I listened to the alarm as I sat up in bed. The alarm clock read 6:30. I smacked the off button on the top of the clock and the shrill sound stopped. With a weary sigh, I started for the bathroom and began my morning routine.
In the kitchen, I dropped the bread into the toaster and pressed the lever down. Waiting for the toast, I looked out the window and noticed the grass had gotten tall. Great. I would have to mow it soon. Summer yard work seemed to be a continuous and pointless cycle. You watered the lawn so it would grow but then you would cut the lawn because it had grown. Then you would water it again.
The toaster made its loud “chunk!” noise. I continued to look out the window, flipped the toaster upside-down, and shook it over the plate until the bread fell out. I put the toaster down unceremoniously and took my plate of toast and burnt crumbs to the table, sat down and opened the paper. This is just another day I would let slip by on my prematurely shortened, agenda-less life.
Later that morning, as I walked to my cube, I passed Tanner’s cube and snagged one of the Velcro darts from her desk. Without stopping, I threw it at the felt globe-dartboard. After I got a few cubes down the aisle, Tanner yelled out, “Afghanistan.”
That’s where the dart landed. I shouted back, “Destitute homeland of terrorists. Got it!”
Once I got to my cube and logged in, I did a search engine look-up on the Internet for Afghanistan, but my phone rang before I could click any of the links that Bing brought up. The LCD display on the phone showed it was Tanorb.
“I’m looking already!” I said, answering the phone.
Your objective, should you chose accept it, is to find a story from Afghanistan.” After a pause, she added, “A dirty limerick doesn’t count.”
“Yeah, I already used that for Sweden, anyway. I think finding a dirty limerick from Afghanistan might be a tad hard to come by. But it’s not hard to find a news story from there, these days.”
Tanner was quiet for a few seconds too long, and then I heard her say to someone else, “Yes sir.” Then back to me, she said, “I’ve got to go. Mr. Snavely wants to see me.” Click.
I found out later that Snavely chewed her out for being too conscientious about researching the stories. Snavely views this as a volume business. At first, I had doubted that Tanner would cut it here. She just didn’t seem to be able to unplug her logic and integrity while on the job, and it tripped her up over and over. Now, two months later, she is still making the same mistakes.
Life in Sixty-Four Square Feet
©Copyright 2015, Mitch Lavender
Rubik’s Cube® used by permission of Rubiks Brand Ltd. www.rubiks.com
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are solely the product of the author’s imagination and/or are used fictitiously, though reference may be made to actual historical events or existing locations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living, dead or undead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.