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Trex World, part 29

kelson.philo's picture

Part 28
Link to part 1

Dialing up a tea timer to keep track of his allowed time remaining in the bathroom, Paul pushed through the ultra-wide entrance and had the place to himself. Of course he did, he was out of sync with the whole floor. Stepping up to the urinal he maneuvered his trex in front of him so it would be hidden, just in case anyone bounded through the door. There was, however, a problem.

His signal strength was strongly indicated with 3 out of 5 w00ts. Yet he couldn’t connect to St. Sallie’s server. Time and again, he refreshed and resent. He tried every spot in the bathroom. Same signal strength. No confirmation. Oh Carp.

He was running out of time. Starting to feel numb. His breathing was shallow. Oh Jeebus, what have I done? There was nothing left for it. He was going to be forever stuck at MLA one, he had defaulted on his social network requirements. He wanted to puke but there was nothing to give up from the stomach. The timer counted out zero and beeped. It was time to leave. Might as well keep the one thing you haven’t lost yet.

He was in for a shock. The portcullis was filled with people from the Floor, standing along the wall with Geoff at the focus. All looking at him. Geoff smiled and said in a loud voice, “And that’s the last time Paul set foot in Panopticon Productions, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s give him a hand, shall we?”

A strained silence. The shuffling of feet and sideways glances. They had been coerced to come out here and witness Geoff’s Moment, but didn’t care one way or the other. Somebody asked, “Can we now, Geoff?”

Without turning around Geoff replied, “Sure, Herman, sure.” All of Paul’s coworkers shuffled back in. Geoff piped, “See you at Marshiro’s office, Paulie,” and prodigiously strutted back into Floor 23.

Paul threw his head back and let out all his air. “Fark,” he offered to the Unknown. It, of course, did not respond. He drug his feet to Marshiro’s office.

#

Fired. Shight-canned. Terminated. Let go. Rendered obsolete. Paul mused his fate, iterated adjectives. He barely listened to Marshiro’s light and sorrowful voice, her head shaking to a rhythm of having done this innumerable times before. Letting go of a once valuable employee with the hopes that he land on his feet. According to clause 401-something-something in his employment contract Paul would, of course, not be receiving any compensation, no termination benefits. He had broken a PanPro cardinal rule, transmission of personal trex data from within company property. They really, sad to say, had no choice but to terminate with maximum prejudice. There was a moment of incredulous disdain as Paul mentioned that he actually hadn’t transmitted anything, yet Floor 23’s sniffer had picked up activity and alerted his supervisor immediately. Would his word do against a verified record? No.

There would be no fanfare, just a burly escort from Marshiro’s office to the front doors. Well, a little beyond the front doors, just to make sure. Right down the middle of the Reception atrium, so that everyone incoming could see the fate of one who is banished.

#

Twenty-twenty hindsight can be a real bitch sometimes. Sitting next to a bushtek under the constancy of skylight, it suddenly flashed on Paul that he could have, since the consequences of not posting to the Triple M were so severe, he could have just walked outside PanPro anyway. Yes, Geoff probably would have made it grounds to finally fire him. Yes, he’d be in some trouble financially. But he already was anyway. At least he’d still have some network cred to his name. Now he had neither. Where to go now? He didn’t want to go home, it would be too painful realizing that soon enough it would be taken from him in a possibly forceful foreclosure.

So he did what anyone might do in this sort of situation. He got blind drunk. As an homage to the multitudes who had failed before him, Paul got wasted. He was at a back alley brew vendor, knocking back stuff that required an honest-to-goodness liquor license to trex out.

Needless to say he was not very good company. “Shight farking floor thumpers!” he would growl before waving for another round. Bob the bartender was slightly sympathetic, partly because Paul was spouting odd euphemisms about woman trouble, a topic he liked to roll around in himself, but mostly it was to keep an increasingly boisterous customer from scaring other clientele away. “Suck the mook’s cred up for as long as possible before tossing him back to the world,” that was Bob’s motto. Now, this fellow’s cred line was just about to the limit according to Daemon Joe’s Friendly Little Alert Line ™. It was just about time to toss ‘im out. A good thing, too, as the conversation was starting to repeat itself:

“Bob, hey. Bob. Bobb-bob.”

“Yeah, friend, what can I do for ya?”

“I was telling you, Bobbo, something, right?”

“Hm? Oh, yeah, you were sayin’--”

“I’m sayin, ‘WOMEN ARE NO DAMN GOOD,’ that’s what I’m sayin’, Bobbarino.”

“Oh, right right. You’ve formulated that quite a few times, friend, to be sure. However, chatting about the cruelty of the Other Sex is one thing, friend, but this pedantic miasma you’ve got yourself stuck in is quite another. Yer pal Daemon Joe just sent me a note; I’m a-fearin’ it’s time for you to head on back home, my man.”

Bob’s use of the same euphemism that Geoff had used throughout their last discourse sent Paul into a rage.

I am not your man, ‘Friend’. And I’ll have you know –

But Paul didn’t get a chance to reveal his knowledge to Bob for, at a sidelong glance from the ruddy-cheeked barkeep, two astoundingly large walls of flesh and bone pounced from the edges of Paul’s double-vision world and forcibly ejected him out of the premises. Dazed and rolling on the spongiform Expanse floor, Paul shouted some apoplectic curses at one of the walking walls of flesh.

“If you’d like for us to call the Authorities, we’d be more than obliged to do so, loser,” rumbled Wall of Flesh One.

“Listen. Listen to me, I just wanna tell Bobbo I’m sorr –” and Paul tried to stumble back into the bar, pointing a shaking finger at it’s door, but Wall Number Two sprouted a slab of an arm that stopped him hard.

“I don’t think that’d be a good idea, little one,” Wall Number One said. It then turned a ponderously heavy and bald head to it’s compatriot and said, “Ted, I think you better go ahead and call him in; there’s no way this doofus is getting home tonight.”

“Right, Larry.” And Wall Number Two proceeded to punch out some codes into his trex. His fingers were the size of treetek branches and the ridiculousness of the giant trying to dial something on such a tiny screen was not lost to drunk-beyond-hope Paul, who pointed and started laughing.

“You got a problem, loser?” said the wall named Larry.

“Me? No. I just din’s realize that there were folks dumb enough to not get their trex modded, that’s all.”

“You better shut your mouth.”

“What did you say?”

“I said,” Larry intoned, moving his huge face close to Paul’s for intimidation’s sake, “You had better watch out. Loser.”

“Watch this,” replied Paul as he left crossed Larry’s nose like it was the last thing he was ever going to do again.

The giant reeled back, crying out, “Farking little shight bugger, I think he broke my nose!” Giant Ted had finished his call to the authorities and bounded over, locking Paul in some sort of wrestling hold.

Larry’s massive noggin came back upright, his nose bleeding profusely. “You got some sort of death-wish, dontchya, pal.”

Ted chimed up, his voice reverberating in Paul’s skull. “Authorities are on their way, Larry, what say we give the little one here a goin’ away present.”

“Sounds wonderfully appropriate, Ted.”

The last thing Paul saw was four tremendously large and hairy knuckles, after which the world went white and then black.

***
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