Editor's Note: "Open Door Policy" by
David S. Grant was selected by readers as the winner of the first
Silverthought Flash Fiction Contest. To read other entries in the
competition, visit this
part of the team can be a painful experience.
its because I drink Red Bull, maybe because Im the newest
member of the team. Im not sure the reason, but I know Im
not one of them. Maybe, this is initiation.
stand around the Phaser 2000 laser printer and drink coffee. They
do this every morning. No words, just standing in a circle, drinking
coffee, and collectively taking deep sighs. There is something else
Im not telling you.
doesnt have a right ear. Well, its not that he doesnt
have any ear, just most of it is gone as if he lost it due to disease,
or lost a major bet. Jason? He doesnt talk, Im not just
talking about the circle, but at all. He only mumbles occasionally
and drinks his coffee, black. Chris is bruised. Not ran into
a door type bruises, but deep bruises. The ones that hurt
mentally. Then theres Andrew, Scarface. No one would ever
say this to his face, but everyone is thinking it. Someone took
a knife and slashed an X on his face. Probably foster
parents. I hear this is common.
come and go. Reviews and Updates. The bruises and scars, they stay.
talk with Lola, our boss, who tells me this happens a lot and that
I need to just get myself acclimated to the position. Eventually
I will fit in, she tells me, if thats what I want. I tell
her I do.
weeks pass. Each cubicle remains the same. Beige carpeting, white
filing cabinet, Post-It notes. A stapler. Lola approaches and asks
if I can work late. I look at the others, standing by the printer,
drinking coffee, and nod.
the evening Lola changes into snug jeans and a tight white T-shirt.
I remove my tie. Lola proposes we finish up at her place; its
close by and more relaxing. We can sip beers, she tells
me. I agree quickly and we walk (three blocks) to her building.
Ignoring the concerned look on the door man's face, Lola grabs my
hand as we walk up to her apartment.
her door closes and she removes her T-shirt to reveal no bra, she
tells me she never wears underwear, any kind. Ever. I blush and
she laughs. Without turning on a light, Lola leads me into her bedroom
and lays me down on her bed. Still wearing jeans, she moves over
the top of me slowly, then removes my shirt, and then kisses my
so dark I cant see Lola, but I hear the question, Have
you ever fucked your boss before? I dont answer because
I cant talk nor can I see where she is at. I get off the bed,
stand and turn until I can sense that she is standing in front of
me. She takes my right arm with her hands, slides down and holds
my right hand.
asked you, have you ever fucked your boss before? Are you going
to answer me? I nod and then mumble something that she takes
as a yes. She laughs. Actually, its more of a cackle. Still
wearing jeans, she pushes her body against mine then slowly moves
down my body, removing my pants and boxers. She works her way back
up and backs off.
a table near the bed, Lola lights a candle. Just enough light to
see where we both are. She comes closer and we kiss. She spreads
her lips and I kiss her hard. Thats when I feel it. Cutting
into my tongue, my upper lip.
quickly push back. With just a little light hitting her face, I
see her holding a razor blade between her teeth. Despite this, she
still manages to cackle at me. Blood runs down my face. I look for
my pants, but she kicks me in the head. I land on my back. I feel
the whip crash against my chest. I scream.
off the whip, I finally get to my feet and run out of her bedroom.
Lola hits a switch that activates the lights throughout the apartment.
I leave my clothing behind, run through the living room, and then
I see it. The wall.
the wall is at least a dozen different leather whips, chains, and
knives on display. Most look used and never cleaned. Some are in
glass cases. In the middle is a small glass case with something
inside. I look inside. Dales ear. Not really Dales full
ear, just most of it. Under the case is a plate that reads DALE.
I come to the door, I pause because Im naked, enough time
for Lola to whip me one more time across my back. I open the door
and leave, down the steps, past the doorman, covered in blood. On
the street, a police officer sees me and turns the other way. When
a naked man is covered in blood and half his upper lip is hanging,
no one wants details.
next day in the office I park the Red Bull, grab a coffee, and walk
over to the printer. Dale is the first one to see me. He nods and
moves over, making room in the circle. I am now officially part
of the team.