The phone vibrated in his pocket. Must be his mother, or worse, his ex-wife.
Thanksgiving planning was in full swing - trying to decide who sits next to who, who pissed in whose Cheerios during the year, which young spawn had new boyfriends or girlfriends or non-binary companions or whatever the horse shit one of Jack’s kids had come up with at fourth-of-July
- - and, again the phone vibrated. He reached down and turned it off, and returned to his meeting.
“Technology is next on the list, Jason, you’re up.”
Walking to the front of the room, he flipped up his laptop.
He plugged in and brought up his first slide, “As you can see, revenues from our social sharing…”
The round video conferencing speaker let out a short chirp, “Network connection lost, call ended.”
“Fuck. The network is down.,” said one of the sales directors.
“Today is obvious duh, huh dip shit? Its month end how are we going to get work done?”, said someone.
“Great, Jason, you could have just said your presentation wasn’t ready.”, someone said in the room making the others chuckle.
He stood mournfully in front of the slowly emptying room. He unplugged his laptop and followed everyone else out.
As he turned the corner towards his desk the lights in the office flickered, then went out. The slow whine of everything electric spinning down was quickly replaced by an eerie silence.
The office manager eventually came through and said it was a rolling blackout - and that if you could work from home you should probably do that. He methodically collected up his stuff, giving out a big sigh as left the office.
“Today was supposed to be my big day,” he mumbled to himself, “my big day.”
He got in his car, punched ‘home’ on his navigation and started the drive home when the red engine light came on.
“Perfect.” He mumbled.
He soon found himself walking home, having left his Prius with a dubious mechanic for diagnosis.
“My big day,” he mumbled to himself.
“I’m sorry I ruined your big day,” said a youthful, but apologetic voice.
He looked up to see a little girl standing in the road in front of his house. Was it a little girl? The hood on the coat made him not so sure. She wore a strand of white Christmas tree lights that were curiously plugged into her pocket somehow.
“I’m new at this - and well, my aim is not the best that it could be?”
“I’m sorry - this isn’t making any sense.”
“Death rarely does, I suppose?”
“Death? What about death?”
“Well - I killed your network, then your car - and I was supposed to kill you. But my aim was off.”
“Well, your fate was to die of a heart attack this morning at your desk. But- you were so excited about your presentation.
It didn’t seem fair
- so I killed the network instead.
But my bosses were like - killing a network is not the same.
'You march right back down there and give that man his heart attack.'
So I came back - and saw that you didn’t get to make your presentation, you looked so sad, so I killed the electricity.”
“And my Prius?” he said nonchalantly, playing along with the logic of the strange little girl.
“Well, that brings us to right now. I tried to kill you again and managed just a red engine light. so embarrassing - - but at the Toyota dealership, I tried one last time and instead killed the Prius - - which fell off the hoist that belongs to the dubious mechanic, well, and onto you, while you were waiting….
but I couldn’t let you realize I’d killed you by dropping a car on you...
like something out of looney tunes.
So I waited to tell you once you’d gotten home.”
“So my body is actually back at the dealer crushed under a broken Prius?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“That’s actually a lot nicer of a death than a heart attack at my desk.”
“You think so? That’s kind of you to say.”
“Tell me, is there powerpoint in the afterlife?”
“Oh dear me, no.”
“I’m liking the thereafter better already….”