Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: TRAVELER (01/28/16)
- TITLE: Insanity
By M. C. Syben
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Thank goodness—it’s Friday—only one more day of vulnerability. Although I wake up relieved, I can’t help but brood a few minutes when comparing my life to others. How do they go about living with less trouble than I do? Existence appears easier, safer for them. Unlike me, they’re off, to and fro, without planning every move in advance. I’ll never understand the source of our differences. I’m more comfortable staying put.
Oh, no. The second wakeup call sounds. I’m late for work and hurry out the door as the news boy flings the morning disc. It smacks me in the face. I take a deep breath and zig zag the remaining distance to the hovercraft as though I am dodging a volley of bullets.
I dive into my Nasa-1 as tree branches, birds, and bits of trash litter the walkway. It’s safe sitting inside the craft but I’m jealous that others can walk the short distance to the office building, just minutes away. The hover craft lifts off silently.
“What now?” Someone took my parking space. I pull into the visitor spot instead—my routine thrown off kilter. I’m forced to walk a different track to the building. Hmm... shorter but it will require a new strategy.
Like a football coach, I stage my transfer from vehicle to the safety of the foyer. “I’ll pretend I’m leaving, not arriving.” I open my door and step out backwards. I trot in reverse when a stray kickball from a playground bounces off my head. Foiled, my ankles entwine. I fall with a momentum that causes me to somersault three times across the drive.
Landing employees, mash their brakes, veer into trees, and lean into horns. I stop under the wide eave of the building. Safe, I brush off my blemished suit and step inside as a speed sign impales the outside walk, behind me. Human Resources is my first stop.
“I insist you notify security immediately. It’s imperative that my usual space is available every day. Otherwise, I can’t control disasters.”
“Mr. Moronic, just arrive earlier so you don’t wreak havoc in the parking lot again. And no more outings today, please,” she dismisses.
I ignore the slight as I head toward my windowless office. I roll up my accountant sleeves and begin tabulating numbers. Before I know it, lunch hour arrives. I’m famished but when I open my briefcase, I discover a major blunder. “My lunch. How could I forget to pack it?”
Should I choose hunger over safety? No, I need to eat. Unfortunately, the cafeteria is in the solarium. Only roofs made of wood, steel, tarp, and cement protect me. The solarium is an all glass ceiling. My stomach rumbles.
I navigate hallway to hallway. My heart palpitates as I near the brightness of our unique cafeteria. I begin to sweat but the aroma of meatloaf compels me. Wait. Before I enter, I plan a course of action.
There! An empty table. I’ll have to be quick to claim it—grabbing a pre-made sandwich will do. As the doors fully open, I scurry into the room, snatch my food, throw my I.D. at the cashier, then dive under the table. Nothing more than clouds and a thunder clap gathers overhead during my run. Victory!
“Mr. Moronic, your card.” The cashier sighs as she peers under the table. “Life is hard enough but if you connect with the Lord, it will bring you, and us, some peace. Bonding with Him is like insurance coverage, twenty-four/seven. Please, come to worship, on Sunday. In fact, we can pray, right now.”
I contain my irritability. The superstitious cashier means well but I’m a pragmatic person. “I appreciate your concern. But, I believe in hard facts, not unseen silliness.”
I inhale my lunch. ‘Get right with the Lord,’ I snicker as I dash toward the exit, trays flying through the air attacking me. I do wonder why I suffer with this affliction.
A new memo sits on my desk.
February 4, 2075
Attention: Non-believing Employees
Empirical data has proved that non-believers are more accident prone and more susceptible to mental illnesses. Therefore, all those considered high insurance risks will find a surcharge, deducted from weekly paychecks, effective immediately.
“What is the world coming to?” I scream. I’m exasperated. Breathe. A few more hours and I’ll be home for the weekend, sheltered under my own roof, away from the insanity. “Thank goodness, I’ve never been a traveler anyway.”
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