Enough is enough

This is a work of fiction. A short story of 1170 words.

“Where’s my coffee then, Kev?” Phil pointed to Kevin’s coffee cup, as the bespectacled man sat down at the next desk. Kevin grinned back at him. “Sorry, did you want one?” He got up from his seat and walked back out to the machine in the lobby. Inserting the token, he pressed ‘White Coffee No Sugar’, and waited for the cup to fall into place.

One of these days, he would sort Phil out, thought Kevin. He would tell him just what he thought of him, and really put him in his place. Being tall, athletic, and popular with everyone had given Phil too much confidence. He acted above his station, thought everything he said was funny, and took advantage of people. Kevin could plainly see that, and wondered why the others couldn’t.

Back at the desk, he handed Phil the coffee, and didn’t even get a ‘Thank you’. As resumed his seat, Kevin felt a sharp pain in his behind, and jumped up immediately. His chair was covered in drawing pins, and one had gone straight into him as he sat down. Phil snorted with laughter, ejecting a mouthful of hot coffee as he guffawed. Kevin looked around as he plucked the pin from his rear end. Angela was giggling, and even the boss, Frank, was chuckling too. They had all been in on it. Kevin grinned at the faces in the room. “Got me.” He said cheerfully. It wouldn’t do to show anger.
Not today, anyway.

There was a time when Kevin had been friendly with Angela. She would sit with him at lunch, and he sometimes gave her a lift home when they worked late. He had once hoped that things might develop into a proper relationship. But then Phil had joined the firm. His work rate had been phenomenal from the start. Things just came easily to the man, including Angela, who was soon seemingly besotted with him. Not that Phil would ever be interested in her of course. Besides being years younger than the woman, Phil had his sights set on much prettier girls. Kevin thought that Angela would see this for herself in time, and realise who her true friends were. But instead she had highlights put in her hair, wore shorter skirts, and smirked at Phil whenever he passed by.

Last Christmas, Phil had only just started there, but felt that it was alright to suggest to everyone that they have fancy dress at the office party. It was welcomed enthusiastically by the staff, all except Kevin, who hated such things. But he decided that he had to play along, as he didn’t want to be the odd one out. So he hired a Spider-Man costume from the shop in town, and drove to the venue wearing it. He even wore his hated contact lenses that night, as he couldn’t very well turn up as Spider-Man wearing glasses. Entering the room hired for the party, he immediately realised it had been a trick. The other twenty-odd people there were all smartly dressed, and nobody was wearing a costume, except him. They must have all been in on the joke, even Angela.
The whole room burst into riotous hilarity, led by Phil, who was red in the face from laughing so much. Kevin grinned at them all. “You got me.” That was all he said. No point spoiling the evening by being angry.
Not that night, anyway.

Brushing the rest of the pins onto the floor, Kevin sat down and got on with his work. Phil was already on the office phone, telling people in other departments how he had fooled Kevin into sitting down on some drawing pins, his voice as loud as ever as he boasted about the prank. Frank and Angela were still grinning, but Kevin acted as if it was nothing, and started to check some sales figures on his screen.

Back at home after work, Kevin burned with rage. He would show Phil that he wasn’t prepared to be the constant butt of his teasing. Standing before the long mirror in the bedroom, he practiced what he would say when he confronted him. Drawing up to his full height, he held up his right hand, palm forward. “Now just hold on a moment, Phil. I don’t know who you think you are, or who you are dealing with, but I am here to tell you that this has all got to stop. Enough of these jokes and pranks. As of now, that’s an end to it. Or there will be trouble, I assure you.” His tone was measured, controlled, with just the hint of a threat. Kevin was sure that this would be the right way to go about it. People like Phil had to be stood up to, told when they had gone too far. He went over it again later, as he went to sleep. In his mind, he could see himself doing it, and imagined the surprise on Phil’s face, and the respect he would gain in the eyes of Amanda and Frank.

Kevin slept well that night, his decision made.

By the time he arrived at work that Friday morning, everyone else was in, and busy at their desks. They all appeared to be intensely focused on their jobs, and nobody glanced at Kevin as he sat down. Seconds later, he was on his back on the floor, staring at the ceiling. The chair had collapsed completely as he sat down, and had literally fallen to bits around him. His back hurt where a large section of metal was wedged underneath him, and he realised that he had shouted in panic as he fell. The others were standing over him, almost screaming with laughter, and pointing at his sprawled out form on the carpet.
Phil was dangling an adjustable spanner from his thumb and forefinger. The penny dropped for Kevin, and he knew that Phil had undone all the fixings on the seat, leaving it looking apparently normal at first glance.

