Very Like Me
I have lost count of the number of bosses
Who have said, without knowing what they were saying,
“You’re very like me. You remind me of me when I was young.”
And not a one of them pressed the red button
Under their desk while saying it.
Not a one of them looked appalled,
Or reconsidered their vocation,
Or contemplated their chances of making it as a hermit
On an island very far from here
Where they could say what they like
With no-one to witness their humiliation.
Of course, when they hear themselves say it,
They hear it as a good thing,
Because they don’t see themselves,
In the way I see them,
Because they see themselves
As being very like me, only that bit older.
I did mention that, right?
And I ought to think less of them for getting me so wrong.
And I do think less of them for getting me so wrong.
Just as I ought to be troubled by working for someone
Whose judgement could be so profoundly on the wonk.
Because if they knew…
Like I was so often told when I really was young…
If they knew who I am really…
They would never risk telling me I was very like them,
For fear of what I’d try to get away with as a result.
In the birthday parties I never had,
The clowns who never performed,
Made balloon animals
And balloon people
With deft flicks and twists of their fingers.
The tension in the rubber,
Squealing and squeaking,
Threatened the inevitable,
Held the inevitable in abeyance,
Produced delight from the children,
Who hadn’t been invited.
Which was fortunate because I know now,
With my own balloon arms
Threatening the inevitable
Every time their pressure is checked,
That I’d have spoiled the party for them.
I’d have brought a pin.
Mike Hickman (@MikeHicWriter) is a writer from York, England. He has written for Off the Rock Productions (stage and audio), including 2018’s “Not So Funny Now” about Groucho Marx and Erin Fleming. He has recently been published in EllipsisZine, Dwelling Literary, Bandit Fiction, Nymphs, Flash Fiction Magazine, Brown Bag, and Safe and Sound Press. His co-written, completed six-part BBC radio sit com remains unproduced but available to interested producers!