What if?: Rain

Friday, June 09, 2006

Rain

The first time Frankie heard Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head by BJ Thomas, he was down at Riverside Park and he had just fallen off the swing. His dad picked him up and was singing that song to him. Mumbling through the verses and picking up the chorus strong and clear. Maybe that is why Frankie only ever knew the chorus.

He smiled. The muzak in the elevator was playing that tune. Frankie was riding to the top floor to meet with Mr. Schneider the President and CEO of Wanaco Products, Inc. His smile did not last long as this ride was not for pleasure, or even good business. This was most likely his last day at the company. His division was lagging behind in an already depressed business cycle. In every day terms the company was falling. Hard. Other divisions had been closed. Other directors had been sacked. He did not expect anything to go any different for him.

The doors parted and Jennifer looked up from behind her desk.

"You can go right in. You are expected." Her demeanor was neutral. Her look was one watching a dead man walking.

Frankie opened the door to Mr. Schneider's office. It was a typical executive office. Plush carpet. Wood paneled interior walls. Mahogany desk. Big leather chair facing the window. Two smaller chairs facing the desk. The chairs had small backs to make you sit up straight and not want to stay long. What was not normal was the view. The unobstructed view. The CEO of Wanaco had built into his office a retractable glass dome opening his office to the city below him. The wind wafted the corner of a paper on the desk, rustling like dry leaves at the end of fall.

"Quite a view isn't it?" Mr. Schneider turned in his chair to face Frankie.

Frankie came face to face with the man who held his fate on his desk. He was sure one of those papers was his termination notice.

"Yes, it is," Frankie attempted cool, but he felt like he was stammering. Frankie had no idea what to say so he said whatever came to mind, "Especially like how you can see the whole hover train line as it leaves the city from here."

"The sun usually sets in that direction as well. Makes for a glorious sight," Schneider seemed to size Frankie up as he continued,"at least when the climate engineers aren't mucking about with the rotation of the planet. They do that from time to time and it just ruins my day. Like now, look they are shunting the rain makers into the city. It was not supposed to rain today."

Frankie did see that the sky was turning gray, a sure sign that mist was being pumped in the upper atmosphere. He would have to go home in the rain, more insult to injury.

"Frankie. In Roman times when a unit had failed in the most egregious manner, the commander would line his men up and select every tenth man and kill him. This is where we get the word decimate. Deci meaning ten. Our company is falling apart and we have units that are failing in a most egregious manner. Like yours for instance." Mr. Schneider paused at this point to let his words sink in.

He continued. "You have been selected for decimation."

Mr. Schneider stood up. He was a tall man. Six-one or six-two. Frankie had only ever seen him sitting at meetings. He had always arrived to meetings early and had left after he had long vacated the meeting. As he came out from behind the desk he noticed that Mr. Schneider's legs had been replaced by upgraded cybernetics. In fact, Frankie had never seen these models before.

"They are the latest. I had lost my own legs in the war." Mr. Schneider had noticed Frankie staring.

"Sit down." Mr. Schneider motioned Frankie to the chair on his left.

Frankie not sure what to make of this sat down. He had just been fired. But he sat down anyway.

Mr Schneider perched on the edge of his desk. His cybernetics feet digging into the carpet like talons wrapped around a branch.

He leaned in Frankie's direction, "At Wanaco we don't just fire our directors. We send them away." At that he pushed a button on his desk which morphed the arms of the chair Frankie was sitting into straps enclosing his wrists. Even though panic was rising in Frankie he was impressed. These chairs probably cost more than his whole house.

"Don't worry the straps are for your own protection. Don't want you losing a limb or anything."

The misting machines had done their jobs and now it was starting to rain. Frankie felt a drop hit his lips. It made him realize how dry his mouth had become.

Mr. Schneider pushed another button and a transparisteel pod enclosed the Frankie and the chair.

"You have been relocated, your assets sold and given to your wife and children. You won't work in this city again. Goodbye, Frankie."

Another button. Frankie plummeted into the depths of the city.

5 Comments:

Blogger RWB said...

I need more...You must finish this story! The transition was nice, I went from being mildly interested to totally enthralled within a few short paragraphs! Great story and I have to know where Frankie lands and how/if he survives his "plummeted into the depths of the city"

6:41 PM  
Blogger Giovanna said...

omg Daniel, you rock! I'll post more tomorrow morning when I have more time.

Should this sentence use some commas?

Frankie, not sure what to make of this, sat down.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Giovanna said...

I'm not sure how this can be, but I don't have your e-mail in my address book Daniel, and I want to send you some stuff in a word doc.

Can you email me?

LOL

6:35 PM  
Blogger Nancy Dancehall said...

Very cool idea. Makes me think of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

12:45 PM  
Blogger Pater said...

I really enjoyed your story. It could stand a good editing round to pick up minor errors scattered throughout, however.

What is most successful, in my mind, is the way the story appears be set in contemporary times. The science fiction details are revealed gradually, and not until the reader has already begun to establish images that must now be hastily corrected. I like that.

The one thing that I think doesn't work very well is the description of the dome in the office. And it is very important that the reader not be confused about the dome, as the rain in the end is the tying element. It's clear that you know what it looks like, but I think you unconsciously left out some crucial details for the reader.

Frankie opened the door to Mr. Schneider's office. It was a typical executive office. Plush carpet. Wood paneled interior walls. Mahogany desk. Big leather chair facing the window. Two smaller chairs facing the desk. The chairs had small backs to make you sit up straight and not want to stay long. What was not normal was the view. The unobstructed view. The CEO of Wanaco had built into his office a retractable glass dome opening his office to the city below him. The wind wafted the corner of a paper on the desk, rustling like dry leaves at the end of fall.

"Quite a view isn't it?" Mr. Schneider turned in his chair to face Frankie.


You start off mentioning a window (in my mind, it's behind the desk). Then you mention the view, and that the dome opens the view of the city below. So now the reader might think the dome is in the floor. But there's wind and the dome is retractable. Is the dome in the floor open? Very scary.

My suggestion is to nix the window. Describe the dome as being the enclosure (walls and ceiling) of the office. If the dome is just the ceiling, then the only view it affords is of the sky.

Those are my thoughts. Good work, and to echo what has already been written, I would also like to see this story expanded.

2:11 PM  

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