November 15, 2012

No. 244

Powell Shultz was a tiny, wasted figure in the middle of a king-sized bed. His voice, though, was still strong.  
“I don’t want those doughnuts. What have I told you about sprinkles? Get rid of them,” he chastised the maid who brought him breakfast.
“Yes, sir,” she nodded, removing the offending box from his sight. Just yesterday he’d informed her than nothing in the world made him happier than sprinkles. But maybe he’d changed his mind and spoken to another one of the help. He had several assistants, butlers, and maids surrounding him on any given day.
“When do the sales numbers come in?” she could hear him calling from the bedroom. Shultz was the head of TomorrowTech, and all the company decisions still crossed the hardwood floor of his bedroom before implementation. She’d heard that he’d made his fortune on some equipment that the government had immediately bought and then classified blacker than black.
She heard yet another outburst from his sanctum. “Where are my doughnuts? That girl took them.” She didn’t like the sound of that and she did something that she never thought she’d do.
She crossed Mr. Shultz. Opening one of the many anonymous doors in the great hallway, she stepped inside with her box of treats and raised the lid. Then, one by one, she ate every single doughnut, just to spite her employer. Only after she was finished did she take note of the contents of the room. She’d never been in here before.
All the walls were covered in unmarked switches, gears, and readouts. A large, rectangle platform jutted up from the middle of the floor. The surface of the strange projection seemed to shimmer, like oil on water. She reached out to touch it.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” a sharp, familiar voice told her. She turned, and was shocked to see Mr. Shultz standing in the doorway. “It’s not quite finished yet, my dear,” he said as he cracked his ancient knuckles.

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