Theodore Jerome Cohen is the Readers’ Choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. The winning entry is decided by the popular vote and rewarded with a special feature here today. (In the case of a tie, the writer who submitted an entry first is the winner per our rules.)
Without further ado, here’s the winning story:
by Theodore Jerome Cohen
“Cheer up; things could be worse,” a friend told him at the time. Well, guess what? he thought. I cheered up and things got worse. I was fired. Thanks a lot!
The day was decidedly not going well for John Amleth. In looking back, he should have seen the signs of impending disaster. Take, for example, the accusations a co-worker made earlier that week regarding his lack of support on a critical deliverable. In truth, it was she who failed to finalize the financial calculations so critical to their analyses.
“That’s outrageous!” he had bellowed at her after they briefed their boss. “You know damn well it was your responsibility to run the numbers! Yet you threw me under the bus, knowing damn well he’d support you. This is madness!”
Of course, he’d support her, John thought. Why fight it? Hadn’t they been lovers for more than a year? Everyone knew it. Everyone despised her. If they could, they went out of their way to avoid her.
He had no choice. An assignment was an assignment. And after all, given his boss had elevated her to the position of executive assistant in the finance department, it was inevitable they’d end up working together on the cost proposal for the Israeli’s Arrow Missile Program.
Three months passed without the offer of a new job. But one day, things got better. The headlines announced his old boss and his lover had been indicted for embezzling $3 million from his former employer.