Copyright 1998 W. Bruce Cameron
When the alarm clock sounds you realize you were born too long ago to get out of bed. You listen to the radio, hoping to hear that the universe came to an end last night and work is canceled. Someone has set the gravity in your bedroom to "overload." You do not feel like singing in the shower. Or soaping. The weary face staring back at you in the mirror looks familiar: Bob Dole.
You go to breakfast determined to eat a nutritious meal but find yourself wavering between cold pizza and chocolate cake. A note from your daughter contains a threat to sue you for back allowance. Your dog has chewed your shoes; you decide this doesn't really matter. The front door seems too far away to bother. You wonder if you can make your voice hoarse enough to call in sick. Your daughter shrieks that her parakeet has escaped again. This puts the cat in a festive mood.
The newspaper apparently was delivered by a confetti service, and you need a rake to gather it up. A cursory examination of today's headlines reveals that the world is going to hell in a handbasket.
The reason you get up this early is to beat the rush hour. It looks as though everyone else in your city had the same idea. You sit in a sea of red tail lights while the morning DJ advises you that every highway is gridlocked and you'll have to wait until they build a road to your location to be evacuated. He sounds pretty cheerful, up in that helicopter, and you regret your lack of surface-to-air missiles.
Your car's heater appears to be drooling and it sounds like your engine is trying to escape. You gaze out the window, another victim of road apathy. All around you, people are phoning, faxing, and e-mailing, more productive in their vehicles than you are in your office. They're probably communicating with each other--hey, look at that bozo in that beat-up car, he doesn't even have a phone! Tomorrow you'll bring your wood chipper and grind up some tree limbs as you cruise past; that'll show 'em.
You remember reading somewhere that the earth is pelted with over a thousand meteors a day. Once again, they've failed to hit your office building. Past or present Employees of the Month get to park in the covered lot. Everyone else in the company has won but you; the time you were the only person left on the ballot you were beaten by "undecided." The holes your dog left in your shoes allows the slush to wash in and bathe your toes.
The security guard doesn't recognize you and insists on doing a cavity search. The coffee tastes like they've found another application for petroleum by-products. There are free bagels this morning, but the only flavors left are "carp" and "oak."
Over the weekend they re-stacked the furniture to increase seating density. You now have a roommate in your cubicle. "Just call me crazy Lou," he introduces himself. He apologizes for the way he smells. He confides that he is surprised that they gave him a roommate after what he "did to the last one."
Your newest project is to re-write the translation of a German technical manual. It needs to be done this afternoon. The translation was completed by a new software program that your IT department admits "has a few bugs." You start to work on the first sentence.
"Your new Zlecko 90 has over two hundred potatoes which MUST be poured with sexual protuberances on the occasion of redressing the flimsy," it says. You ponder whether to tweak the wording or if this makes enough sense as it is. Lou is holding his fists to the side of his head and muttering, "Stop talking. Everyone stop TALKING."
Your e-mail tool flashes and you open it. Your boss congratulates you on the anniversary of your employment with the company and would like you to stop by for a chat. He requests that you pack up your things in a box, first. Lou looks startled when you stand up, complaining that you are leaving "just when things were going to get fun." He sets his ice pick down with an air of disappointment.
Your boss explains that under the recent corporate restructuring, you will be reporting to the third floor janitor. Your new job title is "Scum." It's about time you got promoted! The boss says that normally he would take you to lunch, but he can't stand to look at you. He offers you a carp bagel and asks that you eat it outside.
You step outdoors with the smokers to eat the bagel, but they point to a sign that says, "no bottom-feeding fish within 500 yards of this building." By the time you've trudged the 500 yards, you're up against another building with the same sign. Soon you're in the next county, where you throw the bagel in a dumpster. A man living in the dumpster throws it back.
Back at your office, you discover that you don't have your security card. You knock on the door, but the guard refuses to acknowledge your presence. After half an hour, you give up and get in your car to go home.
Only four more days of this until the weekend!
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