Burning Bridges


Grover Rutherford took his melancholy out the back door, just as he had done his entire unsatisfying career. He didn’t know what else to do with the emotion. It did no good to get upset.

Doing this job for 14 years seemed to get him nowhere. He’d spent his best days behind his desk diligently serving their customers with little recognition or reward. Grover hadn’t seen a salary increase for five years, with the economy as a convenient scapegoat, and flat profits meant no raise in the foreseeable future either. His future at Delta Universal, Inc. was uncertain at best.

The latest dustup with a client over the phone had been all he could take. His boss had believed the client’s side of the dispute, even though the error in question had not been Grover’s. He vowed this was the final time Mr. Anderson would betray his company loyalty.

After typing a letter of resignation that plainly spelled out his general grievances, he tacked it to the door of his boss’ office not unlike Martin Luther himself had done with the Catholic Church. His list didn’t reach 95, but he still felt his soul was in purgatory.

Perhaps it was a coward’s doing to leave after hours with everyone already gone for the day, but he was not a confrontational sort of person. His mother had always warned him not to burn any bridges, “for you never know when you might need a good reference,” she’d say. Grover decided not to heed his mother’s advice this time. He left a not-so-subtle message with the letter and defiantly grabbed his stapler before leaving the building by its rear entrance, lest Security catch him at petty theft.

He wondered if the acrid smell of urine on the note would be as strong when Anderson found it the next morning. Grover decided not to tell Mother about that when he got home.

*Studio 30+ prompt from my original post “… He took his melancholy out the back door …”

photo:  e.c. johnson on Flickr


  1. Oh my, it was “Office Space” and “Little Children” and even “The Office” all rolled into one amazing piece about being stuck in a place you never belonged.

    I loved this line” he tacked it to the door of his boss’ office not unlike Martin Luther himself had done with the Catholic Church” so telling and so incredibly vivid.

    thank you for the line that inspired our prompt this week and thank you for this.

    • Wow – thanks, Kir, for your kind words! The post was definitely inspired by Milton Waddams from Office Space with a little bit of Navin Johnson from The Jerk. “I’ll take this stapler, and this is all I’ll need.” Just envision Grover with pop-bottle glasses and his pants around his ankles shuffling away like Steve Martin.

  2. OMG, Katy. What a character you’ve created here. And the fact that he goes home to his mother. I fear a sequel. This is the guy we read about who comes back with an assault rifle. Chilling. Absolutely chilling. Great use of the prompt, my friend.

    • Sometimes I alarm myself with the disgruntled office workers I create and ask myself if truth really is stranger than fiction. 😉
      Thanks for reading!

  3. I… I believe you have my stapler… What fun! I did a piece about a guy being notified of his layoff by way of post-it note, but I never thought of the revenge of the urine! Nice!

    • Yea, I think this boss is a combination of Lumbergh and the boss of everybody who works in an office. A little “angsty” this week perhaps.
      Thanks for reading and commenting, Joe!

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