Do you know what’s it like to dream, to reach out your hands and grasp at straws and watch as they gently fall amidst a seaward breeze? Every day of my life I feel this way. I’m not looking for pity though, it’s just the way things are. How could my dreams ever possibly be actualized? These were my thoughts as I daydreamed, brought back to reality by my boss’s shrieking voice.
I sighed deeply and thought with an avid sense of despair after being brought out of my daydream, Another boring meeting, how many has that been now?
I have been working at this company for five years and it's just been one boring meeting after another. I wouldn’t mind it so much if they weren’t about the same topic everyday, but all we do here is discuss sales, sales, SALES! Hour after hour, the same old concerns and washed-up ideas are brought up and argued around a ten-seated, round, conference table. On one end, at the head of the table, we have my supervisor wildly gesticulating in a frenzy, spewing froth from his mouth and periodically slamming his fists on the table with his rebuttals, seemingly completely unaware of how he consistently ruins his image with his ridiculous lack of decorum.
Well, at least watching my co-workers reactions to my overly enthusiastic supervisor can be entertaining sometimes.
Around the conference table, my co-workers responses vastly differed. To the right of my position Dave, a stout fellow with a long-drooping mustache, is always nodding off at these meetings, mumbling something under his breath. Two seats away Jessie, the only woman at our board meetings, is always galvanized by the supervisor into a similarly manic state of enthusiasm, thrusting out an endless stream of paperwork and graphical data, from her small purse, to support her loudly uttered ideas, in a bizarre manner like a disproportionately large group of clowns somehow squeezing out of a tiny car. Meanwhile Fred, one of the more normal members of the board, stiffly sits perfectly still in his seat, his hands firmly clasped together and resting on the table in front of him, as he seriously nods to each of the supervisor’s proposals.
I can’t wait to get off of work, think I’ll play a match of League tonight. Nothing better to do, or maybe I’ll read Overlord again. I wonder while pretending to pay attention. The only reason that I continue to work in this office is because the job is easy and the pay is decent. It was the best job I could get without a college degree and my bills are nothing to sneeze at after having gone through a messy divorce.
Projected on a white screen, behind my supervisor, are the sales figures for the month. Sales have been down lately, but with the economy the way it is, you can’t really expect people to shell out money for things they don’t really need. My company markets several convenience products sold on T.V. Not even one of them is worth mentioning, so I won’t. I analyze our company’s figures and am required to join the board meetings to parcel out the results. As I rarely socialize much, this task is relatively easy for me. I just wish that I did not have to attend these inane meetings.
"Hey Petey-boy, you paying attention or what?" I hate when he calls me that! My name is Pete! I don’t even bother to say it out loud. I have tried to correct my boss multiple times but he just ignores me.
Anyway, that’s me, Peter or Pete for short. I am a 27-year-old average Joe living in the good Ole US of A. I got married young, right out of high school, but that marriage failed and I got a divorce three years ago. I have a daughter that I rarely see due to her mother’s disdain for me. It’s completely unwarranted but there isn’t anything I can do about it.
After marriage and a kid, it was difficult for me to go to college but I am trying to attend night classes as much as I can. Never received any advanced degrees, so unfortunately my job options are few. This is my life in a nutshell.
“Yes boss sales are down, we didn’t hit our quota last month, we need to ramp things up, no more hitting our bottom-line!” I say with false enthusiasm while pumping my fist. These sort of cliche statements and empty words always manage to get the supervisor off of my back.
“That-a-boy! I can always count on you! Let’s get those sales up everyone! You are all dismissed!” For some reason he always seems to think I am sincere which works for me.
Damn, it’s about time, I don’t think I could have handled any more of that. I thought with relief.
With the dismissal, we all got up out of our seats and filed out of the conference room, like a bunch of sheep. Yep, just another day at the office.
I think I will browse the internet a bit while pretending to work. I decide as I head over to my desk. It may seem shameful but I just wasn’t in much of a mood to work today. I was increasingly stressed out living paycheck to paycheck.
