Marching Orders

I glanced around at the worried faces; this place just couldn’t be for real anyway, and I was curious to see just why the Controller scared them all so much. It’s always good when the New Guy takes initiative, I told myself, and raised my hand. “I’ll go,” I offered brightly.

It was as if I’d volunteered to defuse a bomb with only a TV Guide for instructions. Everyone in the room turned and stared at me like I’d completely lost my mind. Kathy recovered first. “Very well,” she said finally, managing an encouraging smile. “It’s on the eighth floor.”

I nodded turning toward the elevator lobby, but hesitated. “Uhm, what do I tell the Controller?” I asked.

“That things are breaking down.” Kathy glanced to the intern, still covered in black spatters.

“Right.” I hurried on my way.

The ride up was uneventful, and the eighth floor was the same bland beige as the third. Even the office door was an unassuming oak finish, ‘Controller’ written in sans-serif white on the plaque. I raised my hand to knock.

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