Today dear readers I am reviewing PowerPoint Eulogy (Published April 16th 2021) By Mark Wilson. A big thank you to the publishers Fly On The Wall Press for sending me a copy to read and review, always appreciated.
This short story is a part of The Fly on the Wall shorts season. Every two months for a year starting from February 26th 2021 they are publishing a short story with a social message to be found in each one. Find out more details here.
Three corporate hours have been allotted to commemorate the life of enigma, Bill Motluck. Employee memories of his life are crudely recounted onto a dusty projector. No one has ever been quite sure of his purpose. No one is quite sure who wrote the PowerPoint…but it seems to be exposing them all, one by one.
About The Author
Mark Wilson is a Chicago based author and visual artist, often illustrating his own writing. His writing focuses on the consumption of content and the monotony of the modern age. He is the creator of a popular absurdist culture blog onetie-alltie.com/blog/ and his art and prose have been featured in journals including Burning House Press and Burning Jade Press. He has also self-published a work of surrealist satire.
The fellow coworkers of Bill Motluck reluctantly gather round for a three hour PowerPoint eulogy. They look back on what little memories they share of the 70 year old man and are unsure of who wrote the PowerPoint. The PowerPoint has been quickly put together with outdated animations, little care or attention has been made. The coworkers start to see that some of the slides are about them and begin to wonder if their lives are as sad as the old man’s or maybe if they are dead? On Bill’s poorly-made plywood coffin sits bar graphs and pie charts in hope that he will do one last round of pointless analysis. Wilson paints an eyeopening picture of how even after death the work still piles up, a sad truth that life goes on. Work stops for no one.
This short story is told in presentation slides from different employees who worked with Bill. We quickly learn that no one seems to have been extremely close or remember much about him. They are unsure of what his purpose was. No one looked forward to seeing him or appreciated anything he did. One Christmas he gave everyone in the office a one hundred dollar bill out of his own money. They later found out that it was from his life savings and he starved for the rest of the month. No one offered to help him and each spent their gift regardless. This style of narrative was interesting to read and I admire Wilson’s unique technique. You learn snippets of information in quick succession over a short period of time and feel educated on a life that was barely lived.
I felt sorry and a little disgusted at times for Bill. He is a character of simple pleasures and basic needs. He enjoyed eating at Subway once a week and would savour every single bite. He would say sometimes you have to live a little but in all truth he wasn’t really living. He kept a garden of dying dandelions next to his desks and liked the idea of living in a snow globe. A place where the seasons never changed. His character was desperate to fit in at work, he went as far as paying a mother to use her baby for bring your child to work day. Wilson has created a character that you are unsure if you should laugh at or feel deeply sorry for. You sort of want to root for him but then you are grossed out by his unusual behaviour. The poor guy didn’t help himself. He was beyond odd and doesn’t fit in which brings an uncomfortable vibe to the page. The more you learn about him, the more you wonder why he was this way. What happened to make him lead what appears to be a pathetic, worthless life? Wilson pulls you in as you want to understand Bill but you also start to think that maybe to him, this is a life well lived and you start to question your own stance on life.
Wilson uses strong themes of depression, giving up and how work can become your life, taking over your very existence and grinding you down into the ground. The corporate lifestyle can quickly become your life. And what kind of life is that? On Bill’s 20 year anniversary working at the company he is allowed to pick a gift from a catalogue. When the gift arrives however and he opens it, is has been smashed into pieces. All that time for it to only account to broken glass. It’s a depressing realisation that transpires brutally into the reality of today’s world.
I give PowerPoint Eulogy By Mark Wilson a Four out of Five paw rating.
A raw reflection on how bleak and tragic life can be, this short story will leave you wondering if your own life has been worthwhile and if you will leave a legacy. Will you have your own PowerPoint eulogy and what would it say…
Hop hop wiggle wiggle