Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Todd Mercer

Sisyphus Drops a Dime

Eternity was how long the job was supposed to go on, but someone called OSHA with reports of glaring safety violations. An individual who may or may not be Sisyphus himself dropped a dime to the Department of Labor. Regulators shut the site down, launched a comprehensive review. Misery lifts off his soul the first free morning Sisyphus muses about what creative solutions he could develop for vexing life problems if he weren’t so bone-tired or working every moment. His bosses come close to having legal problems, but the outrage passes. By Thursday there he is again, rolling stones for no reason, the probable whistleblower.

Sisyphus is Ready to Retire

We don’t expect you to roll a man-sized boulder from valley floor to mountain-top the first week on the job. It’s tough. Start small, build technique pushing geodes over swales. Once you’re stronger you’ll move up to master the crushing-est of our needless tasks. The guy in that lead job since pre-history is becoming a complainer. He’d rather malinger or ask for deeper reasons to bust his ass each day. We’ll keep him on payroll ‘til you’re seasoned and conditioned. How great will it be to be The Guy, the boulder guy? Onward and upward, new blood. The day’s wasting.

Sisyphus Re-Centers

“No one wants to work!” griped Sisyphus’s manager after he phoned in, again. He felt too well to waste Friday stone-pushing. Sisyphus took a Mental Health Day, a self-care time-out. “Where’s the ethic? The drive? Pride? Workers are too soft for the grind,” the manager told the substitute boulder-pusher before that guy broke himself ascending the peak for twelve bucks an hour and zero benefits. The sub nodded in apparent agreement, took a minute for hamstring stretches. He set to pushing. Meanwhile at Chez Sisyphus, a steaming bath, calming music, and an indulgent meal go a long way toward replenishment.


Todd Mercer’s short collection, Ingenue, was a winner of the Celery City contest. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance is available free at Right Hand Pointing. Recent work appears in Fictive Dream, Literally Stories and MacQueen’s Quinterly.

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