He looked at the clock on the microwave when his cell phone rang. 7:39 AM. Who would be calling him this early, he thought to himself, setting down the paper, and reaching for the phone where it sat, still plugged in where he had left it.
"Hey boss....Of course I'll be in today. What do you mean where have I been? I've been on vacation. Yes sir, you did approve it. I will forward you your approval as soon as I get in. Yes sir, 8:30, on the dot, just like always. Sorry for the confusion." He heard an audible click and then commenced to grumbling.
"Why did I just apologize to that idiot when he can't even remember sending me on vacation." He slammed his fist on the counter, causing the spoon to rattle in his half empty coffee cup.
Lighting a cigarette, he picked up the paper and finished reading the article he was in the middle of. It was about the three girls that had been found in the abandoned house in Maine. The article read, he let the paper fall from his yellowed fingertips and went to wash his face, setting his half smoked cigarette in the ashtray beside the bathroom sink.
The cold water felt good as he splashed it over his face, the soap clinging to his thick eyebrows and mustache. Satisfied with what he saw in the mirror, he pulled a dark blue polo shirt over the white wife-beater he wore and ran his hand through the remaining dirty blonde hair on his head. At thirty-three, he was going blonde, but was reluctant to try any of the remedies that the television splashed at him.
He went back into the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee for the road and resisted the urge to go down into his basement to look in on his newest project. What the papers had not said was that their had been four girls, and he had brought one home with him.
The ride to his office was quiet, and the traffic was light, and as he was walking past the receptionists desk, the clock on the wall behind her read 8:20. The elevator doors opened and he watched the numbers climb on the wall. The four lit up and the doors opened to the row upon row of cubicles that reminded him how much he hated coming to work.
“Ah, Craig,” said the portly figure of his boss, who looked like he had been poised, ready to pounce at the next figure that came in.
“Yes Mr. Kennedy, how are you?” Craig answered, trying to looked pleased to be there.
“You said something about me approving this vacation, I can’t seem to find the e-mail.”
“Well sir, give me a minute to get to my desk and I will send it to you. Is there a problem?”
“Well, my virus definitions keep asking to update, it says they are out of date. And now my computer is slow, and this other window keeps popping up.”
“Well, did you update the definitions like it asked you to?”
“Uh, n-n-n-no, should I have?”
Craig resisted the urge to slap his forehead. “Ok, tell you what, this is on the laptop, right?”
“Yeah, want me to go get it?” Mr. Kennedy asked in an almost pleading manner.
“Yeah, meet me at my desk and I will show you the e-mail approval from you too.”
His boss waddled off and Craig took the opportunity to go check throw his lunchbox in the break room fridge before heading to his desk.
Five yellow Post-Its with Mt. Kennedy’s sloppy writing were stuck to the edge of his monitor, asking him to come visit when he had time. “Because the first wasn’t enough,” Craig mumbled to himself, flipping on his computer. While it booted, he busied himself going through the magazines that littered his inbox. A couple of corporate magazines on investing, which he tossed into his recycling bin and a new Wired, which he set aside for later, were all that he had acquired in the week he had been off.
A couple of clicks later and he was typing in the password to his e-mail right as his boss walked up, laptop in hand. “Here you go, here’s the e-mail and your reply sir.”
“What do you know, sorry for the fuss.”
“No problem, now, as for your laptop, when was the last time you backed up your data?” Craig asked Mr. Kennedy.
“Um, I’ve been meaning too?” Was the sheepish reply.
Craig let out a disgusted sigh, “Ok, grab that laptop there,” he said pointing at a stack of notebook sized computers on his desk. “You can use it until I get this fixed.” He took the infected computer and set it in the open space on his desk he reserved for his real work.
It took the better part of the day to rid the computer of any trace of the malware and get it up to date, but luckily, in a company of over a hundred people, it seemed to be the only pressing IT issue that had cropped up while their only tech was on vacation. Craig watched as the clock ticked its way to 5:30 and he put his computer to sleep and hurried home, eager to check in on his project.
Grabbing a cold beer from the fridge, and filling a large cup with water, he descended the basement steps and admired his handiwork.
Bolted to the floor was a large dentist’s chair, a petit blonde strapped to it, her eyes sewn shut by black thread. Two rolling trays, also castoffs from a closed orthodontist, sat against the near wall, various instruments all gleaming in the glow of the florescent light. An industrial sanitizer that he had stolen from a restaurant sat polished and shining near the trays. Two black bread racks stood against the walls to either side of the sanitizer, the shelves lined with medical supplies, from gloves and needles to black thread. A small refrigerator with a glass door was all the rested against the opposite wall from all of this. Inside of it were two boxes of Mivacurium, he would need to get more soon.
“Hello?” the strapped down figure whimpered.
“I brought you some water, dear,” he said as he caressed her face.