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© 2017 by Frank Falco

Rise of the Forgotten (Short Story)

December 15, 2017

 

Recollect how quiet some of your classmates were in High School. The ones who sat way in the back of the room and only spoke when called upon. Sometimes they were so quiet that we forgot they were even there. Yet every exam that came up, he/she aced it without a problem. But there was only one issue; these were the same students who got bullied over and over again. Albeit in the school hallways, the bathroom, the gym locker room, and even outside of school while walking home.

 

How dysfunctional do you have to be bullying a student minding their own business? How insensitive of a human are you to ridicule anyone for not being “popular” like the rest of the kids? How immoral and shameless are you to taunt someone for achieving high grades by meticulously studying instead of going out and partying? There is no justification for such heinous acts of cruelty among your peers. The quiet ones have other plans to push themselves forward.

 

With college in September, graduate hats are thrown into the air anticipating summer to relax and set free. Yearbooks are signed; everyone is having a great time. The quiet ones finally feel the sense of calmness knowing that their troubled days of getting thrown into the locker are over. Days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months. September has arrived and the pursuit of a lifelong career lies ahead.

Sleepless nights full of Red Bull, coffee, and Adderall continue throughout college years. A sense of déjà vu strikes the quiet ones when numerous parties are being held in dorms in their building. They wake up to find empty beer cans, hard liquor, and wasted food in the hallways. Stepping through the mess, they continue to attend class on time and ace their exams.

 

Suddenly, the party goers who continually arrived to class late are told, “If you’re late just one more time, you are expelled from my class,” replied the professor. And so these individuals are faced with their own sense of reality when the tuition bill flies in. Instead of changing their ways, they look to the quiet ones who always arrived on time, sometimes even 10 minutes earlier to class. Fearful of what the quiet ones might say that distinct appearance of kindness settles in to the “popular” kids. But the quiet ones remained as such. Quiet.

 

Approaching the day of College graduation and the quiet ones have had at least 3 internships each, above average GPA, and a full-time job waiting for them. The kid with nerdy glasses now transformed into contact lenses, average gym goer, short-hair, clean shaved stud. The girl who carried books in front of her chest with her head down now transformed into a business class appearance woman with a title of CEO of her own startup company. As for the others who chose to party all the time, well let’s just say they still look like they belong in High School.

Fast-forwarding 5 years into the future, %80 of every quiet one is an entrepreneur hiring new employees to grow and expand their businesses. Interviews are taken to vet the best candidates for the position(s), and a not-so surprising revelation occurs.

 

“Hello Sir, I am here for the Analyst position scheduled for 1:00PM today, “says the candidate.

 

“Yes, I remember you,” replied the CEO.

 

“Really,” questioned the candidate?

 

“Yes, yes of course.” “Small teen wearing broken glasses, bathroom stall, shoved into the toilet while flushing.” “Do you remember any of that during High School,” asked the CEO?

 

“Uh, no sir, I’m not completely sure what you’re talking about,” asked the candidate?

 

“It’s me I’m talking about.” “I’m the nerd you shoved into the toilet, the same nerd you shoved into the locker, and also the same exact nerd you bullied throughout my High School years without a single reason as to why,” replied the CEO.

 

The CEO had a smirk on his face and looked directly into the eyes of the candidate before him.

 

“The world has changed and it continues to change.” “The party life is now the boss life and the boss life is the entrepreneurship life.” “I have heard through my constituents that 99% of the jobs you applied to were owned by my friends from College.” “You see, you can have all the beauty in the world but the most prized possession is the brain.” “Sharpen your mental arsenal and you’ll be unstoppable,” exclaimed the CEO.

 

Nervous and embarrassed, the candidate replied,

 

“I am very sorry Sir.” “I didn’t mean to do those things to you.” “I just wanted to fit in with the crowd and be like one of them, you know,” said the candidate.

 

Smiling and leaning his chair back, the CEO responds,

 

“Ha, no I don’t know about “fitting in.” “Fitting in doesn’t work when applying for a job.” “Be different and think both inside and outside the box.” “If you want to get discovered, then you have to prove your uniqueness by standing out not “fitting in” with everyone else,” sternly said the CEO.

 

“Now, I will give you a chance but let me just finish by saying this, you only get one shot at this life.” “Try not to fuck it up.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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