Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Daily Story 34: Things Man Was Not Meant to Provide Technical Support For

Desmond was confused.

It wasn't about the meeting he had just been dragged into, which was a fairly straightforward affair regarding some sort of disaster that was - probably - not Desmond's fault. It was, on the other hand, at least a little bit about how he had arrived at that meeting; Desmond had been picked up from his lunch break just after his car died on him but before he had had a chance to tell anyone about it.

The thought that his boss might be psychic troubled him for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact that he spent very little time actually working.

Another source of his confusion was the shoe he had found just outside Lake & Logan. It looked incredibly like the one he was wearing on his left foot, including some minor scratches from his cat attacking it. In fact, the only thing that distinguished it at all was the large drop of what appeared to be blood. This was troubling.

The final source of his confusion was the phone call he had just received, where a very familiar voice had said "No, Alice, I don't want to be transferred to myself!" in the brief moment between Desmond lifting the handset and slamming it back down again in shock. Once the call was terminated Desmond regretted not asking the person whether or not he was missing a shoe.

The phone rang again, and Desmond nearly leapt out of his seat. He let it ring a second time, but the sound didn't get any less jarring so he went ahead and answered despite being unclear of the protocol when talking to yourself over the phone.
"Er... hello?"

"Desmond Cantrell?" The voice wasn't his, and surprisingly this came as a disappointment. This voice was deep and calm, like James Earl Jones - although Desmond couldn't remember that name at the moment and so instead characterized it to himself as 'Darth Vader with less breathing troubles'.
"I have three questions. First: Is the building that you are in there?"
"Where?"
"Wherever you think it is supposed to be."
Desmond stood and looked out the window. "Yes, in a literal sense. If you meant it metaphorically I don't know."
"Second: Have you recently seen a creature that would normally be confined to the space between worlds, a nightmare being of impossible construction that your feeble human mind might perceive as an endless tangled mass of tentacles and hungry mouths?"
Again Desmond looked around, seeing nothing more terrifying than Pat, who was ugly and generally unpleasant but could hardly be called a nightmare creature.
"Um… Nothing quite like that."
"Third. Is the... sculpture... outside your building still intact?"
"It was half an hour ago."
"Good. Write this down."

Desmond walked out of the office, glancing around for any other shoes as he did. He also took a moment to look for any hidden cameras - he didn't see any, but he reminded himself that they were called hidden for a reason and the possibility that this was an elaborate prank had not been ruled out.

He approached the monstrous work of modern art, consulting the notes from his recent conversation. After shrugging for the benefit of any cameras masquerading as sparrows or something, Desmond applied pressure to one of the ugly lumps at waist height. A panel opened.

Desmond stared blankly at it. There were lights, and symbols that weren't remotely in English. His notes referenced a button shaped like "a diagonal cross-section of a motorcycle with a sidecar" which Desmond probably could have guessed was a uselessly bad description if he hadn't just been playing along at the time.

He pushed something at random.

The world got much brighter, largely as a result of Desmond no longer being in the shadow of a four-story office building. The skyline of the city was gone as well, everything around him having been replaced by flowers and grass. In fact, the only man-made objects he could see were the modern art, his car, and - further in the distance - his car again.

Making possibly the best choice of his life, Desmond gave up and took a nap.