For the last few weeks, random post-its have been appearing on my desk. I’ve received messages as mild as “Kent Wayne, you will pay for your crimes,” to full-blown threats: “Your ass will drown at the next mandatory employee fun day.”
All World Compliance (the corporate tyranny which currently employs me) is planning an all-hands outing at the local water park. I’m a decent swimmer and I’ve gone through my fair share of aquatic hazing when I was in the military (it’s called “training,” but really it’s just dicking with you while your lungs feel like they’re gonna pop out of your chest), but still: there’s no way I can fight off more than two or three of these nutless bastards—I’m not a superhero.
So I’ve been engaging in some subtle detective work (achieved through a few female coworkers whom I gift with one of my professionally done, personally signed Man Whore glamour shots), but I haven’t come up with any good intel.
And today is the day.
We meet at the water park and our boss divvies us up into groups so we can experience “team-building fun.” Just like the military, All World Compliance is able to make any activity—no matter how fun or cool it may outwardly seem—into an inane exercise that hurts your will to live.
“Kent Wayne! You’re in Group 3. You guys get to know each other on the inner tube float. The ride’s called Rubber Raft Ruckus.”
“Docking bay 94. Got it.”
My boss gives me a puzzled look. “What?”
I visibly start and shake my head. “Sorry. Got caught up thinking about Star Wars.”
He gives me a disgusted look. “See, Kent—that’s why everyone besides you is getting promoted. You spend too much time thinking about light snorters and Texas-wings instead of how to raise your credit rating or refinance your mortgage.”
I snap back, “And you spend too much time worshipping a predatory financial system disguised as a respectable institution to notice your receding hairline and acorn-sized penis. And it’s lightsabers and X-wings, you uncultured oaf.”
He hits me with the ultimate corporate-style shut-down by giving me a cold glare and following up with an even colder: “That’s inappropriate.”
“So is your dad-bod.” Before he can respond, I walk off with Group 3.
The members in my group aren’t talking to me, and that’s just the way I like it. Maybe while I’m catching some sun and splashing around, I can eke some enjoyment from this first-world gathering of soul-husked individuals who are desperately trying to distract themselves from the impending futility of their rat-wheel lives. I splay myself out on an inner tube and lean my head back, closing my eyes and soaking in the warm summer sun.
Suddenly, the rest of Group 3 presses in on me, ricocheting me off different inner tubes. Each bump is increasingly violent. I open my eyes and sit up.
“Hey, what’s the big—”
“What’re you guys—”
BUMP! Fuck! That one hurt!
I try to scare them off with, “Hey, I’m WARNING YOU ASSHOLES—
But it’s no use. They press closer in and start beating me with their pale, pasty limbs. Harvey from Marketing snarls viciously as he flails away at my arms and head. Sally from HR grabs my ankle and my knee with both hands, then starts gnawing away at my shin. The others quickly jump onto my inner tube and assail me with a storm of blows.
Only one option left. I click open my waterproof phone to Echo. Magic flash.
SHLOOP! A hand grabs the back of my shorts and pulls me through the hole in my inner tube, down into the murky water. I’m about to start panicking when I see Batman’s face inch close to mine, a finger over his lips in a “shush” gesture. He reaches into his belt and withdraws a miniature mouthpiece that’s equipped with a self-contained, super compressed bottle of oxygen about as big as a sausage. He holds it up to my face and I bite down on it. He gives me a nod and a thumbs up. I nod back.
I’ve read enough Batman comics to know exactly what to do next.
We both swim in opposite directions. Above us, we hear my traitorous coworkers exchanging angry queries. Queries like, “What the hell just happened?” and “Where did you see him last?”
Bats goes first. I hear a scream and a splash, and a shrill voice bleating, “OH MY GOD!!! HARVEY!!!”
Then I wrap my arms around a pair of legs and pull Rob from Accounts Receivable into the icy darkness. I quickly disable him with a nut twist and a pair of nerples, choke him, then let him float to the surface.
One of my coworkers wails, “ROB!”
I can’t help but grin—music to my freakin’ ears.
Now they’re starting to panic. One of them screams, “GAME OVER, MAN! GAME OVER!”
Another tries to restore order: “He’s just one man, dammit!” Fan out and—”
Hysterical interruption: “He’s more than a man, Mark! Have you seen his abs? Have you seen his DICK? Goddamn thing looks like a baby’s arm holding an apple!”
Mark snaps back, “That doesn’t change the fact that he has to breathe like everybody el—”
And then my arms close around his legs and I whisk him underwater. I see his rage give way to fear before I wedgie his shorts over his head, throat-punch him, then let his unconscious body float to the surface.
Now they’re REALLY screaming. Dozens of legs start splashing toward the edge of the ride, but me and Bats take ‘em one by one, spiriting them down into the silent cold before we render them unconscious and let them float to the surface. When we’re done dispatching these heathens, we both climb onto inner tubes and give each other a smile.
He digs into his belt and extends an edible toward me. “Cheeba Chew?”
I give it a cautious look. “Maybe half.”
He replies me a knowing grin and rasps, “Smart man.”
He breaks it in two, I gulp my piece down, and the rest of the evening is spent getting blazed with my favorite super hero, smiling at the sun as I floated through an aquatic wonderland.
Perhaps your coworkers have been plotting against you and you want to strike at them from the shadows for no other reason than to hear one of them angrily yell, “HE’S JUST ONE MAN (or woman), DAMMIT!” In that case, grab yourself a copy of Echo! Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle #kindle #kindleunlimited #sciencefiction #scifi #books #novel #book