It was the third week after Paul’s mom died by her own hand that the incident occurred. A real busy-body of an AA had stormed into his corner office-space demanding the heads of two of his MLAs for some screw-up that wouldn’t have occurred if the AA had stuck to procedure instead of letting himself get bullied by the customer, a rather self-important editor of Expanse politick feeds. Miscommunication occurred and a whole slew of wrong styles got sent out, resulting in a number of said editor’s feed archives being significantly different than what went out live; an embarrassing, though ultimately harmless mistake, as only the style of the feed was affected and not the content itself.
[[[I've split part 26 in two for easier consumption of it's rewrite. tanx.]]]
Tickity-takky wikity-wakki that was the only sound one heard on the prep floor. Every industry, whether churned out by one person or a multitude, involved in effective production develops over time their own jargon, their own way of calling reality into being. Floor 23 was a file preparation floor, part of the great cosmic landscape known under the compendious word “composition”.
Paul blinked again. Geoff cocked his head to one side. A moment peeled itself like onion skin and passed.
“I think you’re going to have to work through lunch today, Paul.”
Zip. Zap. Zorbit. Neurons were in spasm directly behind Paul’s right eye. He started walking towards Floor 23’s portal. “I’m sorry Geoff,” he started to say as fast as he could, “But I really need to get to my desk. I’ve been late a lot recently, you know…”
The trouble being, of course, that Paul’s day was far from optimum. His trex was purring along fine now. His left palm was sweating from holding an object in a place where objects were forbidden.
“Yes, well, ‘Hi’ is about all I’ve got for you right now, Geoff. Sorry.”
“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 Triple M, ohhhhh the Triple M. What to farking do about the Triple M, that pain in the ass Manic Monday Mayhem he had signed himself up for supposedly voluntarily but it was on no uncertain terms from the Credit of Self department that his ego presence just wasn’t where it needed to be, he wasn’t focusing enough on his inner character and he needed to get it out there for the masses to see just like everyone else did as a matter of course.
Link to part 1
Those whores, those autocratic little whores that were the fibrous stroma of the all seeing eye of Panopticon Productions Ltd, from the tubes they spewed, the executive and the cred-worthy, bursting forth on the lower floors to upper, upper and ever upper, straight up to their offices to manage the flow of product to customers throughout the Expanse and beyond to the various and sundry dwellings within the Capillaries. Silly questions were never asked, silly answers never given, all was movement and a stoppage would be registered as a clot and dealt with via omnitrexing scalpel. Scalpels of society, scalpels of financial status. And all the surgeons were locked up tight in offices Paul would never see, could never hope to see this late in his game. But like the pressure of bowels seeking release, he knew they were there, waiting for him to make one more critical mistake.