Monday, January 25, 2010

The Author, Chapter Twenty-Two: The USB Drive

June 23

The phone woke Jeff. It wasn't the Family Guy ring, rather it was a piercing, obnoxious beep-beep-be-beep that made you wish unpleasantness to the inventor of the cell phone, or the ring tone, or the telephone in general. Fuck Alexander Graham Bell and let me sleep.

The phone began to ring again and he staggered out of bed, clapping his hands to the desk, finding his personal phone, a pen, and his wallet before the Nextel fell into his hand.


“Mr. Reynolds?”

It was, of course, the soothing, imperturbable voice of Mr. Lawyer Reed. Jeff let out a heavy exhalation, rolled his eyes, and flopped back into bed.

“Yes, sir?”

“Mr. Reynolds, I trust I have not called you too early?”

Jeff looked at the clock and saw that it was not too early. In fact, Reed had called at 10:34, long after Jeff was supposed to be up. It boded for how the rest of his morning would go.

“No way. What's up?” Jeff winced as soon as he heard his words, conscious that he sounded like a stupid kid.

“Tomorrow—be the third Friday that you have been working for—first Friday was only your second day and the second Friday I gave you the benefit of the doubt. However, this Friday—must be inflexible. Mr. Stuart has a fax machine and I need you to make copies of all of your purchasing receipts—number is the first preset in the fax machine. Mr. Stuart also has it and you also simply need to add—of the office phone number.”

“Of course, no problem.”

“It should not be a difficult task, Mr. Reynolds.”

I said I'd take care of it, cockbag, Jeff said internally, while saying, “Consider it done.”

So Jeff's entire morning was derailed. He didn't brush his teeth, shower, or shave, instead he dove straight into the wide, flat drawer that sat above the knee space in his desk, hunting for receipts. There were two for delivery pizzas, four from Safeway, the one from the brunch on his first day (and what a fucking wild day that had been) and...

Jeff's heart would freeze later, when he realized what it meant, but initially he was just puzzled. He had felt a brush of cloth and when he grabbed it between his two fingers, he pulled out a thumb drive, dangling from a lanyard. 1GB Sandisk, it read on one side and as the drive slowly rotated on the lanyard, it revealed what was written on the other side: “R. McKenzie.”

Weird, he thought, Mac left this behind as well. He immediately plugged it into his laptop. He had to jump through a few hoops, as the memory stick had been formatted for a Macintosh (Jeff had forgotten Mac was a Mac douche on top of everything else, not quite as annoying as a Linux evangelist, but certainly a pain in the ass), but when he did, he saw that there was a folder and a file on the stick. The folder was full of documents, and when he opened a couple, he saw that it was all Mac's work. Short stories, essays, possible a book or two in progress.

A doubtful hand began to walk its fingers up Jeff's back then, as he saw more and more documents that he was sure Mac would not have left behind. The beginning of a biography and what more proof did you want of what kind of a jackass Mac was than that he would begin a biography when he had only just graduated from college?

He backed out of the folder and opened the single document. It was a journal. The entries began with observations of the property and the man himself (judgmental) and then moved on to other things.

5.25.10 The dreams I have here cling to me in my waking hours. I don't know what they mean, I often don't remember them at all, but they affect my mood and my outlook. Every day here feels like a chore, even when the weather is beautiful. I look haggard, as if I had not slept for a week, and even the sun does not seem to improve my coloring.

Christ, he was such a douche, Jeff thought, flipping through the next entries. He even wrote this way for himself! The entries devolved quite quickly after that, becoming less coherent and also less flowery.

5.30.10 I could never describe what I experienced last night, but I woke up retching, it was so awful. I did not quite vomit, but I felt as if doing so might break something loose inside me. I cannot keep this up.

6.1.10 He will be the end of me, I'm sure of it. It all comes from him, it has to, that twisted, repulsive imagination...

6..2x..10)- Oh god its hereits her it is he its its its oh god fuck oh here its here its he

“Hey, man, what's going on?” Victor Stuart asked from behind him.

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