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Lucky Me · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Mr. Ware
“You’re fired.”

I was holding a big green bag of ‘Sweet and Salty Snack Mix’ (too big for anyone), and went numb in the throat. “Wait, what?”

The manager, Mr. Ware, held up his hands.

“Before you say anything,” he began after a fermata, “I want you to know that this has nothing to do with your performance. We’re good, as far as I’m concerned,” he indicated, motioning back and forth with his hands. “That mix-up in the warehouse last week—I know we talked about it, but it’s not even a blip,” he informed with a wriggling smile. “Look… I’m not going to lie, I’ve been a general manager for twelve years, and the kind of reliability you bring—” he said, retarding the tempo, and putting his hand on my shoulder—“that to me is so much more important than a miscommunication over one of the displays.”

“Then why am I fired?” I asked.

“All I can tell you is someone stopped by my office this morning with Eureka cards.”

I reeled back. “Someone’s trying to terminate me?!” I said, raising my voice inadvertently.

“That’s all I can tell you,” he repeated.

We stood quiet as customers came and went through the automatic doors; he wouldn’t evict me by force. I grabbed my wallet and yanked out two scribbled cards and pushed them into his palm—he put them in his pocket without looking at them.

“You have the most beautiful blue eyes,” he said thoughtfully.

The Eureka Card Game (hereafter ‘ECG’), I should mention, is the core of workplace culture at Dollar Squadron. As indubitably as the Moai look to sea, so we associates turn to the vision of our middle management and its incentive program, not knowing from where it comes and caring only for the tiny island to which the vastness of its expanse seems to lead.

It began as a lottery. When an associate (hereafter ‘Retail Artist’) was recognized for an outstanding action—say, receiving a good survey—they were awarded a card which became part of a draw, the winner receiving fifty dollars added to the next week’s paycheck. Recently, however, Dollar Squadron has turned to this program to help stave off a union, and created the ECG—a game where Eureka cards can be saved and submitted for prizes, including:

2 cards—one compliment from the manager of your choice
100 cards—leave your shift an hour early, no questions asked
500,000 cards—terminate a non-managerial employee of your choice

My mind began to race. There was nothing I could do about being targeted, but I wanted to know who had done it--had it been the old man who worked in the warehouse, Mr. Proletariat? I did sometimes get short with him when he couldn’t keep up with me during truck deliveries. But, I must have been one of his last friends. In March we drove out to the countryside and took photos together.

Or perhaps it was Mrs. Heinz, the fat touchy-feely operations supervisor, who was not technically a manager, and therefore eligible for the game. She disliked me at first. I had a habit of making a mess in the aisles as I was working, but one day she began to call me her “favorite”. I brought her some blueberry muffins one morning. I’ve moved to inventory, though, and lately we’ve been at loggerheads trying to wrest fair staffing from one another.

“I’ve got cards of my own,” I told Mr. Ware, after the waiting had gone on long enough. It was true. Retail Artists are allowed to write their own Eureka cards, provided they sign their names with ‘LLC’. Admittedly, I spend hours every night with a little black and white television, writing the things out and tossing them behind me like a big refuse pile.

He raised an eyebrow. “You got cards? Enough to veto a termination?”

“Five-hundred-thousand,” I answered like a military man. “I’ll bring the pickup to work tomorrow.”

Mr. Ware made a sidelong glance, already onto his next business. “All right, cool. Well, I’ll let you get back to your shift. Let me know if you need anything.”

He went back to his office. I went back to my Sweet and Salty, and surmised that is must have been Mrs. Pickens. We didn’t know each other very well, but I remembered some tossed cookies, and some people just don’t like you, anyway.

And she left an hour earlier than she was supposed to.
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#1 · 1
I like the atmosphere and mechanic of this, but I still feel like a lot is going over my head. So our protagonist is authorized to make his own cards? I assume that would make him immune to any action, provided he's willing to put enough time into making cards. Now we're talking economy: with no limit to how many cards there can be, inflation would be terrible, though again, controlled somewhat by how fast you can actually make cards. It sounds like they have to be handmade, so no running off a bunch on the copy machine. I'm also curious how the managers got roped into honoring this system. They can't use the cards, so getting them from an employee doesn't benefit them any. 500k cards to terminate someone? From the description of how they're earned, how would someone even save up that many, again except for someone authorized to make their own? Even at the ludicrous pace of 10 notable actions per day to earn you one, and with employees never having a day off, it'd take almost 137 years to save that total up. I must be missing something about how this works.

Anyway, I like the tone and somewhat light fantasy air this almost has to it, as long as I don't think about the logic of it too much.
#2 ·
The idea here was that a man 'discovers' a meaningful side to his relationships, as he considers the intentions of his co-workers, in the backdrop of an unsatisfying job and its (intentionally) ridiculous employee behavior incentive program; the interpretation of the 'Lucky Me' prompt would therefore be both cynical and heartfelt in its sense.

I realized part-way through writing that there wouldn't be enough space for that sort of development, so I settled for something silly (which is fine by me, anyhow).
#3 ·
This would make a great Back Mirror, Outer Limits or Twilight Zone EP. You should expand on it.