Startled awake from a pleasant dream of a naked Jennifer Lawrence handing her a fruity frozen daiquiri, Sierra snuck her arm out from under the covers and blindly slapped at the nightstand to catch the snooze button on the alarm clock. Sadly, she couldn’t fall back asleep and resume the encounter with Jennifer and the daiquiri.
She lay there for exactly seven minutes until the snooze timer ended and the alarm blared again. Reluctantly, she stumbled out of bed and headed toward the bathroom to take a shower.
Sierra pulled the ends of the knotted drawstring loose on her pajama bottoms, which then slid down the curve of her hips and puddled on the floor around her ankles. Stepping out of the small cotton heap now gathered on the floor, she grabbed the bottom edge of her pajama top and in one swift motion pulled it over her head and shucked it to the floor.
Staring at her naked reflection in the mirror, Sierra mentally compared herself to the stunning image of Jennifer Lawrence from her dream. Sierra’s breasts were larger and her hips a bit curvier, but Jennifer was taller and prettier, and let’s face it, she had a movie deal and Sierra didn’t.
Sierra reached into the shower and turned on the water. Once it was hot enough, she stepped into the shower. Instead of dispelling the comparative thoughts of Ms. Lawrence and all her beauty, she decided to hold the image in her mind as she began lathering herself up. Having this object of beauty before her was a better way to start the day.
Silver Icon is a short story about a day in the life of a typical American worker at a typical American corporation during a reduction in workforce action. Job elimination, off-shoring, and systemic layoffs to reduce costs are commonplace in today’s workforce. This is the story of Rick, an information technology worker, who experiences this ever repeating story in America.
Excerpt from Silver Icon
The walk back up is horrific. So many people with boxes piled in their arms are being led out the door. I recognize most of the faces. In fact, it’s easier to count the one or two I don’t recognize or haven’t worked with in the past fifteen years. The place looks like the Day of the Dead. The shock and awe on their faces will be burned in my memory forever. And not just the ones leaving—it’s also on the ones who are staying. It’s how I’m sure I look right now.
We press on and when we get to the security door to our department, Sally lifts her badge. I shove mine forward. She understands and lowers her arm. Click. The door unlocks. Good, I’m still employed.
We walk through the door and hurry back to our seats without saying a word to each other. Just as I’m about to sit down, Sudhir, our department’s VP, walks over to George’s office. Maybe it’s the “all clear.” A few seconds later, they are both walking down the hall toward the elevators. Sudhir has a white eight-and-a-half-by-eleven envelope in his hands. Holy fucking shit! George is about to get his walking papers.
I sit down and unlock my virtual terminal and log back in. I call up the instant messenger app and see a silver icon by George’s name. Dave’s on-line presence is unknown and has the same silver icon. This is fucked up! There’s a loud buzzing in my brain. So far that’s three names on Henry’s list, and three silver icons. This is really bad. My stomach churns and I can’t decide if it’s hunger or if I’m gonna hurl my breakfast across the desk. My chest feels heavy. Breathe, breathe…
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