Shard #6 "Her First Day":
The Land of Unfinished Characters

Written A Long Time Ago

Her first day at work. Enter a yellow-orange sphere dangling from the sky, baking humorlessly the depressed and despondent with ultra-violet rays. Everywhere she looked: inner torment and suffering, tragedy on their afflicted faces. Everywhere she looked: windows without shades.

The long, white hallway seemed to stretch out eternally in one direction. Below her feet lay a cobblestone path that would be strangely out of place if it were not the only oddity. There were children and adults and monsters and aliens and some that could not pass for any such living thing. If it weren't for the fact that all of them shared the same looks of bewilderment and despair, she might have mistaken one of them for an end-table.

There were people from every period of recorded history, from a small knicker-wearing waif who looked to be from the turn of the 19th century, to a tall, gallant knight who wore a helmet made from a stone crock bowl, to a short, chubby Frenchman with a tall white wig who rapped a gavel incessantly and walked around with a permanent scowl.

But then there were the ones who did not look to belong in any part of recorded history. Some were from the future, or from outer space, or from science fiction, or from pre-historic years, or from below the ground, or from up in the sky. One of them was just an eye, and one of them just a head. One of them was almost a man, except that he pulled himself along with two front paws. He had a face exactly the color and texture of a ripe eggplant. His head had poked around the door and down the hallways, and he watched her, despite the fact that he hadn't any eyes with which to watch. She was almost startled and might have groaned if she didn't see a look of friendly curiosity about him.

Partway down the hall, she saw a sign next to a door that had her name on it. She peeked inside, and seeing nothing, she entered.

"Ahh, Melody," a happy older man with a bright round face said. "Such a musical name. Do you read music?"

"No," she answered. "Not a note."

"How grand," he said. "There's a piano over in the corner," and though she hadn't noticed it before, there it was: a baby grand. "Perhaps you will play something for me sometime?"

"Perhaps," she said. "I suppose I will have to learn, now."

She laughed.

"Do you have any computer skills? I hadn't seen it mentioned on your résumé."

"I do!" she said, very happy that she'd have a chance to redeem herself.

"Well, you won't find a computer here," he said. "They haven't been invented yet."

When he saw that he had saddened her, he smiled jovially, and yanking on his tie, he added, "Just kidding! Your computer is right at your desk," and turning towards it she saw that it was precisely as he had said.

To Useless Shard #7

Cocaine Kiss
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All poems and stories on this web page are (C)Copyright 1996 - 1999 by Ronald Rand.