Wednesday, August 4, 2010


     Phillip Haywood sat quietly at his cubical as he so often did. This was his life. The life of a bird in a cage. Much like the bird in a cage, his tasks were very much the same day to day. Sit down, push buttons, eat lunch, and wait for the clock to strike 5. Over the course of several decades encased in his cubicle, he had grown accustomed to life inside a cage. What he hated most of all was any changes in the schedule. Much like a bird that flaps its wings frantically during a cage cleaning, Phillip would lose his temper when things would change from his regular schedule. Such things tend to happen, albeit rarely, but they do happen.
     And today, this Friday afternoon, such a thing happened.
     “Hello Phillip, how are you today?” chimed Phillip’s supervisor, Mary Stevenson, a resourceful and proper woman. She hated changes too but unlike Phillip, she hated changes that affected the company’s profits.
     “I’m doing rather well. It’s getting close to magic hour and my work for the week is almost done,” replied Phillip.
     “Well that’s what I needed to talk to you about.”
     Phillip could feel his organs (all of them, not just his heart or the pit of his stomach, but ALL of this organs) sink deep down into his chair. It’s so goddamned close to the end of the day, get away from me devil woman. Can’t you see I’m trying to get the hell out of here! his head screamed.
     “I’m sorry to do this Phillip but I’m going to need you to finish up the Wilson account tonight.”
     “But-” was all Phillip managed to get out before Mary cut him short.
     “But nothing. They just switched the meeting to tomorrow morning and I need that paperwork finished and ready to present to them. Phillip, we really need that account.”
     Phillip’s head began to ache.
     “But there’s no way I can finish it before I have to leave.” Phillip said looking up sourly at the clock, damning its very existence. Time was of the essence. It was always of the essence. As much as time doesn’t matter to anything, it always seems to be the center of everything.
     “You have to. Everyone that could possibly do any work on it has already left for the day. Now, I’m more than willing to lend overtime pay so you can get it done but I need it done tonight.”
     “You don’t understand, it’s almost time-”
     “No, Phillip, you don’t understand. You do it and you do it right now or you’re fired. The choice is yours.”
     Phillip’s head started to ache more fiercely than before.
     The cubicle was the only thing he had ever known. Even his home was designed to mimic his cubical. A small 800 square foot home with simple walls and simple furniture (even the building was perfectly square) was all that housed him and his beloved wife (The one thing that didn’t fit his schedule). Everything is in perfect balance and this damned woman is trying to ruin it all!
     Phillip’s head throbbed in agony.
     “No goddammit, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!” Phillip screamed louder than he had ever screamed before. Actually, he had never screamed at anyone before. Never.
     And she was gone. Just like that, disappeared completely.
     No, everyone was gone. The entire office had just disappeared into thin air.
     No, everything had just disappeared into thin air. The planet, sky, stars…all gone.

And the aching in Phillip’s head stopped.


     “What’s going on?” Phillip’s voice rang out, echoing into the darkness.
     “Help, someone help!” a woman’s voice spoke excitedly.
     “Who are you? What have you done to me?” Phillip asked hoping the woman could hear him. She did not.
     “He’s in shock, get a doctor in here now!” a man’s voice echoed, calm and cool. The voice of a trained professional.
     “What the hell is going on? Answer me!” Phillip screamed, feeling scared now. But this time there was no echo. There was no answer. All that existed in the darkness was a faint beeping noise growing longer and quieter, as if it were moving away.
     A dot of light appeared deep in the darkness. Phillip looked towards it, focusing all his attention on it.
     “We’re losing him!” the male voice yelled again.
     A popping noise surrounded Phillip as if someone were making a gigantic bag of popcorn. Suddenly the darkness flashed a magnificent white. It engulfed everything. Whatever world Phillip was in, it was gone.
     And for that matter, Phillip was gone too.
     Inside a brilliantly bright hospital room lays the mangled corpse of Phillip Haywood. Next to him is a female doctor dressed in a long white coat talking with a woman dressed in black.
     “I’m sorry, Mrs. Haywood,” the doctor said, “the trauma to the brain was just too extensive. We did everything we could but-”
     “It’s alright,” said Mrs. Haywood, “there’s nothing more you could have done. If only he would have left work on time, none of this would have happened.” She bent down and kissed Phillip on the forehead. “Goodbye my darling, I will see you soon.”

And she did.

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