So, two votes on the poll and both of them wanted to see more of the story! Therefore, here is the second chapter of my short story. This story has yet to be titled, may I remind you. If you feel so inclined, please feel free to leave your submissions for the title of the short story after you read Day One and Day Two! The best title winner will win a free copy of the ebook once it's published at Smashwords, as well as having their title grace the story itself! So be sure to put in your two cents, and you could get the rest of the story for free! Please enjoy the second chapter as published for you for free, at your request, and let me know what you think about it as well! If it's good or bad, I always appreciate feedback, so let me know how you feel after reading the 2nd day in the comments below!
He awoke to the buzzing sound of his old alarm clock. Rubbing his sore, puffy eyes, he first heads for the kitchen, to get some water. Having filled a glass with the nearly clear, cold tap water, he shuts off the spigot and pours the water back, down and over the folds of his throat, his tissues soaking it in, reinvigorating him. He wolfishly swallows the entire glass of water and slams the glass down on the counter. He immediately regrets that once his brain constricts from all sides as if someone were tightening a belt around his head.
Just as fast as he consumed the water, however, he turns back the way he came and streaks clumsily in his state of half-woken stupor down the hall. Upon reaching the bathroom he kneels before the now-glorious porcelain throne. That most fundamental and rarely spoken of item that facilitates the removal of human bodily waste. Something everyone can agree on. He laments over the thought of it's always going under appreciated in modern society.
He forces down another two glasses of this time lukewarm water, and he manages to keep it down. He needs to keep it down if he hopes to rehydrate at all before work. He shudders at the thought. Not the thought of making an honest living, mind you, but of doing something he absolutely hates. This is all he knows, however. And that fact, combined with an irrational fear of change, will be enough to keep him at his job as long as he can remain employed.
He hasn't been doing so well at work lately. He at least had a buffer from unemployment for a while with his supervisor giving him pats on his shoulder by surprise every morning while he was preparing his workspace. Telling him how he respects a man who's always on time and wants to work. He hoped to use this like the key maneuver of a champion chess player, deflecting his supervisor's advances of, “you got another poor customer survey,” or “You need to reduce your time spent talkin' with these people. They don't need coddlin'! Just give 'em what they need and move on. I'll have to write you up if you don't start meetin' quota.” With this precious treasure tucked in his sleeve, he would play out the game based upon the understanding of his supervisor's appreciation for the guy who shows up and tries hard, even if he doesn't necessarily succeed. He'd been able to get by and escape 'the axe' with this strategy in one form or another, at times having customers personally request to speak to his supervisor on his behalf to give him accolades, or when he was exceeding the sales quota.
Moving on, he thinks today is a good day for a shower. Stripping himself, he proceeds to clean himself thoroughly and vigorously. After washing his hair and body, he attempts to meditate to try and bring himself peace. Attempting to come to terms with the fact that he would most likely be a customer service representative for the rest of his working life by sitting beneath the shower head with his eyes closed. All he accomplishes is falling back asleep.
Dressed, he now drives to work. Again, trying to keep himself engaged in reality to avoid going in to auto-pilot. He's not doing well. As he sits down at his desk, he shrugs his shoulders at the realization that he failed, and continues on.
Again, as with every other day, the morning starts with copious amounts of downtime in between actual work. He remembers to be thankful he's getting paid to sit and fumble his fingers around. Waiting for the next customer to call, he taps his fingers lightly on his desk. Finally getting a hailing beep in his ears telling him someone wants to talk to him, he hears the familiar voice and immediately groans to himself. He turns off the mute function he had placed on his microphone and listens, waiting to respond.
“I'm trying to warn you. We can see the future of your world with the power of our technocracy. We reach out to worlds of intelligence like yours and try to save them.”
This time, his supervisor happened to be listening from another phone placed at his own desk. He bounded up from his seat and pounded over to the desk and told him he would be taking over the call.
Still listening through the use of a splitter that allowed both he and his supervisor's headset to be plugged in and again engaging the mute function on his mic, he hears the conversation his supervisor has with the lady all his co-workers think is crazed. Something is now making him feel as though that may not exactly be an accurate representation of the situation anymore.
He had noticed the first time she had called that the phone's information panel that usually displayed numbers displayed question marks. After all the time he had spent looking at that little liquid crystal display, he had never seen that happen before, and it was happening again now. With the same woman on the phone. With the same desperation and fear in her voice as before. He heard the following:
“Ma'am, we can only assist you with issues pertaining to our business. We cannot help you with-”
“Please! I implore you! You must receive transmissions of our plans for dark energy field generators before the calamity our Altersight has revealed befalls your world!”
His supervisor turns to him and, with his hand and face simultaneously, he mocks her for rambling on and on about what he apparently believes to be insane ramblings of a sad, sick woman. The call ultimately ends in the supervisor disconnecting the call, telling him something about having to be stern with some people, then returning to his desk, not to be seen again for the rest of the day.
While he slightly feels upset about the fact that his management cares nothing about his improvement, he's too happy knowing this leaves him with ample freedom to take as many breaks as he wants, as he is virtually cut off from sight from his supervisor for the rest of the day. Much too happy to care about silly things like 'career pathing.'
He turns his car in the direction of his natural habitat, his home. Natural meaning completely developed around his needs. All the furniture and heating and cooling and ergonomic expense of thought perfectly adapted to him. The first creature in nature to fully rely upon his manipulation of the environment to his needs as opposed to evolving to suit the environment.
This time he adds a stop to the liquor store to his mental treasure map leading him away from the pains of working as a slave. He examines several bottles of hard liquor before remembering grudgingly that he has to work tomorrow and eventually decides upon a slightly more expensive beer than the leftovers he slurped last night. He rationalized his higher purchase amount with his hopes of not having to deal with the weak, utterly gag-inducing taste of sterilization-in-hops from his last drinking session. Or at least, with the higher alcohol content of the new beer that his lips were virgin to, not having to wait as long before he wasn't any longer aware of taste. Another day down, he thought, with his slightly gratifying feelings being accompanied by panic and horror with the realization that another day at the place he could call his 'office' awaited him. He would determinedly rise again in the early hours of the predawn. Perhaps somewhat fortuitously, he was able to pass out quickly. And perhaps somewhat due thanks to the booze in his circulatory system.