Ego | Flash Fiction

Back of man's head illustration - "Ego" flash fiction

‘I know he’s right for the job. I know he has all the experience. I know he’ll make this department the best it’s ever been. The trouble is, he knows it, too. He’s got an ego on him. If we give him this promotion, his big head’ll only get even more obnoxious.’

Anita sighs. ‘I know what you mean, Zack, but I don’t think we have much choice. He knows he’s the only one who deserves this promotion. If we don’t offer it to him, he’ll just leave. He could get another job in a matter of hours. And we can’t afford to lose him. He’s the best.’

Zack doodles on the notepad in front of him. ‘You’re right. Call him in.’

Anita picks up the phone and summons their top salesman. Within 30 seconds, almost as though he’s been waiting for the moment, he knocks at the boardroom door and slowly lets himself in. It has to be a slow entrance; manoeuvring a head as large as his without injury takes a great deal of care.

Zack winces at the sight. The salesman’s head is so grotesquely overgrown that his neck can barely support it. Veins and tendons strain beneath the skin and seem fit to rupture.

‘Would this little rendezvous have anything to do with a promotion, by any chance?’ the salesman says with a smug grin. His head wobbles as he talks, as though it is attached to his shoulders by a mere spring rather than flesh and bone.

Anita wants to look away, but she can’t. All she can think about is the bobblehead figurines her young son collects. She can just picture the salesman lined up on display on the shelf above her son’s desk, and has to suppress a giggle.

‘Yes,’ Zack says with a forced smile. ‘I’m sure you’ve heard gossip by now of a promotion.’

‘I have,’ the salesman says with a nod, which sends his head bouncing forwards and backwards and side to side.

Anita can’t help but wonder what might happen if he were to sneeze. She has a horrible feeling that the force would cause his head to completely detach itself and go flying across the room.

‘I’m surprised you’ve had to talk it over for so long, actually,’ the salesman continues. ‘Was it salary you had to discuss? Because I do have a salary in mind and would be happy to share my thoughts.’

‘Well,’ Zack begins, ‘salary is –’

‘Salary is not something we need to discuss,’ Anita cuts in. She flashes Zack a warning look. ‘I’m afraid we’ve come to the decision that you’re not quite ready for more responsibility just yet.’

Zack is as surprised as the salesman, whose gargantuan head begins to turn pink.

‘We just think you might need a couple of extra years under your belt,’ Anita continues. ‘Bit more time being led by someone else before you’re ready to become a leader yourself. You’re good in your current position, but we don’t think you’re up to scratch for a managerial role.’

And all of a sudden, the salesman’s giant head begins to shrink.

Both Anita and Zack gaze wide-eyed as the swollen forehead and temples wither. They can almost hear a sigh of relief from the tendons in the salesman’s neck.

The salesman himself is oblivious to the change, and simply stares right back at his managers, gobsmacked.

Zack clears his throat. ‘Well, that’ll be all, then. We just wanted to let you know of our decision so that you didn’t get your hopes up. You can… um, get back to work, now.’

The salesman nods, gets up from his seat, and silently slinks out of the room.

‘What changed your mind?’ Zack says.

Anita shrugs. ‘I didn’t think we’d have enough spare cash in the budget to widen the doorways for him.’

About Stories that Sing

Stories that Sing are monthly tales inspired by a random song from my Spotify playlists.

Today’s tale wasn’t meant to be an edition of Stories that Sing, but I guess I was struck by inspiration when Tame Impala’s Elephant started playing. There’s another song-inspired story planned for tomorrow which I’ll post regardless, so I guess we’ll just call it a BOGOF this month.

Fancy doing the same? Open your music streaming platform of choice and hit shuffle until you find a song you want to write about. Alternatively, use the song below for inspiration. Be sure to leave a comment here or to link your post back to this one so I can read what you came up with!

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