That Damn Fly…

I bought a deck of cards, with beautiful art, to use as writing prompts as a way to resurrect my creativity and get back into writing again. This is my first attempt. Enjoy!

I wish I could go to work!

She can’t believe the thought crossed her mind. Maria hates her job. Her boss was a piece of shit completely unqualified for the job. It amazes her that Gerald hasn’t been fired as he hasn’t completed a project on time, or within budget, in the 8 years she’s been there. Over time, Gerald’s inability to lead led to inefficiencies among her co-workers. Most of them didn’t get along with each other, mainly because they were given unreasonable tasks to complete without the proper tools to complete them. Honestly, her team are miracle workers considering the restrictions they have. Unfortunately, the credit goes to Gerald most of the time, and he does not miss an opportunity to receive attention.

Why didn’t any of them leave if the work conditions were so bad? The obvious reason. They wanted Gerald’s job. Herman, who works in a different department, is due to retire soon. It is expected Gerald will be promoted to Herman’s position, leaving his position open for someone to be promoted. Because they rarely hire outside the company. The team stays because one of them will receive the promotion and things will become infinitely better when that happens. It’s a waiting game.

Maria would prefer to go to work, and endure Gerald’s insufferable ass, than deal with the hell she feels like she is in now. Maria slowly closes her eyes to block out the sound of Sara and Andrea arguing with each other. They’ve been fighting about the pettiest things lately. What to watch on TV, whose food was in the refrigerator… Maria shuts that thought process down because she doesn’t want to relive their political arguments.

“SHUT UP!!”, Maria says in a loud stern voice. As Maria turns she sees a fly whizzing past her head. She’s been trying to kill it for over an hour. “Is the laundry done? The dishes aren’t done. Who is cooking dinner tonight? I guess you expected me to do it while you argued. WRONG! Mark will be home in two hours. You two don’t have time to argue.”

Sara hisses at Andrea, “This is your fault” but they knew to start splitting the chores up before Mark came home. How different the house would be if Mark was laid off instead of her. Sara and Andrea are his darlings, always on their best behavior for their father. One day, Maria secretly recorded them arguing so Mark could hear it. Remembering the look on his face hearing his “darlings” sounding like wolves about to rip each other apart made her laugh out loud. He needed to know the truth. Normally, they are a peaceful family but having to stay indoors for so long is wearing on everyone’s nerves. Except Mark. He’s an essential worker; life hasn’t changed much for him. Maria starts to feel jealous but immediately turns those thoughts to gratitude because his job is keeping them afloat, but the bills are starting to get behind. Soon, Mark will be working from home. His employer wants to minimize exposure to the virus. He has a good job, and they are blessed he has it.

That damn fly! Maria swats at it, and misses, hitting her glass instead, causing the orange juice to spill on the mail…and the overdue bills. Hearing the fly buzzing around her head, she reaches for a paper towel to clean up the mess. That’s when another fly lands on the table. This fly is bigger, and bolder, looking like it wants to drink the orange juice.

Maria begins to silently cry. She knows what she has to do and it terrifies her.

Mark had suggested she start her own business, something she’s said she wanted to do for a long time. While her co-workers wanted Gerald’s job, Maria dreamed of having a consulting business where she truly helped people. She has the qualifications and Mark said her ideas were marketable, but Maria reminded them they needed two incomes to maintain the lifestyle they’ve become accustom to. Being responsible, she kept her job.

Maria swats at the big fly with a paper towel. She misses and it lands on the table again. Through her tears, Maria realizes the fly was more determined to get the orange juice than she was about being happy.

“Baby, you’re already laid off. This is the perfect time to start your business,” Mark said a week or two ago as he motioned for her to sit on his lap. As she sat, he wrapped his arms around her. “You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Go for it!”

“What if I start my business and I’m called back to work? They said the layoff is temporary.” Maria said. “I wouldn’t be able to get unemployment if I left and the company wouldn’t be making money yet, during a pandemic. The timing is off.”

“You’re making excuses. The timing is perfect. You could be helping people now, when they need it. What’s up with you?” Mark asked as he looked at her. Sometimes it felt like he was looking into her soul the way he looked at her.

She avoided the question by kissing him but now, she knows the truth. She lacks the self-confidence to start her own business. What if she failed? What if her attempt caused them to lose the money they needed?

Through her tears, she realizes that failing would be not trying at all. Instead of thinking about failing she should have been thinking, “What if I was successful?” Maria blots her eyes with another paper towel. She begins to smile thinking about how she could make a make-shift office on one side of their bedroom. She has ideas for a logo, the services she wants to provide, and how much she wants to charge. Her tears shift from frustrated to happy tears. I can do this! Maria thinks as she watches the big fly on the table inch closer to the past due bill saturated with orange juice. In a swift motion, Maria grabs the paper towel and slams her hand down on the table.

She kills the fly.

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