05 April 2011

Page 15

"Sometimes the ridiculous is wisdom," said Jakob. He then walked over to the checker game, pulled up a chair, and watched Russell and Buck stare at the checkerboard in the faint hope that sometime in the near future, and hopefully before closing time, one of them would make a move. "As arachnodiculous as it sounds, I think Mr. Walder is right, Polly. We should work together on this thing." Polly leaned her face on her hand and slowly stirred Earl Grey. There was a faraway look to her eyes that writers, poets, artists, and husbands on shopping trips with their wives at Christmas oftentimes have. "My intuition tells me this will be dangerous, but you know Mr. Perez…I need a good adventure." "Just to be on the safe side," Maurice pulled a dark-blue matchbook-sized box from his coat pocket. "Stick this on your MG’s dash. It should keep our drones from zapping…Malachi." "Why-it’s adorable," said Polly. "I’m sure he’ll love it." "Another thing. Nobody else need know about this little machine. It’s a bit of a trade secret." "Mums the word," said Polly. * * * The next morning Maurice decided to take a train to work. At 7:50 A.M. he stepped from the train and entered the mob of workers. Wednesdays, he noticed, were one of the busiest days of the week, but Goshen Station was two minutes walk to Z-Tech. This particular Wednesday was like any other; people jostling one another in the streets, people standing in lines at St. Buck’s Coffee, everyone happy and medicated with varying amounts of Lifequil (a substance similar to caffeine and Altoids, and incidently produced by Z-Tech’s culinary division) coursing through their veins, com-tels (bluetooth devices) in nearly every ear…voice-activated to a mouthpiece in every shirt collar. Maurice felt uneasy. Something was wrong. He did not want to go to Z-Tech this morning, nor ever again. Something like a tangible presence told him to stop. He removed his com-tel and listened. He swore somebody told him to stop, but nobody approached him. Five seconds later he again stopped, and felt like he ran into a wall. Half a second later a short hairy man walked into him. "Watch where you’re going will ya'," growled Maurice. The man, sans com-tel and wearing a dirty janitor suit, glowered at him and passed by. He looked like an anemic chimpanzee. It wasn’t so much he had a lot of hair; he had a normal amount, but it covered proportionately less area compared to a normal man, and this fellow was only five-feet tall.

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