Sean has possession of the Computronium, and seeks to discover why it’s such a big deal. Since he googled it, he knows what it’s supposed to do. But, does it work that way? And, if so, how do you get it working?
I was at work when I saw my friend Jan get off the elevator. I had a theory, and I decided to test this theory on Jan.
She started walking toward her desk but I called out, “Good morning, Jan.” She stopped, looked at me in surprise, came over and said, “Hey, Sean. You’re here early.”
We chatted for a few minutes as I gathered data. When I felt good about my assessment, I said, “Boy, I’ve been stressed lately. My shoulders are all knotted up.” I wiggled my shoulders as though trying to loosen them.
Jan quickly dropped her bag and purse on the floor and, still in her overcoat, started rubbing my back.
I was right.
Then she leaned down and quietly asked, “How’s that feel?”
It felt spectacular! That’s how that felt. Things started to rise – my blood pressure, my pulse, my… yeah, nevermind.
Instantly, my brain saw three options: I saw… an easy way to let Jan down without hurting her, a sleazy way to ease Jan into bed by flirting with her, and an image of Jan and I in forty years. I was like – calm down with that!
I was testing out theories about this Computronium, what that rock I got from the Train Platform guy is supposedly made from. Some sort of computerized-matter-substance-thingy. I hit up google, wikipedia, the local library. It sounded powerful. And, If I could access this Computronium power, it would mean money, power, popularity.
Well, maybe just money and power.
I recovered Crazy Computronium Rock on a Thursday. It was now Monday. This morning, I took the train to work. No sign of anyone from the Arcana. I arrived so early I had to turn the lights on. I’d never done that before.
I know what’s coming. Joanna had met with HR multiple times last week. Over the weekend, she sent me an invitation to a meeting with her and my HR rep. If that meeting happens, I’m going to be shown the door. Let go. Pink slip. Fired.
I guessed my HR rep’s password on the third try. I got into his Outlook calendar and pushed his meeting with Joanna until Tuesday afternoon.
I needed to buy time.
Then, Joanna arrived. I put a box of pastries from her favorite shop on her desk and brought her coffee just the way she likes it: midnight-black.
She’s like, “Uh… thank you?” She was suspicious. I get it. I don’t normally do these things.
And, as I anticipate appreciation, something tells me to just walk away. I’m like, “walk away? Shouldn’t I get some credit for doing this?” But, I do. I walk away. I head back to my desk, sit down, open up a terminal and do some work. My work is classified, so I can’t say exactly what I do. But, it involves programming things that will explode if they aren’t programmed correctly. In the past, a few of my things have exploded.
But this time, I tweaked a few parameters on the “thing that will explode” and got it working smoothly in about thirty percent of the time it usually takes. And it was a tough one. That will impress Joanna and her bosses during the Friday inspection. They’re gonna be all like, “whaaattt have the aliens done with Sean Harley?”
And I’ll be all like, “the aliens gave me some Computronium.”
So, my instincts seem to have sharpened, just like I thought they would. I figured out Jan had a thing for me. I read Joanna’s suspicion. And my brain seemed to code better, faster. This was good. This was very good.
By the afternoon, I started to see so many options in so many situations that it became difficult to choose. I could examine, I could strategize. I could mess with people. Due to one of my well-timed suggestions, Joanna cleared everyone’s calendar and we spent the afternoon playing darts and beer pong. Unfortunately, Computronium didn’t help me with darts at all.
The possibilities began to explode in my brain. I could get anything I wanted. Maybe I could become a fighter pilot or astronaut. I wondered if Computronium could help me learn the guitar, start a rock band. Win the lottery!
Tuesday I arrived at work and Joanna was already there. Her hair was all frizzy, the way it gets when she’s stressed. She grabbed me off the elevator and said, “Sean, the Great Lakes substation just clocked in at .5% wobble. Adhaar is home sick. Todd is stuck in traffic.”
I said, “Point-five wobble? Shouldn’t we be evacuating?”
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Joanna said, “There’s no time.”
I was thinking, we’re screwed. In these situations, they always went to Todd or Adhaar. They were the best. If it were up to me, there was going to be a lot of dead people. I was preparing to go into full-bore linear panic, but then…
I thought, I can do this. I can do this. I can get us through this. I will use this to prove this: I’ve improved! So I sat down and I grooved. Forty-eight minutes later, I had compiled the fixes, just as Todd rushed in.
Todd checked my work and was impressed. And relieved. He said, “Sean, you just saved thousands of lives!”
Fuck, yeah. Computronium. It was like, I could do no wrong. I felt strong, like King Kong!
And, Joanna cancelled her meeting with my HR guy.
After work, Robbie came up and said, “Hey, Sean, want to keep celebrating? I’m heading to Trendz.” I said, “What’s Trendz?” and Robbie said, “It’s that new club in Paramount Tower across the river.”
And I was like, a nightclub? On a Tuesday? Then, I thought: Hmm. A nightclub. On a Tuesday.
Normally, I don’t do clubs. Normally If I do do clubs, I Normally do this: I head to the bar and I sit there, trying to look cool.
And it never works.
This time, Robbie and I were barely inside the club,
and there was this huge group of women
And I walked right up to them.
And Robbie was like, “Dude, are you nuts?”
And, yeah, normally, I’d never do this.
Because normally, beautiful ladies in nightclubs are assholes to guys like me. When they gun you down, they make you feel like there’s not a dark enough hole anywhere on earth for you to crawl into.
But this time, no problemo.
This time, I danced with two of the most beautiful women there. Both were named Stacey. Staci-spelled-with-an-I and Stacy-spelled-with-a-Y.
And that’s where things took a turn for the weird. When we were at the club dancing, The Two Stacies gave me a bad vibe. But, I was like, I’ve got a chance with two Stacies. This will never happen again. I have to go for it.
I dismissed the nagging voice in my head. I should have realized that it was the Computronium warning me, informing me, that in the morning she would betray me.
Staci and Stacey and I spent the night, and the next morning I woke up wearing only a smile, while, across the room sat those two hostile Arcana reps wearing frowns as big as the Nile. The female one said, “I see you’ve met our two daughters.”
And I was like, y’all named both your daughters Stacey? That’s crazy. And I realized, I was in bed with these two Arcana rep’s daughters. And I realized, oh, shit. They want the Computronium back.
I can’t let that happen.
Written, Produced and Narrated by Hans Anderson