Locked Out of Life

Written for Flash! Friday vol. 3-21. The prompt is to include a theme of Catch-22, along with the CC2.0 photo by Apionid.

At eleven my feet hit the welcome mat. Soon after, my head dents the pillow. Alone in the darkness, I bathe in the glow of my phone. Twelve unread notifications, but this week has been too long for clubbing with friends, or voicemails from collections agencies.

The dreaded barking-dog ringtone of my boss vibrates my phone. “Hello?”

“Get back to the office ASAP,” he barks at me. “Nakamura’s threatening to renege. The Man Upstairs wants this handled by morning.”

I sigh. When I was a little girl, Momma said a college degree was the key to success. Now, three months from thirty, my Masters degree won’t even turn the lock. At my age, Momma was married, with three kids and a house. I’m single, with a mountain of student loan debt that finances some banker’s summer home.

“A team player would jump at this,” he hints. “The Man Upstairs loves to promote team players.” That promotion would mean a tremendous pay bump, plus benefits and an amazing office. The managers’ offices are nicer than my cubicle: management practically lives in them. “Are you a team player?”

I reluctantly hit End Call, then put away the phone and close my eyes.


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