Saturday, 26 January 2013

Short Stories: The Demotion - Part 2

With the past week having been one of the worst in his adult life, Todd was relieved that the weekend had arrived and felt that sleeping in until midday was the best way to recover from the last few days; he could be registering as unemployed next week, so why not relax? He'd have ample opportunity to start searching for a new job then.

When Todd finally extracted himself from his bed, he ate a late breakfast and then went on his routine Saturday walk, which would allow him to clear his head and contemplate how to proceed. A part of Todd was tempted to stroll to his workplace, crash open the doors and announce his resignation by bellowing at the company president; fortunately, the idea exited his mind as quickly as it had entered because such a course of action would undoubtedly harm his prospects of obtaining another job. He also cared too deeply about the company and the work he'd done for it to resort to such an overreaction.

After walking for half an hour, Todd sat down to rest on a bench by a fountain. He mulled over the pros and cons of leaving his job versus staying: if he left, he'd be free to work somewhere else — with an unblemished record — and develop a new circle of friends. However, job-seeking was often a long and arduous process...not at all something that warmed him to the idea of quitting; if he stayed, he wouldn't have to worry about that, but the problem of rejection by former colleagues and an unhealthy work environment would remain.

Todd was still thinking about his options when he moved his eyes away from the fountain towards a patch of dirt near the bench, where he noticed an ant nest. He gazed blankly at the ants as they marched in their usual ant style until one of them caught his eye: it was trying to carry an insect larger than itself...without success. All the other ants walked past it, too busy with their own work to lend a hand, but the ant refused to yield, continuing to try to lift the bigger insect over its own head. Several minutes passed, and the ant succeeded in raising the large load over itself, allowing it to return it to the colony — the persistence paid off.

Something in Todd's mind clicked and he sprang up from the bench in an instant. He thought to himself why the current troubles in his job were nothing he couldn't overcome: he did have a chance for redemption. He remembered how at the time of his demotion he had been labelled a "valuable member"; if his superiors had believed he could not contribute to the company any further he would have been terminated. As for the attitude of his former colleagues, the new project which Todd was now assigned to would allow him to develop a different circle of friends. His decision was made.

When Monday morning came, Todd walked into work with renewed energy and determination. A small yet defiant smile formed on his face as he entered the building. Could his situation deteriorate further? Possibly, but provided that he worked hard and persisted — just as the ant did — the only direction he could travel in the company was up.


I hope this was a satisfying conclusion to The Demotion. I'm not completely pleased with it myself because I don't think it quite has the momentum of the first part, and I'm worried that I ended up adding the clutter I wanted to keep out, but as I said before, this writing is experimental, and if my readers are satisfied I'll be happy. It was a challenge writing this without speech or written thoughts!

I also hope that the ant analogy worked; it might seem ludicrous, but in my experience, a small thing — even something as tiny as an ant — can influence a decision, and so I thought that it would be worthwhile using it to push Todd into making his choice. I needed something to act as a tiebreaker for Todd's decision that wasn't speech or thoughts. I think it makes an interesting twist.

Let me know what you think; constructive crticism will be appreciated if provided!


  1. The ant leading to Todd's epiphany was perfect. The end was nicely done. Thanks for giving us a conclusion :)

    1. Thank you, Rebeka. :) I thought that might have been the weakest part of the story, so any positive response to that part - as well as the whole story - warms me. :)