Heard It on the Grapevine
This collection of short stories ranges from light and humorous to serious. The eight stories about corporate culture are highly satirical. Pity Frank, the project manager, running around in circles trying to satisfy every boss and his dog. Learn the secrets of the Corporate Smile. Recognize the sociopath manager. Meet the team of demotivated subordinates. More
Heard It on the Grapevine comprises four collections of short stories ranging from light and humorous to satirical. The first collection is about love, jealousy and revenge. The second is a collection of satirical stories on big companies. The third comprises historical sketches in an African setting. The fourth is a set of humorous stories of village life in the semi-desert Karoo of Southern Africa.
In the first collection, we meet the young film star clawing her way to the top. It is a story of revenge, peppered with sharp comments on our value system during the 21st century. Sympathize with the two old dears in the second story, friends for fifty years, but who fall in love with the same man. Their friendship is ruined until both suffer a common loss. The story entitled “Writer’s Block” is about jealousy where a famous author steals a young, talented writer’s work. Enjoy watching the villain with the red Ferrari in the fifth story getting his come-uppance.
The tales of corporate culture, in the second collection, are highly satirical. Anyone who has worked in a large organisation should identify strongly with the plots. While some readers might find them amusing, most would probably laugh through gritted teeth. Pity Frank, the project manager, running around in circles trying to satisfy every manager and his dog. Watch him slowly being crushed between the clashing egos of the great corporate heroes. Meet Mr Smith, the sociopath manager, hugely threatened by subordinates and colleagues alike. While the incidence of sociopaths in the general population is about four per cent, in large corporations it is probably double that and in the higher levels of the organization it is probably double that again. Learn about the “Corporate Smile”, an essential weapon in the corporate battle ground. The “Max Principle”, is a story about entitlement, or how people justify doing bad things. This is human nature at its worst, a theme which transcends time and culture. The story about a large company’s annual conference is a lampoon. It starts off conventionally, but by page three it descends into pure farce. Finally, in the story called “Why Should I?” we meet demotivated subordinates. The reader might recognize some of these characters.
The third collection comprises serious stories written in a conventional style and set in historical African backgrounds (the Boer War of 1899, the 1879 British-Zulu war, the 1906 rebellion).
The fourth collection is light and humorous and an antidote to the dark satires. The scene is a small, isolated village called “Frog Fountain” in the semi-desert Karoo of about seventy years ago. The people are conservative, resistant to new ideas and hostile to outsiders. Enjoy the tale of the tarty barmaid and the effect she has on the local male population. Alternatively, the reader might like to watch the annual horse races on New Year’s Day. Don’t bet on the horses, though, as the races are rigged. Then there is the story about the local policeman, desperate for promotion and not very bright. Only, it is his wife who solves the crime being fat more intelligent than he. Lastly, there is Mrs Burger who organizes a festival for the village. Far from having the interests of Frog Fountain at heart, Mrs Burger has an ulterior motive, namely, to promote her son and his work. Unfortunately, the festival is ruined by forces outside of her control.