short story – Appraisal

It was quarter to five and by now I had stopped pretending to work. I even stopped pretending to stare at my screen and began to openly stare at my bosses door. The appraisal meetings were going on. Boss was calling everyone one by one to his cabin. Then the door would close. After what appeared to be an eternity the door would open and the next person would be called in.

My seat is right in front of his cabin and I had been waiting for my chance since morning. There have been twenty-three people in his cabin so far. How much time they stay in vary too much to even try to make a guess. Some came out in five minutes some came out after two hours.

One person came out in tears. That’s what got me to worry.

I joined this company right after graduation. First job. Started from the bottom of the hierarchy. No appraisals for the first two years as per company policy. Third-year I got approval for teleportation powers. But my parents had already gifted me that on my graduation. Something to make my commute easy. But I am sure they just wanted me to live closer to them. Anyways, so I had to decline and requested HR to add those points to my credit score. Hopefully this time I will get approval for mind reading.

I know mind reading sounds boring. But that is something I have wanted since I was a child. My brother always wanted to start a band of his own. So on his last birthday entire family chipped in and got him the power to split himself into four. Now he can play drums, guitar, bass and sing at the same time. Too bad no one chipped-in to gift me mind-reading powers. I am pretty sure no one wants me to read their minds and that’s why everyone has been stopping me.

But my family doesn’t know why I was so eager to join this company after graduation. My company is the biggest consultation firm. Reading minds is a very useful skill here. Many dedicated employees have been approved of this power. Every year on an average at least one person is granted mind-reading power. Last year it was some strange guy from Audits team. He kept staring at me in a very weird way in the break room. I even saw him following me into elevators.

Anyways, this year so far no one has received mind reading yet. For some reason, super-strength has been granted to twelve so far. I wonder if the company is diversifying into some other industry.

I have points saved up from last time. Even if I am granted some other powers this time, I am sure I’ll be able to convert them to points and then be able to buy mind-reading myself.

The clock struck to five. Everyone started packing and leaving for the day. By five-ten, I was the only one left in the bay. Well, the boss was still with someone in his cabin.

At five-thirty boss finally came out of his cabin. He saw me waiting and called me inside. He asked me to close the door behind me.

I had been to this cabin before. I mean every Friday the team meeting happens here. But right now the room was looking too empty. I think he had finally gotten rid of that ugly couch. It looked really nasty ever since Alisha poured that cup of purple coffee on its yellow fabric.

He cleared his throat and asked me to take a seat. Why was I thinking about his stupid couch when I was about to get my new mind-reading powers. Boss suddenly smiled and that reminded me that he had his own appraisal meeting last week. His expressions were changing with every thought coming in my mind.

Shit!!!

Did he get mind-reading? Oh no. I was desperately trying to clear my head and stop thinking about anything that can get me in trouble with my boss. Maybe I’ll have to use my credits to buy mind-blocker instead.

Great!!!

More waiting for mind-reading.

“Sorry, no mind-reading for you this year.”

So I was right on both counts it seems. I am not getting mind-reading and now my boss has mind-reading powers. Still, I could convert whatever I was about to get into credits and hope they were enough to buy mind-reading.

“You might actually like what you are getting this year. Its Time-travel. You have the master rule book, right? Check it out. Think over the weekend and then let me know if you still like to get credits instead. I would personally suggest keeping time travel. You got that because I recommended you for some very specific projects. You are a good worker and I would love to see you take up those projects.”

OH MY GOD

Time travel is the most exclusive of the powers. I would not have been able to buy it even if I saved for the rest of my life. No way I was going to turn down time-travel. And being assigned on projects that would need time travel. That’s beyond my frigging dreams. Can’t wait to start of them.

“Good to know you are excited. Meet me on Monday and we will get you started. Have a great weekend.”

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