Awaiting my Bonus
I thought that I am not afraid of anything or anyone. But today, in the dim light of early morning suddenly it descended upon me: more than a beggar’s bag or a jailer’s whip, I am scared of a Small Bonus. He appeared in my dream: short, about up to my waist in height, barely covering half of my basic needs, bald, smelly, dirty, equipped with a large sensitive nose. He swore, spat through his yellow teeth revealing smoking habits and bad nutrition and walked away, intentionally not looking back at me.
— Wait, come back, I’m counting on you to pay for my son’s school — I shouted at him, but my voice was thinner than a squeak, and he did not hear me.
I decided to write a complaint letter— I am a real expert on such matters. I picked up a piece of paper and started a letter, addressing it to our HR department, where I had already sent myriad complaints, requests, petitions, most of which were left unanswered. The first version read like that:
Dear Sir or Madman!
Please return my bonus to my place of residence, ensuring it is of appropriate size.
The bearer of this,
No, I thought, that way they would not understand anything. Am I talking about the size of the bonus or my apartment? First they need to inflate it to the right size and then give it back to me. Finally I got: “I urge you to increase my bonus up to its last year’s size and subsequently return thereof to the address below.”
I sealed the envelope and took it to the nearest post office.
People in the line looked suspicious as if they all were going after my bonus. I handed the clerk the envelope and asked him to mail it by certified mail and insure against all imaginable accidents and adversities. Suddenly I saw quite clearly my own bonus who was to my embarrassment hiding behind curtains that were rather awkwardly concealing the corner on the clerk’s side of the premises. What he was doing there I could only guess but did not dare even to formulate for myself. I pushed the clerk away with a strong thrust and jumped over the counter. I did not even expect such a feat from myself and sat down in surprise. It seemed no one noticed my maneuver though. Of course, the line got shorter by one person, but I realized we still had about 15 customers in line and only an hour and a half until closing. I had to hurry up.
The first in line was a young man with a poorly groomed beard. He had a whole bunch of different sized envelopes and handed them to me one by one, probably trying to make a favorable impression. “This one goes to India, and that to Bangladesh,” he cooed. “Do you think there is a chance that they might be mixed up on their way?” I wanted to rake envelopes and grind them up in his face, tearing off his beard. But an invisible hand kept me from doing it. I imagined that at home we must have something in the oven, chicken perhaps, and probably the warm waves of aroma would gradually fill the entire house by now. And perhaps, the bonus had changed his mind and already returned to the family.
The next in line was a burly man with a large box.
— It’s them, crackers, - he said, though I did not ask, and I did not care what was in it.
— Do you think they would get in by the New Year?
— What’s “get in”? - I asked politely - crackers do not move on their own like a train, do they?
— I mean, would reach the recipient - growled the owner of crackers.
— It depends on who is the recipient, - I countered him sensibly.
— And who is the recipient? - chimed in a man wearing glasses and an ironic grim, next in line after my client.
— And what is your business here? - cut I him rather wittily.
When I got back home the skies had already started clearing from the darkness. I had a terrible headache and wanted to go to bed. Nevertheless, first things first and I asked my wife, “Did he come back, our Bonus”?
“Yes he did,” my wife said, and slapped me on my face. I realized that what I said might have been wrongly conceived or stated or both. “Any more questions?” asked my wife. “Let’s talk tomorrow. We will discuss our bonus with you at length,” I said peacefully. She silently kicked me real hard on the stomach.
As it turned out, our Bonus, whether small or big, never made it back to our house. But I do not lose my hope and continue to shudder at every random knock on my door. Secretly, I hope it is my wife coming back after she had ran away with Mr. Bonus. (That is how i still call him even after I had learned his actual name was Mr. Bo Nose, a person of mixed Chinese-Jewish descent).
Perhaps, it’s only for the better. By the way, I recently got promoted, although with the same salary.