MIKE WOKE UP five minutes before the alarm was supposed to go off. Today was the day. He groaned and pulled the covers over his head.
There was no way around it. He’d done analysis after analysis. It was going to happen, and when it did, it would be awful. Career ending awful. And it was all his fault.
Four years of undergraduate school, followed by an unending series of graduate programs that culminated into a successfully defended dissertation… all that work down the drain. “I don’t know how he can even show his face here,” he’d overheard an administrative assistant say as he left his office last night. “I wouldn’t. Too humiliating.”
He should have listened to his brothers and gotten a job at the plant. Wait, what plant? There was no more plant. The company had left for Mexico, and his brothers were wasting away on disability. Lucky bastards. Their unemployment had nothing to do with them personally. They were victims. They garnered sympathy. His unemployment was going to be worse, because his unemployment came with a side serving of shame.
The alarm went off. Mike rolled over and silenced it. The sun was already coming up; the time would change soon, bringing with it the long days of summer. Mike sat up and planted his feet on the floor. Took a deep breath. And got out of bed.