Overwork – short fiction

Tom slumped over in his ergonomic chair, his head coming to rest on the ergonomic keyboard in front of him. The ensuing side-to-side lolling of his sweaty cranium registered a sequence of nonsensical characters in his spreadsheet. His moaning caused one or two of his open-plan office mates to look over, albeit briefly.

If this display was unusual, they didn’t show it.

Instead, all four of them chose to react with cool indifference to what appeared to be a juvenile, nay infantile, ploy for attention. Normally, that’s exactly how to respond to attention-seeking behaviour: cool as ice.

Unfortunately, Tom had in fact contracted a severe case of workoverload. One that resulted in a severe mind hemorrhage. This unforeseeable yet easily preventable accident severely reduced his productivity, and future capacity for complex reasoning.

In future his workoutput would consist exclusively of a nonsensical string of characters, often entered with a rhythmic rolling of fists on the keyboard, but increasingly often using just his forehead.

It was months before anyone noticed. And even more months before anyone cared. It was even years after that first outburst when Tom accidentally, and finally, outputted one of the greatest works of modern literature.

Unfortunately by then, the craze for freeform poetry had come and gone, and it would be centuries until scholars would unearth his works, collect them in an anthology, and reward him (posthumously) with that really big poetry prize nobody remembers the name of, but comes with a big sum of cash. His descendents would use it to throw a big party. Or make a scholarship. Or buy a spacecar. History always knows best.

2017-09-14T08:44:15+00:00 November 20 2007|