“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
“What’s up with him?”
“Him? Oh, his god struck him blind. You know, you would think these newcomers would learn, but they never do. If’ you’re going to follow a god, you’ve got to be faithful. They are seriously vengeful little sods.”
“What did he do?”
“Forgot to wear his holy symbol. If he’s lucky, he’ll get his sight back once he makes his way home for it.”
“Well, shouldn’t we help him?”
“Are you kidding? And catch his god’s attention? No way!”
“What kind of a man would I be, if I let my wife buy our lives this way?”
“A live one!”
“Not for long, with such shame on me.”
“Do you see another way to save our people? You’ll all be killed within a week if we stay, and the engineers don’t have what they need to fix the engines. We have nothing to trade that they can’t take once they know we have it.”
“Including you. What were you thinking?”
“I was thinking that if he betrays us – if his people attack, or if the engines blow up – I will still be alive, and part of his household. Perfectly positioned to kill them all in vengeance.”
“Ahh. Now that’s my girl.”
Who would be interested in listening to the weekly stories as podcasts?
The stories would still be posted on a weekly basis as text, and I imagine the podcasts would be posted some time after – perhaps later in the day or the next week, depending on how putting them together works out.
The reason I ask is I have one friend who mentioned she hasn’t had time to read them, but would enjoy listening to stories on her commute. So I figure if she’s interested, maybe other people are too.
The dental hygenist turned away to pick up a different instrument of torture. Louie took the opportunity to swallow, trying not to grimace at the uniquely rancid taste of blood mixed with tartar.
My own fault, he scolded himself silently. If I did better with the flossing and brushing, I wouldn’t have so much tartar for her to scrape off.
Scrape, scrape, JAB! He stared intently at the ceiling, suppressing winces as the implement slipped into his gums over and over.
My own fault, he reminded himself. She’s not trying to hurt me. She’s just doing what I’m paying to have done. If I did better with cleaning between visits, it wouldn’t hurt so much. I *know* that.”
WHY can’t I get myself to do better with flossing? I know I need to…
“This pit is getting deeper. If you don’t do better with cleaning out the bacteria in this gap, you’re going to lose the tooth.”
It took a moment for the words to sink in, and then a surge of adrenaline tightened his throat, making his voice higher pitched than usual. “Pit? What pit?”
“Sandwiches in the break room!”
Kylie was one of the first ones there. You had to move fast when there was free food involved. Sometimes there were whole platters of food left over from the executives’ meetings, but other times the platter would come out with only a couple of sorry-looking items left. Today was a full-platter day, though, and she surveyed the options with pleasure. There was even a bowl of single-serving condiments to dress the sandwiches with!
“Did you see that?” Daniel ran in from the hall, panting a little as he grabbed hold of the door jamb.
“Yes! Free sandwiches!” She picked up a paper plate, peering sideways into the sandwiches and trying to guess what lay inside each one.
“No! Bill Ferguson just disappeared. Right in the middle of the hall! Look, he dropped his backpack – he never goes anywhere without his backpack.”
“Mmm…” She slid a half sandwich that looked like turkey on rye onto her plate, resisting the urge to take two.
“You know what this means?”
Kylie looked up, surprised to hear Daniel’s voice choking up. She hoped he wasn’t about to start crying. He looked at her with panic in his eyes, so she humored him, raising her eyebrows inquisitively.
“It’s the Rapture. Bill’s been taken up to Heaven and I… we’ve been left behind.”
“Huh.” She popped her sandwich in the microwave and hit the minute button.
“What are you doing?” Daniel shouted. “Don’t you understand? It’s the end of civilization! We’re all gonna die!”
“Well, all the more reason to enjoy a hot sandwich before the electricity goes out.” Kylie hit the stop button and took her sandwich out after feeling the bread. Nice and warm. She opened it up and started doctoring it with mustard and salt. “Ooh! A pickle.”
She looked up to find Daniel gaping at her in evident shock. “Look, if it’s the Rapture, we’ve already been left behind, there’s nothing we can do about it, and I might as well enjoy my lunch. If it’s not the Rapture, I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation, and I still might as well have lunch. Oh, hi Bill. Look! Free sandwiches!”
Bill was more rumpled than usual, and flopped down in a chair, looking around as if he didn’t recognize where he was.
“Bill!” Daniel stared at him, then down the hall, then back at him. “I saw you disappear into thin air! What happened?”
“I… I think I was abducted by aliens.”
“See? Perfectly rational explanation. Here Bill, have a sandwich, it’ll help you feel better.”
It did, too.