Flash Fiction

Inspired by Barthelme:

They called me into the office early today to talk about my place in the office.

“What do you mean, place? I’m right here?”

They said they knew that, but that wasn’t what they meant.

“Okay, so what do you mean?”

They said it wasn’t personal, but restructuring was an inevitable process of a growing company.

“Growing? There are three of us.”

Mark and Phillip turned to each other.

“Hey, man, try to be a good sport about this,” Mark and Phillip said, almost in unison, chirping.

“Good sport? I am the sport! I am the figurehead of this company.”

That’s just why they called me in. The office doesn’t have room for three statues anymore, now that the figurehead of the office is changing.

“You mean, the logo…is changing?”

“That’s exactly what we mean,” they said, happy now that I caught on.

“So we don’t need a bull statue anymore?”

“It’s going to be a mermaid now.”

“But where’s the logical jump? How are consumers going to know?”

“It’s going to be a rather aggressive mermaid.”

“Do you think—“

“Probably not, Carl. You’re not quite what they’re looking for in terms of mermaid statues.”

“I can stand really still, put my rear leg down. Look!” I tried moving my rear leg, but realized I would need to call the sculptor, who was currently working in Valencia studying the contours of fighting bulls to make more bulls like me, a statue.

“Listen, Carl, we really appreciate the work you’ve done for us in the past four years. You’ve battled the weather outside like a great bull, really, you’re full of fortitude.”

“Do you smell that?” Phillip said. “That’s the sea salt smell of change. That’s also the sea salt smell of where a mermaid lives, in an ocean environment.”

“How about you guys?” I asked, finally. “Will they still have places for birds?” They said they were thinking of putting the birds in the entry of the office to give it a more whimsical feel.

“We’ve never been the figureheads, anyway, so we get to flit around a bit longer.” Their laughs sounded like chirps, too.

I stood in front of them, my rear foot up, itching for motion, staying perfectly still.

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