As I was walking there, I saw one of my co-workers, Greg, bee-lining towards me with one of those creepy smiles on his face.
“Hey! Hey! Petey-boy!” Greg yelled out across the office while waving at me.
Not again! I sighed as I watched him walk over to me.
“Yeah Greg, what do you need?” Greg found his way over to me before I could get back to the safety of my desk. I don’t particularly hate the guy but he constantly hovers around me, it gets tiresome. Unfortunately it is part of my job to deal with him so I can’t just brush him off.
“I just wanted to know if you finished those reports yet? I need them before the end of the day.” Greg always spoke with a high pitched voice whenever he wanted something from me. It was quite unnerving and always made my skin crawl, but I couldn’t bring myself to say anything to him about it. I try to avoid him as much as possible, but he always seems to find me at the worst possible time.
“Uhh, I am almost done. I will have them to you before 5, don’t worry.” Yeah, that’s a lie. I didn’t even start working on those reports yet and I wasn’t about to start now.
“Wow, great, that would be such a big help. You KNOW~, last time you told me that too, see, and ummm…” Why does this guy feel the need to over emphasize and drag out certain words?
“You kind of disappeared on me and I didn’t get those reports until the next day.” It was true that last time he asked me for the reports I hid in the empty conference room. He never did find me, he just haunted my desk for a while.
I put on the best fake smile I could.
“Don’t worry Greg, I promise that this time I will absolutely make sure to get them to you!” For some reason, I felt the need to pat him on the shoulder as I said that. I thought it would help make me seem more trustworthy.
“Alright! Thanks a lot, I will leave it to you then!” Looks like it worked, I can’t believe how trusting this guy is. I almost feel bad for him, but I am just not in the mood to work today.
After Greg left, I finally made it back to my little sanctuary in this office, my desk. Well, it’s more of a cubicle than a desk really, but it was my very own safe space in this bland office. I have a few anime figurines scattered around as decoration and my desk was quite a mess with papers, coffee cup, pencils and such scattered around everywhere. Sitting at my desk, I noticed I still had 2 hours left of work, so I decided to check out reddit and see if there were any new anime series coming out in the next month or so. This was my daily routine when things weren’t hectic. I made sure to keep a work tab ready to open in case anyone came close to my work space.
The time passed like this, with me browsing the various reddit threads and occasionally posting replies to other people’s posts. I didn’t know any of the people posting on the threads, since it was all anonymous, but they were a lot more interesting to talk with than anyone I worked with since we shared the same hobbies. I also checked out a few of the translation sites, hoping to see updates to some of my favorite translated light novels. I enjoy a good Japanese light novel or watching the occasional anime. It helps me unwind after a long day of work. I also enjoy video games, especially strategy games. Romance of the three kingdoms, Crusader kings, League of Legends, I love them all. I am a bit of a history buff too.
Damn, it’s already 4:50, I better hurry up and get ready to go before Greg catches me. I thought, with panic surging through my system.
I had planned to leave the office, before he noticed that my report was still not complete.
I will just make up an excuse tomorrow. I’ll tell him that I had to leave early because of a family issue. I doubt he will question me too much on it. I thought, a sly smile forming on my face.
I grabbed my stuff, after organizing my desk a bit and shutting down the computer. I didn’t have much on me, I preferred to travel light. I took a quick look around just to make sure no one was paying attention and I walked towards the exit as inconspicuously as possible. No one would notice if I left a few minutes early if I pretended to walk out for a stretch or something. I could always talk myself out of any sticky situations, so I wasn’t too concerned. Thankfully, Greg was nowhere to be seen, but I knew he would be around shortly. That guy was nothing if not persistent.
The water cooler was close to the exit of the office which made it very convenient to sneak out. I poured some water into a plastic cup, took one more glance around and quietly slipped out the door without making too much noise.
Yes, free! Free at last! I chuckled to myself as I headed down the hallway of the office building towards the elevator.
