::: the novel written in seven hours :::
"Did you want some more coffee, Meghan?"
"UH, yeah, sure, thanks."
Eric strolled quickly down the hall to compensate for the slow progress he would make on his way back from the snack room with two full cups of coffee delicately balanced so as not to spill any of the precious elixir. He made little, if any, effort to notice or acknowledge any of the coworkers he passed on his way. Except for those he worked with directly at the fair-sized engineering company, he was totally apathetic to the existence if his supposed peers. Most, if not all of them, graduated form the University of Michigan and were either too lazy or afraid to venture into the outside world. QN8 was started by some shrewd business-oriented engineer who figured out that he could offer graduates sub-par salaries under the premises that they were being compensated for by being able to remain in a town where they had connections. Enough students took the bait that QN8 is a fairly healthy company, and Mr. Lorber is a wealthy man.
Every time Eric's mind took this train of thought, his self-conscious eventually turned his thoughts inward on himself. "And what about you, you're working here?" Eric used to be able to justify his position that he was happy in Ann Arbor. He had been to many other places all around the U.S.: California, Texas, Florida, Chicago, Boston, and even a small town outside of Boston where he had gotten a rather generous offer from a small research company. However, the longer he stayed in any place, the more he longed to be back in Michigan, even in the winter. The only place he would rather be in is Detroit, but it's not far away and damnit, Ann Arbor is a nice small city, once you get over the college kids.
Of course, that logic made him exactly like the people at work he hated; but he figured out how not to think about that. He had figured out a lot of tricks over the years to keep him going.
"Here you go. One fresh coffee."
"Thanks, Eric. Hey, could you help me with this code? I've tried everything I know, and it still crashes when I run it."
"Sure." Eric scanned through the lines, going slowly page by page. He knew where the mistake was, before he started looking, but he didn't want to make it obvious. Meghan was not the most confident person in the world. She was even worse as a programmer
"Here you go. You declared this one way here, then passed it in as something else here."
"Wow, you're good. Why are you working for this crappy little company."
"I've told you before."
"Yes, but if you don't tell me again, we'll both have to start back on the work stuff."
"Alrighty, then. Well, as you know, I'm good at this. I enjoy doing things I'm good at. I like working in a small place like this because I tried the responsibility thing once a few years ago, and I didn't like it. When you're responsible for something really important, there's just so much is resting on you, and there's never anyone to help, just people getting in your way and screwing things up. You're supposed to get this great feeling about accomplishing something that helps people or makes the world a better place, but I never got that feeling, and after a while I decided it just wasn't worth it."
"For all the times you told me that story, you never told me what it was you used to do."
"I know. Listen, I'm going to leave a bit early today, namely now, so if the bossman shows up, just tell him that I had my computer open, and I got a huge shock, and fell back and knocked my head on your desk, and had to go to the hospital. Whatever, feel free to improvise."
"Yeah, sure, but what did you used to do?"
"Seeya tomorrow," Eric said as he skirted out the door.
With a jiggle of the key and a solid shoulder check, Eric entered his apartment. He was paid below his value at work, but his place was still below his means. That was his general approach to living. He flicked the radio on and tuned in the local oldies station before going into the kitchen to fix a sandwich. Eric generally tried to be a clean person, but more often than not he would put an object down in the first space on the table or floor that he saw, instead of where it should go. Each record had a spot for itself in the cabinet he had constructed, but they generally found themselves piling up around the base of the stereo. As a solution, every few days at work, he would skip out early so he could come home and clean up the mess that had accumulated since his last cleaning. Of course, Eric had just finished a large programming project, so the house was a filth hole. That's what the rest of the day was for.
Eric brought his sandwich into the main room with the intention of bringing all the dirty dishes around over to the sink when he was finished eating. However, he had barely settled his ass into his groove in the couch when someone started knocking on the door. An all-too-familiar voice instructed Eric to open the door.
"Leave me alone, you're wasting your time," Eric mumbled back through the door, deciding the next time he gets up will be to get a beer, or several.
"No, you're wasting both of our time!" the voice persisted, now accompanied by swift and hard kicks to the shabby wooden door.
"Crap. Hold on, I'm coming!" Eric got up to answer the beckon, making a point to take his detour to grab a Pabst long neck before opening the door.
Eric was greeted with the face he knew he was going to see. Uncut and unshaven, the squat man, upon initial sight, appeared to be nothing more than your standard college town bum. Upon closer inspection, however, it seemed obvious that this was his chosen appearance; the tattered coat was tailored to be so, and his clothes were neatly disheveled.
"I've been trying to get in touch with you, Eric," the man spoke with a disapproving parental tone.
"Yeah Dave, I know, that's why I haven't been around," Eric answered indifferently.
"We need to talk"
"Like hell we do."
"I realize you made that decision a few years ago, but you can start over."
"Now why would I want to do that?"
"Because of the importance of your mission."
At this point, there are countless ways to fill in Eric's background, mainly going for points on style, but being the person Eric is, if the story is going to get told, he would want it told straight.
Although he may object, Eric was born to be the savior of the human race. Humanity's end has been a long time coming; anyone who would argue probably watches too much Disney. Several years ago, when Eric was still in college, Dave approached him and told him of his destiny, insert your crazy bum joke here. Fortunately, Dave is one of your more organized bums, and was able to prove to Eric that he was in fact civilization's last hope. This has nothing to do with religion, the only Messiah to be found these days is under Handel in Tower Records; Eric's unique intellectual potential has never been and will never be matched or even approached. If he were to apply himself, Eric would be able to develop procedures to reverse all of man's mistakes on this good green earth. His abilities are unknown to the leaders of the world because they have to be; should they have discovered him, he would have been seen as a potential threat, and either disposed of or "adjusted". That's where Dave comes in.
Before he approached Eric, Dave and others who work with him knew about Eric; before his birth in fact. They are of an ancient order of true philanthropists; occasionally one might see one of them on T.V. donating a children's hospital or some other contribution of a obscene monetary amount. Of course, this is a front for the governments; their true concern is with the development of human civilization. Where they started is hidden in rumor upon rumor, as an added defense; some legends go so far as to say the foundation was founded by Noah after the flood to make sure mankind never reached that level again. Not surprisingly, one of their emblems is the dove. Their history, for the time being, is not of concern, only that they are timeless and well-hidden, with unlimited resources.
According to their mathematicians, approximately right before the turn of the second century, the date calculated with the knowledge that God works in base fifteen, there would be born a child who had the capacity to show people their errors and how they could be corrected. Eric was that child. David was assigned to approach him, inform him of his destiny, and prepare him for his gigantic task. Under the greatest scholars in the world, all unknown, Eric learned of Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Physics, and any other possible subject which could be imagined to an extent most human brains could not comprehend, let alone at the college level. Fortunately, Eric was able to take in all this information and more, exceeding the society's best case approximations for his intelligence. Unfortunately, as could be seen, he wasn't into it, and rejected his responsibilities as savior of humanity to become a small-time programmer in a fair-sized company. Arguments ensued.
...on to Chapter Four...
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