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Eat, Sleep, Shit, Repeat

by Calvin Agran about a year ago in science fiction
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A little black book challenge submission

This is my take on the little black book challenge. I was inspired by The Twilight Zone and Death Note.

Eat, Sleep, Shit, Repeat:

Today would be different, or at least that’s what I told myself. It was 8:30 AM on March 12th 2028 when Edgar found the notebook. Normally I don’t remember dates. Sometimes the days really blend together here, but March 12th was a day I had been looking forward to for a long time.

I worked at Simulcorp.

“Simulcorp: the cutting edge of simulation technology. At least that’s what they write on the business cards. Me, I wasn’t on the cutting edge of shit. I woke up, drove thirty minutes to work, checked into my room and watched Edgar for eleven hours a day, seven days a week. I took notes.

“7:45PM Edgar went out to dinner,” “9:30 AM Edgar went to work,” that kind of stuff.

It got so damn repetitive I had gotten into the habit of writing out his whole day before it even happened, but March 12th was different. For the first time since I was assigned to Edgar, I had no idea what he would do.

I had been observing Edgar for exactly one year, three hundred and sixty five days of kissing his wife before plodding off to work, three hundred and sixty five days of TV dinners and empty conversations. As far as I was concerned it was three hundred and sixty five days of torture. If I heard one more recap of his wife's book club I was going to end it, but I knew that day would be different. At the time, I wasn’t sure how the notebook worked, all I knew was it was some sort of experiment: they would give Edgar the notebook, I would record how he reacted, rinse, repeat, that was how it went. What kind of experiment was it? I was way too low on the totem pole for information like that, everything at Simulcorp was on a need-to-know-basis, and according to the higher-ups, I didn’t need to know anything except the date and time Edgar would find the notebook.

I turned on the screen that morning with an excitement I hadn’t felt in years. It was 8:15 AM, he was getting out of bed, only a matter of time before he checked outside for the newspaper. His wife was still asleep, Dolores was her name, or was it Dorothy? He kissed her on the forehead and tiptoed out of the room into the kitchen. It was 8:25. Edgar poured himself a coffee and looked longingly out the window. I almost felt something, watching him look out at the world like that; but then my eyes snapped to the clock: 8:29, a knock came from the door.

“Must be the mail,” Edgar said to no one, and waddled over to the front door. I switched cameras to the front porch, and just as the clock in the corner of the screen ticked to 8:30 I saw Edgar bend down and pick up the paper. He held it in his hand for a second and with a fleeting glance his eyes fell on the little black notebook that lay before him on the floor of the porch. He picked up the notebook and walked inside with it, thrusting the newspaper to the side. He propped himself up against the counter and slapped the notebook down; on its face the words “Simulcorp, the world is yours”; I hadn’t heard that one before.

Edgar opened the notebook, the first page was blank except for a few words in the same gold lettering as the title: “Hello Edgar, what would you like from us?” Edgar chuckled, checking his watch he reached over the counter to a small cup that held a few pens. He picked one up and grasped it precariously, chuckling to himself as he scribbled down “$20,000!”.

I jotted a quick note. What an idiot, I thought to myself, could’ve asked for world peace and he just wants some quick cash. I wondered what I would ask for. I think I’d ask to see Mary again, just to go back to the day she left, that day might’ve been my last, but then that damn SimulCorp letter slid under my door. That was the biggest regret of my life, letting her leave, now my life was no more real than Edgar’s: clock in, clock out, eat, sleep, shit and repeat. For all I complain, you think I’d try to make a change. But somehow, that day Mary left, I signed the contract and now here I was, one year down, and five more to go.

My mind snapped back to Edward: he had left the notebook open on the counter and moved quietly to the stove. As he poured himself a cup of coffee I heard his phone ding from his pocket and he reached slowly to grab it. I zoomed in to catch a glimpse of the screen “A deposit of $20,000 Dollars has been made to your account.” His mug crashed to the floor, spraying coffee across the room as the wild eyed look of a man who thought he had figured it all out spread slowly across his chubby face.

You don’t know the half of it I thought to myself, as I watched Edgar scramble back to the counter. The words he had scribbled on the page had disappeared, leaving only the gold lettering above them. A creak from the stairs behind him startled him into action, a voice rang out in the distance

“Honey what was that noise? Are you ok?”

Edgar’s pudgy body sprang to life, he grabbed the pen and wrote with the fervor of a prophet moved by some sort of god “Make my wife disappear”.

Now this is getting interesting, I told myself, switching the camera to the view of the stairs. Just as she reached the last step, a sly smile shot across her face and then, she was gone. Her night shirt fluttered to the ground, forming a small mound of yellowing white fabric on top of which her black horn-rimmed glasses fell neatly. A grin of boyish excitement spread across Edgar’s face as he looked back down to the now blank notebook below him. He moved his hand to grab the pen once more and suddenly everything stopped. As I watched Edgar, completely helpless, frozen in time, the intercom above me blared to life.

“Run him back, the simulation can’t be compromised, he’s not supposed to kill anyone this early”

My fingers hovered over the rewind button, I wondered to myself is this really my decision, is any of this? My finger moved towards the play button, almost on its own, I pressed down hard but nothing happened. I pressed again but still nothing. I jumped out of my seat and ran to the door. It was locked, why was it locked? I banged on the cold metal until my hands felt raw.

“Let me out!” I screamed, echoing through the tiny room. There was no answer except for a soft woosh from below me. My eyes fell slowly to my feet and then I saw it: a tiny black notebook with the words “Simulcorp, the world is yours” written in gold across the cover. With tears streaming down my face, I reached my bruised hands down to the floor and picked it up.

Today would be different, or at least that’s what I told myself.

science fiction

About the author

Calvin Agran

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