My Family Vacation

Ok, so this one I will admit is utterly ridiculous. It started as a response the the prompt “a lie getting out of control” and mixed with a little lingering spite I had for a company I once worked at that preferentially gave people vacation based on their family status instead of their seniority. You can imagine where this is going as the main character just wanted his vacations approved.

I just wanted a vacation, to see my parents for the holidays, and I didn’t feel like that was too big of an ask, all things considered. It wasn’t like I was new, in fact I was one of the most senior people on the team, and I was due for a vacation.

I however, had the misfortune of being single, and as a result, the last three attempts to book vacation had been bumped in favor of “letting someone with a family” make an important date.

The last vacation I had managed to get authorized was a week in the dead of February, and even that was at risk when Herbert considered taking his girlfriend on a surprise vacation to propose to her. In the end, I only got my week because Hebert’s girlfriend broke up with him when he brought up the idea of the vacation. Apparently she knew what he was planning, and wanted out before it got anymore serious than it already was.

When Claire mentioned that she wanted to take the holiday for her and her husband to go see their Brother’s new baby, I saw my vacation vanishing, and I spoke before I thought.

“I was hoping to take Linda to meet my parents.” There was no Linda. From there it only grew, as I explained that my relationship with Linda, the woman who I had been seeing casually, had recently become a bit more serious and I wanted to take her back east to meet my parents.

I got my vacation, and intended to “break-up” with Linda following the trip. I forgot entirely about Linda until about three months later, after all, she wasn’t real.

I had never been one to share my personal life at work, I just wasn’t that guy. So I guess no one though anything of it when I never brought her up again. This time I was booking an easter holiday, or trying to, after all, I don’t have kids. I wanted to book around the long weekend so that I could down to Florida for a five day all inclusive.

I waited to be rebuffed, and then someone helpfully asked. “Oh, are Linda’s parents snowbirds?” I stared blankly, and listened to a longer explanation of the term snowbirds than anyone should ever have to endure. The good news was, that half way through thisI figured out who Linda was, and realized I had forgotten to break up, and so I did what anyone in my situation would do. I replied. “Yup, they have a little place down there. Linda and I will be renting a hotel, but If I don’t go down there to meet them, I won’t see them until they come back in June.”

I saw the eager looks on everyone else’s faces, and I didn’t clue in what the big deal was until the beginning of May, when everyone kept asking if I had booked my time yet.

Apparently there was a flower show in May, that everyone assumed I must be taking Linda to, and had I booked the Friday off yet. I took the long weekend, cause I was never able to take a long weekend, and it was glorious, until Monday that is.

Everyone ran over, saw the smile on my face and cheered. Jamie yelled, “Looks like she said yes!” and it all clicked. I nodded, because what could I do, and then I excused myself to my early morning meeting. During which I Googled the flower show and saw it was on a list of “top ten events to get engaged at”. Suddenly it all clicked, I had said I couldn’t wait till June to meet Linda’s parents, and they had thought I had to ask her Father for permission before the May flower show. That’s when things started to snowball.

Linda and I were married a year later, in July, and took a two week honeymoon cruise. I was actually on a single’s cruise, but I came back tan and wearing a wedding band I bought for 50$ at one of the ports, and it was known that I was married.

A year later the hints started, about Linda and I getting up there, were we planning to have kids. I was pissed, it was none of their business about whether or not me and my fictional wife were having kids. When Ernie went too far, joking I couldn’t get it up, I lost it.
“How dare you. This is less than none of your business, what my wife and I do in our home, is our choice. Jesus Ernie, not everyone wants kids, and not everyone who wants them can just have them. When I want to discuss my private life I will, but until then, back the hell off. I am going for lunch.” I stormed out ten minutes early, and then spent twenty minutes in my car, laughing till I cried. I can’t believe I got that angry over Ernie, I mean, he should know better, but Linda wasn’t real.

When I finally calmed down, I realized I left my lunch in on my desk, I faced the embarrassing task of walking back in to claim it. I was stopped by an HR Rep on the way to in, and I thought this was it, my fake Wife had gotten me fired…..

Except she hadn’t. Apparently I was getting the rest of the day off, paid, because of Ernie’s insensitivity. They thought Linda and I were having trouble conceiving, and I was given the day with their sympathies. I couldn’t tell them the truth, so I went home.

After a few months I got so sick of the said looks, and pitying comments, that when I walked in happy, and someone asked, I finally said, “We’re pregnant.” I really don’t know what I was thinking, but I spent a Saturday looking through the appointments I would need and made sure to book the afternoons off, to take Linda to her appointments.

The baby was a boy, we only found out tin the delivery room, wanting to be surprised on that one. He was a week late, and arrived 7lbs 30z, on Saturday morning after nine hours of laobur. His name, David Joseph Jr. , after my Father, and I, dutiful employee that I was, was back at my cubicle on Monday.

After that, vacation was a breeze with doctor’s appointments, vacations, and event things like hockey away games. I could take vacation the same as my colleagues, as long as they never found out the truth about the family.

I spent another twenty years waiting for it to implode on me, and then I was retiring, with David in his third year of University, and his little brother Malcolm about to graduate high school. Linda and I would be moving to Florida for our retirement, and I would never see any of these people again.

