by Courtney Dunham
[Editor’s Note: This piece is part of the “Topical” series, with each piece solely submitted to and chosen by the Final Reader Pietra Dunmore.]
Tap, tap, tap.
Brandy Booker’s black heels beat against the cold granite floor.
Her boss, and president of Your DNA Today, Rodney Smith, was busy with some papers slowly flipping page by page. To stop her foot from tapping, Brandy pulls at her purple silk shirt, then she takes a deep breath.
“Sir, you said to let you know if any issues came up,” Brandy says.
“Right, what happened?” he asks.
Rodney firmly lays the papers on his desk and his eyes focus intensely on Brandy. She clears her throat and continues.
“We’ve received multiple complaints now. Some of the clients are calling saying our products had caused them some…complications,” she says.
“They said our slogans were misleading. Particularly ‘Genetics to Ease your mind.’ Parents are complaining they requested physical features for their children like height or neurological changes like lessening addiction that both had some unexpected effects,” she says. “Short term we’re looking at a PR fiasco and fewer clients; long term, I’ve heard rumors of lawsuits and who knows what else.”
Smith tilts his head then pushes his chair back nearly doubling over from laughing. Once he stops chuckling, he looks back up at Brandy with a slight smile.
“That’s it?” he asks. “Well, the way you came in I thought you were going to say we’ve been seeing mutations.”
Brandy takes a step back and her face crinkles.
“Well, like I’ve said we’ve had multiple complaints. I know—”
“Right, right. Well, you know how to take care of this,” he says. Smith chuckles once more shooing Brandy out the door.
“Wait, you’re okay still being the face of the new campaign, right?” he asks.
Brandy slowly shuts the office door behind her. Shakily, she makes it to the bathroom and sits in the stall. She shakes her head in disbelief and her hands drop. Her purse falls to the floor next to her.
“If my daughter has purple hair, or a tail, I wonder if I’ll be fired.”
Brandy unzips her purse and pulls out the sonogram of her daughter. She clutches it close to her chest and closes her eyes. After a few seconds she takes a deep breath, picks up her purse, leaves the bathroom and walks normally back to her desk.
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Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.
Matter Press is now offering private flash fiction workshops and critiques of flash fiction collections here.
Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now CLOSED. The next reading period for standard submissions opens March 15, 2021. Topical Thursdays’ submissions are open year-round. Submit here.
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