Marcia winced. Being Miles twin brother was a heavy cross to bear. But explaining he wasn't Miles resulted in having to explain that he had no idea why his parents had unfathomably saddled him with this ridiculous name.
He wandered the halls looking for Miles' new office. The Company bi-daily office moves made for great entertainment, he thought as he rounded a corner.
And ran into someone.
Starting to apologize, Marcia froze in stark amazement, his jaw bouncing occasionally off his knees. He'd heard from Miles' other twin brother of this vision before him, about whom Miles said, "Oh, that's just my friend, Cindy". Jon had been struck head over heels with Cindy - unfortunately near a stairwell, resulting in several broken bones and a mild concussion. "She's married, anyway," Miles had commented, helping Jon to his feet (and redislocating Jon's shoulder in the process).
"Are you all right, Miles?" Cindy asked suspiciously.
"Uh, yeah, I'm Miles,. Uh, I mean, fine! But I'm not, uh, Jon. I mean, Miles. I mean, you must be Cindy."
Cindy looked around for help. Miles could be SO weird...
"Wait. I'm sorry. Cobwebs in the brain, I think. I'm Marc...Mark, Miles' twin brother."
"Wait a minute. His twin brother is named John."
"Jon - no 'h'. But that's his new twin. I'm the original. Twin, I mean."
"Anyway, where is Miles' office?
"Three doors down on the left."
"Thanks." Marcia, by now fire engine red, hurried away mumbling under his breath. "Sure is hot in here..."
Cindy shook her head and headed back toward Ed's office with the copy of The Company dress code he had requested.
After the visit with Miles, Marcia moped back down the hall. The Company was unlikely to need his services any time soon. Which was no surprise. Gerbil spammers weren't in high demand anywhere, much less in leading edge internal furniture rearrangement companies. As he passed the copier room, he overheard Cindy talking.
"...I have never been so embarrassed in my LIFE!"
Cringing, Marcia realized he had had all he could stand. He stalked back towards Miles' office.
Meanwhile, Cindy finished her story about Tom McC and the badgers and weasels, completely unaware of the misconception marching in Miles' direction.
A few minutes later, Cindy was walking out the front door on her way home. The stamp sales night deposit in her purse, she looked warily around before starting down the building steps. A whistling sound caught her attention. As she started to look up, a great pain began at the ends of her long blonde tresses, rushed to the recently dyed roots, and exploded somewhere deep in her cranium. Everything went dark.
It was dark. Very dark. Gradually it got a wee bit lighter. Cindy opened her eyes. The whole world was cracked! She moved her head a bit, and the cracks moved, too. Maybe her eyeballs were cracked?
Her head hurt. She moved her hands to feel for blood, and realized her head was several times its usual size, and she had no hair! She began to panic. A muffled voice from far away offered to help. She wanted to crawl away and die.
With a mighty wrench, the building maintenance man pulled a NeXT monitor off her head. Everything looked uncracked again, and her hair blew softly in front of her face after all!
"Thank goodness! I didn't want to go through life looking like a hyperencephalic Sinead O'Connor!" She stood shakily, and gazed at the ruin about her feet. Everywhere, black plastic. Silicon. metal. Computer guts. Human guts. Human guts???!!!
Several fellow workers ran through the door. Most stopped suddenly and scurried for the bushes, making disgusting sounds. Miles stood looking mournfully at two feet sticking out from under a Piccaso-ish pyramid of broken, twisted nEXt cUbEs.
"He told me he planned to hurl himself off the balcony. I didn't believe him. I laughed and told him to take a few NextS with him." A tear wended its way south past Miles' nose.
"You faker," Cindy scolded. "Crocodile tears, even! You knew he'd do it!"
Miles relaxed and grinned. "Of course. I couldn't stop him, I knew him too well for that. So why not get some mileage out of it? And now Roadkills-R-Us is here to, ah, pick up the pieces."
Somehow, Cindy managed to look sternly at him while she laughed. "I have to get going now. Take care of this, this..." she waved her hand in the general direction of the evil looking yuck, and turned to go. Smugly, she didn't tell Miles she saw Marcia's feet beginning to wiggle. RRU wasn't going to make a dime today.
As Cindy walked away, she heard Bern start to explain to Miles how Canon had resurrected the NeXt hardware line, and that the Company had exact replacement insurance. Grinning, she started her car. A long cry of anguish rent the hot afternoon air. Miles tried to dive in front of her car as she passed, but she swerved and laughed again as she headed for home, leaving Miles writhing in agony with (apparently) a rebroken collarbone.
Sometimes, life was fair after all.
Copyright 1994 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.
This article may be freely distributed via computer network or other electronic media, or printed out from such media, for personal use only. Any non-personal (ie, commercial) use of this article voids the warranty which prevents my wasting hundreds, if not thousands, of yours and my dollars in lawsuits. Commercial copy permission may be granted if, in the author's sole opinion, other usage of this article is for purposes the author holds near and dear to his heart and/or wallet. For such permission, contact the author via email at roadkills.r.us@XYZZY.gmail.com [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] or via mail at the address below. Appearing in person at the author's residence during daylight hours for a personal audience is also permitted, provided no weapons are brought along. This notice contains no MSG, sugar, artificial sweeteners, sunlight, air, or other known carcinogenic substances or energy forms.1705 Oak Forest / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514 / USA
This copyright may be freely used, distributed and modified subject to the conditions noted above in the preceeding paragraph. Miles O'Neal <roadkills.r.us@XYZZY.gmail.com> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514