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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Media (in any form) (11/11/10)

TITLE: 44
By
11/16/10


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No one, especially not 44, would expect what followed the invention of SavvyChoice’s new Super Entertainment Network Systematic Active Technological Interactive On-track Node—which was eventually shortened to SENSATION for obvious reasons.

Eugene Gilbert Dwight, creator of SENSATION, sat smugly at his dusty computer watching the latest advertising video that would draw in millions of dollars’ to the corporation. It would also make a tidy increase in his own bank balance over the next few months. Eugene pushed his thick glasses further up the bridge of his nose, clicked the ‘end video link’ and tugged on his trouser braces. He grinned until his face hurt.

“44,” the overhead intercom announced. “Please report to Mr. Preston’s office in five minutes.”

Carl Preston's an okay boss, I guess, but he only climbed the ladder of success with out-dated software games. With his hands shoved deep into bulging pockets of his tight-fitting dress pants, Eugene left cubicle 44. He walked with his head held high between endless rows of doorless cubicles; each numbered and accommodating an unknown geek working monotonously in their narrow work spaces. At the far end of the long building he knocked on the door of Preston's twelve-by-twelve air-conditioned office.

“You wanted to see me, Mr. Preston?”

“Yes, sit down, Eugene.”

Eugene sat but he left his hands in his pockets. He played with an iPod in one pocket and his cell phone in the other. He preferred multiple gadgets; not like these new all-in-one inventions SavvyChoice have been selling lately. He relaxed. It’s a good feeling to know that SENSATION is too perfect for a delayed unveiling.

“We have a media release tomorrow for SENSATION,” Preston was saying while continuing at his computer. “We’ll be using the video I emailed to you this morning.” He sat back in his chair. “However, after considerable negotiations with both Executive Management of SavvyChoice and JKTV Media, it’s been agreed unanimously that I will represent SENSATION at the press conference.”

With hands now motionless in his pockets, Eugene stared at his supervisor in disbelief. “But it’s my invention. You know how hard I worked on this project. I worked unpaid overtime for six months to develop SENSATION to perfection before I revealed it to you.”

Preston raised his hand, palm forward. “I know, I know. This is business, Eugene. Your place is working on your next invention. You’ll be rewarded financially for your design and efforts, but you have known from the beginning, whatever is invented in our Savvy workshop belongs to SavvyChoice.”

“But that’s not fair.”

“Life’s not fair, Eugene, but a contract is a contract. I’ll send a copy of the paperwork you signed when you joined the company eight years ago if you want.” He paused to lean forward. “I’ll tell you what, Eugene. I’ll ask if your name can be mentioned as part of the team for the invention. It’s the best I can do. I have also informed 3 to swap with your cubicle after work tonight. I need a good man nearby, Eugene. What do you think?”

“Team? What team?” Eugene considered Preston’s offer but he was still annoyed over his lost chance to make Eugene Gilbert Dwight known in the technology circles via this press conference. Besides, it was a one-man team—Eugene’s one-man team.

Preston’s tone became serious. “It’s a take it or leave it offer, 44.”

“Okay, okay. I guess that $10,000 bonus will help me out, too.” A little self-esteem returned as he shook Preston’s hand.

“I’ll see you again after we complete the press conference and media release,” Preston said as he stood. “You’ll be the first to see it.”

Eugene smiled and stood to leave.

“Oh, and Eugene,” Preston added. “Don’t forget to empty all the trash cans in the workshop every day. It’s part of cubicle 3’s allocated duties.”


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This article has been read 388 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Henry Clemmons11/19/10
He sure got the short end of that stick, but maybe the 10G will help him out. Hope he gets recognized some day. Good job.
Virgil Youngblood 11/19/10
In the world we live in today, too many corporations operate similar to your story line. Oh what a need for Christian bosses. Perhaps, also, there is something to be said about the employee receiving what he had agreed to work for, and was unhappy. You have given your readers several touch points for consideration.
Barbara Lynn Culler11/19/10
This happens in so many jobs. Great story-kept me spellbound.
Amy Michelle Wiley 11/19/10
Ha, great story and so sadly true. The last part about the garbage was perfect.
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/20/10
I like how you used numbers to show how the characters were "depersonalized." The result of the discovery is realistic for the way things happen in the business world. The ending was clever.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/20/10
I believe this happens far more than I can imagine. How sad to be known as a number. Great job and a fresh take on the subject.
Sarah Elisabeth 11/20/10
I'm glad my Boss only counts the numbers of hair on my head :-) Good story about a sad yet real world. Liked the ending :-)
Caitlyn Meissner11/20/10
I had a little trouble at the very beginning realizing that Eugene and 44 were the same people, but after that everything went really smoothly. Eugene was a very interesting character, and I enjoyed the ending. Good job!
Noel Mitaxa 11/20/10
Very absorbing way you played out the line of this story to make sure we were all with you. Sad but accurate depiction of what passes for business ethics.
Philip Barrington11/21/10
So true. I had a boss once who asked me

"who am I"

I answered "Phil."

He said "no you are not."

I replied. "and what makes you think I am not Phil.

" He said "your a number."

"No God made me and my name is Phil; He did not name me a number."

At that point he wanted to hit me.

Chris, I think the joke is in the tv show "Get Smart" when the second lead is played by "99".

I guess I am going to ask God what number I am some day. Do you think He will know what I am talking about?

Na, He will say your name is Phil and your name is written down. Amen?
Lillian Rhoades 11/21/10
Well written. Great story line with just the right ending. If I were 44, I'd grab my $10,000 and beat it! A garage is a great place to build another Sensation, no greedy hands attached!
Edmond Ng 11/21/10
Great story! A very familiar feeling for many of us who are employees of large corporations or who are ghostwriters. Sad, but a fact of life while on earth where rewards are mediocre and can never satisfy.
Lollie Hofer 11/23/10
Lots to ponder in this story. Great, unique plot...strong mc voice...visual...well done.
Lollie Hofer 11/23/10
Lots to ponder in this story. Great, unique plot...strong mc voice...visual...well done.
Amanda Brogan11/24/10
Yeah, I guess the 10,000 dollars isn't so bad. ;)

I almost thought that 44 was a secret agent at first.

Fun story! Enjoyed the humor.