Derville Quigley

To Act, We Must Be Confident

We were brought to the cinema for the all-hands meeting. Given popcorn and Seven-Up. The CEO, a small man whose catchphrase was “Act like a CEO”, took to the stage. We were good but not good enough. Still had a lot of work to do, targets to reach. I wasn’t sure we’d ever get there. Afterwards, I was asked what I thought about the video played at the meeting.

“Yes, how we’re all part of a team, striving to row in sync with each other.”

The office was no rowing boat. We didn’t have broad backs, gelled hair or wear singlets. Mendelssohn was not the soundtrack to our lives. But there were at times high winds, strong currents and vortices. Colleagues being sucked under the surface. Desks left empty, except for headsets, half-eaten energy bars, and a few shrivelled cacti. I needed to call the heating company about our banjaxed boiler. Sonya was waiting on a sperm donor. We stared out the window towards the Homefit carpark. I wanted to tell her the donor will be a great match, that I hoped it would work first time. I don’t care for rowing. 

Derville Quigley is an Irish writer based in the Netherlands. Her short stories and poems have been published in various international magazines and journals including The Ogham Stone, Beyond Words, Garfield Lake Review, CommuterLit and Litro. She is co-founder of Strange Birds, a migratory writing collective and a co-organiser of Writers Flock, an international writers’ festival. Visit for more info.