Writing Fiction posted January 20, 2022

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When The Company You Work For Makes Stupid Decisions

I Quit!

by Brett Matthew West

Strangers writing for the small town Bentonville News, seasoned reporter Dana Westbrook, and newbie Marcia McCoy, walk into Polly Ester's Bar. Except for them the joint is empty. They find seats and order the first round of gin and tonic.

Dana draws a deep sigh and asks, "See the alligators all waiting nearby? Sooner or later they knew I'd pull this amazing stunt."

"I appreciate the drink. But, do you realize how much criticism you're opening yourself up for?"

"I don't give a rat's rip about that. It's time for this woman's liberation to stand up and be noticed. The latest decision by our illustrious Editor was nothing but a cold, hard, slap in the face of us writers."

"You're pretty annoyed aren't'cha?"

"That puts it mildly! All of us moneymakers should be. After all, who brings the cash to the paper's coffers? I'll tell you. We do. We bust our humps to write the stories, and this is the thanks we get? Will someone please git a grip on reality?"

"Pam Vespers is an entertaining poet."

"B-I-N-G-O! You just smashed the nail on top of its head. Believe me, I have nothing personally against Pam, or poets for that matter. I've known her a long time and poets serve their purpose. However, the prized Writer of the Month award should go to a...get ready for this proclamation...a writer, not a poet. And, that is what has my girdle in a bunch."

"Does it really make that much difference who won? Aren't we all on the same team?"

"Who broke the news about Mayor McKight being busted for lewd and lascivious with a minor? I assure you it was no poet. You don't think that story sold many more papers than our usual daily allotment? Or, what about the extra forty thousand dollars Governor Newberry provided the Bentonville County schools? Who got the scoop? Ain't no poet behind that headline either. It was a writer."

"Yes, you have many superb bylines to your credit."

"There won't be any more for this rag. I assure you of that. Seven wasted years down the toilet."

"Hate to see that happen, Dana. You don't know this, but you've kind of been like my mentor since I got hired after graduating college."

"Let me tell you, Marcia, I've been a writer a long time. And, nowhere I have ever been treats their writers with less respect than this newspaper does. All it cares about is getting their social section, and good old boys network, filled up at the sacrificial expense of their writers; the ones who keep the presses running. Where would they be if we didn't keep drawing readers in for them? Let's see some poet achieve the numbers we already have."

"I assume it's too late to just let the whole thing go?"

The lone, bare, overhead light bulb flickers when Dana says, "As Ron White famously states, "You can't fix stupid." And, you don't place new patches on old garments. As for me, the line of no return was crossed a long while back. I tendered my resignation. I'm out of here! Moreover, if you have any sense, or want to make a name for yourself in this thankless racket, you should follow suit. Bartender! Pass the flipping booze! I feel a real good drunk coming on. Now, where's that bathroom? This rushing racehorse has gotta pee."

Two women sit at a deserted bar writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a story using the premise two woman sit at an otherwise deserted bar. They share a secret. They strike up a friendship.

there's a New Tarzan in town, by lynnkah, selected to complement my story.

This story is not intended as an attack on poets. The theme seemed to best fit the kind of bad decision a newspaper would make. So, let's not stone the messenger.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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© Copyright 2023. Brett Matthew West All rights reserved.
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