They must have planned it in advance, making sure that everyone was in early, and close enough to see it happen. He noticed Amanda, her chest rocking with laughter, head shaking from side to side. Phil was ecstatic. When he managed to calm down, he exclaimed, “I can’t believe that nobody recorded that on their ‘phone. Priceless!” Frank bent down to help Kevin up, sliding another chair over for him to sit in. “Sorry mate, but that was really funny”, he said, totally unaware how unfunny it really was.
A short while later, Kevin sat trembling in a toilet cubicle. He was so furious, he couldn’t keep still. That was the last straw, he thought. Today is the day when he gets it. But it was Friday, and the weekend was ahead.
So not on a Friday, anyway.

Maybe Monday, Kevin thought. Monday would be good.
It would happen on Monday, for sure.

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49 thoughts on “Enough is enough

  1. Good story Pete. Worked with a couple of ‘Phils’ and a couple of ‘Kevins’. One ‘Kevin’ got drunk at the Christmas party and punched the ‘Phil’ who had continuously teased him. Funnily enough, they got on better afterwards. The other ‘Kevin’ just left the company and moved on. I don’t like ‘Phils’ they normally torment one person and then others join in like ‘Lord of the Flies’ it sickens me.

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    1. Thanks, Kate. We have all met them. Those who say it’s ‘just a joke’, or ‘be a sport’. Trying to be popular at the expense of the feelings of others. I think most Kevin’s don’t punch, or fight back. Hence the ending.
      Best wishes, and thanks also for the re-blog. Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Poor Kevin. A good reminder that perhaps we have to think before we laugh at these kinds of situations. I agree not all stories end up with a bang. Keep them coming, Pete. Excellent.

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  3. I always enjoy your short stories Pete and this is no exception, good to see you back. Reading the comments also brings the realisation that a story doesn’t need to have an end, in fact it is more true to life if it doesn’t. Still it would be nice if Phil…

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    1. Cheers Eddy. We get used to stories having a satisfactory conclusion most of the time, and that’s perhaps because real life does not always work out in the way we hoped. I have seen plenty of Kevins over the years, and heard about what they were going to do. But the Phils are still around, so they obviously didn’t do anything.
      With the exception of some genres, I try to reflect real life as experienced by most of us.
      All the best, Pete.

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  4. Great story Pete as I felt very pissed off on Kevin’s behalf. And then I thought for gods sakes Kevin don’t just put up with this crap. Then I thought if Kevin had had any sense he would have pretended he was injured and couldn’t move when he was on the floor, made them call an ambulance for him, howled in pain etc, then muttered about compensation! See how the boss liked them eggs! Sorry Pete I’ve re-written the ending here!! 🙂

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    1. No problem. I like people to make up their own endings and conclusions. It means the story works at different levels for various people. The point was that Kevin is one of those people, the sort who place acceptance above self-respect, and only ever complain about it to themselves. But if you want him to be on the phone to Injury Lawyers For You, that’s fine too!
      Best wishes, Pete. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! I loathe bullying, and hope you write chapter two. Those who are victims need to see justice can be served, and those who are the oppressor need to see it stopped. Terrific writing. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Jennie. You are one of a few who want a second chapter, one where Phil gets his comeuppance. The point was about people like Kevin though. They never really seek revenge, just acceptance. The only rage is in their own minds, and it is never made flesh. That’s why so many of the Phils of this world continue to have an easy life.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. As the old saying goes, Kim. “Revenge is a dish best served cold”. It’s not about revenge in this case though. More along the lines of the sad fact that some people will tolerate almost anything to feel that they are accepted in some way. Tomorrow is always another day when they believe that something will change.
      Best wishes as always, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I expected a different ending. On a couple of occasions, Kevin said, “You got me.” I expected him to get revenge somehow, and then say, “I got you.” This is the sort of story that could easily spawn a sequel.

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    1. Nicolas wants a sequel too, David. You are not alone there.
      It is about the inability of the ‘small ordinary man’ to overcome such situations, as others do not see any harm in what Phil is doing. As well as that, Kevin craves acceptance, even though he resents what is happening to him.
      A social comment on what is regarded in many areas as ‘acceptable behaviour’, perhaps.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I try to picture them in my head, Theo. Exactly what they look like; their clothing, distinguishing features, and so on. Then I write about them without usually referring to any of that! (I do have a mental picture of Edith Gunderston by the way, so you manage to do something very similar yourself.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  7. Your story on bullying was commendable, in fact I loved the end because that’s natural of people like Kevin to keep postponing taking a stand. It’s still inspiring…in a different way, good job!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fantastic writing! Could you please write part 2 where Kevin finally gets his revenge? I am sucker for happy endings and I really hate practical jokes. I tend to stand by the underdog, that’s why I really want a part 2 to your story. Loved the writing, the emotions attributed to all the characters and immensely disliked Phil. Thanks for sharing, you should do this more frequently!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I loathe practical jokes. A sense of humour/pack instinct deficiency in me. No amount of “character” and “team-building” and “group-initiation” arguments would make me smile. Yet again, thank you for illustrating an interesting anthropological issue.

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    1. Thanks very much, Pippa. It is my own hatred of this form of bullying (because that is what I consider it to be) that led me to write this story.
      Best wishes to you both as always, Pete. x

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