Sunday, June 1, 2008


Denny sat motionless in traffic inhaling exhaust fumes and wringing his hands over the steering wheel as though it were someone's neck. It never failed: regardless of what time he left for work -6 am, 5:45 (sometimes even FIVE!)- he still always managed to get wedged in a dead-stopped mass of cars. What was worse was that there were no alternative routes. The only other one that was even remotely less time consuming had been dug up in construction for months. So, for Denny, this was absolutely the only way to go.

He glanced at the stereo clock and realized with typical panic that he'd only fifteen more minutes to make it to work and was easily thirty minutes away even if the cars had been moving. A bead of sweat trickled down Denny's back and was immediately followed by a cold shiver that rattled his very being. Denny's boss, one Mr. Hanrihar, was really going to be pissed off.

Denny worked at CycloTech downtown. It was a lab, of sorts, though Denny had no idea what it was they did exactly. Denny's job was to park his butt behind his numerous computer monitors and hard drives and make absolute sure that each and every program was running perfectly. His office -if you could really call it that- was a dank, poorly lit and even less insulated room in the basement of CycloTech tucked as far back as humanly possible in respect to everything else. Four sets of fluorescent bulbs hummed ceaselessly from the ceiling as one small duct for heat belched as much as it could into the room. No matter; whether it was August or January, it was always a balmy 48 degrees in his cramped little room. Denny loathed everything about it from the long hours (often ten or more a day, every day), to the few people who allowed him to step out for fifteen minutes every hour to pee or shovel some food into his mouth. The only thing keeping him there was his ridiculous paychecks. See, Denny was the only one who really understood the programming and the only person who could keep it from crashing. Therefor, he was bringing home roughly 35 hundred a week. And since he only had a cat to go home to, that was pretty sweet. But, even after just moving into a swank new house much closer to the lab, he was almost never home and always late. And this, was the problem.

Mr. Hanrihar was the lab tech and, consequently, Denny's boss. He ran the lab so he expected Denny to be there on time every day. While Denny was off shift, he had a program that could, potentially, keep the main programs running problem free for up to twelve hours. But to Mr. Hanrihar, this made no difference. If Denny wasn't in his chair by the time the system did its morning refresher boot at eight, Mr. Hanrihar lost all ability to be even remotely civil and began to go off on his regular tirade. Often times, this angry fit of misplaced rage turned violent. Denny had had to avoid chairs, fists, and even a shoved-over locker. Fortunately he was only slightly injured a handful of times and Denny wasn't about to go blabbing about it. This was Denny's daily routine, no matter what.

Traffic finally showed signs of moving, and Denny let out an audible sight. He rubbed his neck, shuffled through a few radio stations from his steering wheel controls, and got back up to highway speed. Within twenty minutes, Denny eased into his parking space, nabbed his briefcase, and headed for the guarded doors.

Earlier Denny had spent forty-five minutes on the phone with his nervous, worry wart of a mother who had, with emotional persistence, made Denny promise that he would, today, without fail, finally do something about his stressful job situation. She just knew it was killing him. Denny reluctantly agreed, promised out loud several times to his mom, and told her he loved her. He knew, if was going to do what he wanted to do, it may be for the last time.

Denny slid his badge through the safety system, passed through the air-locked doors, and proceeded to make his way to the elevator that would sally him to his office. Denny was almost surprised that Mr. Hanrihar hadn't encountered him yet with his barbaric gusto of a pissy personality, and just as the elevator doors closed for what could be the first time ever with just Denny as a passenger, a beefy mitt snatched the doors back open. Mr. Hanrihar sidled into the car with a shit-eating grin splayed all over his face. The doors slid shut.


Two minutes later, just as always, the elevators doors chimed open at the 'B' floor, and out stepped Denny. Seconds later, the bloodied and shocked form of Mr. Hanrihar flopped to the concrete walkway with a thud like a giant sack of wet potatoes. Jutting from the ear of Denny's boss was a chef's knife, about eight inches long, in as far as the handle. Denny stepped daintily over the corpse, adjusted his tie, and made his way to his little office.

"Sorry, sir. I don't have time for this."

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