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Fifteen Minutes and a Ballpoint Pen

Short story By: LaughingRain
Literary fiction

Meet Lion Wilkes. A simple man in a simple world.

This is sort of an allegorical narrative, everything has meaning but it means different things to different readers. Read simply for pleasure or look deeper if you so desire.

Submitted:Jul 8, 2008    Reads: 132    Comments: 3    Likes: 1   

It's been said that existence is a state of mind. One body, whether it be a passing bumble bee or a skyscraper touching the very tips of the night, is only there because something put it there. Coupled with the state of existence is the incontrovertable law that all things (in existence at least) are subject to that rather fascinating force which man has dubbed time. Time itself has taken to existence quite happily. But in whose mind was time created? It wasn't Lion Wilkes, that's for sure.

Lion was happy enough with his life beneath the tyrant time, mostly because he had a nice roof over his head and the lady across the street often made him chocolate muffins. Lion was easily satisfied. Oh for a muffin's joyful taste on a sweet Tuesday morning, smoggy air sliding through the fissures in the forest of solid hair gel that he wore upon his head. His name was Lion, his head was concrete. He was happy.

Lion enjoyed the evenings in the one room box that cost him more monthly than his first car, or even yet, his ninth car, and that one had been seriously nice. He still swelled with pride every time the water cooler conversation turned to the satellite radio he had installed himself.

He was living the grand life. That much Lion knew.

Lion was a professional information certifying consultant. He wasn't exactly sure what it meant but he was the best at it whatever it was.

He earned eleven dollars and fifty-seven cents an hour from behind his desk. Ten hours he spent with that desk. Ten, beautiful hours with just him and his particle-board friend.

The job of the professional information certifying consultant was a serious business. Lion would walk into his office after having lovingly parked car number nine in the 'Staff Parking' lot, turning off his satellite radio with a careful press of a button, and then walk down the narrow hallway of cubicles giving a polite nod to the people he passed and occasionally releasing a few 'How do you do's?' or 'Looking sharp there Perkins's' or nodding sadly to the passing mailwoman with a'Do send my regards to your Aunt Clarisse, Mildy'.

Then came the real work.

His cubicle was, in his humble opinion, the nicest of them all. He felt certain that it was at least a good three inches wider than the rest, something he attributed to his hard work and dedication in last year's Consultant Fair. The Boss had given a hardy pat on the back after that, he had an inkling it was the 'cubicle-upgrade' kind of pat on the back that only a few of the many receive so early in their information certifying careers.

On this particular morning, having done all the usual daily routines of the morning, Lion was now sitting in his specail cubicle. He flipped on his computer and tapped a ballpoint pen with "Cicero's Chinese Food and Dry Cleaning" stamped across the side. He watched the 'Window's loading' bar take a few hardy leaps towards completion and then scooted his wheelie chair towards his inbox. He shuffled a few papers importantly and prepared for the morning's work. He was a busy man after all.

As he poured his coffee in the company rec. room about a minute later, he thought about Cicero's Chinese Food and Dry Cleaning. Cicero owed him fifteen dollars for fixing the water heater, but that was okay, he wasn't anxious to settle it up, he had his satellite radio already and he didn't have to pay Carl, the landlord of Carl Apartments, for another week anyway.

He put a scoop of sugar into his coffee and thought about his home. Perhaps he should think about moving soon. He put another scoop of sugar into his coffee and watched the sugar crystals melt into the swirling brown while his thoughts remained resolutely in his one room apartment. It would be nice to have something a little bigger he supposed as he stirred in scoop number three, but then again it was just him living there and if he moved the refrigerator to the other side of the room he might have less of a problem with the rats around his bedding. But then scoop number four reminded him that the cabinet where he kept his baking goods was already on the other side of the room so the refrigerator simply wouldn't fit. Well, rats weren't really all that bad anyway he thought with a happy smile and dumped the final scoop up sugar into the inky liquid. Happily satisfied with the outcome of his morning musing he carried his coffee back to his wheelie chair and three-inch bigger cubicle.

He sat on the edge of his seat gripping Cicero's pen with anxious anticipation as the loading bar counted down to the last few bars, three, two, two, two, two…. a neatly arranged desktop flickered to life as Lion smiled happily and gave his desk a hardy thump with the palm of his hand.

"There we are, works like a charm, not a day over ten years old this thing," he muttered affectionately to the console of his computer. They'd been through a lot together.

He took a sip of his coffee, a little too bland he noted silently, and rubbed his hands together as a gesture of setting to work.

He shuffled the inbox papers again with a serious look of professional duty on his face and then took the first file and noted the number in the top right hand corner. He looked up the number to his official master list of numbers on his computer. It matched. He stamped it with his official seal of information certification and placed it carefully in the outbox.

Once he was done certifying the information in his inbox, he glanced at the clock. It had been fourteen minutes and twenty-nine seconds since he had stepped into his cubicle.

Thirty-one seconds later Lion Wilkes was deeply immersed in a conversation beside the water cooler with Rudolpho from the stat evaluation and documenting department.

"Satellite radio?" Rudolpho said with an impressed nod. "Nice."


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