I listened to the alarm and sat up in bed. The clock read 6:30. I smacked the off button and the shrill sound stopped. Yawning, I started for the bathroom to begin my morning routine.
In the kitchen, I dropped the bread into the toaster and pressed the lever down. On the counter next to the stove sat a small clay pot with several cooking utensils sticking out of it. I absently reached over and pulled out a large wooden fork and placed it next to the toaster.
I looked out the window. Weeds had overtaken my small back yard. Let them, I thought.
The toaster made its loud “chunk!” noise, but as usual, no toast popped up. I picked up the wooden fork and dug around inside the toaster, fishing out two pieces of toast and then sat at the table.
I am going to die, soon. I should do something.
The thought wandered across my mind as it often does. And as it had done each time before, it was pushed out as I began thinking about my workday.
Later that morning, on my way through the office, I stopped by Tanner’s cube to say hi. She had her headset on. Leaning back in her chair, she repeatedly squeezed a spongy stress ball with the TMG logo on it as she spoke to… whoever.
“But you do speak to military personnel regularly, correct?”
This was a common ploy used to manipulate the individual into saying something we could use. Tanner’s eyebrows raised in anticipation of an agreeing statement.
“I see. And what do you talk about with the lieutenant, then?”
Tanner listened for a second then sat forward like a fisherman with a nibble on the line, preparing to set the hook and reel in the fish.
“Uh huh, confidential, I see.”
Tanner scribbled something on the notepad in front of her.
“So, what you’re saying is that in all your conversations with the military they never mentioned the existence of any time machine, right?”
Tanner paused and listened, but you could tell that she had already decided what to say next.
“So it’s safe to say that you can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a time machine being tested by the US military?”
There it was – It was a question but the way Tanner said it, it sounded like a statement.
“Thank you. You’ve been very helpful.”
Tanner spat out the entire sentence almost as one word. She quickly punched the orange release button on the phone, disconnecting the other person.
“Hey, Bobby! Hold on a second and let me get this down.”
Tanner typed the sentence:
Confidential sources in frequent contact with the military say they cannot deny the existence of the time machine.
Tanner closed the file folder on her desk and placed it in the Outbox. The Inbox was a short stack of folders.
“Good morning, Master Baiter,” I said. “I’ll let you get back to your tasks.”
“Sorry so busy. I’ll catch you at lunch, OK?”
I waved and moved on as she pulled another folder from the stack and dialed another number.
“Yes, Mrs. Wheeler?” Tanner scanned the file.
“Hi, I’m calling about the unusual lights you saw in a farm field about 3 weeks ago…”
Tanner picked up the stress ball and started squeezing it rapidly again.
“OK, but even if that did turn out to be the source, wouldn’t you say that it was ‘unusual’ for a farmer to be driving a tractor at night?”
I rounded the corner and went to my cube.
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.