The one upside of all this, was that I would have one heck of a story to tell the snowbirds. After all, it isn’t everyday you end up faking an entire family to get Christmas off.

The Little Death

If you are thinking La petitie mort, you barking up the wrong tree here. This one is a microfiction about someone hiding out in the washroom at a holiday party. I tried to stay bright and happy for a whole month, but oh well….Ironically this will come out the day after my own office holiday party, to which I am still so on edge about, I can’t quite decide if it is worth attending or not.

“Only I will remain”
“Only I will remain”

She didn’t think this was what her therapist had in mind when he recommended mantras, but it was a mantra against fear, and that was all anxiety was, right? Fear?

One thing she was certain of was that her body was NOT a temple. She did not want to surrender herself to a higher power, always sounded like an invitation to possession really. Abundance was not something she had to be accepting of. I have everything I need, true, but it always made her feel shitty for people who didn’t, so she stuck with her mantra coined from science fiction.

After all, if authors could make religion, then the mantras were legit, and it always made her giggle when she thought it, which cut the anxiety. She squared her shoulder, looked her self straight on in the mirror and said aloud “I can do this.”

With a last nod towards her reflection, she stepped out and back into the fray that was the office Christmas party with the one lingering thought: Her therapist was going to have a field day with this…


This one was written for this week’s six sentence story prompt by girlontheedge, which was JUNK. I went with more of a nostalgia take on this one, trying to be a little more on the cheery side and am continuing my theme of holiday stories to round out the year.

There was that old idiom, one man’s trash is another’s treasure, and at first glance this was junk. A lot of it was old, worn, stained, some new and cheap, and some of it passed through more than one set of hands before it got to me.

What it was though, was memories, as I could remember the origin of every single one of the shiny baubles littered about my house. Each year as I unpack them, one by one their, story comes back to me and my heart is warmed.

Its why the majority of my storage space is filled with decorations that adorn my home for only one month a year, and why when my friends walk in during December, they state that someone “threw up Christmas”.

It is in this month the house feels most like a home, full of bright colors, happy music, and though I will be glad to take them down for the space come the 31st, for now I will enjoy the feeling of Christmas.

A Miracle on the 34th Floor

I am sure there are going to be people from both sides of this fence, but this one tackles the suggestion box at the workplace, and the lack of both implementation of ideas, and appreciation for the ideas that are implemented that goes with it.

Robbie had once seen a place where the feedback box had no bottom and was placed strategically over a garbage can. At the time she found it a little funny, and a little rude, but four years into her stint as a manager she wondered if she could copy the idea.

She sat in the cafeteria using her lunch break to go through the ideas, and nibbled on one of the Christmas cookies she had brought in for everyone as a response to one of the suggestions.

There was never any positive feedback in feedback box, only criticism. Little things that she could or should be doing to make things better. On paper some of them looked great, but they could be physically, financially, or technically implausible. For example, a four day weekday was great, but the customers really expected them to be open on the weekend.

That was what they told the employees anyways, upper management had actually been willing to cave on that one if middle management really thought that employees would like it as much as indicated. Of course, if the trial was successful, they would have to let 45% of the employees go, because they wouldn’t need to staff additional shifts, and the money to cover the sales decrease had to come from somewhere.

Or that it would be great to buy cakes for every employees birthday, but it would be a logistical nightmare, not only in obtaining and tracking birthdays, but also in the cakes themselves given allergies and dietary restrictions, and then the hurt feelings when they only got one cake on a shared birthday. Some things were not worth the mess that they would create.

That was the thing about suggestions, comments, feedback, the person filling out the little slip of paper didn’t have to do anything more than dream up an idea. This was great from a brainstorming perspective, as there was no judging, just free ideas. It was however, miserable in middle management, because they had to review and vet the ideas for upper management. This meant they spent a large portion of time giving “serious” thought, to ideas like getting a cat for morale, in a food production plant, and justifying why or why not this would be a good idea.

They then had to go back to the floor, mostly with bad news, present all the ideas, get their hopes up, and then completely shit on them. Then of course, the wost part, encourage them to keep submitting the stupid ideas.

It was a long exhausting process, and somehow my company felt that it had merit. That it kept employees involved and motivated, rather than just implying that their ideas ultimately sucked, because the only ones that really got implemented were at a higher level, as we specifically only came up with reasonable ideas.

Anyways, I was sitting the break room, listening to an employee go on and on about that, how its all fixed, how we put it up as a show. That people, like her, were never going to be listened to, when one brave soul interrupted.

“Actually, they have done a lot of the ideas.” Said one of our quieter people, Margo.

“Excuse me?” The upstart replied.

“I said, they have done a lot of the ideas. I mean we got the new colder water cooler, a new fridge, extra microwaves, they replaced the chairs, and gave a budget the social committee who put up the decorations, and brought in the Christmas cookies you are eating.” Margo replied getting louder with each word

I could see the employees look around with a new sense of awareness, the decorations, cakes, cookies, and the social calendar. It was like they could see it, finally. The upstart began to sputter a response, but was cut off by a bell signaling the end of lunch. They filed out of the cafeteria towards the floor, each stopping to thank me, a member of the social committee, for the cookies and I felt myself flush with each one. Suddenly the feedback box didn’t seem so bad, and I felt that it was kind of a Christmas miracle.