The Raise

Man weaing a gas mask in gray business suit with a briefcase, tipping a black fedora

Photo: ©

Previously published at

Then the hero of the team, tensed with rage,
let a yell rise up, out of his chest,
a strong-hearted bellow; brazen in its demands of more
pay for all: those peers long uncompensated.
Hate rose up: the AVP had heard
the voice of an underling; violence was near
the fight was now. First came its breath,
a coffee-tinged odor, out of the corner,
fetid battle-hiss; the fourth floor reeked.
Deep in the cubicle-farm the drone-uniter
swung his face toward the senior administrator;
high-dollar suit, its heart was bent
on regaining control. The rabble-rousing clerk
all ready and armed with his aggregated spreadsheets
and performance reviews. The proximity of the other
brought fear to the hearts of both adversaries.
The brave long-timer braced against his Aeron,
mentor of his troop, as the murderous manager
smiled with malevolence; in his seat he waited.
Then roiling in stench it came strolling forward,
delivering the inevitable. The documents protected
the legendary warrior in life and limb
a shorter time than they should have;
for the first time, on his final day,
he fought as he could when fate did not give him
glory in the office. This ally to the wage-earners
gestured at his screen, justifying the increase
with his thorough analysis, but that was his downfall,
the merits of the argument made less impact
than their accumulator needed against the thickness
of his nemesis’s skull. Never wavering,
the salary guard grew more savage, spewed
salivary drips; dropping those war-rains
that splash about; the ally to laborers didn’t
then boast of those years of seniority.
His faithful spreadsheet had failed in need,
as it never should’ve, it showing the worthiness.
’Twas no easy journey when Alastair’s son,
renowned and brave, boxed up his desk,
moving his ephemera to another place,
as each person is required, repaying loaned time.
Not long after, the adversaries re-met
on a new war-field. The wage-guard took glee,
his stench growing with strengthening vigor.
Enveloped in pungency, the protector who earlier
had fought for his people fell in the end.
But not at all did the other workers,
his peers in tedium, his team stand round him
with battle-courage: they fled to the break room
to save their lives.