09 January 2009

"Bachelor of Science"

By Curtis C. Chen

"Brandon, can I see you in my office?"

Brandon sighed and locked his computer before standing up. The other engineers on the third floor were always eager to prank someone who hadn't properly secured his workstation.

He followed his new manager down the hall casually--without delay, but not too fast, lest anybody think he actually wanted to talk to David, who kept telling everyone to call him "Dave," as if that would make him seem like more of a pal.

David had sat down at his desk and was typing. He nodded at Brandon as he walked in.

"One second," said David. "Would you mind closing the door?"

Brandon turned around. The engineer sitting across the hall raised his hand and made a slicing motion across his throat. Brandon held up one finger and closed the door.

"Thanks," David said as Brandon sat down. "Don't worry, it's nothing bad, I just wanted to discuss a personal matter." He faked a smile, as if that would ease Brandon's concerns. "HR says you've worked here for six years, but only been promoted once. Why is that?"

Brandon rolled his eyes. "I like my job."

"Someone with your talents could have a more interesting career."

"Writing kernel code for cell phones?"

David smiled, and it was the first genuine emotion that Brandon had seen on his face. "No. I'm talking about what you can do with your mind. Your powers of persuasion."

Brandon shot to his feet, knocking his chair over, and backed into the office door.

"We don't have a name for it," David said, standing up and walking around his desk. "It's not 'telepathy,' and 'mind control' is inaccurate and cheesy."

Brandon closed his fingers around the door handle. He stared at David and concentrated.

"See, I know what you're doing." David folded his arms and leaned against the wall. "You can influence people, and right now you're trying to make me forget. It's not going to work, because I have the same power--and I've been trained."

Brandon gritted his teeth. "What do you want?"

"I'm here to recruit you."

"For what? Some government bullshit? Not interested."

David laughed. "Well, we can do this the easy way--"

He gasped and fell to his knees. Brandon ran over and caught David before he did a face plant onto the carpet.

"Here's the thing," Brandon said. "I have more than one superpower. I'm guessing you don't, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to stop your heart." He lowered David to the floor and made a show of checking his pulse. "Sorry, but I'm sure you would have killed me, or worse. And I need the head start."

He jumped up, threw open the door, and yelled, "Somebody call 911!"

People swarmed out of their cubicles. Brandon asked where he could find a first aid kit, knowing full well that the closest one was with the receptionist on the first floor. He grabbed his backpack and ran for the stairs. He didn't know when he would be able to stop running.


1 comment:

LC said...

Love this idea. But of course, you know my penchant for super-hero type stories. Would have loved a mix between the two stories -- a little more exposition to make it seem normal as Office Space (then the powers come out at the end) but you are only dealing with 512 words!