Abigail strode out of the building. The one she had worked in these past 16 months. The initial shock was already wearing off and reality was setting in. And she was getting pissed off. She would sue. She would have her day in court. She would get retribution. Those bastards. They didn’t know who they were messing with. “You’re just not a good fit with us,” they told her. Not a good fit? This it took them over a year to decide? What tripe. Surely her firing was payback. That had to be it, Abigail thought as she got into her car. Abigail had spoken out at meetings. Raised questions. Stood up for herself and her fellow workers. No doubt Abigail’s firing was just a way to get rid of her and intimidate others. Keep ‘em quiet. Bastards! Bastards!
No way was she going to let this go. Those sons of bitches didn’t know who they were messing with. Abigail pulled into the parking lot of her neighborhood liquor store, Rolph’s. Everyone at Rolph’s knew Abigail, she popped in almost every day. Today she picked up a quart of whiskey, a six pack, some lunch meats, Slim Jims and a couple bags of chips. Nothing out of the ordinary. Abigail had a few pops most nights, tonight it would be boilermakers. Plenty of ‘em. And she’d strategize how she’d get back at those bastards. Messed with the wrong person, they did.
There was only Roscoe the cat there to greet Abigail when she entered her apartment. Roscoe was overweight, just like Abigail. He waddled over to her meowing loudly. He’d continue meowing until she picked him up. But Roscoe would have to wait until everything was put away and she’d taken a piss.
Eventually Roscoe and Abigail were sharing the sofa, the TV was on and the first drink was about to be downed.
There was enough money in the savings to tide Abigail over for a few months easy if she stretched things a year even, but she’d start looking for work right away and start planning her lawsuit against the latest corporate thieves who’d deprived her of a livelihood. Abigail had been down this road before. Fired without real cause. She’d lawyered up right away then too. Nothing came of her efforts but a message was sent. This time in addition to the message she’d bring the bastards to their knees. Hit them for damages. Strike a blow for workers. Not a good fit my ass. This was union busting before the fact. They somehow knew she’d talked about unionizing. There must be a rat among her co-workers. Former co-workers. Could be any one of those weasels. Maybe Len or Todd or Gina or that new girl Chrissie. Chrissie so prissy. She was just so damn cute, looking like the cheerleader who dates the quarterback in high school. Or maybe it was Brent. That asshole was always so quiet, kept to himself. Probably a snitch. Maybe more than one of them was a snitch. You can’t trust anyone these days. Only yourself. Fuck this, I’m announcing my plans. I’m going to tell people straight out what these corporate monsters did. “Not a good fit.”
Abigal got out her laptop. She had a mailing list of all her co-workers, one that didn’t include any of the bosses. Abigail composed the email. It gave a blow-by-blow description of what had happened when those two asshole supervisors called her into the office after work. How they spelled out supposed infractions she’d committed, how she’d already received warning letters, how they said that she wasn’t “a good fit.” All bullshit. Anyone could see through it. Hell people at work would jump to her side. They’d be outraged. They all respected and liked her, well most of them anyway. They’d see how her firing was just the first. They’d clean house. Anyone they didn’t like would be gone soon, anyone who didn’t toe the company line, anyone who tried to organize. This was just the beginning. But they’d see. Her co-workers — her former co-workers — would see Abigail for the hero she was and the bosses, why they’d see they’d messed with the wrong person. She sent the email. Proud as hell and anxious to read their responses. How they would rally to her!
The TV was blaring and Abigail was snoring. Half the whiskey was gone, all the Slim Jims and a most of the lunch meat, eaten without bread. Roscoe was perched on her ample stomach. It was 1:15 am. Abigail awoke with a start. Something in a dream she was having about a dinosaur or some monster had startled her awake. She angrily pushed Roscoe off and muted the TV. There must be some replies by now to the email. She picked up her laptop. Nothing. Just spam. What the hell? Maybe people didn’t read work related emails at home. They’d all see it tomorrow and write to her. No doubt about that.
