500 Word Short Story
Pride Before the Fall
Scott A. Gese

500 Word Short Story

Cliff Waters was wrong and he knew it. He wanted to fess up to his mistake. His employees deserved that much, but his pride was too great.

He was known as the golden child. Always making the right decisions under pressure. He thrived on short deadlines and reveled in the win. Compliments stroked his ego and puffed him up. For Cliff Waters, being the center of attention was as good as it could get.

The tailspin started when Cliff got wind of a new software development his competitors were making to a laser cutting machine they manufactured. Cliff's company also manufactured laser cutters. It was a highly competitive market and both companies constantly jockeyed for prime accounts. The new software would put his company at a disadvantage.

Cliff was proud of the fact that he had successfully placed a mole into a key management position of his competitor. This was the main reason he had been able to keep pace. His mole wasn't privy to the software development department so the information he was able to get was sketchy at best. He was working on getting a copy of the actual software. Cliff needed him to get the information before it was released. His reputation depended on it. His ego required it.


Yancy Jacks was Cliff's competitor. He knew about the mole Cliff had placed within his company. He fed him classified information every now and again just to keep him in his place. The time would come when he would use him to take Cliff to the mat.

Yancy's company was putting the finishing touches on a new software program that would revolutionize the industry. He knew the mole would be looking for it. He had his developers come up with a close replica that included a deadly virus. One his company could release at the appropriate time. He then placed the infected software in a file where the mole would find it. It didn't take long.

The mole had good news for Cliff. He had managed to get his hands on a copy of the new software. He also let Cliff know that Yancy was planning to release the new software in one week. Cliff was ecstatic. He had his developers quickly rebrand the software to look like they had developed it. If he released it before Yancy. He would take the credit and his companies stocks would soar.

His company released the updated software with much fanfare. The industry was excited to see it in action. One week after its release, Yancy Jacks unleashed the deadly software virus. It worked quickly. Three weeks after the software's release Cliff's company was scrambling. They were in trouble. The software was crashing all the machines that had installed it. Cliff's software team worked feverishly to find a patch.

Yancy 's company released the real software as a replacement.

Cliff had been beaten, but his pride wouldn't let him admit it. He blamed the software problems on his employees instead.

© Copyright 2019 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.