Words assigned to incorporate into story.
Just like Law and Order–Ripped from the headlines. (Queue music) Dum-Dum
BLAME IT ON THE COMPUTER
By: PM Smith AKA Phyllis Patterson
I shrink under the glowering gaze of my superior. Her expertly made-up face puckers with her fury. I can see the veins in her temples pulsing and sit in dread and fear of her words. I want to yell. “It was not my fault!” But, I know that if I do, she will pounce on me and tear my throat out. I remain silent.
I think back to twenty-four hours ago and how my life was so different. I was happy and I loved my job—now, not so much.
The antique clock on the wall of the expensively decorated office taunts me. The sweeping minute hand moves so slowly that I fear time is coming to a stop—a stop for me at least. The best I can hope for is being fired.
It is obvious that she is trying to compose herself. She smoothes the skirt of her Prada suit. “Probably costs more than I make in a year.” I can’t help but think as I dare a quick glance at her. From the top of her professionally coiffed hair to the bottom of her Jimmy Choos, she is what I suppose is the epitome of fashion. Of course what little I know about the subject comes from “People” magazine and TV. I cower—and I think I whimper a little.
“How did it all fall apart?” I ask myself in my silent hell. I had meticulously prepared the event. I had monitored each aspect of the program and had personally followed through with every detail. How could 7000 fireworks go off at once? As I mentally review the past twenty-four hours, my boss, Ms. Pritchard, finds her voice and I jump when she speaks.
“So, Mandy.” She begins. Her words come out shaking with rage and I cringe, helplessly. Oh, for the days when I merely sat in listless wait for something to happen. Those slow uneventful days between spectacular events. Those days that I used to dread because of the boredom. Boredom is now my new place of worship and I pray for it to return.
I slowly raise my head to meet her eyes. My heart lurches and I stifle the need to scream. The look on her face suddenly makes me think of “The Devil Wears Prada.”
When her mouth opens, I fear that I will faint.
I took this job because it sounded more like playing than actually working. What could be more fun than staging fireworks displays? I mean it is almost as good as joining the circus—right? For four years my expectations had been more than met and I looked forward to the demanding but exciting stress of putting together shows to knock the socks off huge audiences.
I had worked my way up in the company so I knew the “nuts and bolts” of the operation from the ground up. Now as Top Assistant of Programming and Staging—which is proudly printed on my business card—I make things happen. But, I am not responsible for the current fiasco. I swear, I did everything right!
It may be my imagination, but I think I am shrinking or maybe she is growing but I suddenly feel very small and my breathing is ragged.
Just as black dots begin floating in my peripheral vision, the console on her desk emits a sound. “Ms Pritchard, I think you should see this.” The voice is Mary Decker, the boss’s personal secretary.
The boss seems even more annoyed as she presses a button and says between gritted teeth. “I told you I did NOT want to be disturbed!” There is silence for a moment before Mary speaks again. Her voice is small and contrite as she repeats. “I think you should see this.”
Ms. Pritchard spits out. “Dammit, no one knows how to follow simple orders these days. Come in Mary and bring this important thing that I must see.”
Mary’s face is ashen as she sidles her way into the room. She says nothing, simply hands the Ipad to the boss and hastily retreats.
I have stopped breathing completely and the swirling dots have returned as I hear Ms. Pritchard say just above a whisper. “Incredible!”
She does not elaborate but simply dismisses me by a wave of her hand and I race out the door.
Mary sits at her desk. The color is returning to her cheeks as I whisper. “What was that?”
Mary’s eyes twinkle slightly and her lips twitch in a tiny smile as she answers softly. “The video of the fireworks disaster has gone viral and has had over four-million hits on U-Tube. The marketing department says they have been inundated by requests for information for setting up future engagements. By the way, blowing up the entire fireworks display in one shot was caused by a computer foul-up, just so you know.” She openly smiles as she says this.
I am flabbergasted. I glance around the huge open space where all the “minions” are stationed and my compatriots are all standing with thumbs up. I look at the closed door to Ms. Pritchard’s office and laugh out loud. I will never be told that the “mistake” turned out well. In this company only errors are reviewed.