The email ended, this time, without “kind regards”.
Without any “regards,” in fact.
And Louise couldn’t help but read it in That Tone,
After completing her bingo card with the addition of an
“As discussed” and “I was under the impression that…”
Last time, it had been “I was disappointed to note”;
The time before, “As I’m sure you’re aware,”
And it occurred to her that there was no real need to answer a “friendly reminder,”
No matter that it began with the words “polite note” and made sure to say that it was offered “with respect”.
Jon had, in fact, said that these things “ought to be taken as read,”
And maybe that was the point of him emailing what he wouldn’t say to her face.
So she would have to take them.
As read. Because reading about what she might be doing, if she wasn’t reading his emails,
Seemed to him to be more important than the Doing Of the Things.
That, and reducing her intelligence to the point where she couldn’t do her job anyway.
The team had discussed that in the staff meeting.
Unread email – just the knowledge that an email is sitting there unread –
Leads to a 10 point drop in IQ.
“If we could try our best not to email when we don’t need to,” Douglas had said,
Because it had been getting out of hand, and no mistake.
It had been Louise herself who’d found the stat.
She’d been reading up on etiquette,
Not to mention the massive psychological damage
Caused by being passive-aggressived to death multiple times a day.
Although, of course, it might have helped if, every time she saw Jon’s name in her inbox,
And every time she struck an “if you recall” from his bingo card,
She didn’t then delete the email, as if unread,
Still costing herself points, it’s true, from her IQ,
But the fact she never once replied, no matter the provocation,
Was connected to the realisation that Jon could have his “as discussed”,
Even though there had almost always been no discussion,
But she was damned if she was going to give him an “as read” or “as told”, too.
If an unread email in your own inbox can cost you 10 points off your IQ,
Louise was rather hoping that a multiplicity of unanswered emails from her,
Was going to cost Jon a damn sight more.
But then, she only had to read the buzz phrase filled nonsense he was sending out every day,
To realise how well that was already working.
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 frustratingly as unproduced as it was the last time he updated this biography. Maybe it would be better off as a children’s picture book?