My day was finally finished and I could head on home and finish the latest chapter of Re:Zero. I had a few other light novels I had purchased and was anxiously waiting to read them too. Pushing the button to call the elevator, I waited for a minute or two, and when the elevator door finally opened, I stepped inside. I pushed the button for the ground floor and listened to the plain elevator music while the elevator moved downwards.
This was a comfortable feeling for me, finishing up work and heading down in the elevator by myself while listening to the soothing music. The elevator ride was not a long one, but I always enjoyed the relative silence whenever this time of day came. It was a moment when I could reflect on my life.
My life was fine for the most part, although there was a bit of loneliness, maybe a bit of regret too. I made some bad choices when I was young and life happened. It was difficult for me dealing with my marriage, divorce and also the fact that I could hardly ever see my own child. I wasn’t complaining though, the things that happened were my own choice. No one forced me to do anything and there were even plenty of people who tried to give me advice. I was young and thought I was in love so there was no convincing me. I had been a fool and was suffering because of it.
No time for a pity party. I shook my head and tried to push those thoughts to the side. This was my life and I had to deal with it. I couldn’t fully move on just yet but I was making progress and the interesting worlds I read in my books and the games I played helped deal with it all.
Only a few moments had passed as I was deep in thought. The elevator's descent slowed but I had thought it to just be my imagination until, with a rumble and a creaking of gears, the elevator screeched to a halt.
What the hell is going on!? I began frantically pressing buttons but the elevator was not responding.
Oh man, don’t tell me the elevator broke down? This can’t be happening!!! How the hell am I supposed to get home now? I even pressed the emergency call button but that wasn’t working either. Wasn’t the whole point of the emergency call button supposed to be for summoning aid in emergencies?
I started yelling at the top of my lungs and banged on the elevator door hoping someone would hear me. It was stuck on the second floor, where there were many offices, and it was about time for the afternoon work hours to end so someone should hear me or come to the elevator soon.
Despite this, no one came to the elevator and there were no responses to my frantic cries for help Minutes stretched into hours, as I slowly ceased my futile actions and waited in silence in the, now forlorn, elevator. What is going on out there? Why is no one responding? This sucks! My day is completely ruined.
As I was thinking those thoughts, the elevator lurched, surprising me and sending me head first into the elevator door. I quickly braced myself with both hands and saved myself from the pain of banging my head against the elevator door.
What was that!?
The elevator lurched again, but this time I was a little more prepared for it and was able to stop myself from flying in the other direction.
After the second lurch, it got quiet. The light went out in the elevator and I was now standing in almost complete darkness. I was getting scared, I didn’t know what was going on. I moved to the center of the elevator and looked at my surroundings. I could see a little, but I didn’t notice anything especially strange.
It was then that the elevator suddenly lurched one last time. This time was different. There was a sense of weightlessness for a moment as the elevator made a loud screeching sound and then fell as though it was being swallowed by an endless abyss.
I fell with the elevator for a long time, I couldn’t tell how long. I screamed at the top of my lungs in fear, knowing I was about to die. I couldn’t understand what was happening to the elevator, as it went against common sense. The elevator was only on the second floor, yet the elevator and I had been falling for what seemed to be an eternity, down what could have been an endless abyss. My primal fears were stirred in that dark abyss, in that weightless surging eternity.
Would I fall forever? Was my fate to be consumed by the abyss until even my very thoughts faded away? Years could have easily passed as I continued falling, or it may have been mere moments. There was no way to tell how long I was suspended in that state.
Soon the elevator faded away and there was only the silent dark. I couldn’t tell whether I was standing or falling, I couldn’t even hear a single sound. Was I alive? Dead? Was I dreaming?
I screamed but no sound left my lips. I struggled, but in vain.
With no recourse, I became calm. My perception of time stopped as if frozen in an infinite loop. Within the stillness I caught a glimpse of what seemed like twinkling stars and then the darkness faded amidst a brilliant sun.