Abigail took a good long piss and crawled into bed. It was king sized but she hadn’t had anyone to share it with in months, since Curtis left. That was messed up. Curtis wasn’t the brightest bulb on the tree, she knew that, at 56 he was 15 years older than Abigail. But the reasons he gave for breaking up were nonsensical. Every man that ever broke up with her seemed to give the same stupid reasons. It's as if they read from a playbook or something. Always this crap about her temper, and grumpiness and self importance. Curtis even said she drank too much. A couple of others had said the same. Sure she liked to drink, but too much? Come on! Jerks. The hell with it, she’d find someone soon enough. The best guy yet would come along, someone who could really satisfy her prodigious sexual needs. Someone she could talk to and share her ideas with.
Now Abigail couldn’t sleep. She got up and had some more whisky and then a beer. Maybe there’d be a hangover in this but hell, she had plenty of experience with those. Another check of the email. It was 2:34 am. Still nothing. Aw hell who would’ve written her between 1 whatever and 2 something in the morning? Abigail fell back to sleep right there on the sofa. Roscoe settled in on her back.
When Abigail finally woke up 10:00 she veritably leapt off the sofa with anticipation at reading the many emails of support that she must have by now received. There was one. Cherri had written a few sentences just wishing her luck and saying maybe they could get together for coffee sometime. That was it. What about everyone else? Why weren’t they on board yet? What was going on? Had the corporate bosses muzzled them somehow, had they hacked into her email and deleted the responses? That was crazy. Probably just everyone is busy and they’d be writing her at lunch time. This was Thursday and Thursday was always crazy at work.
After a shower and breakfast and some hair of the dog Abigail called her lawyer, Lester Conklin. He was with a client and would call back. Abigail couldn’t wait. He’d love this case. Meanwhile she kept checking her email. Nothing from anyone at work. Not a thing. Assholes.
Finally Lester called back. She laid out the circumstances of her dismissal. All the crap they gave her about “not a good fit” and those phony baloney warnings they’d issued, all a pretext to silence someone who dared ask questions. When Abigail Jessup finished laying out her case there was silence on the other end of the phone. It lasted a few seconds. Then a sigh. Finally Lester said, “I’m not really hearing an unfair termination case here. Maybe I’m missing something but from what you’re relating to me they had every right to terminate and they followed due process. Can you prove that they targeted you for speaking out? Also, this sounds like a few other cases you’ve called about. Only thinner.”
Abigail actually, literally saw red. She’d was so fucking pissed now. “Are you not hearing me, Lester? I asked questions. I spoke up. All of sudden they start issuing warnings. That didn’t stop me and they fired me. Without cause!”
“Calm down, Abigail. I’m just telling you that nothing you’ve said so far indicates unfair labor practices, least of all anything you can prove. Unless there’s something you’re not telling me I’d suggest you just move on and find another job.”
“And let them win!?” she shouted.
“I don’t see them as winning anything here — ”
“Fuck you, Lester. I’m getting another lawyer. One who knows his stuff and isn’t a chicken shit afraid to take on corporations.” And with that she hung up.
Abigail spent the next few weeks trying to find an attorney who would represent her. She was unsuccessful. She also tried to find a new job. Here too she was having no luck. She also kept checking her email and was hearing nothing from anyone at work. She even sent out another email re-stating her case and urging everyone to take action. The only response she got was from Todd who asked her to remove him from her email list, he said he didn’t want to see anymore of her emails. Abigail wrote back and tore him a new one. Called Todd a corporate swine, a sell out and a loser.
It was two months before Abigail got a job interview. It was with a smaller version of the last place she’d worked. The interview was going well until they asked why she’d left her last job. Abigail kind of lost her cool and said she was a victim of corporate hit men who “took her out for speaking up.”
Even Abigail realized she’d gone too far. Best not to say anything like that in future interviews. But there weren’t any future interviews for a long time. It was almost a year after her firing before she got a temporary position. It was a foot in the door. If they liked her work she’d be given a full time position. After a month Abigail was laid off. She reasoned it was because they overheard her complaining in the lunchroom about the poor ventilation in the rooms and how crowded the coat closet was. Others complained too but she took the fall. No doubt a message was being sent. Maybe she’d sue.
Abigail went home that night angrier then ever. A few shots of bourbon calmed her. She would not be silenced. She would fight back. She was going to win in the end. Roscoe leapt into her lap. Abigail Jessup gave her a cat a big hug.