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contagonist
Jul 21, 2014

You shouldn't be doing anything with fluorine.

IN dealing with the weirdos as an Employee.

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contagonist
Jul 21, 2014

You shouldn't be doing anything with fluorine.

Sitting Here posted:

You are one of our elite maintenance engineers (aka janitor). You keep mess, malfunction, and other things at bay...

Cool. I'm going to have fun with this.

contagonist
Jul 21, 2014

You shouldn't be doing anything with fluorine.

Week 220: Enter The Voidmart
Employee, Maintenance Engineer
1296 words

Aisle Null

“So, you’re a janitor?” Miles asks for clarification, pointing a finger, rest of the hand holding a pepsi bottle.

“The proper term,” starts Jim, placing a hand on his chest, palm pressing his fresh violet smock, “is Maintenance Engineer.” He’s holding the mop handle in his hand to the side, at an angle, as if it were a microphone stand.

“Yeah but you can get us smokes, right?” Darla asks, throwing an arm around Mile’s shoulder, leaning on him. “You said you could get us smokes.”

“Probably. Maybe. Yeah,” Jim says, pushing the mop on the floor, leaving a mirrored finish behind its path. “Not just smokes and booze but drat, you wouldn’t loving believe the shirt here,” he says, both hands on the stick, pushing.

The smartphone on Jim’s hip beeps, saying “Temporal Cleanup – Aisle Null,” before clicking off.

“That’s for me,” Jim says, dipping the mop into the bucket, then pushing said bucket forward. Darla and Miles follow. They banter and bitch about biology homework, between Darla asking Miles and Jim about the sizes of their dicks.

Above shelves taller than buildings, suspended from girders crisscrossing underneath a domed ceiling, hangs a sign: AISLE NULL: TACHYON PRODUCTS, BOSE-EINSTEIN CREAM, QUANTUM CONDENSED GOODS.

Standing in front of the aisle is a man with a beard, dressed in a linen shirt and denim pants, wide brimmed hat – all covered in dust. His eyes are open as wide as his mouth, and he slowly cranes his head around.

Jim, Miles, and Darla pretty much say at the same time, “cosplayer.”

The man hears them, shifts his attention – eyes locking on the VOID MART smock Jim’s wearing. He points at the aisle behind him, saying “pardon me, but you seem to have a bit of a varmint problem in your establishment.”

Jim mouths, “motherfucker,” as he walks past the man, flipping out his mop and pushing forward the bucket into a slide. He turns the corner into the aisle and finds a giant, carapaced thing crawling over the shelves. It’s grabbing canisters, throwing them at some beautiful woman-man with purple skin, no hair, no clothes.

She-he says to the bug, “stop doing that, this facility is a contingent on a capitalist economy. You are minutely damaging their primitive quality of life.”

Jim stares at her-him and gets the strangest boner as the bug throws another container, which shatters on the ground spilling a liquid that dramatically increases in volume into a small flood, smells like acetone and menthol.

Jim, Darla and Miles behind him, all say “what the gently caress,” one word each.

Jim grits his teeth and tightens his grip on the mop, trudges forward through the foaming slurry, splashes freezing before collapsing. He flips the mop, hard end up, and swings it at the giant bug.

It chitters obscenities at him, throws a rubber bottle that bounces off of his head, sends him stumbling back.

The purple woman-man reaches a hand towards him, then looks back at the bug, saying “both of you cease your needless harm doing.”

Jim snaps back, “it’s throwing poo poo everywhere, just need to get it down,” he says, resuming the poking and jabbing with the mop stick.

The dust-covered man, Miles, and Darla watch on. Dusty remarks, taking off his hat, “s’like an angel and a demon, and man struggling tween the two.”

Then Jim remembers something from the biology book. He grabs the mop bucket, dumping in more soap as the bug whistles and snickers and steals more unpronounceable things.

After mixing the solution, Jim turns to the woman-man, and asking, desperately trying not to stutter or ask her-him for sex, “can you help me chuck this at the bug?”

