Tales

She could pick up hints of her boss blabbing on about 'how this wasn't supposed to be what American made meant,' and 'how the company is the best off it could be' and something about 'real workers meaning real interactions' and how that was what this company would always standby those values. By the time her boss was finished rambling and ranting the coworker was already scrambling away, allowing her boss to turn around revealing to the office his comically red face, and practically bulging eyes.

The red-faced figure approached before pulling out some cash and handing it to the young college intern. He slowly glanced down at his watch then up at her.

"Go off and get plain black coffee from that cafe down the street, if they have it make it that one Guatemala brew. You know which cafe I'm talkin' about, right?"

The intern nodded her head meekly avoiding his eyes and hoping to avoid his future wrath.

"Be back in ten minutes."

Once again she nodded avoiding all eye contact with him. She bolted off after he turned around hoping to god that he wouldn't scream and lecture her about running in the office.
*


The intern rushed into the office building, with the hot coffee threatening to cover her hands in third-degree burns. She kept thinking that maybe if there were fewer people in the line she might've been here on time. Though, at this time that didn't matter, what did was her internship. Her eyes began to pan around the room catching sight of a clock insulting her of for being so close to time. She took a deep breath in before bolting down the building once again. During her charge, she failed to notice the eccentric house plants and the all too invested workers.

She halted on the recently cleaned tile causing scar-like skidmarks to appear. She slowly drew in a breath as she straightened up hoping to God, that she didn't look like the wreck she was. Her hand ran through her hair while she attempted to compose herself as much as possible. At last, her shaking hand reached down to the door handle, and slowly opened it with a click.

What greeted her on the other side of the door was her boss with a grin just a bit too wide. His wide eyes stared at her as she stepped in

"Oh, Katie, it's great to see you here! How's everything been? Family been okay?" Her boss asked in an almost too friendly voice. She stepped toward him staring at the suit-clad man.

"Yeah, they've been…fine," Her voice sounded weak as she approached him. She set down the coffee and placed it in front of her boss.

"Ah, trying to bribe me, eh?" He asked prior to letting loose a childish chuckle. She stood above him a confused look spread across her face.

"Huh?"

"Oh, you rascal! You know exactly what you're doing! You want to be apart of my brilliant plan for the company, am I not wrong?" His arrogant smile quickly returned before he finished his speech, "Well how about it, would you like to join?"

"I…I don't even know what you're talking about," She softly admitted. Her head hung low as thoughts raced through her mind. Had he recently sent out an email that she didn't see? Maybe this a big company prank. She might've missed something in a meeting. Her heart raced as her boss stared at her. Suddenly he burst out in laughter. He took a second before wiping away a tear.

"Ahah… Oh, golly I haven't laughed this hard in years," He said before going into another fit, "Oh man you are always a prankster."

"How… How is this even funny?" She thought before shrugging it off if it kept her internship she was just fine with it.

"Alrighty, alrighty… let's get serious here now," He said upon catching his breath, "I'm planning on investing all of this year's payroll capital into Hokkaido tuna futures, as long as the weather all good and peachy, we should be rich by twenty-ninety-five,"

"What?" She looked on in concern as he confidently waved his hand back and forth.

"I know, I know, it's absolutely crazy, isn't it? It's true though, after which we'll be having this entire office remodeled! Don't you know that production can increase by fifty percent if, you paint a room grey rather than black and if you replace all of the workers with machines." the last of which was hissed underneath her mangers breath.

"Wait, what, won't that put us under?"

"No not at all with a fifty percent increase we can probably have the office up and running and in the green by the end of the quarter. Anyways, OSHA doesn't affect computers they can send spam calls at all hours of the night!"

"But, the company runs off of people, off of the citizens of America?"

"I mean hey, computers are, for the most part, American made. Anyways what the people don't know, won't hurt them. A little sweeping under the rug here and there and BAM, no one will know!" He sent out his hands in a grandiose gesture. His eyes stayed glued to her as his smile, almost impossibly, got wider.

"But, the people?"

"So what about them? They're just numbers,"

"What?"

"Didn't you hear me? Numbers, I can spell it out if you need that kiddo,"

"I mean, just this morn-"

"The past is in the past, forget it. We're moving on to bigger places."

"Hardly, with how much we've been wasting on American steel, China's is far cheaper,” She froze when the words left her mouth.

“Ah-ha! That’s brilliant! I like how you think kid, your gonna go far in the business world!”

“Thanks?” Her voice quivered as she began to wonder.

“Now then, onto the office problem. The workers are lazy, they need too much sleep, too much play, blah, blah, blah.”

“Of course, it's only human."

“Exactly.”

“So we should replace as many as we can.. Though we need people to watch the computers.”

"We could probably just move this entire office to the warehouse on 75th?”

“That's not too smart, it's too humid the computers will rot.”

“Ha- oh man, guess you're right. You're gonna go awful far with that attitude. Oh man, heh-heh. Well, I’m gonna be off to the bathroom, when I get back we can discuss our new partnership,”

“Wait, why should I partner with you,”

“Calm down, I’ll explain it when I get back slim,” and at that he whisked himself out of desk and room, leaving her all alone. She shook at the drafts passing through the room, strange how it only came now. What the hell was going on? She got up, her curiosity could no longer be held down.

She walked around to the front of the desk glancing over the various reports when she spotted a small flash, flickering on and off of the screen. One new email… her hand hovered over the mouse curious as to what it could've been.

Click.

The sound was a gunshot to the silence; the screen flashed a bright white as it opened up the program and the message:

Hello there Mr. Roi,

This is a customer service email letting you know that our representatives have successfully dropped off our latest product to you Negotium Ficus. If you have any problems please let us know and send us back an email. We will attempt to send help within the hour.

- Avelar Professional Products Incorporated

The screen dimmed as her eyes read over the name several times. She could feel the gears within her mind start-up again, causing the cobwebs of humanity remaining within it to be swept away.

She didn't have to stay around at this office, it cost too much to commute.

She didn't have to go to see her family every Christmas, it was too expensive.

She didn't have to marry her fiance, it was a poor financial dissection.

She didn't have to be human, they failed too much.

At the final thought, she closed her eyes and opened them again to total darkness. There were shouts coming from outside of the building screaming at the top of their lungs. Rapid and pounding footsteps approached the office door before they settled. The soft, unmistakable click of guns filled the empty air as the door was opened up. A figure came and picked her up off of the chair where she laid. She was set onto a gurney and carried out by people all wearing the same yellow outfits.

And even after she had forgotten it all, she had clung onto the thought, that maybe, just maybe, she could be better than what she is now. If only she could get rid of her humanity.

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