Failing quotas

Reaching quotas, performance targets, changes, improvements, the web was weaved around Gregor Samsa, and metamorphosis had came gradually. Gently excluded he was trapped inside the pull of: “more”, “better”, “faster”.

He found himself apart, even shunned. He grew silent as the syllables he uttered could not be weaved to comprehension. For every day he became a shell, a shadow, a burden for his family; his inside waned as the last ember slowly flickered.

Forgotten, dead, a travelling salesman sacrificed on the altar of his alienation, left behind was just the legacy of sweet relief as the shadows of his presence disappeared.

This week my idea came to me directly. I have never read Kafka’s novella, but it is still so well known, so I expect I will not be the only one who pick up on that…

Rochelle Wissoff-Fields hosts the prompt of Friday-Fictioneers weekly, and we are all expected to write a story of 100 words or so (I always try to do it exactly in 100 words..)

December 17, 2014

62 responses to “Failing quotas

  1. I’ve been longing to use the word Kafka-esque for ages, so thank you! I wasn’t familiar with this work but I’ve just read a brief synopsis of the story-line. You nailed this! I also considered the use of the word ‘weaved’ as opposed to ‘woven’ , which is the word I’d have used. Googling it gave me something to think about. Well done; the value of cerebral activity at this hour of the day is never to be dismissed lightly. 🙂

    • I will definitely read this one now.. The synopsis was in my mind all the time. and I am actually reading through this and finding rooms for improvement.. woven vs. weaved, yes there I think I prefer weaved, as there is more menace in it I think, indicating more of a purpose of excluding Gregor..

  2. Dear Bjorn,

    You had me at Gregor Samsa, for I read The Metamorphosis when a teenager and was quite weirded out by it, to use present day terminology. Your story did both Kafka and the photo justice. Very well done.



  3. Dear Björn,

    Having never read Kafka, the reference totally went over my head. However I didn’t need to know his story to know that you wrote a good one. The feeling of despair is tangible.



  4. I read Metamorphosis for the first time a year or so ago, and loved it in all it’s weirdness – so I got the reference straight away. I love how your whole story is a metaphor. (Perhaps there’s a Death of a Salesman reference too?)

  5. Björn, the soul-sucking, lifeless feel to your story perfectly mirrors the photo and made me feel depressed. Fortunately, I’ll be lifting weights shortly, which is sure to make me feel better. Excellently done!


  6. This is very good, Björn. In fact much less tedious than the original. While Kafka’s original idea was brilliant, i found that the book draggued on. I much prefer your version.

  7. behind him just the legacy of sweet relief as the shadows of his presence had disappeared – my favorite line.

    There is a great feeling of emptiness in this. I, too, thought about being sucked dry when I saw this picture – you did it justice.

  8. Shivers … Kafka always gave me the shivers as does this fantastic write. Wow – she said with her mouth open in admiration! Happy Holidays! Ciao, Georgia.

  9. Bjorn, Comparing what’s happening to a spider’s victim to a person losing mental ability is very apt. I don’t know Kafka either, but my mother had Alzheimer’s and I can understand the references. Very well written. — Suzanne

  10. I read that Kafka story at school and was totally creeped out! Your story did it justice, I can see this poor chap fading away until nothing remains.

  11. Great description of the slow decline of a man into nothing – all because of the pressures of meeting other people’s expectations. Skilfully told.

  12. Either you have been a salesman or you know one! You’ve drawn the life so accurately. But I guess the tyranny of the target is found elsewhere, sometimes imposed by ourselves, sometimes by others. A thoughtful take on Kafka.

  13. Dear Bjorn,
    You have captured the essence of the story. I hope you get a chance to read it soon. It won’t take long–most of Kafka stories are a quick read.
    All my best,
    Marie Gail

  14. Loved the Metamorphosis, and this is just fantastic, Björn! You are a master of rhythm, and this one– with the 3 word punches, really is beautiful (in a haunting) way. Like Sandra, the weave vs wove mad em stumble, but on a 2nd read, I love the way it brings the other words along! Wonderful story!

    *third line: had COME. Final line: I think it would have a stronger impact if you drop the passive voice (had) and just use “his presence disappeared.” I hope you don’t mind these edits? I love your writing, and during our lunch, you mentioned that you still are working on some of this English usage. For the record, my Swedish is hopeless! 😉

  15. Well done, Bjorn. I like the psychology behind his metamorphosis. What a frightful existence, enough to eat him alive. And the sadness evoked by the “sweet relief” that he is gone. What a sad life.

  16. Since you and Perry both went with the Gregor Samsa angle, I looked it up and read the synopsis. I found it humorous in a sick sort of way. You did a great job of squeezing it down to 100 words.

  17. I wouldn’t know what Kafka-esque is since I never studied him in school. nevertheless, Bjorn, you got my attention and reeled me in. Great story!

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