Outsourced

“Five-year warranty? Nah, two’s good.”

“This is wrong… Why d’you do this? It’s not even a big margin.”

“Every little counts, Mark. Besides, this is good enough for those rubes.”

Roadways contractor Billy clapped his hands, excited. Eyes aglow, he gestured at his long-time assistant to seal the deal. It wasn’t the first time he’d chosen affordability over durability. He didn’t bother, either. Because if the National Freeway he builds now caved two years later due to low quality, he wouldn’t be answerable.

Within five years, he’d saved millions from state funds. All locked in a safe in his name.

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Master of none

“Carl! How’re ya?”

Carl looked up “Hi, Mark. All good, tha — ”

“Quick favour. Can you conjour up a poster for us? Nothing too fancy—we’re organising a last-minute event, and need designs ASAP.”

Carl sent the memo he’d been proofreading for Jason, and then turned to Mark smiling. “Sure. I’ll be happy — ”

“Cheers, life saver. Drinks on me, Friday!”

Carl had spent the morning proofreading his team mates’ work, before tackling Jason’s memo. It took him all evening — amidst discussions, brainstorming sessions, and distractions—to finish Mark’s designs.

By 7, he’d done everyone’s job but his.

Tomorrow, perhaps.

*Ping* “u thr?”

Minimalising

Pete ignored the skeptical stares as he dropped off his fifth bag of trash. He’d no longer hold onto things he thought mattered.

For the first time since his nasty breakup four years ago, he realised he’d never been happy. He earned and travelled well devouring authenticity everywhere, yet something always held him back.

Wanting to simplify life, he cast out letters and cards, his journals, souvenirs, fancy linen now out of style, clothes he’s never worn — everything he’d acquired to fill the gap Sandra had left.

A minimal house had changed nothing. He still couldn’t let her go.

To-dos

Leila double-checked the school’s brochures and website. She scanned through prospectuses and spoke to parents of old students. Not only did she determine to find the most qualified place, but also the safest for her child’s education.

She wanted a school with strict policies and regulations. “For the last time, Mrs Adrian, we don’t permit usage of weapons. This is a school, for godness’ sake!”

“Your school doesn’t, but—”

We should fix the gun laws in this country.

She couldn’t say what she knew too well. Last week’s news about a teenager opening fire at school had left her trembling.

Unaffection

Nothing could hinder her way anymore. She’d been patient, she’d done her time. With destiny awaiting, she was now all ready to unleash her soul.

Walking away from her home of four years, Karla shed her graduation robe while her classmates posed for another groupfie. They were welling up vouching they’d forever miss the good old days.

Karla never looked back. She neither teared nor cared. Their affection remained a puzzle for her—she knew the reality: people forget. While they celebrated their collective achievement, she set out to celebrate freedom.

“Finish your degree first,” her parents had challenged. hinder