Friday, April 6, 2018

Microstory 815: Open Book

I’ve never really liked my job, but I’ve also never hated it. Right before I graduated from high school, my aunt helped me get an interview with a woman who would soon become my supervisor. Even though I’m one of the youngest people here, at fourteen years, I’ve been here longer than almost everybody. All through grade school, I had my heart set on being a private detective. I never gave up on that dream so much as I sort of just forgot I had it. I make decent money, the work is fairly easy, and people generally leave me alone. I’m a technical writer, and though it’s a fundamental position at the organization, people don’t actively recognize this, and they just ignore me. If I weren’t important enough, they could do away with the position entirely, but if I were too important, they would probably find someone who cares about it more, and does a better job. I think I’ve found a good balance. When the rumor started going around that someone here found a way to compile a list of every single individual in the world, I was surprised, but not terribly interested. Apparently, they made this gargantuan virtual phonebook with everybody’s phone number and address. While I understand why this sort of thing would bother people, I don’t have any enemies, so I wasn’t personally concerned by the news. Plus, it couldn’t be real, right? That sort of technology could be centuries away, if it could ever exist. Something in my file must have mentioned my earlier aspirations to be an investigator, which prompted the United States government to approach me with a deal. If I helped them figure out who had created this phonebook, where the servers were located, and helped them destroy it, I would never have to work again. As apathetic of a person I’ve become, I jumped at the chance to free myself from the chains of my office chair. I secretly interviewed key employees, and started looking into financial records, and uncovering everyone’s recent activities. I asked for help from our company’s webmaster, hoping she could find a way to trace the source of the rumor. The person who started this gossip would either be someone with access to the book, or know the person who does. As it turned out, the culprit was literally sitting next to me the entire time. He was another lowly technical writer, and perhaps even more indifferent than me. I didn’t even ask him how he did it, or why. I just called my government contacts, and had them come in to take care of business. Two weeks later, I receive a delayed email from my former coworker. Attached was the location of the phonebook servers, along with a note informing me that he’s bequested the whole operation to me. When I drove up there to find it perfectly intact, I wondered why the agents hadn’t done anything about it yet. Seeing it as irrelevant to my own life, I just let it go, and assumed they would find it eventually, but they evidently never did. Nor did they ever deliver on this magical life where I don’t have to work anymore. In fact, I ended up losing the job I did have, because the company executives seem to have played a larger part in the conspiracy. Well, all right, then. I guess this thing goes online. Tomorrow morning.

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