Friday, 2 December 2011

Bullshit Bulldozer Bonus - A Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge

The flash fiction challenges over at Terribleminds continue, with the latest being to write a story under 1000 words where the title uses alliteration. Oh, and no vampires allowed. Head on over if you want to have a go, it's open until December 10th, and top prize is a copy of Mr. Wendig's very own Double Dead novel.

Please to enjoy. (Warning; features profanity. In case the title wasn't a clue)

Bullshit Bulldozer Bonus

"Whad'ya want boss," Billy asked, his head round the edge of the door. He didn't have time to hang around, with too many houses waiting to come down and only a few hours of light left.

"Bill, glad to see you. Come in, come in. Take a seat."

Billy swallowed a growl. He hated being called Bill. And he hated having to talk to this prick. As he stepped into the office, more of a shed than an actual building, he took off his wool hat in the immense heat generated by the mobile heater. Alan leaned back in his leather seat while Billy took the cold plastic one in front of the desk.

"I won't take too much of your time up, Bill," Alan said, noticing the way he glanced at the clock on the wall, "I know you've still got a lot of clearing away to do. And first off I must say I'm very proud of the work you and the boys have done on the project so far."

Billy's bullshit alarm started to ring in his head. Whenever one of these office dicks talked like that it was a prelude to the word 'unfortunately'.

"Unfortunately, I have to share some bad news with you, Bill."

"What's up now? We have to do it in half the time again?"

Laughing lightly Alan leaned forward and steepled his fingers on the desk, "No, no, nothing like that again... No, the thing is, the accountants have been doing some of their dull calculations and have come up with a little problem."

Billy said nothing, staring into Alan's increasingly twitching eyes.

"Ah, the thing is, in discussing this with accounts we had to make a hard decision. Unfortunately we won't exactly be able to pay out the bonus in the way that was initially agreed."

This time Billy didn't hold in his grumble, and rubbed his stubble with his hand, giving himself time to re-word his initial response. "What do you mean, 'exactly'?"

"Well," Alan swallowed, "there won't be any bonus for you or your team this Christmas. But," Alan held his hand up, seeing the murder in Billy's eyes, "I have managed to sort something out. In the new year we will be giving out £100 worth of vouchers to you. Each. To spend at a selection of stores of your choosing."

Billy stared at him a moment, unsure whether to laugh, or just force the man's head through the flimsy wall. He recalled his ex's advice to take a breath when he was angry. He took five. It didn't help.

"Alan, this is total bullshit. We've been working our arses off for five months, trying to keep to the stupid time frame you and the company have demanded, and now you tell me we get bloody shopping vouchers for our trouble?" His voice increased in volume with every word.

"Now, Bill, I understand--"

"My name is Billy. Not Bill. And no, you don't understand."

"That's quite enough. I don't appreciate how unprofessional you're being about this Billy," he said, as though he'd never heard the word before, "but this is the best deal we could give you. These are hard times, in case you haven't noticed, and we have to make savings somewhere. You could have ended up with nothing if it hadn't been for me."

Billy had his hat gripped so hard in his hands that it began to rip.

"Now, I think it would be best if you pass this onto your boys. I appreciate how difficult it is to disappoint people but--"

Billy got to this feet and pounded them to the door. With it open in one hand, he faced Alan and said, "It isn't disappointing you officious prick. It's a disaster. How are we meant to pay bills with fucking vouchers? How are we supposed to buy presents for our kids if we get them after Christmas? You have no fucking idea how 'difficult' it is." He slammed the door behind him and stood outside.

Fuming, he looked at the rows of houses still in semi-destroyed state, at his friends and co-workers of more than ten years breaking their backs to get it done on time. Then he saw the car that his boss, the man who 'understood', had parked next to the office. The latest Mercedes, only released a week ago. The dams burst and a white, hot, heat flooded his body. He dropped his hat into the churned up mud and headed to the nearest bulldozer, empty and unused. It had the key in the lock, and though that normally pissed him off, he took it as a sign of what he had to do. Starting the engine up he vaguely noticed heads turning to him from up the road. He ignored them and started moving the machine forward.

With a mighty crunching the blade of the bulldozer pushed into the side of the car. It tipped and glass shattered everywhere. But Billy wasn't done yet. He manoeuvred his vehicle so the car was pushed, straight into the mobile office. Alan was on the steps to the door, his mouth open in a shout, but when he saw that great behemoth approach he skipped backwards, falling into the dirt. On his hands and knees he scrabbled out of the way, but Billy didn't slow down, uncaring whether Alan was in his path. He would wonder about that later, but right now he was focused on pushing the car into that office. The wall gave easily, and the roof collapsed over the Mercedes, or what was left of it. The cold chair was ejected by the forces within, tumbling over the front steps and landing only a metre from Alan's feet. He and the others all watched, mouths agape. He turned off the engine and sat there with a serene smile, thinking that's your bullshit bulldozer bonus Alan. And well deserved it is too.


  1. Good story.
    How often has someone you know been stiffed by an employer?
    It happens a lot these days. Usually only for an hour or two per day. But, as in your story, these people have been working their arses off.
    More than one has contemplated Bulldozer Revenge! : )

  2. This was great. The POV seemed a little shaky at first, but settled down quickly. I felt Billy's rage when he left the mobile office. Really well written emotion, and I love the detail of the cold chair flying out of the wreckage.

    -- Jo

  3. Louise, Jo, thanks for the feedback - it is super appreciated! This was a lot of fun to write, and I may have been channeling a bit of the internal fury I suffer occassionally... Luckily I have no access to bulldozers or other large machines so instead channel it into fiction!