She-he shrugs, and they both grasp the bucket and chuck it at once, launching a gallon of soap-water on the creature. The mixture splashed on the bug, coating it. It’s chittering and whistling changes to gurgles and spits. It shudders, then falls off the shelves, hitting the foam-covered floor softly.

“What did you do?” asks the woman-man as both she-he and Jim walk towards it.

“Soap water, clogs up the breathing hole things in its carapace,” he says.

“Mmm, that might kill it,” she-he says.

“Well I could rinse it with water or something but this isn’t the aisle, wait,” he stops, as the woman-man walks to a shelf and looks around. She-he grabs a canister with a dial on its side, turns it, and unscrews the top before pouring it over the bug. A surge of water rushes out of the canister as if it were a fire hydrant, dousing the bug. The woman-man closes the canister and it just… stops.

After, the woman-man grabs the bug, still struggling and gasping and rocking on its back. She-he lifts it’s whole bulk up over her-his head and shakes it vigorously, water flying off it. The bug’s breathing eases, but it continues to struggle, vainly, in her-his hold.

“We have subdued the vandal,” she-he says. “But there’s still the tachyon leak to deal with.”

Jim turns his head, puzzled. “The what?” he asks, reaching down into his smock pocket and pulling up the VOID MART Standard Issue Employee Smartphone.

“Hmm, to put it simply,” she-he starts, holding the bug as its trashing subdues, “something, somewhere, somewhen is dumping 4th dimensional particles into the timestream and causing an erratic temporal collapse. Parts and pieces of this stores futures and pasts are joined together in the now.”

Jim’s nodding his head, following along and trying to hide his erection. He scrolls down the text on the Phone’s screen before finding the HOW-TO guides. “Ok, ok I found it,” he says. “I just need to find the leaking Tachyon containment cell and put it in… an Other Bag.”

Jim pats himself down, reaching elbow deep into one of the smock’s pockets and pulling out a opaque black, plastic bag, with bright yellow letters reading “OTHER.”

He looks back at the screen, reads more. “But before I seal it up, I need to make sure everyone’s in their own time fragment,” Jim says. As he looks around, he notices that the bottles, canisters, and boxes lining the shelves have a subtle disuniformity – most are written in English, some with modern label designs, others with old-time slogans and held brown, green glass bottles.

Others still were in languages he didn’t recognize, half with elegant glyphs, others with crude but intricately arranged marks.

“Pretty sure we find that out by the labels on the stuff,” he says. “I take it that that’s your time-section thing?” he says to the woman-man, pointing at the more elegant labels and sophisticated containers. She-he nods, walking towards it.

She-he says, still hoisting the bug, “Tell me when you’re about to bag the tachyon container, I’ll throw our distant descendent into its section.”

Jim trudges through the foam, now all decaying into a fine pale powder, to Dusty.

“Sir, if you could stand by those green and brown bottles of.. liniments and.. stuff,” he says, Dusty nodding.

Darla and Miles are just watching him do the thing.

Jim scans the aisle, up and down, before finding a cracked Tachyon container on the floor. He picks it up out of the powder, walks near the woman-man.

“Uh,” he starts, face reddening. “I gotta say, before I do this,”

The woman-man smiles, interrupts, “I understand your attraction, and were you.. mature, we could have enjoyed ourselves. Perhaps some day in your future.”

“Uh, yeah,” he says, glancing away. “J-just toss the bug.”

Jim steps away from her-him, and she-he throws the bug into its section, and he drops the container into the Other Bag. Dusty, the Bug, and the woman-man vanish when he closes the bag.

Then, Jim refills his bucket and starts cleaning up.

contagonist
Jul 21, 2014

You shouldn't be doing anything with fluorine.

*patiently waiting for crit*

contagonist
Jul 21, 2014

You shouldn't be doing anything with fluorine.

*patiently waiting to lose*

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