The Mouse That Turned


Rochelle sets us a one hundred word flash fiction challenge, prompted by a photo, every week.  Come and have a go, if you think you’re bard enough.

Edicts! Price & Co were awash with them. More rules than you could shake a stick at. It was great to be working in a new office and it was such an improvement over the old place. The management had it stitched up so you couldn’t hiccough with impunity. No walking whilst talking on a mobile; hold the handrail on the stairs; reverse park all cars; all coffee cups with lids; clear desk policy; no jackets on chairs; and on and on.
Then they said Jenny, the receptionist, couldn’t have a colourful mouse and the entire workforce walked out. (99)

PHOTO PROMPT – © Marie Gail Stratford

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About micklively

Fifty-something, pacifist, six sigma black belt, lean implementer, brewer, vintner, guitarist, wood-turner, and slave to collies.
This entry was posted in fiction, rules, work, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

76 Responses to The Mouse That Turned

  1. Amy Reese says:

    That would be my breaking point. No doubt about it. Fun piece, Mick!

  2. Hilarious, Mick. One step too far. I love that. Well done. 😀 — Suzanne

  3. Eventually there will be the straw to break the back of the camel. Sometimes it’s something as little as a mouse.

  4. mjlstories says:

    Great piece – wish it was ironic but all sounds so true.
    Teachers used to be notoriously maverick but in the thirty years I’ve taught it has sadly changed. Yes some lazy, inappropriate etc practices had to go but babies and bath water occur to me.
    Maybe this explains why I broke the rules this week and weighed in at 500 + words!
    Do visit!

  5. Arl's World says:

    Yep, that was the last straw! 😉

  6. Dee says:

    Nicely done Mick. I remember the freedom to run up the stairs and to walk around with a hot drink!
    H&S is slowly removing the ability for folk to think and act for themselves; the dreadful story a few weeks back of policemen standing by at the side of a lake in a park, watching a young boy drown because none of them had received training on how to retrieve him from the water, just beggars belief.

  7. rgayer55 says:

    So that’s what it looks like when they replace us all with robots. They won’t have to go potty, but I assume they’ll have lubrication stations or require occasional recharging.
    I like the colorful mouse. Here in the South, everything comes in camouflage. The look is getting very tiresome.

  8. plaridel says:

    oh, jenny must be somebody special. is she holding the fort?

  9. Graham Lawrence says:


  10. Enough is enough! Still chuckling.

  11. Dave says:

    Strike the colors and raise the Jolly Roger! The Crimson Permanent Assurance

  12. draliman says:

    A colourful mouse is a basic human right, surely? Hopefully the management will see sense 🙂

  13. The last straw! Good on them, such a lousy place to work in.

  14. Sumana Roy says:

    that’s the spirit of unity…

  15. Nan Falkner says:

    So, they took it one step too far. I would have left after the clean desk rule. How can you work? Are you supposed to hide your research? Silly company, they won’t last – besides, what kind of name if “Apple?” Nan

  16. Good for Jenny, but HOORAY for the work force.
    Good story,

  17. Oh corporate management has caused the workforce to ban together against them. Striking over a colorful mouse is only the beginning. Great story!

  18. Loved it, funny but serious. Can I have a pink pen?

  19. storydivamg says:

    A big corporation with no colorful mice simply isn’t worth working for. As a small business owner, I encourage color and creativity. Any attorney who advises me otherwise will be looking for a new client.

    Good story.


  20. I think rules are there for everyone…he he.. maybe there was a reason dinosaurs are not walking the earth any more

  21. Dale says:

    You came to my former work, didn’t you? All these same bleeping rules! Ask me if I’m sad to no longer be there… 😉

    • micklively says:

      They asked us all to bring our own mugs in to save the cost of paper cups. Then they refused to put sinks in the new building so we could wash them. Now use of our own mugs is banned! If you wrote it as fiction, folk would say it was unbelievable.
      Thanks Dale.

  22. Camel’s back meet straw.

  23. It’s always the little personal things that cause the outrage. Great little story.

  24. Lynda says:

    I could never survive this workplace. Love your solidarity at the end, Mick!

  25. ansumani says:

    ha ha . Nice twist at the end there. Sometimes it’s those little things that makes people see the big picture. Nicely written.

  26. Workers united. Love it.

  27. k rawson says:

    Ah corporate life. Love that the tiniest thing is cause for revolt. Well done!

  28. gahlearner says:

    That’s the way to go, applause to the staff. Rules only make sense up to a point. Where I work, the most ridiculous ones aren’t heeded by anybody.

  29. What a wonderful end. That Jenny was a wild one, yes?

  30. misskzebra says:

    On the second day of a new job, I was told off for crossing the road in the wrong place. My boss got into trouble for walking whilst talking on his mobile phone, no one was immune…

  31. The straw that broke the mouse’s back, or maybe the corporation’s. Nicely done!

  32. Very funny! I’m glad they backed Jenny and made the decision to leave. That mouse needs to stay!

  33. Dear Mick,

    Enough is enough. Your ending made me smile. Corporations are out of hand.



  34. Sandra says:

    Completely endorse the sentiments. H&S gone mad these days. Last place I worked they had a sign above the hot water tap saying “Beware, hot water”. 😦 Nice take.

    • micklively says:

      Many thanks Sandra. I’m not allowed to carry my lap-top upstairs. (Oh the carnage that used to ensue when folk were permitted such dangerous practices!)

  35. Nice ending. Made me smile. I think we have gone way over the top with our workplace safety laws. It is always the small things which break the camels back. Good piece.

  36. Miles Rost says:

    Corporate culture. I hate it. Well done.

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