Your Revelation

Your Revelation

A Story by james
"

A short story I wrote inspired by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's (chitradivakaruni.com) "The Word Love." I liked how she used second person to speak directly to the reader. Not as good as her story.

"

You walk into the conference room to find Michael is the only other employee to arrive on time. He asks you if you ever had a chance to read that email about real estate investment. You tell him you haven’t, but will. It sounds like an idea that is interesting, but the risk scares you. You like grantees, you like Certificates of Deposit.

He kneels to look under the table and says, “Hey what’s this under here?” He reaches for something out of your view. You bend at the waist without removing hands from your pockets to investigate. Under the table you see nothing but Michael’s middle finger. You feel for it again.

This game has been going on for years. Before anyone else shows up to the meeting you show him your new ‘baseball pitch bird.’ It’s hilarious; you both laugh, but have to cut the fun short. Mark, the lead programmer fills the room with an odor of anger. He left his usual jovial attitude back in his office, so you know something is up.

Without anyone asking Mark begins to explain his disposition. “It’s so bull! Why can’t we just do what we know is right? They want us to jump through these artificial hoops for no reason. Just because the older guys don’t know the new language.”

Michael chimes in with a  voice of reason, “But documentation is good. It helps us communicate too.”

Mark explains he has no problem with documentation. “I’m talking about these stupid variable and function names. Why aren’t we naming them in a uniform manner? Just because they don’t want to change how they’ve done business for twenty years that’s why. Things change. Programming languages change. We need to keep up with what’s new, not revert back to what’s old.”

You keep your mouth shut because the argument is moot. While Mark is right, he doesn’t sign your paycheck. If the people in charge want things done a certain way you rationalize there must be a reason. These people didn’t get to where they are by making bad decisions. You trust them. You have to.

Michael says, “Have you mentioned this to Jonathan?”

“Of course, I tell him the best way to go about development of new projects.”
You couldn’t help but interject, “In your opinion.”

“True, it is an opinion, but founded in reason. Backed up by evidence. Who here would dispute that we are wasting time and money but implementing archaic development practices.”

You know he’s right, Mark is always right. Comes with the territory for a boy genius. During the silence following his statement, Jonathan makes an uncelebrated entrance and stands unnatural like a sloth upright. He is even more timid than usual. Where he usual starts to stutter and stammer when he’s on the loosing side of an argument, he opens the meeting with a no resolve in his voice. It feels like a good sign. Maybe he’s giving in. Maybe he’s decided you programmers actually know what you’re talking about and he’s going to give you some free reign.

“Greetings,” his nasal voice cracks the usual conversation starter people hate. “I know this latest project has been a huge undertaking. The three of you have performed,” he pauses to look for the right word, “admirably.” Then grins as though he chose the right answer on an exam. “Unfortunately I have some bad news.” The unsettling feeling that we suddenly have no idea why we are in this room fills us. In his usual round about way of explaining things, Jonathan proceeds to piss off everyone by not getting to the point.

Your mind ponders the bad news as Jonathan started to say something about how the company was founded on moral principles. You heard the words “faltering economy,” and thought maybe they’ve cancelled your project. It was out of the companies usual area of expertise. You tune back in the hear him say something about how his father built the company, and thought to yourself how the son will tear it down with his lack of resolve or decision making ability.

Finally the words came. Words so unexpected we’d have been less surprised if Jonathan poofed into a toad then hopped off the conference room table. “We’re going to have to let you go.” You thought he was going to cry.

You felt like crying yourself, but couldn’t in front of two grown men and Jonathan. You had to remain cool and composed. “Your personal belongings are being gathered from your offices.”

You think, “Wow how far the trust goes after three years.” After your efforts have helped their bottom line, they don’t even trust you to gather your own possessions from your own office.

Within minutes your worries went from best practices in .NET development to how are you going to pay off your student loans. It was Friday afternoon, and all those weekend plans suddenly feel insignificant compared to the nothing happening Monday morning. As you slowly walk to your fifty-eight payments remaining Volvo, you come to a revelation.

All this time you’ve done what people told you to do. You went to school and got that degree. You followed the path that paid well. You even excelled at it, though it wasn’t your passion. Right out of college you got a great job, and you were loyal to that company. That company right behind you that just threw you out because they didn’t make as many millions this year as they wanted.

The revelation is you never thought for yourself. You followed the crowd. You didn’t take risks and sought guarantees. When you got home you read Michael’s email.


© 2011 james



Author's Note

james
Just looking for honest critiques, thanks.

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Featured Review

James -
- I like the element of satire in this, but I'd suggest expanding on it. The revelation bit at the end seems a bit like it was just tacked on, which makes it seem less significant than perhaps you meant for it to be. Show the reader how the "you" comes upon this revelation. It just seems like the ending is a summary.
- You had a few copy-editing errors and pronoun changes, so you might want to look into those.
- Thought the story gains texture as you read on, the beginning felt pretty flat. Give the "you" more characterization and substance, as well as the other characters. Try not to tell the reader how the characters are (ex: Michael chimes in with a voice of reason, "But documentation is good..." - the statement itself is reasonable, which makes the preceding phrase redundant) but show them. Sometimes it's good to tell the reader rather than show, especially with action. But in a piece like this, I'd suggest experimenting with other ways of revealing the thoughts and actions of the characters.
- It's definitely a piece you should keep working with!

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

James -
- I like the element of satire in this, but I'd suggest expanding on it. The revelation bit at the end seems a bit like it was just tacked on, which makes it seem less significant than perhaps you meant for it to be. Show the reader how the "you" comes upon this revelation. It just seems like the ending is a summary.
- You had a few copy-editing errors and pronoun changes, so you might want to look into those.
- Thought the story gains texture as you read on, the beginning felt pretty flat. Give the "you" more characterization and substance, as well as the other characters. Try not to tell the reader how the characters are (ex: Michael chimes in with a voice of reason, "But documentation is good..." - the statement itself is reasonable, which makes the preceding phrase redundant) but show them. Sometimes it's good to tell the reader rather than show, especially with action. But in a piece like this, I'd suggest experimenting with other ways of revealing the thoughts and actions of the characters.
- It's definitely a piece you should keep working with!

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on May 19, 2011
Last Updated on May 19, 2011
Tags: programmer, work, revelation, second person, Divakaruni

Author

james
james

Houston, TX



About
My name is James and I'm trying to improve my writing by reviewing others and receiving critique on some of my work. more..

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