[Original Novella] Okay I Guess, Part 2


Previous parts: 1

For this reason he was not in the habit of reaching out to make new connections with people, a habit he feared would see him quietly fade into the grave as one of life’s background characters.

He downloaded an app called MeetMatch which made the bad feelings go away, although he soon forgot he had it and wound up deleting it to make room for Blu-Ray rips of a Japanese animated series about aircraft carriers who are also junior highschool students that he pre-loaded onto his phone in anticipation of an upcoming international flight.

One of the characters, Hinata chan, was the only Gerald R. Ford class carrier in her grade. In recent episodes this created a great deal of conflict with fellow students Koharu chan and Rio chan, who were engaged in a love triangle with Long Island class carrier Ryusei kun before she transferred.

Understandably the appearance of a new potential love rival, in a cutting edge carrier class no less, made both of them feel threatened. Even Hinata chan’s friendly overtures, such as invitations to come and eat small fancy cakes at her home, were ignored.

Daniel might have been content to wait until he got back from the business trip to find out what happened except that in the most recent episode, full scale naval battle had erupted across the Pacific theater as a consequence of war games gone wrong, and Hinata chan’s unprecedented ability to make fuel out of sea water using her onboard nuclear reactor could prove to be a decisive advantage.

Daniel visited the men’s restroom before returning to work, where he took an unpleasant but bearable dump, the various exotic spices in the chili tomato sauce returning to irritate his asshole on the way out.

Daniel recalled reading about German toilets which have a little shelf you poop onto, so that you can examine your stool before flushing it. Although there were to his knowledge many reputable medical reasons why it is a good idea to monitor the consistency and content of your emissions, Daniel nevertheless found it a disagreeable idea.

Based on this moment of reflection, Daniel resolved never to purchase a toilet of that type or any which substantially differs from the North American standard, and he never did. He flushed, a little bit of the splashback getting onto his pants.

It would look a little bit as if he’d peed himself but hopefully, it would dry sufficiently by the time he exited the restroom that it escaped anybody’s notice as he made his way back to his desk. In fact it did. Daniel was able to resume taking calls without any embarrassing incidents occurring as a result of the still somewhat damp spot on his trousers, even though he passed by Judy on the way and she is normally very observant.

The last call of the day was from another distraught mother, this time upset that her son’s Xavier Diamond Cross 3000 gaming console was stolen, wanting to know whether all of the games she bought him were necessarily gone with it.

“I have just worked so hard to give him nice things. I grew up on the mean streets you know. I don’t want that all to be gone just because one of those stupid friends tryna rope him into that gang shit stole the video game box itself. He earned that shit with good grades, I wanted to teach him a lesson with it, not for him to find out he can do everything right and work hard only for his reward to be taken away in the end.”

Daniel assured the woman that he understood her concerns and empathized. “Nobody likes to talk about how it is on the streets. There are stop signs there, for example. They have such hard edges and one is required to bring their motor vehicle to an absolute halt before them or face serious fines.

They are then meant to proceed more or less as if at an intersection, free to proceed or to turn unless they did not arrive first, in which case the first to arrive has the right of way. That’s just how it is on the streets, nobody wants to talk about real shit like that but I’m right there with you.

With respect to your game purchases, in fact what you purchased are the licenses. This is permission to access the game content anywhere, at any time on that account. This means that your son will be able to log into his existing account when you buy him a replacement Xavier Diamond Cross gaming console and re-download all of the titles you have purchased for him.

However I invite you to consider the advantages of upgrading to an Xavier Diamond Cross 3700. By comparison with the base 3000 unit, it offers a doubling of visual memory on the two graphical processing units, which increases the-”

The woman interrupted here, assuring Daniel she knew what it did and did not want to upgrade. He asked if she was sure, in light of the remarkable fact that the 3700 series comes with a free one year Cobalt membership which would allow her son to lend his games to friends also in possession of a Cobalt membership for 24 hour periods, once per game.

She sounded honestly intrigued but confessed that she would have to review her finances before making a decision like that. Daniel assured her that the free year of Cobalt membership with every new 3700 unit would still be going on until the end of the month.

“Thanks, but I’m fine” she concluded. “I was worried, it was nice that you talked me through it.” “Alright” Daniel replied, waiting for a few seconds of silence before ending the call. The total call duration was three minutes and thirty three seconds.

It occurred to Daniel this might be an important figure, as he recalled that three followed by repeating threes after the decimal place is a perfect third of ten. But it turned out that had nothing to do with the call, just what anybody in the world would call a coincidence if you were to call them up and ask them about it right now.

“Hey, do you want a ride home?” Rebecca inquired. “Normally I take Judy but she’s been out sick the past three days. Having somebody to talk to on the ride beats radio or whatever, haha.” Daniel agreed, enticed by the prospect of the fuel savings to be achieved by riding together as opposed to if Rebecca had driven home by herself.

“Oh, did you…have an accident? Spill water or something…?” She gestured to the damp spot on Daniel’s pants, somehow still visible, perhaps because the shelter provided by the desk prevented overhead lights from evaporating the water as quickly as it otherwise would have.

“No, just a normal quantity of splashback from the toilet as unavoidably happens in this building, because for whatever reason the flushing is unnecessarily powerful. I guess maybe the extra water costs less than cleaning out blockages used to.

I know what it looks like, but had I actually urinated in my pants of course I would have gone home on break to put on a clean pair. Apart from the unpleasant odor of urine it can also cause a painful rash following prolonged skin contact because although urine is sterile, it has high ammonia content.”

It was a quiet ride, except for when Rebecca turned the radio on. Daniel enjoyed her selection of a rap cover of a television program he had recently finished watching, so he told her that he liked that television program. “Sorry, what?” She turned down the radio.

“I said that I watched the television show this rap song was based off of, and enjoyed it. Probably you also watch television programs and enjoy some of them, while either disliking others or remaining neutral on a case by case basis.”

She looked like she was trying to figure something out, then simply replied “Alright” before turning the radio back up. Daniel realized that without further questioning he would never find out for sure if indeed Rebecca also viewed television programs, finding some of them enjoyable while either feeling neutral or negative towards the rest.

However that felt like an intrusive thing to ask more about than he already had. Perhaps Rebecca does not view television programmes? Perhaps she prefers other forms of media such as the written word, or rap songs on the radio which can be enjoyed without requiring sustained visual attention in the way that a television program does.

Daniel thought about what it would be like if he was a skilled rap singer capable of singing a rap which Rebecca had never heard prior to that occasion. He first realized that before he could rap, he would need to secure the basic fundamentals necessary for survival such as clean water, shelter from the elements, clothing, a heat source and so on.

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