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Friday, November 15, 2013

The Black Ring: Chapter 1: Part 7

In the break room, past the cork bulletin board of useless customer compliments and company news, past the refrigerators filled with lunches no one will ever eat but they'll complain about if someone takes them, past the microwaves and coffee maker; Bryson makes his way to the vending machines. Not sure of exactly what he wants, he looks through the soda machine, a snack machine of chips and cookies, and a machine known around the office as “The Wheel of Death.” The Wheel of Death is a vending machine that contains burgers, chicken and fish sandwiches, and other assorted snack items that were premade with an expiration date. Bryson was never sure where the name came from, but it's possible someone had purchased a perishable item from the vending machine past its expiration date. If you want to take your life into your own hands, just grab something from “The Wheel of Death.” Of course, other snacks weren't any better. How were they able to maintain their freshness without an expiration date?
            As Bryson stands in front of the vending machine holding the soda, an older man walks into the break room and reaches into the refrigerator as he looks over at Bryson, “How's it going? You working hard or hardly working today?”
            Bryson pushed back tendencies reserved for a more sarcastic approach to a stupid question like this while answering, “I'm alright, you?” Lying was ingrained in the job.
            “Trying not to work to hard, it's against my religion,” he responded, laughing at his inanely brilliant joke. “Have a good night.” The man grabs a lunch bag and leaves the break room, and Bryson just glared after him. He hated that phrase, working hard or hardly working. It was, unfortunately, a popular phrase used by the easily manipulated who couldn't think for themselves. Even the guy who invented that phrase had to hate it, every idiot around the world in seventy different languages repeated that phrase on a daily basis. The guy who created that god-awful phrase probably wishes he died before he could have come up with such a phrase that was repeated by easily lead automatons regularly.
            As Bryson thought of it, other thoughts poured into his mind. He wished he could pound in the faces of anyone he talked to on the work lines who asked, “How the weather was?” Hey, if the weather was nice did they really think he wanted to be reminded that he was stuck here? If the weather was bad, well at least it wasn't bad enough where he couldn't answer they're calls otherwise they'd whine and bitch about how the weather inconvenienced them. If they seriously questioned the condition of the weather surrounding planet Forrester than maybe they should check the weather channel or the internet. People always liked to ask where he was located, and when he said Green Bay, Wisconsin another shit storm of stupid comments assaulted him. No, he didn't care about how the Packers were doing this season. No, he didn't care who Favre was playing for this season or if he was going to be in the league next season or if he was retiring for the umpteenth time.
            Then all time stopped. From the corner of his eye he saw her walk in from the other side of the break room. Her khaki skirt revealed legs that went on for days, or at least he wished they did so he could look at them forever. Her blouse was cut just low enough to reveal a little bit of cleavage, but not low enough for people to call her a slut. It was like the slow motion passing of the hot girl you see in some movies, complete with her mid-back length brown hair waving behind her as she walked through the room.
            “Hi,” she said as she passed through the break room with a smile that brightened the room around her.
            “Hey,” Bryson feebly responded back as she passed the room, leaving it darker in her wake. Women like that didn't go for guys like Bryson. What was dating if it wasn't about finding a mate and procreating? Girls like that procreated with beautiful people or strong people. All they really wanted in offspring was either a model or a body builder. Some of the geeks got the girls, but that was being they were funny, intentionally or unintentionally. Bryson was none of these things. His clothes were nothing special, and even if he did add a little muscle to his physique that he casually maintained from when he was in the Marine Corp he wasn't a strong man. He had his moments when he was funny, but nothing special and he definitely wasn't anything spectacular to look at. Even in an intelligence race Bryson had to concede that he was quite possibly the most average person on the planet. If he had to describe himself in one word that word would be: generic.
            He sighed looking in the direction she left as he finally settled on a Pepsi. He reached into his back pocket to grab his wallet, but when he looked into his wallet nothing but a receipt and a few pennies greeted him. “Son of a bitch,” he muttered under his breath as he replaced the wallet. Forget smart, he couldn't even tell you the balance of his wallet or bank account let alone explain the mysteries of the universe.


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