Monday, November 15, 2010

Post-A-Day: Gil (One)

Hey guys - so this week in honor of Nation Novel Writing Month (which I chickened out of fully committing to) I'm gonna start posting some stuff from a story that's been riding around in my head for a little while. It won't necessarily be completely linear, mind you - I'm probably going to jump around a bit, so keep that in mind. I have no idea what I'm gonna do with it, or how long it's even going to be, but despite not knowing all the details I'm just gonna go ahead and dive right in starting today. It's called "Gil," and away we go:


Dear Mr. Malhotra:

Thank you for expressing your interest in Virgin Galactic, the world's premiere commercial space travel program. Attached you will find a pamphlet that addresses all of your questions regarding reservations and travel. To clarify your specific question - the package we offer only travels into the outer edges of the earth's atmosphere, also known as 'suborbital flight.' As of this time no commercial space program currently travels all the way to the moon, or Mars, where man has yet to set foot in any capacity.

Any further questions can be forwarded to your local accredited space agent, Frank Ciccarelli, who operates in our NYC branch. His business card is also enclosed.

Thank you again for your interest, and we hope to see you aboard one of flights soon!

Stacey Warner
Virgin Galactic Mission Control

The way Amir saw it, the big pendulum had swung again. This time it was his options. He went from thinking he had way too few of them, to thinking he had way, way too many. That always seemed to be the problem with his life. He always felt he was barely scraping by or overflowing with stuff he couldn't make room for. He started his freshman year of college weighing 132lbs, very underweight for someone his size and build. By the end of his sophomore year he was 170lbs. He'd gone from being rail thin to having a double chin and a paunch seemingly overnight. His education was the opposite - graduating at the top of his class from a highly rated public school in Brooklyn without breaking a sweat, then going to Northwestern and finding out he wasn't as smart as he thought, regularly getting C's and D's in classes, pulling all nighters and doing what he thought was his best to keep up.

Finally, he couldn't get laid to save his life growing up until after he got out of college, when he finally figured out exactly when to talk to women and when to shut up and just rely on his disarming smile. Recently he noticed a girl was actively flirting with him after he mentioned meeting up with his girlfriend later. Naturally, Amir complains about this particular pendulum swing the least (so long as it stays on this side for a while), though he couldn't help but wonder if it was that old cliche about women being more attracted to "attached men" or if it was the $127.5 million dollars he won in the lottery six weeks ago.

Balance - that's what he wanted more than anything. Though of course he knew he'd be a fool to complain about his literal embarrassment of riches. Initially that was why he was still coming into his job, weeks later. Still sitting as his desk. Still opening and closing every IT request ticket that came in, as if the job didn't have even less meaning to him now than it did before, when he already couldn't stand it. But it wasn't the guilt that was keeping him at his job at this point. The guilt had worn off 2 weeks ago, almost as quickly as it came, once his coworkers suddenly stopped seeing him a peer and more as a lucky brat who was keeping someone else who needed the job from having it.

Amir was still at his desk, clocking in and out right one time every day because he can hold a grudge better than anyone he knows. And he had a score to settle with the company CEO, Kevin Bergstrom - or "Dr. Bergstrom," as he insisted on being called. "Mister Douchestrom" or worse, "Kevin" - as he always made it a mental point to address him mentally - was currently Amir's least favorite person on the planet. Living or dead, fictional or real. Amir proved this to himself one time by trying to create a more hate-able monster. No matter how hard he tried though, even the axe-wielding, baby murdering, boob-shrinking minotaur would up having a single redeeming quality: that he was self-aware enough to know what he was was (also that he wasn't real and thus couldn't do all the terrible things he was supposedly able to do).

Bergstrom consistently and unapologetically treated everyone around him like a disposable handi-wipe, and Amir often got it worst of all. Being far too dignified to ever learn a single necessary piece of useful information regarding proper care for his computer, Amir was constantly being called in to address a new problem on his boss's computer. And his personal laptop. And his blackberry. And his printer. None of this would be a problem of course if Amir wasn't regularly berated for doing a terrible job and making the situation worse, only to be called in again for his help.

Even before he won the lottery, Amir was always debating ways to enact revenge on Bergstrom. He was particularly enchanted with the way Ed Norton quit his job in Fight Club, beating himself senseless while alone in a room with his boss to create a narrative that was somehow less ridiculous than the truth - though he knew he could never commit as hard as Norton's character did to self abuse. The lottery just upped the ante, and for better for worse, gave Amir way more possibilities than he could ever fully realize. Some of his favorites ones included:

-Offering everyone at the company 100K to quit all at once on the same day, but in order to receive the stipend, they would have to each one by one go into his office, offer their letter of resignation, and punch Bergstrom right in the dick.

-Hire an incredibly gorgeous, expensive prostitute to seduce Bergstrom, and bring him back to a hotel room. Get him to strip off all his clothes, take a picture of his ugly, naked body, and then punch him right in the dick and leave.

-Using his IT access, he could alter the company website and have embarrassing facts and photographs of Bergstrom placed all over the site, which would of course be unveiled during the regularly scheduled Board of Directors meetings. After the website was unveiled, it would be presumed that each board member would naturally, go right for a punch to the dick.

While all of these options made Amir smile from ear to ear, ultimately he realized his pen was mightier than his sword. Or more specifically, his particular skill set was mightier than his dick punching ability.

(more tomorrow)

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