“So we must daily keep things wound: that is, we must pray when prayer seems dry as dust; we must write when we are physically tired, when our hearts are heavy.”
Madeleine L'Engle

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Notes from the author:

I’m a volunteer for a local radio reading service. Twice weekly, I read aloud an hour’s worth of employment ads which then gets broadcast to the blind, hearing impaired, and print handicapped across the state of Colorado. (I also record a couple of weekly Spanish-language shows.)

In the course of reading the Employment Opportunity News show, there are certain phrases that, due to the nature of the reading material, occur and recur. Equal Opportunity Employer. Self-motivated multi-tasker. Competitive compensation. Benefits include excellent medical, dental and vision insurance.

Sometimes, from that last phrase, the ad leaves off the word “insurance” because, come on, you know what they mean. And sometimes I parse it literally anyway.

“Benefits kick in on day thirty,” the employee care representative continues, “so you’ll want to clear your schedule for a little recovery time. Most people are up and about again in a week.”

“Recovery time?” You remember the last time you had to fill out a benefits enrollment form. You had jokingly referred to the chore as the new employee ordeal. Your previous employer had an HR department whose uncooperativeness was legendary. You suspected them of deliberately trying to make you miss the enrollment deadline so that they wouldn’t have to pay for another employee’s insurance policy. By the time you got your enrollment letter, you felt like you’d run a marathon with a hundred pound weight on your back. Even so, you wouldn’t have seriously used up your sick leave over it.

“Post-surgery recovery time,” the representative clarifies. Your jaw drops open, but before you can parrot her again—surgery?—she hastens to reassure you that “It’s all right, we don’t count it against your annual PTO. That wouldn’t be fair, would it.”

You’re already shaking your head slowly. No. No, it wouldn’t. Then you give it a fast, hard shake to clear the speechlessness. “Excuse me,” you say, “what surgery are we talking about?”

“Your benefits, of course. Health, dental, and vision.” Seeing your blank look, she launches into what must have been a prepared speech. Of course she would have to explain this to every new employee. It’s too incredible. “Where most companies compensate their employees with insurance plans, we ensure that, barring unforeseen accidents—and in that case we would cover your care one hundred percent—you will have no need of insurance at all for the duration of your employment. We correct your vision, perfect your teeth, and adjust the rest of your system for peak well-being.”

This sounds far too good to be true. “How is this even possible?”

“Miracle of modern medicine! Also miracles. Best not to inquire too deeply....”

This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for March 24, 2017. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1099 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.

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