Friday, May 26, 2017

Story 229: Innovation

"Eric is the greasy guy that sits in the corner of the third floor, right?  The one that looks like he lives in his mom's basement?"
"Yeah.  Or maybe his mom's bedroom because he killed her and stuffed her corpse."
"I heard he's had like fifty meetings with HR but it's always just 'dude, be less creepy' so they can't actually fire him."
"That sounds plausible."
"So why would he be making hardware?  We don't even do that here.  It's all Motorola and shit.  Does he really think we're going to branch out into making our own cable boxes?"
"That's exactly what I said.  But June wants us to take a look.  Just on the off chance he's some savant and this is the invention of the century or something."
"Sure.  Okay.  Pull it out, let's take a look."
"Jesus.  Do you smell that?"
"It's not bad.  It's just... off."
"Do you think this is what his whole house smells like, and the box just kinda absorbed it?"
"Gross."
"Okay, hook it up."
"There, let me get the serial number."
"No, it's already up."
"How does it know it's a valid box?"
"I guess it's not checking for that."
"Okay.  What channels do we have?"
"Bet you five bucks it's set up to just get porn channels."
"Looks like... standard... music channels... "
"I'm not understanding what's new about this.  The menu even looks the same.  This is just a regular cable box."
"Sports package..."
"Except smellier.  Man, I am not getting used to that."
"Expanded and HD channels..."
"Good job Eric, you invented something that already exists.  Stellar work.  Hey, hang on, I'm going to go invent the computer that's sitting on my desk."
"Wait.  Is this the standard channels again?"
"They don't have an HD version, do they?"
"No, and I already passed all the HD stuff anyway."
"What is that, a Three's Company reunion or something?"
"Looks like.  Man, they got old."
"Must look even older now, this had to be five or ten years ago."
"No, they just mentioned Trump being president."
"You heard wrong."
"I didn't."
"Then someone on the writing staff was psychic."
"There, did you hear that?"
"That just happened the other day."
"How fast was the turnaround on the script?"
"No, dude, that's not it.  Ritter died."
"Wait.  Yeah.  Or... are we thinking of someone else?  Is this like that Berenstains Bears thing?"
"Google says... 2003.  That's even longer than I thought."
"This couldn't have been made fourteen years ago.  CGI?"
"I guess, or a lookalike.  But a really good one."
"Weird.  Next channel.  Okay, another local?  Or what?"
"This shouldn't be anything."
"Well it looks like reality television."
"Yeah.  Oh man, there's no way this lady can make it over the spinning thing."
"Hah!  Yeah, look at..."
"Jesus."
"It's not real."
"It looks real."
"It's not."
"I'm sure it's not.  But still, Jesus."
"Fucking alligators."
"Change the channel."
"Dude that's us."
"Why are we just staring at the camera?  Where are we?  I don't remember this."
"This hasn't happened.  It's... it's a talk show."
"Well nobody is talking.  Why are we on the television just staring at the camera?"
"There's no host or anything."
"That's the part that bothers you?"
"Eric must have known it would be us testing this thing.  He edited a video to freak us out."
"It's a really good job, then.  Because I'm extremely freaked out."
"You know what?  Open it up.  It'll have a hard drive in there with the video, I guarantee."
"Yeah.  Yeah.  Hand me the multitool, would you?"
"You're a multitool."
"Your mom didn't complain."
"Dude, my mom is dead."
"That would explain it."
"Dude."
"Sorry.  Okay, and... what the fuck?"
"Why is it empty?"
"That is literally just a piece of wood.  Is that a cutting board?"
"There's shit carved into it.  Where's the rest of it?"
"You just watched me open it."
"I know, but... we plugged it in.  What were we plugging into?  These don't go anywhere."
"You watched me do it."
"And I'm asking you how that's possible."
"How the fuck should I know?"
"This is... this is stupid.  Bring the box.  No, not the cables.  Just the box."
"Where are we going?"
"The break room."
"Why no cables?  Slow down!"
"No cables because I'm narrowing down the culprit.  Here, hold the power cord so it doesn't fall behind the counter when I unplug it."
"Got it.  Okay.  Here."
"Good.  Grab the remote, the one for the break room.  Not the one that came with Eric's box."
"What channel was it, where the shit started?"
"It doesn't matter.  Shit.  It doesn't matter.  It's turned on, that's... it's a fucking block of wood.  How is it turned on at all?""
"I'm going to the channel we were on."
"The chairs are empty.  Where did we go?"
"God, look at all that blood."
"I'm changing the channel."
"Is this the Sound of Music?"
"They're barricading the doors.  From the Nazis?"
"No.  Look, she's got an axe.  Turn it off."
"They're breaking through the door."
"Turn it off."
"I want to see what they're so afraid of."
"And I said TURN IT OFF!"
"Fine.  Fine.  It's off."
"Thank you.  Jesus."
"What do we do?"
"I don't know.  Burn it?"
"I don't think we can burn it."
"It's wood.  Wood burns."
"He'll make another.  Also I am not willing to piss Eric off ever again."
"I... yeah.  Jesus.  No.  Fuck it.  No, I'm burning it.  And then I guess quitting.  I'll burn it in the parking lot and then just get in my car and go.  I'm on a final written anyway."
"Shit, for what?"
"I was late after that party.  And, I mean, a bunch of other times.  But the party is what did it."
"Right, right.  Oh, speaking of.  Party at your place this weekend?"
"Still on.  Hey, bring my personal shit from my desk, okay?"
"Yeah totally.  Okay good luck with the bonfire, I'm going to go borrow a crucifix from someone."
"Cool.  See you this weekend."
"See you then."