Warning from the Boss

by Jeff Coomer

LET'S GRAB A BEER after work, I say
to myself right before quitting time.
I suppose I could do that, I answer,
somewhat startled by my request.
I immediately begin to worry; I never
ask myself out for a beer after work unless
something is up. And sure enough,
I'm no sooner seated at the bar than I say
I can't help but wonder whether
something's been bothering me lately.
I scratch my chin and lean forward.
What makes me think that, I respond,
doing my best to sound nonchalant.
Well, I continue, I seem distracted
and edgy, and, frankly, the quality
of my recent work has declined noticeably.
Hmm, I say after an appropriate interval,
I really can't think of any explanation.
I glance at the TV and clutch my beer.
Look, I say in my most serious voice,
I'll do whatever I can to help. But it's
important for the whole team to be giving
110% right now; there's no room for slackers.
I study my reflection in the window.
Right, I finally say as I finish my beer.
Good then, I reply as I settle up
with the bartender. I shake my hand
and turn toward home. It's raining.
While I walk I replay the conversation
in my mind and find myself getting more
and more angry. Just who the hell
do I think I am talking to me like that?
Damn right, I exclaim as I saunter up
and put my arm around my shoulder.
I have never appreciated me like I should.

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