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Short Story 4

Willing Member

As she walked along the street and looked in the gutter, she realized face masks had become the new cigarette butts. Tambra didn’t fool herself, she felt they were unnecessary, but everyone was under the impression that a piece of tissue paper would save their lives so why not let them believe it. She prized herself for being slightly libertarian and being in marketing she had to appreciate the exerted energy that was put into making people mindlessly believe masks were their saving grace. It was the same Berneysian muddling of facts to make a profit nothing more. She only wished they wouldn’t leave them everywhere.

The sharp padding of her heels dug at the sidewalk; she didn’t bother to look at anyone. There was no point, and she wasn’t interested in pretending to be courteous by pinning a joyless smile to her face. The pitch her department had been working on for the last two months had fallen through, stolen by a competing company. This had been her project, a long shot in the first place. It was hard not to think that she was put on it just to damage her virtually spotless record.

She stopped, the red hand glaringly present. The road stretched in front of her. The gap belonging to pedestrians a white lined path of black asphalt. A sudden interest in why vitamin companies hadn’t jumped on the opportunity to advocate for their product’s restorative abilities a nagging voice as she stared ahead. It had been a wasted opportunity during the biggest hiccup. Of course, big pharma was happy with their pills. She was sure that when her time came for menopausal bliss her doctor would recommend HRTs and place her on either a synthetic estragon set at twice the amount her body produced, which is said to gradually diminish a persons natural vitamin stores, or on horse urine that not only boosted of a high level of animal cruelty, but is suggested to have several types of estragon that the human body does not produce and the lowest amount being the one utilized to help with menopausal symptoms. But its fine because it is ‘bioidentical’. There is nothing dangerous in that. That is when marketing turns to PR when minimization is the markets biggest friend. Just play the, ‘it can never be you’ card, or ‘the numbers are small’ and people will eat from your hand.

She resisted the urge to laugh. The medical system was a racket. It had been one for a while. And the little feeders that subscribed to it would nurse from the nipple till they died. The medical masks were just another example of how they had been brainwashed by an ever-growing monster or idol. But then weren’t many idols’ monsters?

The walking countdown started. She checked her smart watch. It was almost one. She had enough time to get back to the office though she wished she hadn’t stopped for coffee. Another drug positively promoted. Here she couldn’t help a smile.

It almost made her sick to stand so close to what was so evil. Tambra knew she worked in a department that’s soul focus was on manipulation. Oh, it had seemed beautiful at the beginning, but the truth was all they did all day was try and figure out how to turn brains into nothing more than empty pockets that they filled with ideas. She had given up on watching television, it was just another example of the battle of the mind and as far as she was concerned, she would not be one of the pawns.

The man appeared in his long green stride. At once her back stilettos met the graying asphalt. Her body charging across the pavement. She had a meeting at two to discuss a new project. After the loss of the last account, she was positive that her department would not be heading it. That didn’t matter. There was still a chance she could pitch on behalf of her team. All she needed was a second to review the plan and refine it. There had to be a way to win this.

She made it back to the concrete sidewalk. Her shoes clicked with her demanding stride. There had to be something they could add to the proposal that would put her team as the front runners. She had to come up with a catcher.

Somewhere down the line, Tambra knew she had become a part of the monster. The beast that bites chunks out of humanity. Profit margins and sales reports had taken priority. It wasn’t a matter of anything besides making the firm and the client happy. That was it. A beast within a beast. An evil within an evil. A lie within a lie.

The river turned, but it still led back to the ocean. Power, money, power, money. She was vying for that next promotion. That next lead up. She had planned everything, down to the moment. Everything had gone perfectly. She had lost out on nothing, had checked every box. Life was perfect and in all things business, she was no bodies fool.

Phone buzzing, she stopped in a bit of shade near the glass rotating doors of her office building. It was just a text reminding her of the meeting. Going forward she walked through the tinted glass.

The fact was that her job wasn’t too serve the public but her client. As for the consumer they already wanted what was being presented to them and they wanted it at any cost, they just needed the self-justifications to progress. It was her job to give it to them. Sure, there were some honest people in the business, but the most honest were those that admitted that they hide the evils for the bottom line. After all the consumer wasn’t the client and to the paying hands they must deliver.

Tambra took a seat at her desk looking over the presentation, it was important it was perfect.

When working in this business there was no room for your own beliefs, your own opinions to come into play. You had to put that aside for the greater good of the company and, of course, ultimately your career. What did it matter if you save a few people from wasting their money, having a bad experience, or spared your conscience if you were living on the street.

There was something surrendered while playing this game, and playing the game was what Tambra did and she did it well. Until the conscience she told herself subvertable had become something like Swiss cheese and her job was more than her life could afford to lose.


Thank you so much for reading everyone!!

Prompt Sentence: As she walked along the street and looked in the gutter, she realized face masks had become the new cigarette butts.

Word Count:1114

©DecemberKnight 2022

Special thanks to Agnese Luecka from Pexels for the use of the image!

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