Trex World, part 23
“Twenty-three skidoo to you too, muthahubba,” Paul muttered to the omni-pleasant voice that emanated from the tube’s bullet casing. One person, one route, one mission, get the fleshy bits from point A, the Reception atrium, to point B, whatever floor you worked on, you little plebian, you. As fate would have it, Paul worked on floor twenty-three. He did not have to tell the tubevator this, of course, it compared and contrasted his trex’s serial number with Paul’s registered assignment space. It was just, for the past two months, the damned thing kept saying “twenty-three skidoo” to him every time he was a minute or two late. It was a weird joke, he was sure, a prank pulled by some maintenance drone bored out of his nut, but he hadn’t the faintest idea what, exactly, it meant.
The tube is just a few hairs wider than an average man’s shoulders. Enough to feel tight and claustrophobic, but not instantly so. At first it’s cozy as the door rolls around closed and you’re left to your own devices for approximately a third of a second before gruuugggg inside tug of acceleration tries to pull your stomach down to your ankles and you hit a speed of one floor per second and you think, “Hey, maybe it’s not such a bad thing that I’m not on the top floor and >pingHi, Geoff? Is that all you have to say to me?” Geoff was just over one point four meters tall and perpetually angry about it. Constantly having to look up at people, at spuds who where supposed to be his < em>inferiors really got on his nerves. So much so that he would usually leave all his supervisory talk to when his subjects were comfortably sitting down. Then-- sneak attack! Oh, suddenly your screen freezes up and a millisecond later you hear his grating little voice in your ear, his breath smelling of cheap minty-script freshness and some sort of semi-alkaline fragrance that emanated from his collar and you knew, you knew the tyrant, with tightly knotted strawberry blonde scalp and crystalline eyebrows, had it in for you today. Something was amiss. You weren’t processing fast enough. You were taking too many breaks. Your breaks were too long. You didn’t get the right requisition for HR for this or that. Something.
So, to see Geoff in front of him now, dressed up in his fav black power jumpsuit, bobbing up and down like an apoplectic tubevator with no, er, tube, Paul knew that he had crossed from some bad place into a worse place filled with the left over stomach acid boiling from the binging depths of his worst nightmare.
At least, that was supposed to be the effect. Paul had a difficult time taking his Geoff seriously. For a while, Paul thought simply that he couldn’t take people yelling at him, who were shorter than he, as actually being threatening. A genetic thing, perhaps. But that just didn’t sit right. It became more and more apparent that Geoff simply lacked the authority, the inherent stuff, the stuff of character, not assigned by any flunky from higher up, to make his threatening postures anything more than that. After a while, all his creepy little antics simply became annoying. You knew he was at it just to try and get you to flub up, so, why give him the satisfaction? The only trouble was you couldn’t just brush him off, as that just made the jerk try all the harder to get under your skin. You had to seek out, find and implement a delicate balance of sounding truly sorry, mixed with dread at his almighty power, with a pinch of “Oh Gawd, I need, really need this job, Geoff, don’t, please, don’t send me packing, oh please…”
Degrading? Absolutely. Necessary? Unfortunately so.
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