All Stories, Literally Reruns

Literally Reruns – Workplace Harmony by Rebecca Field

And another one for the fairer sex (I’m probably not allowed to say that these days, am I?) So, another one for the people who we used to call the fairer sex (there – smiles with satisfaction at how WOKE I am!!) Leila has chosen this piece by Ms Field and this is what she said:

In heaven everyone has their own refrigerator. I don’t know why it happens but the very instant a second person has access to the place I keep my food cold, it’s hands turn into little rat paws and you can see the scratches on the floor where its feet had transformed into swine hooves. It’s why I live alone with my cats (who command me to open the fridge when they want something); I’ll never love another human being enough to give it a free shot at my leftover Mexican food, let alone the beer.

Rebecca Field’s Workplace Harmony shows what happens when an allegedly civilized and well educated human being devolves into Pazuzu because he thinks someone has filched his soda. No, he doesn’t dive into the mind of a twelve year old child, but it doesn’t stop him from acting like one. There are many fun twists and turns on the way to the satisfying conclusion. Reader Beware: You will recognize someone you dislike in this pointed and funny piece.

Q: The soul of what you describe happens a lot and often creates an over the top reaction utterly out of proportion with the crime. You let this go without comment, and it elevated the piece to something higher than a knock off of a Dilbert cartoon. Was it difficult to get the tone just right?

Q: In my office, Eric is what we call a “Boob Snoop.” Do you think Ruth is the right person to call him on that?

Leila Allison

***

Workplace Harmony

Rebecca’s responses:

Q: The soul of what you describe happens a lot and often creates an over the top reaction utterly out of proportion with the crime. You let this go without comment, and it elevated the piece to something higher than a knock off of a Dilbert cartoon. Was it difficult to get the tone just right?

Thank you for choosing my story for a re-run Leila. I think in writing this story I chose a topic and a situation that as you say, happens quite a lot in any shared office type of environment, which I think is part of the reason this story works well as it is instantly recognisable. I think we have all met characters like Eric during our careers, and perhaps some of the other characters in this story. (Disclaimer: any resemblance to people living or dead is purely coincidental). Whilst he might be a familiar character, I also didn’t want to make him completely unlikeable, stereotypical or without any redeeming features, given that Ruth clearly sees something more in him, and so I hope he doesn’t come across that way. In that way it was tricky to get the tone just right, but ultimately the reader has to be the judge of whether or not I succeeded in that regard. 

Q: In my office, Eric is what we call a “Boob Snoop.” Do you think Ruth is the right person to call him on that?  

Ha. Yes this isn’t one of Eric’s most positive qualities and do I hope that Ruth is the one to properly call him out on it at some point. Eric is very preoccupied with behaviour that is or is not appropriate or professional in an office environment, but perhaps he needs to look a little closer to home sometimes. Tempting as it is to write further stories about Eric and his office antics to further explore his psyche (several years spent working in local government and the NHS means I have plenty of material at my disposal), I fear any such attempt would in all likelihood take away something from this story. Hopefully it stands alone as an amusing story about a sad little man who learns that things aren’t always as they appear.

3 thoughts on “Literally Reruns – Workplace Harmony by Rebecca Field”

  1. Hi Ladies,
    A very enjoyable Q&A.

    Leila, I don’t mind giving anyone my last Rolo (Are they available in America and were they marketed that way? – ‘Do you love someone enough to give them your last Rolo?’)
    But my last Bacardi is another issue!

    Rebecca,
    There are two topics, that, when done well, always have the readers smiling – One is a revenge story and the other is the recognisable.
    Revenge is the easier of the two to write as any come-uppance can be met with some devilment type approval from the readers whether they would admit it or not.
    The recognisable is actually quite difficult to do. Because it is known, the writer is asking for a negative reaction from the reader as ‘they know’. But what is done so beautifully in your story is you don’t dictate those thoughts, they are left to the reader. You skillfully tell the story, let the reader nod and wish him all the worst!

    It’s brilliant to see this get another airing.
    Hope it inspires you to send us more.
    Hugh

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Hugh, lovely to see this story getting another airing, one of the first stories I ever had published. I would like to get back to writing more short stories at some stage, hopefully I’ll write something good enough to send you. Best wishes 🙂

    Like

  3. I like Rebecca’s great answers almost as much as I enjoyed her story. Hope to see more from her.
    To Hugh: I would give you or Diane or Rebecca my last Rollo, but not to Eric the Boob Snoop.
    LA

    Like

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