Sometimes you do your job and the person you're working with don't do theirs. Sometimes you're the one gets fired, sometimes you just quit. In the Gutter, whatever you decide: all solutions are final.

Cheated by Ryan Sayles

Be excited, they said. You’ve got this in the bag.
Perfect job for you. You’ll slide right in there. Me. This guy. I felt like a good candidate. There might be better somewhere in the world, but not here, now. Not for this position. Folks gave me some books, of course. Things to study and know ahead of time. Those that came before me pulled me aside, gave me pep talks and advice. Back-patting. Premature congratulations. Things they wish they had been told before it happened to them. I felt ready. Confident.
When the day came, I ramped up for it. Everything I had prepared for led up to this moment. New job: fatherhood. And the baby, turns out it’s a different race than the wife and me. Not my job, then. Someone else beat me out and the wife forgot to notify me. Nothing like walking na├»ve and face-first into a surprise ending.
Of course, that’s not the best defense for murder, but I didn’t study for law either.
Ryan Sayles is the Derringer-nominated author of Goldfinches and the Richard Dean Buckner hardboiled PI series, The Subtle Art of Brutality, Warpath, and the forthcoming Albatross. His short fiction has appeared in dozens of venues in both print and digital media. Those stories and more are collected in his works That Escalated Quickly!, I’m Not Happy ’til You’re Not Happy, and Let Me Put My Stories In You.