[The Marketing Campaign, 718 words, Genre: Mind Fudge]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
Edward had worked another day delivering pamphlets for four and a half hours of the day. It was in a business district. In the business district, he spent time waiting for elevator after elevator, delivering notice after notice from the local council, informing the business owners of planned roadworks in the area. From six story buildings to twenty-two story buildings. It was very time consuming. All the business offices looked the same. Small compartment sized offices. Edward confused himself by walking down the hallways, believing he was caught up in some sort of perpetual labyrinth. He looked from office to office. In some offices there were many people, in some offices there were few. It was some sort of nightmare. Although, he did not consider that the individuals caught up in the nightmare would believe they were in a nightmare. They did not see the larger picture of the offices. Only he, delivering the notices could see the nightmare that existed. They all had their hair done in a pony tail, pulled tight. As was the fashion of the current period. Fashion is usually dictated by an influential individual, dictating trends and those trends are followed through by the majority. Some trends take hold, others fail miserably.
“Excuse me,” Edward questioned, “Have I been to this office before?”
“No, you haven’t.” And then Edward passed on the notice from the council. It was a nightmare. This place. It was Edward’s hell. A standard issue of conformity in which individual expression is allowed, but only because individual expression expresses the same thing in places like these. There were some irregulars. Round pegs in square holes. Eventually, as time went by, those round pegs would be sorted and found a place more suited to their conjecture. That was the way of the world, different strokes for different folks. Though this place, this place was a nightmare for Edward and his nature. So orderly… So refined… No allowance of free thought. Strict practices had been created and strict methods would be followed in a place like this. The methods, of course, had been proven effective. Though routine was as grinding on the workings of the soul as livestock on the conveyor belt, ready for the slaughter.
He walked into an office and saw a picture of a vampire’s face drawn on the office whiteboard. It threw him. It was out of context with the vast majority. Perhaps it was a signal. A signal that in the underground occult people were bred like this to act as blood bags for vampires who feasted upon them. Edward knew that places like this would host blood bank drives. Where people would give their blood away for the benefit of health services. However much Edward’s own nature was in contrast to these people, he could see that they were fulfilling a service, keeping the gears of the machine churning. Vampires may be a possibility, but the odds against it far outweighed the rationale.
‘We are all on the conveyor belt,’ Edward bemused, ‘Best realise we are not alone so that we can make the journey more pleasant.’
The job was finished and the task was done. He called up his supervisor and checked the time, in order to note what time he had finished for his time sheets. He had a quick lunch and caught the tram home. He sat there on the tram pondering what he was going to do with the rest of his day. Then he saw Walter. Walter he had known through a writing group from some time ago. They had talked and had a beer or two. Discussed the great occurrences in their life and were mutually dissatisfied. Walter was homeless, he would work odd jobs on chance occurrences, but was by no means organised. And so it was Walter’s disposition to sleep in shelters and corner spaces out of the rain on the streets. Winter had just ended and spring had begun. So Edward, with his money that he had gained from working his job decided to celebrate by having a couple of drinks to celebrate that Walter had survived another winter. They got off the tram and had a couple of drinks at the nearest bar.
Coincidences played a large part in every time that Walter and Edward ran into one another. By chance and the great interweaving of fabric throughout the cosmos, their run-ins seemed happenstance. However, so many times they had found each other in these similar play of events that coincidental meetings seemed to pile up and add up to some collaboration of the stars or celestial events.
After some conversation they played a game of chess whilst drinking ciders. Cider was preferable to beer and the midrange of the taste that hops and the bitter taste that beer did bring. They were men, cocktails seemed a bit too sweet, cider was the negotiation to preserve a surface of their masculine nature. They were not out to get drunk, otherwise hard spirits seemed like the only reasonable choice. Spirits were costly and the sun was out shining. Yes, cider was reasonable.
They played chess. It came to a stalemate and although Walter admitted the game was at an end. Edward pursued the game even though it was going nowhere. Such was Edward’s nature and his ethics of perseverance despite the facts.
After a couple of hours, Walter decided he was leaving. This is when it struck Edward. The marketing campaign. He would pay Walter one hundred dollars to leave business cards publicizing Edward’s writing to assist Walter’s vocation as a homeless vagrant.
Walter accepted the job. The effects of which remain to be seen, though Edward countered later that week in his mind, ‘It was quite an interesting day.’