Original artwork by Ookami Kemono.
View it in his gallery here: https://www.weasyl.com/submission/229942/commission-kjorteo
"I sat there, pondering the unknown. A letter laid before me, unopened. I
didn't know if it was good news or bad news, but I suspected the latter. It
was a letter from my job, after all, and I already knew what it was about.
My workload had been completely overwhelming for months. Big major project
after big major project, all while the regular daily orders kept piling up.
Even working overtime, coming in after hours or on weekends, and skipping
lunches, I was unable to make a dent in the workload. Every day, new orders
came in faster than I could get the old ones out, and the backlog grew. I
My supervisor was furious, but what more could I do? I was already
attacking everything I could with everything I had, from the second I
clocked in to the second I finally clocked out, whenever that happened to
be. Of course, there were no points for trying in my department. The work
was either done, or it wasn't, and in my case, it wasn't.
I had just received the harshest scolding yet, and in what had to be the
worst timing ever, there was an employee evaluation that same day. If my
supervisor had written down half the things about my performance he had just
told me in our last discussion, there was no way I could survive. This all
had to happen on a Friday, too, just so I had that entire weekend to think
about my impending doom.
I sat there on my bed, accompanied by my stuffed snake, my friend since
literally before I could remember. However, even he didn't give enough
comfort. I brought my others to me, resting them before me. They looked at
me, waiting to catch my reaction when I opened and read the results of my
I didn't want things to change. I didn't want to lose my job. With the
economy being as bad as it was, and with how bad I knew "fired for complete
ineptitude" would look on a resume, I wasn't sure how long it would take me
to find a new job, assuming I even could.
With my stuffed animals right by my side, I gathered up the letter and took
a deep breath. It felt like eternity as my fingernail dragged alongside the
envelope and slowly exposed the piece of paper inside. My trembling fingers
unfolded the letter and I quickly skimmed it, looking for the bottom line,
the death sentence. The letter stated that, after taking my recent employee
evaluation into consideration, I would still be getting my annual raise as
promised, but it would only be for about 38 cents.
I read the letter again, slowly this time. I wasn't fired. I was safe. I
still had my job. I took a minute to recollect my thoughts and remove any
doubt in my mind about my safety. I wasn't in the clear yet, though; the
letter didn't make the work backlog disappear, nor did it make things
between me and my supervisor any less awkward. I still dreaded going back to
work. However, I at least still had work to which I could go back. If
nothing else, there was that.
Even though it was good news, I couldn't help but to continue to cry. It was
catharsis, release, venting as much fear as I could, until I could breathe
again. My stuffed animals helped. I imagined them giving me smiles and
sending positive vibes towards me. I hugged my snake close to me, not
letting go until I was at ease.
Or, at least, until I was ready to try again."
This piece is about ... I'm going to say somewhere between 90% and 95% true. Certain very minor details were adjusted for the sake of the image--for example, the evaluation was verbal with no actual letter involved, but it made the scene much easier to convey with him having something like that letter to hold in his hand, so I allowed it. Just, you know, little things like that. The stuffed animals are totally real--I even sent o-kemono photos of them for reference.
Anyway, I've said before that I love the way o-kemono's crosshatched ink pieces have a visual style that really enhances the content in sad pieces. Paired with the picture itself and the story in the description, he really is fantastic at emotional work. Thus, when I was having some, er, problems at work, I immediately knew who could capture that feeling. The end result is fantastic, and I am immensely grateful that he was even willing to hear me out, let alone turn my problems into something so beautiful.