I’ve recently been employed by the soul-deadening corporation known as All World Compliance. It’s my second week here, and I’ve passed every test my coworkers have thrown at me. The first day, John Gruenwald knocked on my crotch to see what I was packing between my legs. I’d planned ahead for this, and worn a state-of-the-art, form-fitting codpiece that gives the impression that I’m a sexless office drone, just like the others.
A few days later, Sally Dengle asked me to pick up a box of office supplies. Due to long years of jacking steel, I was able to instantly tell that it weighed over five pounds. Accordingly, I grunted, strained, and pretended that I was unable to lift it. She nodded in approval, opened her tablet, and wrote something down.
They’ve given me test after test, checking to see whether I’ll bow to their nerdly ways. It’s like I’m surrounded by a passive-aggressive version of the Gestapo.
But it’s been a few days since they’ve tried to trip me up, so I’ve let my guard down. I’m standing around the water cooler with a passel of snort-laughers, discussing First World banalities such as the ins and outs of a thirty-year fixed rate mortgage, the best way to form as many possible prefixes before a cup of coffee to utterly yuppify it (I only managed to go so far as moccachinolattegrande but Bryan Ludley managed to string together twenty prefixes. Impressive.) as well as the best doctor to fill a prescription for ambien and adderall. Soon enough, we’re all heading to the conference room.
Mark Henson says, “You’re gonna love this one, Kent. It’s how we all bond and increase our workflow dynamic.”
I can speak corporate-ese right along with the best of them. “Not sure it’s gonna be in my wheelhouse, Mark. But I’m looking forward to seeing if I can spark a paradigm shift.”
He claps me on the shoulder. “That’s the spirit—you’re a real team player. Can’t wait to pull the trigger with you.”
We sit down in the conference room, and then it begins.
Death by Powerpoint.
As slide after slide flashes before me, a steady plip-plip-plip sounds from below my chair. I crane sideways to see what it is, and I realize with dawning horror that my anus is bleeding. Sarah Bujold nods serenely at me, her cheeks marred by trails of eye-blood.
“You’re SUPPOSED to bleed, Kent. That’s how you know it’s a good Powerpoint.”
I start coughing up sputum, speckling the front of my tie with gory driblets of compromised organs. I rip my shirt open and see my sternum and belly rippling with screaming faces, like some kind of horrendous version of an alien chest-burster.
My coworkers begin laughing raucously as cerebral fluid pours from their ears. This can’t be happening—I CAN’T DIE HERE WITH THESE GODDAMN OFFICE-EUNUCHS!!!
So I open my eReader to Echo, activating its reality distortion powers. Magic flash.
George Lucas crashes through the window, rolling thrice across the ground before he raises his arms, touches his head with the tips of his fingers, and executes a quadruple-lutz. He gets behind the powerpoint console, and begins punching buttons.
“Close your eyes, Kent, and cover your ears. YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE THIS!”
I follow his orders. A few seconds later, I hear my coworkers screaming and begging.
Lucas pats my shoulder. “Okay. You can go ahead and look.”
I open my eyes and cast a disbelieving gaze around the conference table. My coworkers have been reduced to dry, smoking skeletons. Up on the screen, I see something that chills my soul to the motherfucking core:
The ending credits to the Trilogy That Shall Not Be Named.
I cup my face with my hands and break into sobs.
“I know,” Lucas whispers, hugging me tightly and bringing my head to his chest. “I’m sorry.”
Are you in a deadly conundrum, and your only chance to stay alive means you have to unleash one of the most horrendous weapons EVER? I’ve got just the thing for you! 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 Echo Vol. 1 & 2 Combined Edition here: Combined Edition If you wanna hear me babble on about anything and everything, and strain my FREAKIN’ BRAIN, then here’s a link to my podcast: Strained Brains! It is on both iTunes AND Stitcher AND Spotify! Please give it a listen and a five-star review! Here’s the miscellaneous gear that I use to try and become an uber-human: Optimization, and last but not least, my buddy Jumar Balacy has made a supercool microsite at kentwaynebrain.com! Go check out his computer-based wizardry 🙂 🙂 😀
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