns in the carpet and the damage to the furniture were still evident.
Well, the budget was tight this year.
In his less generous moments, Bernard wondered if his boss hadn’t wanted there to be reminders of his wrath – just to keep the staff in check. But with any luck, that soon wouldn’t apply to him. Not once he’d handed in his letter of resignation. He put it in an envelope and sealed it, then placed it over the scorch mark on his desk.
He needed to deliver his letter… but to whom? Mr. Thor, Mr. Jupiter or Mr. Zeus? They were all as scary as each other. Of course, the logical choice would have been the one who was most senior but they all claimed seniority and who was Bernard to argue with any of them?
Perhaps he should just leave it on the desk of whoever wasn’t in his office at the time and then disappear before anyone came asking questions. He’d been as much as promised a job in the Sunshine Department and he couldn’t wait. There was only a certain amount of lightning and thunder one could take in a lifetime. And he’d had his fill.
Suddenly, he realised the decision was about to be taken out of his hands. Thunderous footsteps rang out and echoed ominously along the corridor with the odd flash of lightning that Bernard could see through the crack round the door.
He placed his hands over his ears to protect them from the booming noise and blanched as the door flew open.
“Ah! There you are, Bernard.”
“M…Mr. Thor, sir?”
“I just came to see how you’re settling in.”
“F…fine, thank you, sir.”
“Pleased to hear it. The last chap only lasted two weeks. No stamina. No drive. No tenacity. In the end…” he glanced at the blackened line in the desk, “he ended up with not much of anything… Well, what can you expect from a chap who wanted a transfer to the Sunshine Department?”
Words died in Bernard’s throat and he emitted a cross between a high-pitched squeak and the hiss of a slow leak in a tyre.
Mr. Thor aimed at the desk with his index finger and Bernard ducked as tiny sparks crackled round his hand and up his arm.
“Is that the mail?” he asked pointing at Bernard’s letter of resignation.
“No, sir. I was just tidying up, sir.”
Bernard slapped his hand over the letter, pulled it into his lap and tearing it into little pieces, he dropped them in the bin.
About the author:
Dawn's second book 'The Great War, 100 stories of 100 words honouring those who lived and died 100 years ago' was published in 2016. She enjoys a writing challenge and has had stories published in various anthologies, including horror and speculative fiction, as well as romances in several women's magazines. Dawn has written a script for a play to commemorate World War One, which has been performed in her home town in Essex, as well as in Germany and France. Married with one son, she lives in Essex.
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