Wednesday Words – The Job Part 2
The Job – Part 2
By Grant Baciocco
Link To Part 1
As Patrick drove to the address he had been given, he thought about the current state of his life. It was not what he had pictured it would be at all, not at the age of 39 at any rate. It’s not that he was a slacker, or some loser who lacked any sort of skills, it was just that no one wanted to pay him that much for the skills he did have. He had to scramble working several freelance jobs that paid $25 here, $100 here, $300 here, just to make ends meet. He was looking for something more stable in the hopes that he’d balance out his life that had been in a weird turmoil since earlier in the year.
It was earlier in the year that Mary had left him. He wasn’t over it, yet. She’d left him for many reasons. And she had been everything he had ever wanted. She was beautiful, she made him laugh, really laugh. She was incredibly talented. He was in awe of her, seemingly effortless talent. She was everything, but he had been incredibly stupid. He had been foolish, unable to commit wholly to her, stranded in the ideals of youth instead of looking to build a life, like a grown up, with her. Keeping her and making her the happiest woman he possibly could. When she left he had snapped to his senses but it was too late. She was gone. He decided then and there to turn his life around.
One of their arguments at the end was his work situation or lack thereof. She had a regular, nine to five, job and she couldn’t see him as ever being holding down a steady job that actually paid adult, grown up, wages and after months of trying to get him to do otherwise she had left. Since that day he had done his best to work hard and try to prove to her that he could but it just hadn’t panned out. And now, here he was, driving to some strange address, in the hopes of snagging some job that might provide him with something stable.
His phone told him he had the address correct and he parked his car. He locked it and crossed the street to the large unassuming white building with hand painted numbers that read: 4115. He took a moment to straighten his tie and then pushed the button to the right of the door. Somewhere deep inside the building he heard a buzzer accompany his push and he heard it cut off when he lifted his finger.
“Hello?” a voice crackled from the speaker above the door bell.
“Yeah, hi, I’m Patrick. I answered the ad?”
Patrick heard the tumblers of the door’s lock fall and he scrambled to grab the handle before it stopped. He opened the door and stepped inside. The door, heavier than it looked, closed with a thud behind him.
The doorway had opened into a long, plain white hallway. At the end of the hallway, about 50 feet or so from where Patrick stood was a door. A low electric hum pulsed from the far door. Patrick could see pure, white light spilling from the doorway. He started down the hallway, squinting as he got closer to the door because the light grew brighter. Finally reaching the door frame he stepped inside and, once his eyes adjusted to the brightness, he found himself in the middle of a pristine white laboratory.
The room was bare, but clearly a lab. The walls, floor, ceiling were stark white. In the center of the room stood a single chair. Very similar to a dentist’s chair but just as white as the rest of the room. Several feet from the chair was a simple table desk, also white, with several large computer monitors on it. Cables ran from the base of the chair to the desk and then one large cable ran from the chair across the room and into the wall. This large cable appeared to exit the room through a small hole, so Patrick could not tell where it was going. He assumed it was to the source of the hum, which was louder here. Suddenly, from behind the monitors popped a face. The face attached to a short, squat man who, once he’d seen Patrick, removed his glasses and came from around the desk.
“Patrick?” the man said. His voice was high pitched and squeaky.
Patrick nodded, “Yes.”
“Ah, so good of you to come so quickly. Shows a good sense of ambition. Someone who knows what he wants and is determined to get it.” The man said as he traversed the space between them, his hand outstretched.
Patrick gripped the hand, which was somewhat sweatier that Patrick preferred to shake. “Well,” Patrick mumbled, “I kind of need the job.”
The man pumped Patrick’s hand a few times, “Ah yes, these are tough times employment wise. Still of the applicants who have submitted, you were clearly someone who knew how to form a sentence and, pardon my terminology, seemed as if you weren’t bat-shit crazy.”
Patrick smiled weakly. Nonchalantly wiping his, now damp, palm on his jeans. Patrick was glad he didn’t seem crazy, but he wasn’t sure he could say the same about this guy. “Well, it is nice to meet you mister…?”
“How silly of me, Doctor. Doctor Levitt.” Dr. Levitt outstretched his hand again towards Patrick. Patrick reluctantly took it and shook again, trying not to grimace at touching the doctor’s sweaty palms once more.
Dr. Levitt released his grip and then, without saying a word more crossed back towards the computer monitors. Patrick assumed he should follow him. As he rounded the desk he could see that all three monitors were a rapid swirl of information, charts, numbers, and graphs. Patrick looked at them for a second and then had to look away. It was all too much for him. For anyone really. Who could understand all that information zipping from screen to screen. Apparently Dr. Levitt could.
After a few minutes of watching Dr. Levitt read the screens and scribble notes down into his journal, Patrick cleared his throat, “So, this job.”
Dr. Levitt snapped his head in Patrick’s direction. Almost as if he had forgotten that he was there. “The job? Oh yes, the job. Sorry, I was just figuring out a calculation here.” Dr. Levitt continued scribbling and then, putting the pencil in his lab coat pocket he smiled at Patrick. “I need an assistant for this experiment I’m working on. Someone who is willing to risk a little for the world of science.”
“Risk a little?” Patrick replied. “I thought this wasn’t a medical research job.”
“It’s not. No, not at all. This is far from medical research. I’m not going to probe you or make you take any experimental drugs or anything of the sort.” Dr. Levitt replied with a smile.
Patrick relaxed a little.
“I will want to take a listen to your heart and you will have to sign a waiver, but these are merely precautions you understand. Most jobs would have you fill out paperwork when you began, this job is no different.”
“Listen to my heart?” Patrick questioned.
“Mmmm yes.” Dr. Levitt replied. “Just have to make sure you have a strong heart. Do you enjoy roller coasters?”
“It’s been awhile since I’ve been on one, but yes.”
“Good. Good. Well this experiment creates the same amount of stress on a person that occurs when riding a roller coaster.”
“Same amount of stress? Wait, you said you weren’t experimenting on me.”
“And I’m not. You are merely assisting me, but in that assistance, there will be some stress on your physical body.”
Patrick looked at Dr. Levitt, square in the eye. “What is this experiment?”
Dr. Levitt smiled, he grinned like a kid on Christmas morning, then in a hushed tone said, “Why…time travel my dear boy. Time travel.”